How Betty White Helped Louisiana’s Animals After Hurricane Katrina

by Matthew Memrick

One Louisiana story involving 2005’s Hurricane Katrina has come out about the late actress Betty White and her animal helping ways.

The New Orleans-based Audubon Nature Institute shared a White story on Friday, calling her “a conservationist, animal advocate, and friend.” 

The group maintains the New Orleans zoo and aquarium and said that the late animal activist used her money to help the animals without bringing any attention to herself.

Betty White Spent Money To Move Animals Out Of Harm’s Way

In the tweet, the Audubon Nature Institute said that Betty White “paid for the plane to relocate” the penguin and sea otters to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. In total, 19 penguins and two sea otters named Buck and Emma were moved out. 

The group said White “did not ask for fanfare; she just wanted to help.”

People magazine reported that Audubon did not find out until afterward that Betty White had paid for a portion of the trip. 

Bird caretaker Tom Dyer recalled in a Tweet that the California aquarium agreed to host the animals. Dyer said the animals traveled by a private plane out of Baton Rouge for some time. According to The Huffington Post, they came back to New Orleans with the otters living into old age. 

A spokesperson for the institute said that the group was “deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend.” 

The organization does not know how much White gave because it “didn’t handle the transaction directly.” Dyer said it cost about $70,000 to fly the animals along with himself and a veterinarian

While the aquarium had features that could withstand high winds, the aquarium’s generators failed. The Los Angeles Times reported that officials could not get the marine tanks to filter water. The newspaper said that most of the facility’s 10,000 fish died. 

Betty White Very Generous During Her Lifetime

While, who’s earned an estimated $75 million during her lifetime, was a constant animal supporter.

In 2017, she was a James Smithson Bicentennial Medal recipient for her “commitment to wildlife and efforts to create a sustainable planet,” specifically through her charitable work with zoos and animal rescues.

Fans have also taken up her mantle. An online movement encourages everyone to donate $5 to an animal welfare charity on Jan. 17. Betty White’s 100th birthday would have been that date.

Another fundraiser started up called the #BettyWhiteChallenge. Former NSYNC star shared the word about the effort on his Instagram account Tuesday.

“Soooooo in for this! #BettyWhiteChallenge,” the 42-year-old performer captioned the post. He also included a black and white photo of White holding a dog.