March 17, 2015

Birmingham Revealed: The Life of Louise Wooster

Birmingham, Ala. — The life of Birmingham’s legendary 19th–century “madam” and humanitarian, Louise (Lou) Wooster, will be portrayed in the final segment of our 2015 Birmingham Revealed series. “Determination, Drama, and Daring: The Life of Louise Wooster” will premier on Vulcan’s stage on April 9 at 5:30 p.m.

This one-woman show, by playwright Ellise Mayor, will uncover the colorful life of Lou Wooster. Her story is not only one of overcoming financial and social obstacles, but of living up to personal principles, selflessly contributing to society and giving back to those less fortunate, regardless of social stigma.

The Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award is presented annually by the UAB School of Public Health to recognize individuals, groups, or organizations who are unconventional public health heroes. The award is named in honor of Lou Wooster who risked her own death by caring for the sick and dying during the 1873 cholera epidemic in Birmingham. Her courage went a long way toward assuring there was a city for the leadership to come back to. When she died in May 1913, hundreds of empty black carriages drove by the funeral home to pay respects to a local hero. Award recipients are driven by a horse drawn carriage from the School of Public Health to Oak Hill Cemetery where Lou Wooster is buried.

The inaugural award was presented in 2007 to State Representative Patricia Todd. Other public health heroes including Dr. Herman Taylor of the Jackson Heart Study, journalist John Archibald of the Birmingham News (2009), Master Chef Frank Stitt, executive chef and owner of fine Birmingham restaurants (Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega and Chez Fon Fon), the Birmingham City Council, the VF Corporation, and the editor of Cooking Light Magazine have all received this honor. Ms. Angelou Ezeilo, the 2015 recipient, will be presented with the award at Birmingham Revealed on Thursday, April 9. A breakfast ceremony and conversation with Ezeilo will be held at the UAB Ryal’s Public Health Building on Friday, April 10 at 8:00 a.m.

Ezeilo serves as Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in both its New Jersey and Georgia offices. In her position, she has acquired land for preservation and worked on the New York/New Jersey Highlands Program, Parks for People-Newark, the New York/New Jersey Harbor Program in New Jersey, the Atlanta Beltline and the 20 County Regional Greenspace Initiative in Georgia. While at TPL, Ezeilo realized the disconnect between the land that was being preserved and the education of people about that preservation. This was the impetus for the Greening Youth Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation has taken up the charge of providing environmental access to underserved children and young adults through its Public School Initiative and Youth Conservation Corps programs. Greening Youth Foundation provides its services throughout the country and in Ghana, West Africa.

General admission to the performance and award presentation is $10 and $8 for Vulcan® Park and Museum members. To purchase your tickets see


2015 BR Louise Wooster