SOPHIE B. WRIGHT 2018-07-02T09:20:33-05:00

Project Description

THE ICON: Sophie B. Wright

THE LEGACY: Sophie B. Wright was a sickly woman. Always had been, after a fall early in life left her with permanent spinal damage, which was further complicated by asthma. But if she was frail physically, she had an iron will, determined to do what she could to make life better for those even less fortunate that her. She began teaching at the age of 14, eventually opening the Home Institute for Girls; followed by a free night school for young men and boys who had to work during the daytime; the New Orleans Home for Incurables; and Rest Awhile, a retreat on Mandeville’s lakefront for young, single mothers. Wright’s lifetime of dedication to others saw her referred to as “the South’s most useful citizen,” “the best known and best-beloved woman in the South” and, perhaps most telling, “Saint Sophie.”

THE ARTIST: Saegan Swanson

THE INSPIRATION: “I have heard people speak of my night school as self-sacrifice on my part. It was no sacrifice. It was a pleasure. If anyone has suffered the physical torture that I have suffered, they will understand what a joy it is to do something to alleviate the suffering of others — to do something that you are not paid for. There is so much satisfaction in it that it could not be called sacrifice. I am happy. I do not know of anyone who is as happy as I am.” — Sophie B. Wright, in a January 1912 interview with The Daily Picayune