New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, June 17, 2024
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1939 Oretha Castle Haley is Born

Oretha Castle was born in Oakland, Tennessee and moved to New Orleans with her parents in 1947. After graduating from Joseph S. Clark High School she enrolled at Southern University in New Orleans where she joined other students in the struggle for civil rights, eventually becoming the head of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in New Orleans. In 1967, Oretha married fellow CORE member Richard Haley.

Mrs. Haley served as deputy administrator at Charity Hospital where she instituted better health care for the Black Community. While at Charity, she helped organize the New Orleans Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation. In 1972, she directed the political campaign of Dorothy Mae Taylor who became the first Black woman legislator in the state.

After a lengthy battle with cancer, Oretha Castle Haley died at the age of 48. She is buried in Providence Memorial Park.