In Character: Betty Schwartzberg
Considering, she is community minded and country proud. This patriotic woman’s parents and grandparents were hands-on helpers to those in need. “I grew up thinking, If I do a little bit for my community and my country, hopefully it will be a better place for future generations.”
Considering, she entertained troops during World War II when she was only 13, the youngest member of a dance troupe from Lelia Haller’s School of Dance in New Orleans. She traveled throughout the region to entertain at military bases and visit at military hospitals. Her costumes from this time period have been donated to the National World War II Museum.
Considering, she danced solo in front of the LSU Tiger Band while she attended LSU, before the Golden Girls were assembled. She wore her dance costumes and even made an appearance at the Sugar Bowl in 1950.
Considering, right out of college, she ran a community volunteer service in New Orleans and placed those who wanted to help in appropriate organizations.
Considering, through the Girl Scouts of America, she has mentored young women and encouraged them through dancing and movement. “I’ve always been conscious of the body and mind connection.”
Considering, she’s been married to her husband Harvey for 60 years and has three sons, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. For her 50- and 60-year anniversaries, she donned her wedding dress. “It’s been a fabulous life. We still love each other, we still get along and we still do everything together.”
Considering, she returned to school after her children were grown and obtained her master’s degree at Loyola University in reading and learning disabilities. She taught English as a Second Language. She also founded the day school at Gates of Prayer Synagogue in New Orleans.
Considering, she resided in New Orleans, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh before settling in Baton Rouge in 1984 and has gotten involved in the community wherever she’s lived. She worked with aphasics and trauma patients at the Harmarville Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh. “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
Considering, she has been extremely active with several local groups, including the Baton Rouge Symphony, Old State Capitol Associates, the Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank, Louisiana Youth Orchestra and LSU Cadets of the Ole War Skule.
Considering, for 14 years, she has hand-delivered flowers to those in need. For the first 11 years, she did it weekly. Now, at age 83, she delivers flowers monthly to the Alzheimer’s unit at Ollie Steele Burden.
Considering, she survived a frightening bout with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder that left her paralyzed in the hospital for six weeks last summer. With a healthy body and strong mind, she happily reveals that she is back to dancing again.
Editor Ashley Sexton Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge community each month. [email protected]