NEW ORLEANS — Hundreds of revelers bundled up, braved the cold and marched through New Orleans’ French Quarter to honor the life of actress and animal rights activist Betty White Sunday.
The iconic Golden Girls and Mary Tyler Moore actress, who became beloved because of her longevity, self-deprecating humor and memorable roles, died on New Year’s Eve 2021, just 17 days before what would have been her 100th birthday.
The Betty White parade, which featured a brass band, signs honoring White and some colorful costumes, was originally scheduled for her birthdate, January 17, but that is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and many felt it would be disrespectful to have the event on that date. It was also originally pegged as a second line, but that too was changed out of concern for cultural appropriation.
A GoFundMe page has been set up called Birthday Bucks for Betty to help defray the costs to host the parade including police escorts, permits, route cleanup detail, and proper signage. Organizers say they've already raised enough to cover the cost of the parade, so now every dollar donated will go to the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans. Participants are invited to bring their pets, as well as a dog toy to donate, because of White's reputation on being an animal lover.
#bettywhiteschallenge has been trending on social media and is essentially a challenge to donate to any animal shelter in White's name leading up to January 17th.