Norman Mayer

Norman Mayer Obit Pic TP Aug 6 1937Norman Mayer grew up in the cotton business. Born in 1875 in Livonia, La., he moved to New Orleans when he was 10 and later joined his father and uncle in F. Gumbel & Co., a noted cotton firm of the time. He eventually became a partner in that business, and when it dissolved, he established Norman Mayer & Co., which became one of the city’s leading cotton brokerages.

In addition to being one of the city’s most prominent and respected civic leaders, Mayer was also one of the original guarantors of the College of Commerce and Business Administration at Tulane University.

Following his death in 1937 at the age of 62, his wife, Fannie Levy Mayer, bequeathed $300,000 to Tulane for the construction of a building in his honor to house the College of Commerce. The Norman Mayer Memorial Building was completed in 1942, and it served as the home of the business school until 1986, when the school moved into the newly built Goldring/Woldenberg Hall.

Tulane University wasn’t the only beneficiary of Mrs. Mayer’s philanthropy. In 1940, she donated $250,000 to the New Orleans Public Library to establish new branches in Broadmoor and Gentilly. The Gentilly location is still officially known as the Norman Mayer Branch. Mayer also left a bequest to the Community Chest — today known as the Greater New Orleans Foundation — that enabled the organization to purchase the Tulane-Newcomb Building at 211 Camp St. to serve as its headquarters. That building became known as the Norman Mayer Memorial Building, as was its successor at 2515 Canal St.


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