THE ICON: Eleanor McMain
THE LEGACY: A lot of people say they love New Orleans. Eleanor McMain showed it. For most of the 20th century, she was “New Orleans’ most widely known social worker,” as she was remembered in The Times-Picayune in 1934. She worked out of Kingsley House, the nonsectarian Irish Channel settlement house founded to educate and equip the city’s poor with skills needed to integrate into society. For decades, she would serve as a vocal and progressive social activist on any number of issues, including child labor legislation, education, public health, women’s suffrage, and even helping to establish the city’s first public playground. In 1920, McMain was awarded The Times-Picayune’s Loving Cup — a fittingly named award for a woman who spent her life demonstrating her love for New Orleans’ most vulnerable residents.
THE ARTIST: Connie Kittok
THE INSPIRATION: “I have done what I best love to do. I live and share my life with the dear people of the neighborhood.” — Eleanor McMain, in 1920