Eighty-eight years ago, ten local women, dedicated to creating a community improvement group for women, met to discuss the organization of a Junior League in New Orleans. In accordance with the requirements for securing membership through the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), the group was proposed by the Nashville League and seconded by the Atlanta League.
On March 31, 1924, the Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) was admitted to membership in AJLA and organized as an official body with a membership of forty women. Activities of JLNO, from its founding to the present, include projects in the fields of health, welfare, education and recreation. Focus areas now include children’s well-being and education, healthy families and rebuilding New Orleans.
Community projects are funded entirely by JLNO fundraising efforts such as Bloomin' Deals Thrift Shop, sales of the League's award-winning cookbooks, Buy, Save and Serve Card, Kitchen Tour, Cocktails and Cuisine, and 5K Etouffee.
Some of JLNO's best-known projects, many of which have grown into independent entities, include The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans and Parkway Partners.
Current community projects, which have received funding and volunteer efforts from JLNO include Bayou District, Edible Schoolyard, Emerge, Freret Neighborhood Outreach, Get on Board, Judgment Call, Kids in the Kitchen, Lafayette School Support, Lemonade Day, Power Ties, Safe Sitter, Second Harvest Food Bank’s Fresh Produce program, Senior League, Strength of Relationship and Upward Bound.
In addition, JLNO aids local nonprofit organizations through the Community Assistance Fund, a grant program through which money is awarded to qualifying participants during two cycles each year.
Today, JLNO is the twelfth largest league in the world with a membership of over 2,200 active and sustaining members as well as 200 provisional members. During the past four years, JLNO has invested a total of $1,000,000 and approximately 200,000 volunteer hours into the greater New Orleans community.