Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Labarre Bagert, 91, died Saturday, January 21, 2023. Mrs. Bagert was a native of New Orleans and lived in New Orleans most of her life, but resided in Starkville MS for the last few years. She was a graduate of Dominican High School and Loyola University.
As a newly married military spouse, Betty worked as an educator teaching 1st grade in Ocean Springs as well as a 1st grade teacher director and an On-duty Educator to US Air Force servicemen in Okinawa, Japan. In the early 1960s, she began participating in Vista Park Garden Club. Betty’s love of gardening involved her both professionally and as a volunteer on the local, state, regional and national levels.
She worked as a television producer for WYES-TV September 1970-1981 on many projects. Her main project was the weekly program, “The Garden Show”, with Marta Lamar on which she occasionally appeared as a guest host. Betty also served as Hostess for garden tours for Southland Travel Service and for a season was a Guest Expert answering gardening questions for the Linda Tracey Show. When the World Exposition came to New Orleans in 1984, Betty was an exhibit planning committee member for the Louisiana Native Plant Exhibit. She worked and supervised daily operations, including volunteer staffing, of the six-month exhibit. She also worked professionally as a Public Relations Director for Longue Vue House & Gardens and Save Our Cemeteries.
Over the years, Betty served as president of Lakeview Botany Guild, the Federated Council of New Orleans Garden Clubs and the Louisiana Garden Club Federation.
In 1982, Betty became a board member of the friends of City Park. She worked with the Director of the Botanical Gardens, Paul Soniat, to create Celebration in the Oaks and she established a special children’s program that brings special needs children yearly to the park for a holiday celebration. She was involved in many different projects while she volunteered at City Park. One of her projects was helping care for one of the largest known collection of mature live oaks. She received an award from the National Arbor Day Foundation in 1991 for her campaign to protect and nurture these trees. City Park also named a tree after her as well as placing a bench in the Botanical Gardens to honor her.
Betty served on many boards and has volunteered for many service projects over the years. She has received numerous awards & recognitions for her community service. In 2011, Saint Elizabeth’s Guild honored her as one of New Orleans’ Best Volunteer Activists.
Her children are proud of their mother’s heart to serve and dedication to give freely of her time.
Preceded in death by her husband, Donald Joseph Bagert. Survived by her son, Donald Joseph Bagert Jr, of Atchison, KS and her daughter, Cheryl Bagert Lipsey, of Starkville, MS; and her sister Elaine Damico.
The family will receive friends Thursday, January 26th from 10:30 A.M. until 12:00 P.M. at Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home. A service will be celebrated at 12:00 P.M. in the J. Garic Schoen Chapel with interment to follow in Lake Lawn Park Cemetery.
Donations can be made in her honor to New Orleans City Park-Historic Live Oak Trees, 1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, La 70124.