Board of Directors
We are proud of our highly regarded team!
Living legend and cultural icon, Jerome “Big Duck” Smith is a Freedom Rider and leader of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Founder of Tamborine & Fan and a convener of the 1976 Claiborne Avenue Design Team who created the I-10 Multi-Use Study, upon whose work the Cultural Innovation District (CID) “under the bridge” is founded. In 2018, as New Orleans celebrated its 300thbirthday, along with the launch of the CID, the city proudly recognized Mr. Smith’s life work as part of its “300 citizens for 300 years” during the Tricentennial. Click to read entire bio.: Biographical Link
Judith Williams Dangerfield
An entrepreneur and owner of Metro-Source, LLC, a New Orleans-based consulting firm, Judith Williams Dangerfield has provided consultation to numerous local, state and national organizations and government entities across multiple subject matters including workforce development, small business development, Title VI and environmental justice, equity and inclusion in government contracting, strategies for closing the racial wealth-gap, place-making and community economic development. Ms. Dangerfield’s clients list includes the City of New Orleans, Children’s Defense Fund, PolicyLink, Living Cities, United Way, US Army Corp of Engineers and the Emerald Cities Collaborative along with a host of government agencies. Click here to read entire bio
She served for three years as a Federal Monitor for the Consent Decree between the US Justice Department, the New Orleans Police Department and the City of New Orleans. She has been a presenter and panelist at the 2017 SOCAP International Conference, the 2015 PolicyLink Equity Summit and the 2009 BMW Foundation Siftung, Herbert Quant Responsible Leaders Forum. Ms. Dangerfield holds a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University and currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans. She is founding Chair of the Board of Directors of Ujamaa Economic Development Corporation and member of the Board of Directors for Good Work Network, a New Orleans-based small business assistance organization.
Board Vice Chair
Kristyna Jones is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Brothers Empowered to Teach (simply called Bet). Bet’s mission is to inspire black men in college to consider teaching as a career. Before starting Bet in 2014, Kris spent 15 years working in neighborhoods, strategically developing new housing for families and community-based assets like schools and libraries.
Born in Cleveland (Cleveland Rocks) raised in a big town near New York City, Kris attended NYU where she studied Urban Studies and then went on to get her Masters in Urban Policy from The New School—a liberal arts school best known for Parsons School of Design. Click here to read entire bio
She moved to New Orleans in 2010 at the request of her best friend Amber. Though the company she worked for closed their doors in 2011, Kris stayed. Prior to working on BET, she ran the Louisiana Loan fund and was the head underwriter for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.
Kris proudly calls New Orleans Home and mentors a lot of little sisters and brothers. Fun wise, she loves to dance, listen to music, read all the things, and talk about sports.
Dr. Beverly Guillory Andry
Dr. Beverly Guillory Andry is an accomplished Professor and Executive with extensive experience in business, education and consulting, featuring Entrepreneurship and collaboration within universities, non-profit organizations, and in small business development.
Dr. Andry completed a Ph.D., in Public Policy & Urban Affairs from the Nelson Mandela
School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA. She has additional Ph.D. studies from Louisiana State University College Of Business Administration, Baton Rouge, LA and holds Master Of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Degree from Tulane University A.B. Freeman School Of Business and a Master Of Arts Degree (Urban Planning) from the University Of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA. Dr. Andry holds a Bachelor Of Science Degree (Sociology) from Xavier University, New Orleans, LA. Click here to read entire bio
Dr. Andry has been a Professor at the Department of Business, Xavier University, New Orleans, LA; and an Instructor at University Of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA; Concordia University Wisconsin, New Orleans Center, New Orleans, LA; Ashe College Unbound, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans, LA (Affiliated with Roger Williams University). She is currently Adjunct Professor, Department of Business, Delgado Community College, New Orleans, LA.
Dr. Andry exhibits highly-developed administrative skills and strong interpersonal and communication skills gained through a broad range of administrative / supervisory, teaching, and counseling positions through her career. These include Interim Executive Director and Community & Economic Development Director of St. Mark’s Community Center, New Orleans, LA; Program Director of the Women’s Entrepreneurs Business Center, under the auspices of the Southeast Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce; as well as, Deputy Director, City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission.
Dr. Andry believes her strong organizational, leadership, and planning skills gained from project planning, establishing networks within the business community, and the ability to solve problems with innovative solutions, integrity, and loyalty, is best demonstrated in her numerous and extended engagements with community organizations. She maintains a strong ability to interact and communicate easily and effectively with individuals from all backgrounds and socio-economic groups. She has served in leadership positions with several organizations such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and Festival Board of Directors and its Community and Economic Development Committee (Founding Chair); the Jazz Centennial Celebration Foundation, (Past Board President); Broad Street Development Corporation (Past President); Ashe Cultural Arts Center Board of Directors, (President); Mid-City Community Development Corporation (Past President); City of New Orleans Master Land Use Planning Advisory Committee, Mid-City Neighborhood.
Dr. Andry credits her strong academic and financial skill for effective work in the community to provide clear direction to help improve organizations and individuals with financial management. She has worked passionately with students in developing budgets, both as part of small business development programs and in the classroom. As an experienced teacher, she counsels many clients, developing consumer skills on why and how to manage required funds and maintaining stability over long term.
Dr. Andry has many certifications and licenses in such fields as National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, NxLevel Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship; and Insurance-Property and Casualty/Life, Health, and Accident; Online Teach and Learn Course series.
JC Celestin is a real estate investor and developer. He is the Principal at Une Belle Maison LLC, a leading real estate firm that specializes in residential and commercial development in the Greater New Orleans area. Prior to retiring from banking, Celestin was Senior Vice President at Whitney Bank, where he was responsible for managing commercial relationships and lending practice in the New Orleans market. Prior to joining Whitney, Celestin was Senior Vice President at First NBC Bank, and formerly Chief Commercial Lending Officer and Senior Vice President at Dryades Savings Bank. Click here to read entire bio
Celestin has served on the board of the Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans, Tulane Association of Business Alumni, Haiti-New Orleans Task Force, and Urban League of Greater New Orleans. He is currently on the board of the East New Orleans Business Development District, Families Helping Families, Community Development Capital, and chairs the Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Celestin was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and raised in Miami, FL. He earned a BS in Management with a double-major in Finance and Marketing, and a Minor in Computer Information Technology, at Tulane University. Celestin completed his MBA from the University of New Orleans. He is a longtime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Board of Directors
My Dear New Orleans
“All my life, you have been my touchstone, the place where I fit in and belong. I know the cadence of your heartbeat and the rhythm of your streets, My Dear New Orleans. You have shown me life so sweet, it brings joy to my heart and life so hard it makes me cry……….I have learned balance and how to keep it in the New Orleans equation that offers such a wonderful blend of culture, art, lifestyle, spirit and just plain living.”
Carol Bebelle 2007
Carol Bebelle (a.k.a. Akua Wambui) co-founder and executive director of Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center, is a native New Orleanian who was born and raised in the 7th ward and grew into womanhood in the Carrollton area of New Orleans. She spent over 20 years in the public sector as an administrator and planner of education, social, cultural and health programs.Click here to read entire bio
In 1990, Carol embarked on a path of independence that started with establishing Master Plan Development Associates (MPDA), a private consulting firm that offered planning, development, and grant writing services to human service programs and initiatives. Her clients were nonprofit organizations in the areas of health, social, education, arts, cultural, and religious programs; and entrepreneurs and artists. By 1995, Bebelle realized that the cultural and creative heartbeat of New Orleans was an un- and under-tapped resource on the landscape of community development. She realized that the power of culture and creativity combined could help to unleash progress, improvement, and economic inclusion for many of the under-represented members of the New Orleans community.
In 1998, Bebelle and Douglas Redd founded Ashé Cultural Arts Center in Central City, New Orleans. Ashé, as it is familiarly known, is a pivotal force for the revitalization and transformation of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, formerly known as Dryades Street, into an African and Caribbean cultural corridor. Bebelle and Redd became active members of the Central City community and the organizations at work to develop that community and its vision.
Known affectionately as “Mz. B” and “Mama Carol” in the community and around the world, Bebelle is a published poet and writer. She has to her credit a book of original poetry “In a Manner of Speaking,” and is represented among other New Orleans writers in the anthology “From a Bend in the River,” edited by Kalamu ya Salaam. She has several published interviews, testimonies and a chapter in the publication “Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina,” edited by Amy Koritz, Ph.D. and George J. Sanchez Ph.D. She also joined a group of notable authors for the art exhibit catalog “Ashe to Amen.” Her most recently published work appears in “Didn’t Wash Us Away: Transformative Stories of Post Katrina Cultural Resilience,” edited by Charlie T. Johnson and Louise Mouton Johnson.
She serves on several boards in the community and around the country, and is a frequently sought-after panelist and keynote speaker. Bebelle is a recipient of several local, national and international awards and commendation. Recently Bebelle receiving a Medal of Honor from the City of New Orleans and the designation of one of 300 significant contributors to history of New Orleans. But, she prizes most the role she plays being a cultural and racial healer and a contribution to the overall development and evolution of her community, city, nation and the world. Her ultimate aspiration and intention is to play a part in evolving a culture in American society that can support and foster equity and justice as a norm of our existence.
Habakuk 2:2 Write the vision down plainly on tablets for the vision has its time, presses on to fulfillment and will not disappoint. If it delays wait for it, for it will surely come.
Board of Directors
Jamal Brown is a born and raised New Orleanian. He earned a B.S. in Marketing from Loyola University, New Orleans and a graduate degree in business administration from Tulane University. Jamal is the HR & Finance Manager for Torsh, Inc. Jamal Brown previously worked for Liberty Bank and Trust Company in its Community Development Division and the New Orleans City Director for the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Jamal has also sat on several boards in New Orleans including Teaching Responsible Earth Education, 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, and The New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network. Jamal is married with three children.
Edgar "Dooky" Chase, IV
Board Of Directors
Edgar “Dook” Chase, IV is Owner/President of Chase Concessions, LLC and Dook’s Place Restaurant and Seafood Bar in the New Orleans International Airport. Chase holds a Masters of Business Administration, and a formal Culinary degree from Le Condon Bleu Paris, France. Edgar has been active in the hospitality industry for over 20 years; spending much of that time learning and then managing at his family’s flagship restaurant, Dooky Chase’s in Treme. Chase also worked as an analyst for Entergy Corporation for 7 years, before completely transitioning over to his own business, full time. In 2013, Chase Concessions became a joint venture partner for management and operations of food and beverage concessions at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport; concurrently, in January 2016, he opened Dook’s Place, a full service restaurant and bar, in the airport as well. Since that time, Chase has been awarded another ten year contract to operate in the new New Orleans International Airport slated for opening Fall 2019, as well as a contract for food and beverage operations at Boston Logan airport.
Edgar Chase is active in his community and civically involved in a number of non-profit boards and commissions; he sits on the New Orleans Covenant House board of directors; is a board member of UJAAMA Economic Development Corporation, and a board member of the New Orleans African American Museum.
Flozell Daniels, Jr.
Board of Directors
Flozell Daniels, Jr., CEO & President of Foundation for Louisiana (formerly the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation), is a public policy and community engagement strategist with expertise in community development, resilience building, legislative strategy and leadership development. With a focus on building successful coalitions that increase success in expanding economic opportunity for all, Flozell is accomplished in expanding capacity and outcomes in areas that include community development finance, criminal justice reform, Click here to read entire bio
Board of Directors
Fred Johnson grew up in and around New Orleans’ Seventh Ward and is the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Development Foundation. As a child he was fortunate to experience firsthand the riches of the heart of New Orleans African American culture; Parade clubs, Black Indians, Brass Bands and its musical, social and economic by-products. Fred first masked Indian at the age of 13 with Chief Tootie and the Yellow Pocahontas. He served as Spy Boy for 17 years, fulfilling the huge daily spiritual, physical and financial commitment which truly being an Indian demands; Click here to read entire bio
Over the years Fred has participated in numerous interviews and documentaries, freely giving his valuable historical knowledge and unique insight. A creator and preserve of culture, a mentor, a community leader, a father and grandfather; Fred Johnson’s life and achievements have made an indelible mark on the culture of New Orleans. As he goes forward, Fred continues to hold fast to his commitment to help people achieve wealth through homeownership and the traditions and ideals of the culture which created him.
Board Of Directors
New Orleans native, Ms. Gentelle Pedescleaux is a traveling Certified Dance Fitness Instructor and Choreographer who began her dance career at the tender age of four in the heart of Tremé. Under the tutelage of Jerome “Big Duck” Smith, founder of Tamborine and Fan, Gentelle learned at a very early age to blend art and activism.
Gentelle credits her dance style to being heavily influenced by secondline music and being an active participate in “The Original Super Sunday” which led her at the age of 9 to appear before Mrs. Winnie Mandela; and many can testify, Gentelle is often caught in a trance whenever second-line music is played. Click here to read entire bio
Post Katrina, Gentelle moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she worked with AmeriCorps to study, teaching dance to youth; she continued her studies in Berlin, Germany with artists Carlos Neville and YA/YA founder Jana Napoli among others. It was there she choreographed “The youth challenge for Solidarity” as a tribute to the displaced youth of New Orleans. While abroad she worked very closely with the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy thus, being presented with the opportunity to teach at Brandenburg International school.
She presented her early work in her New Orleans hometown at numerous dance spaces and non-profit organizations in efforts to continue to enrich New Orleans’ youth—the theme is always mentoring through movement, fitness, and fun. This masterful approach allowed her to work directly with National recording artists, such as Cupid, at The Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards. She has also performed with Gospel recording artist Kierra Sheard, and currently choreographs for New Orleans’ own iconic Bounce recording artist, Keedy Black.
While working locally at APEX Youth Center, Gentelle was nominated “Dance Coach of the Year” by Up 2 Us Sports; that same year she would work with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. She also works diligently with the youth departmemt at The City of Love pastored by Bishop Lester Love and Pastor Fran Love. It was there she choreographed her very first all-male piece of work, the ensemble “If It Isn’t Love” —It was so successfully executed that it gained the acknowledgment and praises of Brook Payne, manager of the famed boy-band who sings it, New Edition.
Ms. Pedescleaux would take a break to assist her family, now living in Fayetteville, Georgia, but she returned to her choreography to successfully merge both her work with youth and adults under the mantra “Experience Gen” productions; this new body of work continues to receive wide community support and is anchored in servicing the youthful adults and children at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center on historic Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
Today, Gentelle leads indoor cycling classes and outdoor fitness classes, having launched her own Dance Fitness Movement called the “Body Brigade” which is comprised of beautiful women who represent body diversity and all fitness levels in their efforts to get fit in a fun style.
D. Joan Rhodes
Board Of Directors
Ms. Rhodes is a 3rdgeneration member of the Rhodes Family of New Orleans. The Rhodes Family of Businesses is a combination of Funeral Homes, a Life Insurance Company and a transportation company, which is currently owned by 3rdgeneration members and operated by the both3rd and 4thgeneration family members.
After serving over forty years in the family business as President of the Rhodes Life Insurance Company of New Orleans, Joan recently retired from full-time duties, Click here to read entire bio
She is a resident of Treme . She is an active participant in many Cultural events in the Treme area and around the city.
Her past affiliations are:
- President, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival & Foundation, Inc.
- Board Member of the French Market Corporation
- Member, National Jazz Commission
- Member, Louisiana State Music Commission
- Member, Historic Treme Neighborhood Association
- Vice President, Armstrong Redevelopment Corporation
- President, New Orleans Insurance Executive Council
- President, National Insurance Association
Her present affiliations are:
- Founding partner in Treme Guardians, LLC- a group formed to re-establish The New Orleans African American Museum in Treme
- 34thGrand Marshall of The Sudan Social & Pleasure Club
- 2017 Honoree of the Treme Festival by the Historic Treme Neighborhood Association
Ms. Rhodes is a graduate of Xavier Preparatory High School and Dillard University of New Orleans where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She has also taken continuing education courses in Mortuary Science and Life Insurance.
Board of Directors
Terry Williams has been a resident of New Orleans over 40 years. Terry is a product of the Terrebonne Parish Public School system where he excelled academically and in sports. He graduated South Terrebonne High school in the top of his class. Thereafter, he went on to college with scholarships to Stanford and Loyola University. He has Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Accounting and Management Information Systems. He graduated college Magna Cum Laude (Honors). In 1987, he passed the Uniform C.P.A exam. Click here to read entire bio
Nyree Ramsey completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Vanderbilt University, then followed her artist heart to New Orleans. She has worked at the Center for Nonprofit Resources (The Data Center) and served under Mayor Ray Nagin as deputy director of community affairs & special events director, and then director of arts and tourism. After Hurricane Katrina, she attended Quinnipiac School of Law programs in intellectual property and alternative dispute resolution. Having witnessed the dispersion of New Orleans’ vibrant cultural arts community, Nyree is determined to assist efforts to promote, protect, and perpetuate the unique aesthetic of New Orleans culture.
Nell Andrews is an accomplished businesswoman and successful entrepreneur, having owned and operated boutiques, clothing stores, and an online jewelry store. A native of New Orleans, Nell manages the legendary Andrews Family Band and the iconic Andrews Brass Band, led by Grammy winner, Glen Andrews of the award winning Rebirth Brass Band. Her love of music and culture keeps her motivated and inspired, she maintains a role as a cultural ambassador for New Orleans each time she books the band and music lovers are introduced to the family of musicians.