Memorial service held for ‘Jackie’ Toledano on April 2

JACQUELINE “JACKIE” GEISMAR TOLEDANO, an art lover, community volunteer and co-developer of New Orleans’ House of Blues, died on March 30, 2019. She was 87.
A native and lifelong resident of the city, she was known as Jackie to her friends, Meme to her family, and Ms. T to her House of Blues extended family.
Born on the exact day as Elvis Presley and the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, both music and a love for the city were inbred in her. As a young woman, she graduated from McMain Senior High School before attending Louisiana State University. She was president of her graduating senior class from the College of Education and taught second grade for one year prior to her engagement and marriage.  .
While concentrating on her marriage, Toledano was devoted to her husband. The charismatic couple complemented one another very well and they enjoyed traveling to France and, later, to Israel. Closer to home, they spent extensive time in Destin, Florida, their favorite sanctuary.
While raising her daughters, Toledano became a Brownie and Girl Scout leader and was also a noted volunteer for the National Council of Jewish Women. A life-long member of Touro Synagogue, she became a docent for the New Orleans Museum of Art, where for more than 30 years she thrived on teaching school children to develop an interest in art via the stories illustrated within paintings.
Toledano was an avid collector of crystal paperweights, sculptures and fine art paintings. Five years after assisting her husband in developing the House of Blues building, the two built a residence above it and made it their home in 1997. There she was embraced by the House of Blues family who affectionally called her Ms. T and “Lady of the House.” She considered the loyal staff and guests of the House of Blues as a part of her extended family and routinely made friends with guests from all around the world. 
Often she would invite guests upstairs to visit her home and to enjoy the view of the French Quarter. She would frequently arrange flowers from her beautiful rooftop garden and religiously deliver them downstairs on Sunday mornings to add to the vibrance of the House of Blues Gospel Brunch.
Described as a “classy, grand lady,” a “sharing and giving woman” and a “combination mother, big sister and best friend,” her family and friends depended on her innate, sage advice throughout her life. One of her many guiding pearls of wisdom was: “Don’t do something because you have to, do it because you want to.”
She was predeceased in 2003 by her husband of almost 49 years, Beni B. Toledano, a charming Frenchman from Bastia, Corsica with whom she worked as a developer and realtor. She is survived by her daughters, Suzette Toledano (Bill Roberti) and Jill Toledano Schneider (Michael Schneider), four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A family memorial service was held on her rooftop in her garden and attended by 200 family and friends on April 2. Donations to celebrate her life can be made in her memory to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
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