NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The New Orleans Historic Collection has a new exhibit that focuses on 20 of the women who made history in New Orleans. The exhibit opened last month and is called "Voices of Progress: 20 Women Who Changed New Orleans." It presents the stories of 20 remarkable women who had an influence on everything from the right to vote to present day achievers.
Three notable women featured include:
- Martha Westfeldt: She was from New Orleans and opened a store in the early 20th century in the Vieux Carre called the Green Shutter, located about a block away from THNOC, in the 600 block of Royal street. During WWI, she drove an ambulance, transferring prisoners of war here in Louisiana for the American Red Cross. During WWII, she turned her Green Shutter bookshop in to the Free French shop, a thrift store and second hand store that raised money and gathered supplies to send over to France to aid in civilian relief.
- Sylvanie Williams grew up in the Reconstruction South in New Orleans. She's really an important figure because she did so much work for African American women suffrage that ended with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920 and the right for women to vote.
- Margaret Haughery moved with her husband and small child to New Orleans and shortly after suffered the loss of both at the age of 20. She owned a dairy, where made a large profit and turned that in to a larger business, all the while donating the profits to local orphanages. She helped St. Vincent's orphan asylum, St. Theresa, and St Elizabeth's on Napoleon Avenue. When she died she donated all of her wealth to orphanages here in town to benefit children.
The exhibit's curator, Amanda McFillen, said this exhibit is part of a larger initiative called the NOLA for Women Project, which aims to raise awareness about women's achievements in the city. The project challenges different museums and cultural institutions to do an exhibition or other type of public programming related to the achievements of New Orleans women.
The exhibit runs now through Sept. 11 and is located at 533 Royal Street. Click here for more information.
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