Allan Bissinger was born in New Orleans in 1952. He grew up in New Orleans and attended Touro Synagogue with his family. After graduating from De La Salle High School, Allan attended Auburn University and graduated with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. He came to work for Electrical Sales Corporation, a telecommunications business founded by his father in 1949, eventually becoming the company's president. He volunteered with many community organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. Bissinger passed away in 2019 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Bissinger describes his childhood growing up in New Orleans, the neighborhood where he lived, and his father's telecommunications business, which he later took over. Bissinger talks about his home, community, and social life before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Allan explains how he stayed at home during the storm, the water gradually flooded his home, and he was stranded for several days. Eventually, Bissinger navigated his way out of his home on a raft, and he and a dozen others were rescued by a stranger in a speedboat. One week after the storm, Allan evacuated to Baton Rouge, reunited with the outgoing president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, who selected him to be president of the organization. The Federation was involved in the fundraising, search, rescue, and recovery that began after Katrina. Allan believes that that the Jewish Community's greatest strength Post-Katrina has been its cohesiveness. There has been no factionalism in the Jewish community: conservative, orthodox, reform, synagogues, and institutions are all working together. He says the challenge was to maintain the Jewish institutions of the city, with only sixty to sixty-five percent of the Jewish community returning. Allan explains he stayed in the city because of his telecommunications business. He expected that his clients would need many resources right after the storm. Allan didn't expect to be servicing a New Orleans community in exile in Baton Rouge, many of whom were Jewish. He talks about getting his business up and running, restoring the telecommunications infrastructure for the city, and repairing his home from all the damage from the storm. He reflects on his own Judaism, and although he is not a religious Jew, he is profoundly shaped by his Judaism.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Allan Bissinger. Interviewed by Rosalind Hinton. 3 August 2006. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/bissinger-allan>.
Oral History of Allan Bissinger by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.