On February 7, 2018 Lyla took her last curtain call at the Passages Hospice. She had been homebound for several years due to a progressive illness , under the loving and attentive care of her devoted daughter Robin Owen.
She will be long remembered and cherished by countless students, fans, friends and wonderful artistic theatrical collaborators .
Known for her forthright opinions and high style celebratory nature, she was also respected and admired for her many decades of contribution to film and stage. A serious student of New Orleans history, her book on the “Creoles of New Orleans” was published in 1987.
She was a creative force of great magnitude and made her mark in film, on stage and in several public schools as she guided her precious students in the Talented in Theatre programs.
She especially enjoyed cabaret singing, often with daughter Cynthia Owen, events that can only be described as Diva-licious !!!, and delighted in using her sultry vocal styling's in the performance of her favorite “La Vie en Rose” in French ; Paris was a favorite travel destination and she went frequently.
Her film credits include “Hard Times” in 1975, “Everybody’s All American” in 1988 and “Interview with the Vampire:The Vampire Chronicles” in 1994.
She wrote the book and music for several delightful and innovative plays for The Children’s Corner at Le Petit Theatre, and also co-wrote “Looney Blues” which was presented at the People Playhouse . She co-founded that theatre in the early 1970s and presented many of her original works there over the years.
In 1989,at the annual Big Easy Awards, she merited a Best Actress award for her work in “The Rose Tattoo” and the large body of work that she shared with us was honored in 1998 with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to such a bright light , the memory of the often wild times shared with her will bring joyful smiles and gratitude for the ways in which she shared her creative genius.
She is survived by daughter Robin Owen, son Dr Richard Shapiro and sister Frances Middleton.
Private arrangements will be made through Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home and a celebration of her life and work will be done at a later memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either WYES-TV or the Tipitina Foundation in her honor.