Ruthie the Duck Girl is the most famous eccentric the French Quarter has ever known. Born and raised in New Orleans’s Vieux Carre, Miss Ruthie has been known to millions of tourists and locals as "The Duck Girl," or "The Duck Lady."
Ruth Grace Moulon was born in New Orleans on January 19th, 1934. Ruthie graduated from kindergarten, and never went back to school. She never did learn to read or write, although Ruthie was able to scribble her first name sometimes followed by a "G" for "Grace" for official documents and autographs.
In the 1950s, Mrs. Moulon explained to writer Robert Wagner of the Times Picayune that Ruthie has always been in poor health, especially since an accident when Ruthie was 6 years old that injured her back and spinal cord.
Ruthie’s cousin Lorraine claims Ruthie was treated for rickets at Charity Hospital as a child. Lorraine says her mother, who is the twin sister of Ruthie’s mother, would pick up Ruthie to be treated at the hospital, but Mrs. Moulon did not want her sister’s help and put an end to the visits.
Thelma Nickens, another cousin
of the Duck Girl, acknowledges that Ruthie was indeed a sickly child, and that
her mother was very protective of her and did not want her around other
children. Rather than trusting medical institutions, Mrs. Moulon put her faith
in the Lord to heal Ruthie. In 1963, when Ruthie was 29 years old, Mrs. Moulon
wrote a letter to "Patroness of
Sufferers." Here are excerpts from the