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Alice Haas Coats Society Page Profile

New Orleans Times-Picayune, [undated clipping from Society Section, ca. early 1930s]:





By Daisy Weinberg


The best story of the work of Mrs. Curtis Coats could be gotten from the lips of men and women in the Parish prison, and from old men and old women in the Touro-Shakespeare home.


So much of the work of Mrs. Coats is personal-just a matter between her and those she tries to help-that she doesn't like to go into much detail.


Lovely to look at, cheerful and sympathetic, and never seen without a rose or some fresh flower pinned to her dress, Mrs. Coats spends much of her days visiting one of these two places.  She is a member of the auxiliary of the home, and a member of the Prison Aid league.


One boy in prison broke his only pair of glasses.  That was not a trivial matter.  The boy's eyes were really bad.  The league got him another pair.


A girl and boy were arrested under the Mann Act. They wanted to get married. The ceremony was arranged by Mrs. Coats and others of the Prison Aid league.


"We get splendid co-operation in our work from those in authority, from the District Attorney on down. I think that is the surest sign that they feel our work is deserving." Mrs. Coats said.


"Stamps and tobacco and cigarettes are the things mostly requested of us," Mrs. Coats said.  "But some requests for unusual things come up almost every day. For instance, one man recently wanted a Spanish dictionary and some German books."


Many jobs have been gotten for boys and men as they left the prison, Mrs. Coats said. Sometimes a job is gotten in New Orleans, sometimes out of town, and sometimes they are able to arrange a job on a boat.


Not so long ago a man was arrested for loitering.  He had a position waiting for him but he couldn't get out of town because he had no money. He was a skating instructor. The league arranged for his release and, with the help of W. J. Warrington, managed to send him off to his job.


Another man is home now, and his family in Philadelphia do not know that he was ever in prison.


"But I think more important than the physical or legal aid is the fact that those people know that they have friends, friends to whom they can tell confidentially any personal thing they like," Mrs. Coats said.


Sometimes they contact a boy who has lost touch with his family because he was ashamed to write. One such boy recently, after a talk on the joy of contacting with his family again, wrote his mother a letter which Mrs. Coats took great pride in mailing for him.


Mrs. Coats was touched the other day with a small gift from a woman whose son she had befriended.  The letter contained the woman's wedding handkerchief, "which I am sending you," the letter read, "because you helped my boy. Please keep it as a remembrance."


Another gift she received recently came from Angola. A boy who hopes to be out before long drew some pencil sketches of ships and sent them to her.  "I hope you like these" was the message attached to the drawing, which show talent.


Mrs. Coats said that the most helpful thing that the auxiliary to the Touro-Shakespeare home has accomplished has been through the occupational therapy classes.


"The board of the home pays the salaries of the very clever teachers we have. The auxiliary does its part by trying to sell the wares that are made." Mrs. Coats said.


"Some of the furniture, rugs, boats and other things made at the home are really beautiful," Mrs. Coats said.  "Work is a great cure for the loneliness of these old folks, and, naturally, the few dollars come in very handy for them."


But here again Mrs. Coats said it was the "friendly word and the friendly visit" that means more than material help.


"Just the other day one of the ladies called me up, and asked me to come to see her. She didn't want anything, she just wanted a talk," Mrs. Coats said.


Mrs. Coats gave the use of her spacious home in Trianon Plaza this week for a concert given for the benefit of the auxiliary. The grand piano called forth the question of music, and Mrs. Coats said:


"I love to sing and play, but don't do either well enough to write a story about!"


She has four hobbies: Flowers, guns, bookplates and fishing.


Of the first-she is never seen without a flower.


Of the second-she's a good shot.


Of the third-she has a beautiful collection, including one of Stewart Edward White's.


Of the fourth-"Well, I just love to fish," she said.


[photo included with article]

Owner/SourceNew Orleans Times-Picayune
Dateearly 1930s
Linked toAlice Rosalind HAAS

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