Born in New Orleans to John and Virginia Spencer Barnes in 1877, she was educated in the city schools and at New Orleans University. Mrs. Thompson opened a private school in Uptown New Orleans shortly after graduation and became “so obsessed with the desire to help children,” that she also founded and supported a Juvenile Delinquent Rescue Center for the city’s thousands of black orphans and waifs. It was known as the W. E. and Frances Roberson Home for Indigent Boys and Girls.
For more than forty years, she was a teacher to many of the city’s most outstanding men and women and a mother to those who needed one. She was a founder of a band of women who devoted their time to working with Juvenile Court cases and along with Miss Helen Edwards, former New Orleans public school teacher, was responsible for the Sylvania Williams swimming pool. She was a leader in the Federation of Women’s Clubs, a member of the N.A.A.C.P. and many other outstanding organizations dealing with improving the lives of others.
At her retirement in May 1938, friends, co-workers, and former pupils gathered at the Canal Branch of the YMCA to pay homage to this great lady. Speakers included Attorney A.P. Tureaud, Dr. P. P. Creuzot, Mrs. Fannie C. Williams (Principal, Valena C. Jones School), and two of her former pupils, educator George H. Carpenter and businessman Henry Braden.
On 8 December 1939, Mrs. Thompson passed away, leaving behind a husband, Moses P. Thompson, Sr., and one son, Moses P. Thompson Jr. One of the most touching moments at her funeral service was a choral number sung by a group of homeless waifs Mrs. Thompson had given shelter.