The Centenarian Who Inspired a Protest of The Government Shutdown

Even a partial government shutdown couldn’t stop Antoinette Betourne from celebrating her 100th birthday with a meal of a ham biscuit, Brunswick stew and a piece of carrot cake from the aptly-named Carrot Tree restaurant, according to a report by local ABC news channel, 13News Now.

Much has been made of the widespread effects of the shutting of national parks—a side effect of the partial shutdown that ended early Thursday morning after 16 days. The heart-string plucking stories range from Grand Canyon weddings that had to be cancelled last-minute, to Vietnam Veterans being denied access to the memorial erected in their honor. And who can forget that American citizen who simply wanted to make sure the lawn in front of our 16th president’s monument was well-manicured.

Betourne’s milestone anniversary was initially deferred because her beloved Carrot Tree is situated in the Cole Diggs House—on the site of the famous Revolutionary War-ending Battle of Yorktown. The house itself dates back to the 18th century and is leased to restaurateur Glenn Helseth by the Colonial National Historic Park, an entity operated by the National Park Service.

Helseth was ordered to close Carrot Tree’s doors within 48 hours of the shutdown, but concern for his employees and Betourne’s impending anniversary persuaded him to re-open in spite of the mandate. During the so-called “Occupy NPS (National Park Service),” the Carrot Tree not only remained open, they provided free food for all their customers.

Helseth knows he risks arrest for defying the government mandate, but feels it’s worth it, especially since he was able to provide Betourne the celebration she deserved to commemorate a century of life. “When I heard that they had to cancel her birthday party, that was the last straw for me,” he tells 13NewsNow reporter Karen Hopkins. “I’m not so much afraid of getting in trouble. If that’s what’s going to happen, so be it.”

What would you have done if you were in Helseth’s position?

Are You Healtheir Than a 100-Year-Old?
How the World’s Oldest Person Spent Her Last Day
The Peanut Butter Sniff Test for Alzheimer’s
The Secret to a Long Life? It’s Not What You Think
Facebook’s Oldest User Makes Big-Hearted Birthday Wish
10 Things That Are Making You Feel Old–And What To Do About Them

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor


Karen G4 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you, for Sharing this!

Dave C.
David C4 years ago

I love this story more each time I read it.

Robynne W.
Robynne W4 years ago

There should never be any 'legal repercussions' for any citizen who either opened a business that was supposed to be shut down or who visited a national park or monument.

Happy 100th Antoinette! You're a good man Glenn!


Another example of how governments are totally and utterly dominating idiots! If the Carrot Tree owner is fined or harrassed in any way because of his kind heart I am sure we can whip up a petition and get thousands of signtaures to show how deplorable we considered the situation to be! Honestly, I think that most government officials have had have to leave this planet at some point, to obtain their training at a university on the small little-known planet called, 'The Planet Of The Mean Twats!' I do hope that Antoinette enjoyed her centenial celebratory ham and buiscuits, bless her!

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago


Claire T.
Claire T4 years ago

I really hope that the Carrot Tree owner does not get arrested. Rather he should be commended as he provided a wonderful public service which is definitely more than what the government provided.

Oh and by the way Diana C. I don't think this is the place to be peddling your wares in relations to supposed easy money from a laptop. Your advertisement is as empty as your profile.

Ann Breeden
Ann Breeden4 years ago

What a wonderful guy for keeping the Carrot Tree open. And, Happy 100th Birthday, Antoinette!

Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you. Wonderful.

Shailja Mukhtyar
Shailja Mukhtyar4 years ago

she deserves to enjoy her B-day party free of politics, Im glad someone had heart to give her the party & her carrot cake too!!