top of page

Friend to Louisiana Orphans, Margaret Haughery

Margaret Haughery (1813–1882) was a philanthropist known as "the mother of the orphans." Margaret Gaffney Haughery was a beloved historical figure in New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1880s. Widely known as "Our Margaret," “The Bread Woman of New Orleans" and "Mother of Orphans," Margaret devoted her life's work to care and feeding the poor and hungry, and to fund and build orphanages throughout the city.

She opened up four orphanages in the New Orleans area in the 19th century. Many years later in the 20th and 21st centuries, several of the asylums Margaret founded as places of shelter for orphans and widows evolved into homes for the elderly.

A woman of great charity, Margaret became famed for her lifelong championing of the destitute. Some people considered her a living saint worthy of canonization. Born into poverty and orphaned at a young age, she began her adult life as a washwoman and a peddler, yet she died a businesswoman and philanthropist and received a state funeral.

Protestant Home for Babies is mentioned in the 1996 book Margaret, Friend of Orphans by Mary Lou Widmer.

Margaret Haughery Statue

Margaret's statue is located in a little park named "Margaret Place" in the Garden District of New Orleans, where Camp and Prytania Streets meet. The poignant and beloved statue of the middle-aged woman seated in a chair with a small child nearby bears a plaque of one word: "Margaret." Margaret's 1884 sculpture was second US monument in history to honor a woman.


bottom of page