Community Sports

Tennis Rackets Are Still Swinging in Terrytown

In every community, there are those people who are the building blocks that make life there a little bit special. They bring love and passion to a neighborhood, and in the end they end up making every day life better for all of us. Joan Mehle is one these people.

At 84 years young, Joan has been sharing her love of tennis with the women of the Westbank since 1976. Not only does she play tennis at the Terrytown Recreational Center, she is the main organizer of the Jefferson Tennis Club of Terrytown. Joan’s devotion to tennis began back in the 70’s when “stay at home” mothers and wives took up the sport as a way to get exercise, socialize and have a good time. These were the days when Billie Jean King was queen of the courts and tennis was a pastime that was taking the country by storm.

For many women in Terrytown, not much has changed since then. Forty years later, tennis is still alive and well on the Westbank, thanks in part to Joan and her organizational skills and her dedication to getting people involved with this fun recreational activity. Joan is the heartbeat that keeps the Jefferson Tennis Club of Terrytown alive. Don’t let her age fool you; Joan has many responsibilities that she takes on with pride. She organizes all of the court games every week and notifies all of the players, by phone, of their schedule. She helps to organize the Wednesday night tennis league, which is made up of 64 women and has been going strong for over 30 years. She also organizes the Friday night games, and Joan herself plays tennis 4 days a week. Whenever something has to be taken care of at the tennis center, Joan is the first (and only) person that people call. Friends and fellow players say that Joan is always the first one to welcome a new face into the league. If you are new in town and you don’t know anyone, Joan will welcome you with open arms. She keeps this organization moving and she makes Terrytown a better place to live. In this day and age where many people would rather sit in front of a television or a computer, Joan proves that the best part of life is finding something that you love to do and just keep on doing it.

In addition to her busy tennis schedule, Joan has an active life outside of her favorite diversion. She works at an accounting firm in Belle Chasse and she also stays active with her family- Joan is a proud mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and she boasts 3 daughters, a son, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. After a busy day on the courts, Joan loves nothing more than cooking Sunday dinner for her beloved family.

A person like Joan Mehle should inspire all of us to not only live life to the fullest, but to find something that we are ardent about, pursue it and figure out how we can use it to make our community a better place. Joan proves that you are never too old or too young to make a difference in people’s lives.

About the author

Marielle Songy

Marielle Songy was born and raised on the Westbank and currently resides in Gretna. She is a graduate of Archbishop Blenk High School and UNO. A true Louisiana girl, Marielle enjoys creole food, jazz music and the occasional swamp tour.

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