Lynn Riley Mitchell, 80, of Mandeville, LA, passed away peacefully at home on October 24, 2023. He lived an amazing life and had the stories to prove it. He had an infectious personality, passion for life and was loved by all who were lucky enough to know him.
Lynn was born December 27, 1942, in Rogers, Arkansas. He fell in love with Louisiana while attending Tulane University where he proudly received his Master’s degree in Architecture. After graduation, Lynn served his country in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. He then traveled around before he returned to Louisiana in 1976 and made Mandeville his hometown.
Lynn believed that helping your community brought people together and made it a better place to live. His mark on our community as an architect and expert in local historical styles is as distinct as it is extensive. Everywhere you look in Mandeville you will see a touch of Lynn’s designs such as the trailhead, fire station, police station, numerous homes on the lakefront, as well as many cottages in Old Mandeville that make the neighborhood so distinguishable. He led the charge to convert the old abandoned Illinois Central Railroad corridor into the much beloved Tammany Trace through the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Lynn’s involvement in the elevation of Justine Plantation gained him notoriety in a nationally featured FEMA article. In addition, he served on the City of Mandeville’s Design Review Board for close to two decades, he was a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and a driving force behind the creation of the Historic Preservation District.
Lynn’s contributions to architecture and design were not limited to the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. Some of his more notable projects in and around New Orleans and nationwide include the ferry terminal at Canal Street, The St. Bernard Parish Government Complex, and the Mauna Kea Summit Observatory in Hawaii.
Lynn was able to combine his love of good music and historic buildings with his contribution to the revitalization of the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall and the creation of “Friends of the Dew Drop”. His adoration of all kinds of music moved him to recruit his friends and constituents to join him in making live music, through semi-annual concert series and educational programs, available for all to enjoy. Musicians became his friends and he was as respected in their world, as he was in the architecture world.
Lynn loved his family, traveling, fishing, cooking, and his tight-knit circle of friends. He could be found in the spring celebrating Mardi Gras, the French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, and as co-host of a long-held Kentucky Derby party. In the fall people would show up year after year at his famous turkey fry on Thanksgiving Day. In between he would enjoy listening to music at Ruby’s Roadhouse, sipping whiskey at Pontchartrain Yacht Club, or holding court at the bar at Nuvolari’s.
Lynn loved to cruise around Old Mandeville on his bike and in later years on his golf cart. He would stop to visit friends, check on projects, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Pontchartrain. He was known for his signature smile, his funny t-shirts, and his witty comebacks. Lynn was always up for a celebration, could sport a good hat like none other, and was an expert on many things.
Lynn leaves behind a large family who loved him dearly. His loving wife, Peggy Powers Hoffstadt Mitchell; sisters, Patti Saunders(Tom), Andra Mitchell(Jennifer Ware); Daughters Erin Mitchell and Annie Parker(Patrick); step children Jennifer Wood(Jeff), Shawn Hoffstadt(Sally), Katie Northey(Sean), Ellie Maddox(Trey) and Michael Taylor; many, many grandchildren Olivia Mitchell, Ella and Tate Pottle, Sean and Izzy Parker, Aidan, Ella, Bennett Wood, Brennan and Jacob Hoffstadt, Evan, Juliana, Brooks and Emerson Northey, Lila, Beckett, Baylor and Rose Maddox, Charlotte, Collins, Johnny and Beau Taylor.
He is preceded in death by his Daughter, Nicole Mitchell, and stepdaughter, Ashley Hoffstadt Taylor; his parents Andrew and Mary Jane Mitchell
A celebration of life will be held on November 17, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall at 430 Lamarque Street, Mandeville, LA
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Taylor Children’s education fund via Venmo, @taylorchildren