Margaret Haughery: Bread Woman of New Orleans
In 1836, after the death of her husband and child, Irish-born Margaret Haughery (Haw-er-y) finds herself alone and penniless in a strange city—New Orleans. It is after she obtains work as a hotel laundress right next door to where the Sisters of Charity take in orphans that Margaret’s life takes on new meaning as she seeks ways to help. Never fearing to approach people on the streets or in the shops, Margaret uses her persuasive tongue on anyone who might assist her beloved orphans. Before long she comes to know well the streets and people of this old French city and all in the city—the rich and the poor—come to know her. Before long, Margaret has started a business to provide children with milk and then a bakery with citywide delivery. Her wealth grows even as it is exceeded by the projects of her generous heart. Through yellow fever plagues and Civil War agonies, Margaret becomes known in New Orleans as a force of action to be reckoned with—and loved. Against the colorful backdrop of New Orleans in the 1800’s is seen the life of one undaunted woman who chooses to give freely of what she has for the sake of others.