Cover photo for Jacquelyn Sophie Brechtel Clarkson's Obituary
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1936 Jacquelyn Sophie Brechtel Clarkson 2024

Jacquelyn Sophie Brechtel Clarkson

January 17, 1936 — June 26, 2024

Algiers

Jacquelyn Sophie Brechtel Clarkson died peacefully on June 26, 2024, surrounded by her family. She was 88 years old. Jackie was born in New Orleans on January 17, 1936, to John Patrick Brechtel, Jr. and Sophie Berengher Brechtel. Her father was the legendary coach who co-founded the New Orleans Recreation Department of Sports and the Arts for children in 1946. After attending Tulane University, Jackie began a 50-year career in real estate, during which she owned or managed three major firms, including her own, Jacquelyn Clarkson, Realtors. She earned the Graduate, REALTOR Institute designation and held the CRB and CRS certifications. She was extremely proud to serve as the second female President of the Louisiana Realtors Association. With the encouragement of her colleagues, Jackie began a life of public service, as her father had done before her. In 1990, Jackie was elected to represent New Orleans City Council District “C,” which encompasses one-fifth of the city, including Algiers and the French Quarter. While serving on the City Council, she focused on public safety, quality of life, historic preservation and economic development issues. During her tenure, Jackie brought the House of Blues to the French Quarter and coordinated the transformation of the Fisher Housing Development into a neighborhood in Algiers. As a leader in re-invigorating New Orleans’ cultural economy, Jackie brought artists back to Jackson Square and worked tirelessly to clean up the French Quarter, the heart of New Orleans’ tourism economy. With the assistance of the New Orleans Ballet Association, she brought the children’s ballet back to NORD gymnasiums. She was so proud that over 22,000 children from every walk of life participated in this program. Many students went on to greater opportunities in dance. She was also a founder of the Mayor’s Military Advisory Committee, which helped bring more troops to the city with hopes of encouraging their retirement in New Orleans. In 1994, Jackie was elected to the Louisiana Legislature as a State Representative, where she focused on landmark legislation for women’s health and safety, child protection, law enforcement, neighborhood preservation and governmental reform. She was the lead author of the first genetic testing bill in Louisiana - and one of the first in the country - that blocked insurance industry discrimination based on the results of DNA testing. She also authored legislation that broadened access to mammograms. Her “stalking” bill moved Louisiana to the forefront for effective prosecution of that criminal offense. Jackie was integral in the development of the LSU/ Tulane Cancer Research Center Consortium, the LSU/ Tulane academic teaching hospital and the V.A. Hospital in downtown New Orleans. The highlight of her legislative career was securing the initial funding for the National World War II Museum, ensuring it would be built in New Orleans and not Washington, D.C. Additionally, she co-authored the state tax credit legislation that created “Hollywood South.” In 2002, Jackie was elected to the City Council again representing District “C.” When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, she stayed at “Ground Zero” and helped bring in state and federal assistance to the city, which was eighty percent under water. She was elected to Councilmember-at-Large in a special election in 2007 and was re-elected to this position in 2010. In this role, she served as President and Vice-President of the City Council. Under Mayor Mitch Landrieu as City Council President and Budget Chairman, she helped restore the city’s bond rating and authored legislation that placed the Office of the Inspector General and its budget in the City’s Charter. She led the re-opening of the Mahalia Jackson Center for the Performing Arts and helped secure a public-private partnership to reopen the Saenger Theatre. One of her most incredible accomplishments was authoring legislation that created the city’s first Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and placed it in the City’s Charter, giving it the force of law. This ensured that economic development would progress in harmony with historic preservation. When the Naval Support Activity was scheduled for closure, she authored legislation that created Federal City at that location, ensuring that the Marine Reserves and the Coast Guard 8th Naval District were retained. It was done in coordination with the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, which secured the Naval Air and U.S. Army’s retention. These coordinated projects ensured that three billion of the five billion of the military’s economic impact on the region was retained. Throughout her career, Jackie received many awards and honors, including an Honorary Doctorate degree from Our Lady of Holy Cross College, the American Spirit Medallion from the National World War II Museum, VCPORA’s Schwartz-Gage Award for French Quarter Historic Preservation, induction into the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Hall of Fame, and NOMAR’s Philippi St. Pe’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, three separate branches of the U.S. Military recognized Jackie for her service. The Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Station designated Jackie an Honorary Admiral; the Coast Guard gave her a special Commendation and the U.S. Marines held a special flag ceremony in her honor. Following her 2014 retirement from public office, Jackie was invited to be Louisiana’s Honorary Consul for Lithuania, by then Ambassador Zygimantas Pavilionis. As the granddaughter of an immigrant from Lithuania, Jackie worked diligently to further trade between Louisiana companies and Lithuania’s port city of Klaipeda. In May 2024, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Lithuania bestowed its Medal of Honor on Jackie. She is survived by her loving husband of 71 years, Arthur Alexander (Buzz) Clarkson, Jr., and her brother, Dr. Joseph Berengher Brechtel. Jackie is also survived by her five daughters, Jacquelyn Rutgers Clarkson, Cynthia Clarkson Alsfeld (Lenny), Diane Clarkson Hastings (Scott), Kevin Clarkson Sanders (Mike), and Patricia Davies Clarkson. She was the proud grandmother of William Michael Sanders, Jr. (Sarah), Elizabeth Sanders Greyson (Lukas), Katherine Hastings Lewis (Peter), Margaret Alsfeld Kaul (Chris), Mary Caswell Alsfeld, Arthur Alexander Clarkson Sanders (Molly), Leonard Clarkson Alsfeld (Ashlyn), John McWilliams Alsfeld (Mary Robin), Scott Davis Hastings, Jr. (Sissi), Reginald Lee Hastings, II (Liz), and 16 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved sister, Jeanne Brechtel Battistella; and her brother, John Patrick Brechtel, III. An ecumenical funeral service will be held at St. Louis Cathedral, 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans, LA at 2pm on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Visitation will be held at the WWII Museum, Freedom Pavilion (Red Door Firehouse Entrance at 1043 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA) on Monday, July 8th, 2024, from 4pm-7pm. Parking garage is located at 1024 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA. Visitors will be subject to security screening. Interment will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the NOBA/NORD Center for Dance (nobadance.com), Mount Olivet Episcopal Church (mountolivet.org), and The National World War II Museum (nationalww2museum.org). Professional services entrusted to Mothe Funeral Homes (mothefunerals.com).

 

 

 

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