Harold Applewhite left this earth peacefully at home with his granddaughter by his side on September 14, 2020. Harold was born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi February 8, 1929 to Guy and Lela Odessa Applewhite. He was one of seven children. Harold attended Union Church High School and graduated with a degree in biology from University of Southern Mississippi. He enlisted in the US Air Force where he spent four years traveling the world while in the service. When his tour ended, Harold relocated to Pascagoula where he owned a successful air conditioning service company. While in this business, Harold opened "The Transplant", a plant shop in Moss Point, MS. He began bringing plants to the French Market on weekends and would sell out. This prompted him to move to his true home, New Orleans, where he opened The Plant Gallery in the French Quarter and it flourished. He opened a second location on St. Claude Avenue. It later became Harold's Plants, a landmark of the ByWater with its vibrant signage and festive atmosphere. Any day of the week, the shop is alive with plants, people, birds, dogs, cats, and the radio always playing in the background with signature New Orleans sounds or classical music. Harold considered his business partner, Kurt LeBlanc, and the rest of the staff his extended family. When Harold moved out of the Quarter, he settled in a 100-year-old Creole cottage on Mehle Avenue in Arabi. After Katrina, he restored his house and bought the surrounding properties creating a beautiful oasis that anchored the neighborhood as it recovered and people returned. The 98 crepe myrtles that line Mehle Avenue were sought out and planted by Harold, a lasting legacy to the neighborhood he loved. Harold was an unapologetic person who lived life on his own terms. He was fiercely independent, even up to the end of his life. He had a particular soft spot for the underdog or the down and out. Although Harold was demanding, he was also very generous. He was a collector – of people, pets, and art. His wicked wit was not for every person, but anyone who understood it found themselves in good company. When word was out that Harold became ill, countless visitors came to call, and many told stories of how Harold invested in them to make them what they are today. Harold was preceded in death by his parents, Guy and Lela Odessa Applewhite, Brothers Hugh Applewhite, Ernest Applewhite, sister Betty Jarreau, and Thomas "Tommy" McDonald, who was like a son. Harold is survived by the pride and joy of his life, his granddaughter Brittney McDonald, brothers Robert Applewhite and Carroll Applewhite, a sister, Doris Hays, a very special niece and nephew, Amy Allen and Roger Applewhite, and many beloved friends and family members. The family wishes to thank Jimmie Hyde Watson, Harold's hand-selected caregiver who attended to him with dedication for the past six weeks. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Harold's name to a local animal shelter. And, that you keep Harold's memory alive by doing something kind for someone less fortunate than you.
Published in The Times-Picayune from Sep. 19 to Sep. 20, 2020.