Elizabeth Muller Stafford

September 11, 1928January 27, 2018

STAFFORD, Elizabeth “Mimi” née Hazel Amelia Muller.

It is with great sorrow that we record the passing of Elizabeth Stafford in New Orleans, Louisiana, known to her friends affectionately as “Mimi” on January 27, 2018 after complications from a fall.

She is survived by her children, John (Nancy Curtin Stafford), Alex and Alexandra (Raymond Rathlé), grandchildren James, Caroline, William and Katie Stafford and Aimée and Max Rathlé, sister-in-law Beverly Muller as well as her cherished friends, near and far.

Mrs. Stafford was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. on September 11, 1928. Beloved daughter of the late Jacob Fred Muller and Hazel Juanita Stingel, she was predeceased by her brother, Jacob Fred Muller, Jr. and her husband, Frederick Stafford.

After graduating from Newcomb College in 1949, Mimi worked for the State Department under the first U.S. High Commissioner in post-war Germany, John J. McCloy. During her transatlantic voyage to Germany, she met businessman Frederick Stafford. They married in Paris in 1952 and settled in New York City. They had three children while they began researching and collecting modern, African and 19th c European art.

Relocating to Paris, Mimi’s collecting focused on French fine and decorative arts. Through her studies and connoisseurship and with the help of the top art dealers and curators of the time, she created authentic 18th century homes in Paris, New Orleans and later in New York. In France, she also became an active member of the Junior Guild of the American Cathedral in Paris, a board member of the U.S.O. and a member of France-Amerique Women’s Group. The Staffords enjoyed opening their home for international museums and cultural groups touring Paris.

In 1965, the Staffords lent their whole art collection to the New Orleans Museum of Art to raise funds for the institution after the devastation of Hurricane Betsy. The exhibition, “An Odyssey of an Art Collector” took over the whole museum. The opening ball has become the yearly elegant Fall fundraiser for the Museum. For their effort in bringing the exhibition to the city, Mimi and her husband were both awarded the “Key to New Orleans” by then-Mayor Victor Schiro. She remained an active trustee, became a lifelong fellow and has donated numerous works to the museum.

The Staffords returned to the United States in 1976. Their art has been loaned to museums and exhibitions around the world. Apart from numerous fundraising efforts for her native city, Mimi was a benefactor to the Frick Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Morgan Library, and the Metropolitan Opera. Mimi also volunteered for the Sloan Kettering Volunteer Nurse program for 10 years meeting with terminal cancer patients. In 1990, she was inducted in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Mimi found great solace in religion, both Christian and Eastern. She and Fred helped publish the French translation of the “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi” and they travelled to India to deepen their understanding of Eastern religion, briefly living in an ashram. Mimi’s love of culture, history and art led her to travel extensively in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Mimi will be remembered as a vivacious, intellectual and elegant lady who loved her family and friends. She was a tireless and lifelong student and a passionate connoisseur of art and all cultures until the end.

Services will be private and she will be buried at Lakelawn next to her husband in her tomb in New Orleans. Family and friends are invited to a celebration reception at the Colony Club, 540 Park Avenue, New York from 5:00-7:00pm June 5th, 2018. (RSVP:

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Elizabeth Stafford French 18th century Fund at the New Orleans Museum of Art: or (504.658.4127.) The Historic New Orleans Collection will accept any related documents for their Elizabeth Muller Stafford Papers archive. Contact Aimee Everett at


Elizabeth Muller Stafford

have a memory or condolence to add?

Robin Davis

February 12, 2018

Still beautiful to the end. Mimi and Fred were such a dashing couple who raised three lovely children. I have always felt blessed and privileged to have known all of the Stafford


February 12, 2018

A lady left us; impeccable taste, and elegance! french culture will miss her, so we will. Deepest sympathy to her family Hervé and Marina AARON

Audrey and Barry Sterling

February 11, 2018

Marvelous Memories of our Paris years.......Mini and Fred were an important part of our time there . With deepest sympathy to the family. Audrey and Barry Sterling

February 11, 2018

Mimi: To the many pleasant years we worked together.

Faith Wolverton

February 6, 2018

Alexandra, Raymond, Aimee & Max,
Deepest sympathy in your loss.

February 5, 2018

Elsebeth O'Donnell Fenner