Florence Schornstein spent a lifetime making New Orleans a better place to live, and Hurricane Katrina only strengthened her resolve. Schornstein began her career as a civic activist during the civil rights movement, focusing on voter registration and school integration. Through Save Our Schools she worked to reduce racial tensions and keep children in public schools after the passage of Brown vs. Board of Education. She also volunteered her efforts for women’s equality and pro-choice rights. She took on leadership positions through the National Council of Jewish Women and served as Chairwoman of the board of United Way before creating Success by 6, a precursor to the Head Start program. And as director of the New Orleans Parks and Parkways department, Schornstein marshaled 13,000 volunteers to transform vacant lots into gardens, maintain the city’s green spaces, and raise funds for park projects. Her Parkway Partners’ ReLeaf New Orleans project replaced trees on public property that were lost in Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of the hurricane, she was also active in rebuilding childcare centers in New Orleans, helping families get back to normal.
Florence Schornstein was honored at the 2005 Women Who Dared event in New Orleans.