Vort Siblings: Jennie, Mollie, Esther, & Abe

In 1912, following the death of his wife Rebecca in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Russian (Mustovo) immigrant Morris Vort admitted his four children to the Home: Esther (10), Abe (8), Jennie (6), and Molly (4). During the children’s time in the Home, Morris moved to New Orleans where he worked as a tailor.

In the Home, Esther and Abe were elected leaders in the Golden City, serving as Big Sister President and Big Brother Treasurer, respectively. In 1920, just before the Home  discharged Abe and Esther to their father, Esther graduated from Isidore Newman Manual Training School. By 1924, Esther married A.M. Breaux, who worked for the Internal Revenue Service in New Orleans, and soon had a daughter. About the same time, Abe, who later worked as a bookkeeper in a jewelry store, married Lowencena Folse and also had a daughter. 

Esther Vort, 1920, Isidore Newman Manual Training School Pioneer

Esther Vort, 1920, Isidore Newman School Pioneer.

Jennie Vort, 1924

Jennie Vort, 1924, Isidore Newman School Pioneer.

 Jennie, who in 1920 served as patrol leader for the Home’s newly organized Girl Scout Troop,  also rose to a position of leadership in the Golden City. She graduated from Newman School in 1924 before being discharged to her married sister Esther. Jennie later married Francis Cantelli.

(90) Because Molly demonstrated interest and proficiency in typewriting, Home Superintendent L. Edward Lashman successfully urged the board to send her to Soule Commercial College, from which she graduated in 1928. After her discharge that year, Molly also went to live with Esther and worked as an operator with the telephone company. During World War II, Molly enlisted in the Women’s Army Corp, serving as a Technician Fourth Grade. In 1963, she married Minos O’Niell. 

Of the four Fort siblings, Abe died at age 80 in 1985, `followed by Esther (93) in 1995, and by Mollie (90) and Jennie (93) in September and November 1999.  

Mollie Vort, top right, 1954.

In this 1954 photo, Mollie Vort (at top right), joins other officers of the Evening Group of New Orleans’s National Council of Jewish Women. Seated at center is Raie Jaudel Sharfstein, group chair person, who served as a supervisor in the Home in the early 1930s. New Orleans Item, June 7, 1954.

In Mollie's Words

In 1984, Mollie Vort O’Niell participated in the JCRS’s Alumni Interviews project. When interviewed by Executive Director Viola Weiss, Mollie briefly  described her childhood in the Home. Read the summary here.