On Monday, March 11, 1963, the 11th of 13 children and the 6th of 7 sons was born to Thomas "Do-Man" Hawkins, Sr. and his lovely wife "Queen" Ophelia Scott Hawkins. On that day, a legend was born in the person of James Rodney Hawkins, I. James was reared on the Westbank of the Greater New Orleans area in the city of Marrero, LA. He was named after his father's brother James "Dooker" Hawkins; but those who affectionately knew James referred to him mostly by his middle name "Rodney".\n\nRodney was a precocious boy growing up and he followed his father's every move, who was a carpenter by trade. As early as three years old, he could be seen wearing his father's tool belt and he would practice nailing everything he could find; trees, boards, and even the dirt. His early curiosity for carpentry would serve him well during his entire lifetime. He was a very tough kid; and thus, the legend began. James broke his collarbone, and continued to play throughout the day before he complained or someone noticed he was injured. \n\nHe accepted the Lord as his Savior at an early age and was baptized on a Resurrection Sunday by his great uncle, Pastor Haywood Custer, at St. Paul Baptist Church in Marrero, LA. In his later years, he would develop a deep love for the Old Testament and history of the scriptures. He did research until the wee hours of the morning and enjoyed sharing what he found on his quest for knowledge of biblical history.\n\nRodney was a boundary breaker and risk taker who often lived by his own rules. Growing up, it was a known fact that no one was supposed to touch his father's tools. Being the legend that he was, at 10 years old he grabbed his father's tools and proceeded to build a doghouse on his own. Instead of fussing, his father was impressed with his efforts. This was his first independent carpentry production of many to come.\n\nHe attended 4th Ward and Lincoln Middle School for a period of time. He was a bright student and excelled in Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry while in high school. It was during his attendance at Allen J. Ellender Middle School where a rare talent would emerge. Under the tutelage of music instructor Freddy Weber, he would study the sousaphone and French horn. This prepared him for his introduction to play the trumpet at West Jefferson High School where he graduated with the class of 1982. He played so well, that he was awarded the opportunity to perform a half-time field show solo where he played "Children of Sanchez" by Chuck Mangione. This was a very difficult feat. Rodney would later study drafting at Delta College in Gretna, LA where he attained an Associate's Degree. \n\nRodney met and married the late Lisa Armstead at an early age, and this marriage produced his natural born son James Hawkins, II. On November 20, 2010, he married Elaine Marie who proved to be his "true rib". In this union he found his match in his wife being fun-loving, business minded, and straight forward. They vacationed often and enjoyed travelling on cruise ships. He was a supportive stepfather to Jarvis and Eliska Turner. Rodney was known to be serious, tough, no nonsense, and always on the verge of putting your "lights out" at the drop of a hat. His tough guy persona was forever changed when the "apple of his eyes", his granddaughter, Darion Angel Turner entered his life. He became gentle, patient, and loving. He played in the park with her and even performed in dance recitals where he did the "Choppa Style" dance. Both his knees and hips paid the price, but he took the "grin and bear it" approach, as he did with all things concerning Darion. She developed him into a gentle giant! He went to the circus with her and enjoyed watching the Disney Channel with her as well.\n\nHe was not all play. He continued to refine his skills in construction and became a master carpenter. As a business owner, he lived out his dreams of being a licensed contractor by founding and owning Sonics Dry Wall Systems Commercial and Residential Construction. Rodney was an entrepreneur all of his adult life. He had the advantage of being self-employed for his entire life. His work is on display in many homes of his family members, and in the community. He was recently most proud of the many commercial contracts that he was acquiring. Rodney was a generous man and would often help with construction when he knew customers could not afford it. He would also recycle materials that he found valuable to provide to customers that could not purchase these items. \n\nRodney enjoyed billiards and became a champion at his craft. He participated in tournaments with his "Smokin Hot" Pool Club and was a part of the American Pool Association. As the captain in the club, he won numerous awards and earned so many Pool Association patches that there were too many to put on a shirt and had to be collected as keepsakes. The greatest awards he received was an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas. A true legend. He enjoyed music and being around family. His favorite group was Frankie Beverly and Maze. He loved going to concerts and being dressed in "all white" to enjoy the performance. He enjoyed crime investigations, historical shows, basketball, and anything biblical on television. His favorite movie was "My Cousin Vinny", from which he often quoted the line, "I'm getting better". He applied this quote to any conversation or speech when he would share about what his dad taught him in carpentry where he would suddenly burst into tears. This quote would help him shift to laughter and lighten the mood.\n\nRodney was a strong and resilient man. He would not let any setback keep him down. This legendary man once cut off the tip of his finger with an electric saw while doing carpentry. Instead of letting his father know, he simply placed the upper portion of the finger in his pocket and continued to work. Yes, James Rodney was a tough man.\n\nAlthough people thought he was too serious, he was actually generous, loving, and full of laughter. He would always smile and flash those "pearly whites" and let off a big laugh. He was a contributor to the origin and design of the Hawkins Family Crest, which depicts the legacy of the Hawkins family. His contribution to this effort will last throughout the remaining generations. He was a unique man and truly one of a kind. He was strong as an ox, but gentle as a lamb. He was a helper to his brothers and a protector of his sisters. He loved to dance and crack jokes. After Hurricane Katrina, he put special time and effort to totally re-design his childhood home that his father built. Most recently, his last contribution to his family was to replace the roof on this same home. All of James' talents and support to his family will surely be missed.\n\nHe was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Ophelia Hawkins; father-in-law, Jentry Dumas; sister Ruby Hawkins "Becker" Beckum; brothers, Marvin Michelle Hawkins, Sr., and Ronald Hawkins, Sr.; brothers-in-law, T.J. "Becker" Beckum, and Wayne Walters; sisters-in-law, Idessea Ruth Hawkins and Dorothy Jean Hawkins.\n\nLeft to reflect on the legend that he was and to cherish special times with him are his loving wife, Elaine Marie Hawkins; son, James Hawkins II; stepchildren, Jarvis and Eliska Turner; granddaughter, Darion Angel Turner; mothers-in-law, Geraldine Boudouin Smith and Margaret Boudouin Dumas; brothers, Thomas, Jr., Alton "TC", Kirbie Hawkins, and Jarvis (Vera) Hawkins; sisters, Thelma Washington (George, Sr.), Claudette Autrey, Debra Johnson (Kenneth), Carmen Walters, Angela Horne (Shanan, Sr.); sisters-in-law, Iris Hickman Hawkins, Linda Hillard (Paul), Corliss Hickerson (Emmanuel), and Patricia Aniey; brother-in-law, Ferdinand Jefferson (Debbie); Godchild, Shanan Horne, Jr., and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.\n\nA public visitation will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021 at Second Highway Baptist Church, 1533 Haydel Drive, Marrero, LA from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Funeral service at 10:00 AM. Interment to follow at Restlawn Park Cemetery, 3450 US Highway 90, Avondale, LA. Final care entrusted to Treasures of Life Funeral Services, 315 E Airline Hwy., Gramercy, LA 70052. \n\n"When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a TREASURE!"\n\nTo share condolences and thoughts, and to sign guest book, please visit: www.treasurefunerals.com\n\nDue to CDC (COVID-19) guidelines and restrictions, masks and social distancing are REQUIRED!!