Phyllis Eagan Cassidy Obituary (1947 - 2021) - Metairie, LA - The Times-Picayune
Phyllis Eagan Cassidy
1947 - 2021
Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home
4747 Veterans Blvd
Metairie, LA
Phyllis Eagan Cassidy, a passionate, award-winning activist for social justice through economic empowerment, passed away May 16, 2021 at the age of 73 with her loving family at her side. She was born December 29, 1947 in New Orleans, the daughter of the late Charles Joseph 'CJ' Eagan, Jr. and Phyllis Derbes Eagan and sister of the late Delery Eagan Strassel. Survived by her loving wife Mathilde Freeman, her daughters Shawn Cassidy Lewis (Tim), Katherine Cassidy Hall, and her son Robert Michael Cassidy, Jr. (Danielle) and grandchildren Erin Ashley Lewis, Cody Jacob Hall, Sara Kemmer-Cassidy, Bryce Andrew Timothy Lewis, Chelsea Anne Lewis, Noelle Kemmer-Cassidy, and Savannah Kate Hall. She graduated high school in 1965 from Holy Name of Jesus Mercy Academy, where she won three consecutive women's basketball City Championships. In 1969 she earned a B.A. in business administration and psychology from Duke University, where she was a member of the Sandals leadership honorary and co-captained the university's first women's basketball team. She earned a Master of Science in accounting from the University of New Orleans in 1979. She was awarded the Elijah Watt Sells Certificate of Honorable Mention and the Louisiana Society of CPA's Award of Excellence for receiving Louisiana's highest score on the national CPA exam in 1977. Phyllis was a visionary and pioneered new and innovative programs that helped disadvantaged entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses, the lifeblood of our New Orleans economy. She was the founder and Executive Director of the original Good Work Network (GWN), a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an inclusive local economy by giving minority businesses the resources and access to markets they need to succeed. GWN provided educational programs, technical assistance, back office support, capital access assistance and market access services to minority- and women-owned businesses in the Greater New Orleans area. The organization assisted over four and half thousand entrepreneurs in the time that Phyllis was the Executive Director. Her work with GWN was vital to both economic and structural re-building after hurricane Katrina. Phyllis contributed tirelessly to the New Orleans community through community organizations that shared her passion for social justice and economic inclusion. She directed the TANF Microenterprise Development Program for Orleans and surrounding parishes, coordinated a Small Business Administration BusinessLINC grant awarded to a coalition led by NewCorp, trained economically disadvantaged individuals in financial literacy and Core Four Entrepreneurship skills through a Mercy Caritas Grant, worked with St. Thomas/Irish Channel Consortium (STICC) in implementing the St. Thomas Hope VI Community and Supportive Service Program, and collaborated with STICC and the UNO Small Business Development Center in an Entrepreneurship Training Program offered to former residents of St. Thomas under an Office of Women's Services Grant. Her leadership and vision earned numerous awards and honors. She was awarded the Microenterprise Development Alliance of LA's Practitioner Champion for Microenterprise (2008), the New Orleans City Business Women of the Year Honoree (2010), the Youth Leadership Council Role Model Award (2010), the Tulane Freeman School of Business Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2011), the Small Business Association's Minority Small Business Champion (2012), the Jefferson Chamber's Minority Business Champion (2012), the Connect Works Economic Equity Award (2016) and a Certificate of Recognition from the Office of the Mayor of New Orleans (2016). Although the Good Work Network no longer exists, Phyllis's work and legacy live on in the many people she worked with in her 15 years with the organization. Prior to establishing Good Work Network, Phyllis was a professor of accounting at Dillard University and UNO before working for First Capital Life Insurance Company (formerly Leitz-Eagan Life Insurance Company) from 1984-1998, starting as comptroller and finishing as president. She also volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children. Though Phyllis was certainly passionate about social justice, she was equally passionate about Duke basketball. She found endless joy in grandmothering her seven grandkids in her own feet-wet, hands-dirty style. She enjoyed travels, dinners with the Eagan cousins and time spent with Mathilde, her children and grandchildren celebrating their milestones and accomplishments. Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the Irish Wake at Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home at 4747 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, Louisiana on Thursday evening, May 27, 2021 from 6:00 until 8:00 and Funeral Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church, 444 Metairie Rd., Metairie, Louisiana on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11:30 in the morning. Visitation will begin in the church at 10:30 in the morning. Interment will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, because the Good Work Network no longer embodies Phyllis' vision, contributions in her memory may be made to Youth Empowerment Project, 1600 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, New Orleans, Louisiana 70113 or online at

Published by The Times-Picayune from May 22 to May 28, 2021.
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6:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.
Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home
4747 Veterans Blvd, Metairie, LA
10:30a.m. - 11:30a.m.
St. Francis Xavier Church
444 Metairie Rd., Metairie, LA
Funeral Mass
St. Francis Xavier Church
444 Metairie Rd., Metairie, LA
Funeral services provided by:
Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home
Sponsored by Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home.
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7 Entries
Wilcox Academy Family
May 27, 2021
Few words can describe my dear friend , mentor and confidant. Phyllis Cassidy, a visionary, compassionate and dedicated purpose filled women , Her legacy and life work lives on through the many people she touched and to them flashed her infectious smile . Matthew 25:23 KJV
Joyce James
May 27, 2021
Phyllis was an angel from heaven. Phyllis was always kind to my family and would always answer my Dad's questions concerning accounting and taxes, and never sent a bill. She would say, "Just pay me back by helping the next nice person that you know". Phyllis lived by the Golden Rule, as Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, "Do unto others, as you would want others to do to you". God Bless Phyllis Eagan Cassidy.
Stan Kottemann, Jr.
Stan Kottemann, Jr.
May 27, 2021
I have know Phyllis since 6th grade and she never stopped achieving. My sympathies to all of her family.
EILEEN Foley Bradley
May 25, 2021
So sorry to hear of your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family. Allan & Patricia Jones
Patricia Jones
May 24, 2021
I will miss you my Dear friend!! You were truly a Drum major for Justice in this world!
Adele London
May 24, 2021
I am sorry for your loss. Phyllis was a great instructor with a pleasant personality. Dillard University 1980/81
Donna Smith
May 22, 2021
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