Audubon Nature Institute thanks Betty White ‘for being a friend’ after Katrina

Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Beloved actress Betty White died on Friday, just a bit more than two weeks away from her 100th birthday on Jan. 17. Tributes have continued to ring out long after the former ‘Golden Girls’ star passed away.

One notable show of appreciation for the comedic icon and pioneer, whose career spanned more than seven decades, was from New Orleans’ own Audubon Nature Institute.

Hours after her passing, the Institute took to Twitter to confirm Betty White’s involvement in the rescue of animals from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2015 file photo, Betty White attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

It was a generous act of kindness, one for which White never sought credit.

The tweet read:

We lost a conservationist, animal advocate, and friend. When the penguins & sea otters were evacuated to @MontereyAq for Hurricane Katrina, Betty White paid for the plane to relocate them. She did not ask for fanfare; she just wanted to help. #ThankYouForBeingAFriend

–@AudubonNature

A spokesperson for the Audubon Nature Institute told WGNO that White helped charter a plane used to transport displaced penguins and sea otters to their temporary home at the Monterey Bay Aquarium after floodwaters swamped the city and left the aquarium dark and stifling.

The institute could not divulge the amount White donated, but did confirm the eight-time Emmy Award winner and 2005 Television Hall-of-Famer was the primary financial contributor.

According to a tweet from Tom Dyer, a former employee at the Aquarium of the Americas for 21 years who claims he flew with an aquarium veterinarian on the plane, the pilot revealed that the cost of the flight that took 19 penguins and two sea otters to California was about $70,000.

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