Mary Louise Christovich
Mary Louise Christovich
  • October 12, 1928 - December 25, 2017
  • New Orleans, Louisiana

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Mary Louise Mossy Christovich died on Christmas Day, surrounded by her family. She was 89 years old. Mary Lou was known for her work in architectural history, cemetery and architectural preservation, and as an author and lecturer on subjects relating to her beloved city.

Mary Lou was the daughter of the late Wiley Lyons Mossy and Marguerite Keenan Mossy, and the younger sister of Wiley Lyons Mossy, Jr. of Houston, Texas, and the late Roy Joseph Mossy. She was very happily married for sixty-two years to William Kearney Christovich, who died in 2012. She is survived by her four children: Terry Gay (husband, Jack Fernandez), Kit Grote (husband, Markwith), Michael Mossy Christovich (wife, Carolyn), and Jeffrey Christovich (wife, Kathy); ten grandchildren: Keenan Grote, William Armand Grote, Kearney Gay, John Michael Christovich, Eli Gay, Elyria Grote, Michelle Christovich, Amanda Christovich, Olivia Christovich, and Cameron Christovich; and five beloved great grandchildren.

Mary Lou was a twelfth-generation New Orleanian. She was co-founder, board member, and President of Friends of the Cabildo. In 1972, she founded Save Our Cemeteries and was active on The Board for forty-four years. Mary Lou was actively involved in The Preservation Resource Center and The Vieux Carre Commission for over four decades. She served on The State Review Committee for Historic Places and was a leading force in the seven year battle to defeat the Riverfront Expressway. Mary Lou served as board member of The Felicity Street Renovation Association and a board member of Newcomb College Alumnae, Tulane University, and various Tulane School of Architectural Committees.

Mary Lou was the author of Boyd Cruise (1976), New Orleans Interiors (1980, both published by The Historic New Orleans Collection). She was co-author and editor of the six volume series of New Orleans Architecture (1971 - 1980, published by Friends of the Cabildo) for which she received the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award in 1977. Her recent books are Garden Legacy (2017) and Gate to New Orleans, Bayou St. John (2018). She was working tirelessly on this last book the day she died.

Mary Lou's awards included Distinguished Alumna - Ursuline Academy, Newcomb College, 1982, and Tulane University, 1989. She received The Harnett T. Kane Award from the Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Grace King Award from Save Our Cemeteries and the Louisiana Colonials Award, 2004, from the Louisiana Association of Museums, along with numerous other preservation awards.

In 1972, Mary Lou was honored to be elected a board member of the Kemper and Leila Williams Foundation that directs The Historic New Orleans and The Williams Research Center. She proudly served as President and Chairman of the Board.

A family burial will take place in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. A memorial service will be held at The Cruise Room at The Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, on Wednesday, January 3, 2017 at 12 Noon. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mary Lou's memory to Save Our Cemeteries, Inc.

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