Our VISIONARY, Alexander Milne emigrated from Scotland as he sojourned to the American Colonies in 1776 at the youthful age of 34. He was born in 1742, in a small northern Scotland village along the River Spey. The river was known as Fochabers. This is where the history of Milne Developmental Services begins.
His young life began as a footman to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. When directed to disguise his red hair by powdering it, young Milne took leave of his position seeking a new life in America. As Milne became settled in New Orleans he prospered in the hardware trade and a brick making business. Milne’s brick making products were in huge demand following the Great New Orleans Fire on March 21, 1788. This was a massive fire destroying 856 of the 1,100 structures primarily in the French Quarter and adjoining areas of New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, another massive fire took place on December 8, 1794. Another 212 buildings were destroyed in the city of New Orleans.
A SOFT SPOKEN BUSINESSMAN: FOUNDER OF MILNE DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES
Milne was quite diminutive physically, constantly cited for hanging his head, dressing in dilapidated garments and even often times being mistaken by strangers as a local beggar. However, his friends and colleagues held him in great respect. He was honest to a fault, prudent, careful, and diligent in the management of his expanding businesses and real estate acquisitions. Historical records indicate a northern community adjacent New Orleans, christened as Milneburg by Alexander Milne, was a virtual land gold mine for Milne. Historical records cited he personally generated in excess of $3,000,000 cumulatively as he sold off parcels of real estate within just one week. His holdings exceeded 20 miles of shoreline encompassing Lake Ponchartrain and other substantial holdings of real estate in the Milneburg, Gentilly, Fillmore, and Fairgrounds neighborhoods of greater New Orleans. While documents indicated at his time of death, his assets were listed slightly below $1,000,000. Historians stated those assets likely exceeded $2,000,000 dollars in 1838 and today’s currency value would have exceeded well over $50,000,000. Milne was ahead of his time in that he released his slaves; had them placed on a per diem while he had homes built for them on real estate he owned upon his passing.
Milne was insightful beyond his years; civic minded, and inspirational to all of his esteemed colleagues, friends, and governmental leaders. Two years prior to his passing at the age of 96 in 1838, Milne crafted his will with his close friend and confidant. His attorney put Milne’s words to pen citing the following: “It is my positive wish and intention that an asylum for destitute orphan boys and another for the relief of destitute orphan girls shall be established at Milneburg, in this parish, under the name of the Milne Asylum for Destitute Orphan Boys and the Milne Asylum for Destitute Orphan Girls.”
Thus was the beginning of Milne Developmental Services! Through the years, Milne has adapted and changed, always seeking innovative service delivery models that continue to ensure that the individuals we serve achieve the highest level of independence possible.