Fans of Mr. Bingle donate time, money to preserve the iconic cha - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Fans of Mr. Bingle donate time, money to preserve the iconic character

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NEW ORLEANS - Different groups have dedicated time and money to keep the iconic snowman Mr. Bingle in the hearts and minds of people in the New Orleans area.

A black and white picture of the original Mr. Bingle mannequin outside the Canal Street Maison Blanche department store in 1948 resonates with generations of New Orleanians.

"When I think of Mr. Bingle, I think of being a kid on Canal Street," said Wendy Schornstein Good.

Now, however, Mr. Bingle is back with a major makeover.

Rachel Elsenson said her company, Mardi Gras Decorators, spent $18,000 restoring Mr. Bingle with new fiberglass and a new frame in September.

Elsenson said another Bingle fan will be providing the sculpture's home from now on. She said the refurbished Mr. Bingle will be housed for free, thanks to Ronnie Natal. The donations will ensure that Mr. Bingle can create new memories while shining bright in City Park's Celebration in the Oaks display.

"It was a nice memory, you know, as a kid," said Julian Good.

To help preserve memories of the original character, Sean Patrick Doles, author of "Saving Mr. Bingle," uses a portion of the proceeds from his book to honor the man who brought Mr. Bingle to life with his voice and his hands.

"I discovered that the original puppeteer for Mr. Bingle, a man named Oscar Isentrout, died alone and penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave in Gentilly: Hebrews Rest No. 3 Cemetery," said Doles.

The puppeteer died in 1985.

Doles said he raised more than $7,500 through the Edwin H. "Oscar" Isentrout Memorial Fund and was able to purchase the tombstone that rests at Isentrout's grave today. It's etched with a picture of the iconic character.

"This man had given so much of his life to the children of New Orleans, to the people of New Orleans, and his story had largely gone unrecognized and was all but forgotten," said Doles.

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