Ellen Heidingsfelder: The Woman for Whom Cooper Manning Converted to Catholicism

By AtticusPublished on: May 23, 2024 Updated on: May 23, 2024
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Amid the rhythms of New Orleans, where tradition and modernity blend seamlessly, Ellen Heidingsfelder lives a life deeply rooted in both. As an attorney, her work is guided by a profound commitment to justice and community, mirroring her deep dedication to family life. Alongside her husband, Cooper Manning, Ellen manages a dynamic balance of legal practice and family life.

In addition to her professional life, Ellen is an integral part of one of America’s most recognized sports families. Her partnership with Cooper, an entrepreneur and television personality, is built on mutual support and shared values, enriching their life together with unique experiences and challenges.

Cooper, known for his affable presence on shows like The Manning Hour and his roles in various sports broadcasts, finds in Ellen not just a spouse but a pillar of support through his ventures and health challenges.

Together since 1999, their journey has been one of shared experiences and commitments, raising three children who reflect the Manning legacy of athleticism and charm.

Her Husband Converted to Catholicism for Their Marriage

Raised in a devout Catholic family, Ellen was immersed in the traditions and practices of her faith from an early age. Meanwhile, Cooper grew up in a Baptist household. Despite the differences in their religious upbringings, Cooper’s life was deeply intertwined with Catholic customs, thanks to the strong Catholic presence in his hometown of New Orleans.

As a popular guest at his Catholic friends’ homes, he often found himself attending Mass with them on Sundays. This exposure deepened during his college years at Ole Miss, where he enjoyed the inclusive and casual atmosphere of the 5:30 Mass.

Cooper and Ellen had known each other since their youth but only began dating later in life. As their relationship deepened, Ellen’s strong Catholic background—she was a proud alumna of Sacred Heart and came from a large Catholic family—became increasingly significant.

Ellen Heidingsfelder and her husband, Cooper Manning
Ellen Heidingsfelder and her husband, Cooper Manning

Realizing the importance of shared faith for their future together, Cooper, guided by the late Father David Boileau of Mater Dolorosa Church, decided to embrace Catholicism. His parents, who greatly admired Ellen and recognized her positive influence, fully supported his decision.

Ellen and Cooper’s journey was formally announced with news of their engagement in early March 1999, shared by the former’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Charles Emile Heidingsfelder. The two exchanged vows in a beautiful ceremony at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on March 27, 1999, with Reverend David Boileau officiating, assisted by Deacon Maurice Hartson.

Ellen, A Pillar of Strength Through Her Husband’s Health Challenges

Cooper’s early promise as an All-State wide receiver was halted by a spinal stenosis diagnosis at age 18, a condition serious enough to end his football career. Although Ellen wasn’t with him at the time of his diagnosis, her support has been indispensable as Cooper faces the ongoing effects of the condition.

After another major procedure, a cervical fusion, Cooper has had to forgo physical sports like skiing to avoid serious jolts. “The most dangerous thing I do is drive a car,” he jokes. The most notable lingering effect is a handshake not quite as firm as his father taught him.

Throughout these challenges, Ellen has been a pillar of strength, helping Cooper transition into his current role as part owner of an energy investment firm. With her support, he has navigated both the physical limitations and emotional challenges, leading a successful life as a businessman and family man.

Their Three Children Embraced Manning Family Tradition

Ellen and Cooper Manning’s three children, May, Arch, and Heid, have wholeheartedly stepped into the family’s sporting tradition. May, the eldest, born in 2002, has distinguished herself in volleyball.

She attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart—the same school as her mother and maternal grandmother—and shone brightly on the volleyball court. In 2020, her skills earned her the Most Valuable Player plaque for leading her team to a state championship.

Reflecting on her athletic lineage, May credits her mother, noting, “The Mannings are great athletes but I get my volleyball talents and ability from my mom. She could really pop the ball from what I’ve heard.

Ellen with her husband Cooper and three children
Ellen with her husband Cooper and three children

Her brother Arch, born in 2005, excelled in football at Newman School and has now taken his talents to the next level, playing for the Texas Longhorns. His promising career continues to unfold as he carries on the Manning legacy at a collegiate level.

The youngest, Heid, born in 2006, also demonstrates significant athletic potential. Standing six feet tall and weighing 230 pounds by his sophomore year, Heid plays center for Isidore Newman High School’s football team and is also part of the school’s lacrosse team.

Went to The Same School As Her Mother

She was born Ellen Henican Heidingsfelder on December 20, 1968, in New Orleans, Louisiana, into the family of Dr. Charles Emile Heidingsfelder and Dorothy “Dot” Heidingsfelder. She spent her childhood with two siblings, Molly Silvia Charles and Jane Heidingsfelder. Her brother, Charles E Heidingsfelder, Jr. died at six.

Her mother, Dot, a lifelong resident of New Orleans, was born on June 3, 1942, to Mr. and Mrs. Caswell Ellis Henican. She carried forward the educational legacy of her family by attending the Academy of the Sacred Heart, from which she graduated in 1960, before advancing her education at Barat College.

Dot was married to Dr. Charles E Heidingsfelder for 54 years until her death on March 31, 2020, at the age of 77. She battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia in her later years and succumbed to complications from COVID-19.

Ellen played volleyball in high school
Ellen played volleyball in high school

Ellen followed in her mother’s footsteps by attending the Academy of the Sacred Heart, where she wasn’t just focused on her studies but also excelled in athletics. A standout volleyball player, Ellen was a 5-9 middle hitter and played a pivotal role in leading her school to its first state volleyball championship in 1986, earning the title of Most Valuable Player (MVP) for her performance.

Her academic journey continued at the University of Virginia, where she earned a B.A. and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Furthering her education, Ellen completed her Juris Doctorate at Loyola University School of Law, setting the stage for a successful career as an attorney.

About Author: Atticus

Atticus boasts more than seven years of expertise as a writer specializing in the entertainment sector. He possesses a profound knowledge of film, music, and television, crafting compelling stories that engage a wide-ranging audience. His writing is both accessible and enlightening, simplifying intricate subjects for readers from various walks of life.