Abigail Hahn

Poet, writer, community activist, and friend to many, leaves peacefully.

 Born on July 13, 1936 in the sun-room of 205 W. Boundary, Winnfield LA, Abigail Hahn was the daughter of Alvin and Sadye Hahn, long time involved citizens of Winnfield. From a young age Abigail voraciously read and wrote poetry. She was graduated from Newcomb College of Tulane University in 1962, and then studied acting and was graduated from the renowned professional conservatory for actors, the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York City. She enjoyed acting, but writing was her passion and the South was her home, so she returned to Winnfield and began a long career as a highly successful grant writer in Natchitoches, LA. Abigail became an expert grant writer and the director of programing and research for the Natchitoches Area Action Association (NAAA) and brought millions of dollars into the area through organizations like the Federal Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). Abigail was instrumental in bringing funding to the area for health centers, environmental programs, historical studies, and loans for small businesses. Abigail was the key player in the Natchitoches Courthouse Square rehabilitation project. She was responsible for raising a million dollars toward this renovation, and this project became cited as a state model for other similar projects. She also did other preservation work such as the rail depot conservation, plantation cabins as tourist centers, and promoted conservation practices in the area. During this time, Abigail worked with other teams to promote the documentation and inventory of all historic districts and properties in Louisiana. So prolific was her work in Natchitoches that she was given the “Advocate of the Year Award” by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 1983, and by the end of her career, Natchitoches celebrated “Abigail Hahn Day” which was attended by the governor of Louisiana. In Winnfield, Ms. Hahn and a friend spent many volunteer hours researching the history behind The Winnfield Hotel. They became instrumental in the hotel becoming the first Winnfield historic landmark to be officially entered in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. When her work in Natchitoches ended, Abigail returned to Winnfield and continued to serve by helping her mother through a terminal illness. When her mother passed, Abigail closed the family business and devoted herself full time to her writing and photography. She has written many plays, short stories, and poems, and some of her photographs have been published. Writing was so intimate and personal to Abby, she shared only bits and pieces of it, stating that most of it should be shared only after her passing. Although, she would occasionally share a poem or a story at small gatherings, the bulk of her work will be shared in the future. All who knew her will testify that relationships and the town of Winnfield were central to Abigail’s life. She was a fiercely independent woman who enjoyed her freedom and loved beauty. She found solace in her Jewish faith and in the Congregation Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria, LA. The last few years of her life were spent playing the piano, reading poetry, and feeling safe in a community of her friends. Abigail peacefully took her last breath while sleeping in the early morning of January 13, 2018. Abigail is survived by her sister, Suzanne Hahn Astin, and her nephews David, Allen, and Thomas Astin, and her great-nieces Sedona and Jaya Astin. A service was held at the Southern Funeral Home, Winnfield, LA on January 19, 2018 at 10am, and conducted by Rabbi Raina Siroty, with shared words from Abigail’s trusted friend Mickey Simmons, which was followed by an open sharing. A graveside service at the Jewish Cemetery, Pineville, LA followed. 

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