Obituary: Françoise Billion Richardson, Louisiana Philharmonic supporter, 85

Posted on: April 16, 2012

In Saturday’s (4/14) Times-Picayune (New Orleans), John Pope writes, “Françoise Billion Richardson, a major philanthropic force who did hands-on volunteering in addition to writing sizable checks to support arts and health-related organizations, died Wednesday at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center. She was 85. Ms. Richardson, a native of Paris who had lived in New Orleans since she was a teenager, suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and macular degeneration. Before her health declined to the point that she could no longer go out, she was a familiar figure at events sponsored by the organizations she loved, including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Contemporary Arts Center and the New Orleans Museum of Art. But there was more to Ms. Richardson’s philanthropy than going to galas. John Bullard, the museum’s director emeritus, said Ms. Richardson was one of the first to volunteer at Project Lazarus, the home for people with AIDS.” As a young girl, Richardson’s family fled the Nazi invasion of France and settled in New Orleans, “where young Françoise graduated from Louise S. McGehee School and attended Newcomb College. As an adult, she turned her attention to art and artists, and she had the money to invest in both. Over the years, friends estimated that she gave millions to local arts organizations.”

Posted April 16, 2012