Monday, May 14, 2012

Margaret of New Orleans

News update from the Margaret of New Orleans Facebook page

In the 1830s, Margaret Gaffney Haughery moved to New Orleans From Ireland as a young bride. She and her husband had a child. But, shortly after they arrived, both the child and husband died of yellow fever. And, Haughery, who had been orphaned at age 9 in Ireland, had lost all her family for the second time in her life.
Image here is of the Margarets birthplace at Tully , Carrigallen County Leitrim
The home place at Tully is open for weekends through the Summer months , keeping the spirit of Margaret alive with  baking soda bread & traditional music sessions around the turf fire

Destitute and illiterate, Haughery (pronounced Haw-a-ree) determined to devote her life to helping orphans and widows in the city. She started as a peddler and washerwoman, and eventually owned the largest bakery in the United States, Margaret's Bakery. She devoted the proceeds to charity, built four orphanages , and fed the poor and hungry.
When she died in 1882, the city shut down for her state funeral. Current and former state governors, the mayor and the archbishop were among her pallbearers.
The people of New Orleans donated nickles and dimes to build a monument to the "The Mother of Orphans" and "The Bread Woman of New Orleans," erected in 1894.
This Mother's Day week, an effort to restore that monument -- the first in the United Stats to a female philanthropist -- is supported by special items being sold by a handful of local bakeries.
The participating bakeries will donate a portion of sales to the nonprofit. The promotion lasts until Saturday, May 12, the day before Mother's Day.
Margaret's Bread, for which she was famous, was an Irish soda type of bread.
About $150,000 is needed to restore the statue of Margaret, which depicts her seated with her arm around a child. It is in a small park at Camp and Prytania streets.

This plaque comemorates Margaret  & is situated on the wall of the Medical Centre in Carrigallen
Event organizer Traci Birch works with a small nonprofit, the Monumental Task Committee , which since 1989 has done all kinds of work around the city. The fundraiser is coordinating with the Arts Council of New Orleans. Birch said the first effort to raise money to restore the Margaret statue is essentially a bake sale.
"The base is collapsing underneath it," Birch said. "It sits on a foundation that's been there 120 years or something like that," she said. "We will redo the base of it. And we will have conservators come in and painstakingly clean it." This surface restoration process needs to be undertaken about every five years to keep it from deteriorating, she said. A perpetual care fund is part of the plan, too.

The view from the front door of Margarets cottage at Tully

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