{FOF Woman of The Week} Olivia Manning

You’re tall (5’ 11”), beautiful, smart and homecoming queen at your college senior prom. You recently married the football team’s starting quarterback, who was drafted, a day after your Acapulco honeymoon, to play pro football. Seems like you’ve got a pretty sweet life ahead of you.

Turns out, you do. Your name is Olivia Manning, and almost 43 years after your 1971 prom at Ole Miss, you’ve come to New Jersey to watch your middle son play in the Super Bowl, on the same field that your youngest son’s football team calls home.

You don’t have to guzzle Budweiser or know the meaning of “third down” to have heard of brothers Peyton and Eli Manning, respective star quarterbacks of the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants.

But even if beer and football are in your blood (or, at least, in your husband’s blood), you’ve probably never heard of their FOF mom, Olivia. Hailing from Philadelphia, Mississippi, Olivia raised her three boys (oldest son, Cooper, is an energy trader) in New Orleans, where husband Archie played for the football team right out of Ole Miss.

Olivia worked tirelessly to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Known for her graciousness and generosity as a community volunteer, Olivia worked tirelessly to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She also loves to entertain informally in her grand 145-year-old home in the city’s beautiful and historic Garden District. Fortunately, the home escaped Katrina’s wrath.

A grandmother to six (one of her grandchildren calls her “Gogo,” according to a magazine article), Olivia loves having her hair done at swanky Bergdorf Goodman when she’s in New York, as well as sitting on the porch during a Mississippi county fair and drinking iced tea “with some of the countriest people you can imagine,” son Cooper told the magazine journalist.

Although Olivia played high school basketball, she now prefers being a spectator. She’s never at a loss what to watch, especially during football season.

When you’re the matriarch of a family this powerful (literally and figuratively), it’s easy to let it go to your head. Not so with Olivia Manning, FOF Woman of the Week.

No matter what team wins this weekend, Olivia’s our most valuable player.

Leave a Reply