Neoma “Nonie” Marie Louise Briant Leavitt died Wednesday, May 6, 2020, age 92 years. Beloved wife of the late Mahlon “Mel” T. Leavitt. Mother of Melanie A. Leavitt, Briant R. Leavitt, Linda Leavitt Westberg, Lance L. Leavitt and Ralph G. Leavitt II. Mother-in-Law of Kent D. Westberg. Daughter of the late Mozart Briant and Edna Speirer Briant. Sister of the late Lonella Grace Briant Leonard and Yvonne Briant Lavigne. Grandmother of Adam Meunier, Ryan Bell and Bethany Leavitt. A native of New Orleans and resident of St. Rose for 6 years. Mrs. Leavitt was a graduate of Hollywood High School in Los Angeles where she made appearances in film and radio and Loyola University. Nonie attended St. Mary’s Dominican High School before moving to Los Angeles to be with her sister and Aunt in Hollywood, California during WWII. While in California, she honed her singing and acting skills and graduated from Hollywood High and attended UCLA before moving back to her home town of New Orleans. She regularly appeared with Big Bands locally and performed in local productions at Le Petit Theatre with her childhood friend Al Shea. Nonie was one of the early stars of WDSU-TV in New Orleans well known for her singing and performing abilities. At Lenfant’s, she and Al won a singing talent contest and received her own variety show on WDSU-TV. She starred in and produced one of the earliest live TV musical shows “Seeing Stars” in the original station’s one room studio on the 14th floor of the Hibernia Bank building. Nonie became the wife of New Orleans’ “Mr. Television”, Mel Leavitt where they met under the Klieg lights in the WDSU Royal Street studios. After hosting several television shows of her own including a situation comedy show with her husband, she retired as a devoted wife and mother to raise her family. She traveled the world as one of the first foreign correspondent film photojournalists behind the Iron Curtain to the former U.S.S.R and China with her husband Mel. Nonie was also an accomplished bridge player. She was recognized by the American Contract Bridge League as a Diamond Life Master and taught hundreds of New Orleanians bridge at the Wes Busby Bridge Center in Metairie for more than 35 years.
Due to the COVID-19 governmental restrictions, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In remembrance of Nonie, donations may be made to the Gail and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Foundation Medical Center, 1514 Jefferson Hwy., New Orleans, LA 70121. https://giving.ochsner.org/views/dp/donate/controller.cfm. JACOB SCHOEN & SON, 3827 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70119 is in charge of arrangements. To sign the guest book, visit www.schoenfh.com.
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