WENDY SCHORNSTEIN GOOD, a woman who left behind a successful career as an attorney to follow her life’s passion as a supporter of local musicians and as a photographer cataloguing the culture of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, lost her battle with glioblastoma brain cancer on Sunday, May 24. She was 61.
Her dedication to serve others and to support her local community defined her in life. Her capacity to love the city of her birth knew no bounds. She also connected with her own community, having served as an executive board member for Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans, and a board member of Temple Sinai, where she co-created and led Sabbath of the Soul, a monthly lay-led service, and was a founder of Young Families Chavurah.
As a youngster, she attended Isidore Newman School and graduated in the bicentennial year of 1976 when she left New Orleans to attend Brown University, from which she graduated in 1980 magna cum laude. Returning to the Crescent City,, she was accepted to the Tulane University School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1984 as a member of the Order of the Coif and the Tulane Law Review.
The following year she clerked for the Hon. Albert Tate, Jr. of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and then followed a track many young attorneys take when she joined the law firm of Sessions, Fishman, Nathan & Israel, specializing as an associate in the estate and trust practice there. She toiled as a lawyer for three years, when she elected to get off the fast track towards partner and move into areas of service to others that were more philanthropic and altruistic than legal.
Over the course of her lifetime she found many causes. Following the “federal flood of 2005,” as she referred to the devastation the followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she became a founding board member of Liberty’s Kitchen. She took up a camera and began to photograph and document the culture of local street musicians and the “second line” culture that so often shows at burials and celebratory events.
Along this path, Good met Big Chief David Peters Montana of the Washitaw Nation Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. The friendship blossomed until she was welcomed into the tribe as one of their own. It was over the course of many weekends that one could find her faithfully capturing the delicate and tedious beadwork of the tribe’s members as they sewed their new suits each year. She accompanied the photographic work with detailed written passages that attested to the dedication of the culture that makes New Orleans such a special place.
In addition to becoming a regular fixture at second lines, she was an a devoted and faithful attendee at Super Sunday, where the various tribes proudly strutted and showed off their handiwork as well as for the celebration of family and the culture on St. Joseph’s Day.
Her support of local artists was never more evident than when she attended the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival every year. She was so struck by the issue of domestic violence that she was spurred to become a medical advocate for victims with the New Orleans Family Justice Center.
Good was well known at Bullet’s Sports Bar, where she had her own crowd of musicians who were happy to join her at Table 4. These included trumpeters Kermit Ruffins, Shammar Allen and Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill. Her photography graced the cover of Ruffins’ album release of “We Partyin’ Traditional Style!” in 2011.
In addition to music, she was enthralled with the craft practiced by local woodcarvers, paramount among them mixed-media artist Charles Gillam. She helped organize the first annual Algiers Folk Art Festival as part of that endeavor.
Good is survived by her husband, Julian H. Good Jr., her daughters Allison Weiland Good (Jay Sher) and Emily Louise Good (spouse Alec Greene), in addition to both of her parents, Florence and Richard Schornstein, and sisters Ellen Williams and Susan Haskell.
Due to regulations covering burials during the current coronavirus pandemic, a private burial was held on Tuesday, May 26 at Hebrew Rest Cemetery No. 3. Family members will be holding a memorial celebration when large public gatherings are allowed. Details of that will be forthcoming.
Memorial donations in her name can be made to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, the New Orleans Family Justice Center and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans. To view and sign the guest book, please visit www.lakelawnmetairie.com.