Our Team

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Sophie Harris VorhoffExecutive Director
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Sophie Harris has served as the Executive Director of Friends of Lafitte Greenway since 2014, a nonprofit organization that works to build, program, and promote New Orleans' Lafitte Greenway—opened in November of 2015—as a great public space. She leads the organization’s strategic direction and operations, implementation of community health programs and events, and spearheads the organization’s development initiatives. Prior to working with Friends of Lafitte Greenway, Sophie managed the NEWCITY Neighborhood Partnership, a coalition of 100 organizations promoting community economic development in New Orleans’ Tremé and Mid-City neighborhoods. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Urban Studies and Political Science, Sophie won a Post-Graduate Robert A. Fox Leadership Fellowship in service. Sophie serves on the Board of Directors of Broad Community Connections and is a member of the ReFresh Collaborative.

 

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Nellie Catzen, Program Director
A big believer in the power of community, Nellie Catzen joined the Friends of Lafitte Greenway team as Program Coordinator in 2015. She directs our health promotion, environmental education, and community building programming and events on the Greenway. She proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Grow Dat Youth Farm. Before joining the Friends of Lafitte Greenway team, she worked as Special Projects Coordinator for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, where she focused on strengthening the agency’s services to refugees and immigrants. Nellie holds a degree in Environmental Health from the University of Pennsylvania, and is passionate about healthy food, community organizing, and live music.

 

File_000.jpegJazmin Castillo, Americorps Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Jazmin joined the Friends of Lafitte Greenway team in September of 2018. She comes to us with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. A Honduran native, Jazmin can communicate fluently in Spanish and hopes to connect more Latinos to the Greenway. She strives to learn about the community engagement process and to use her design knowledge to intersect ideals of social and environmental equity to create a more inclusive built environment. For her final Senior project at LSU, she assessed the needs of a segregated and disinvested neighborhood in Baton Rouge to propose a design that turned a decommissioned golf course into a community Urban Agriculture food park. Jazmin supports our planning & design committee, community engagement and outreach, and volunteer activities.  

 

Board of Directors

   

Dawn J. Anuszkiewicz - Board Term: Jan 2017 - Jan 2020

Dawn is Chief Executive Officer of Ochsner Baptist. She holds a Master of Health Services Administration from the George Washington University School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University, Douglass College. Prior to joining Ochsner, Dawn served as Chief Operating Officer, Saint Louis University Hospital. In 2016, New Orleans CityBusiness – recognized Dawn as a Women of the Year Class of 2016 Honoree. She was the recipient of the Emergency Nurses Association – Greater St. Louis Chapter 2012 Community Service Award.

 

Charles Barclay - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Charles is Asset Manager for Stirling Properties on a variety of retail and office properties in the Greater New Orleans area, including Mid-City Market along the Lafitte Greenway. A native of Washington D.C., Charles moved to New Orleans to participate in the area’s rapidly evolving real estate industry. Charles previously worked for CW Capital Asset Management in Bethesda, Maryland where he was involved in the management of over $500 million of REO multifamily assets across the United States. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2009 where earned a degree in history.

 

Alena Boucree - Board Term: Jan 2018 – Jan 2021

Alena is the Director of Religious Education at St. Peter Claver Church, and is a Board Member of the Micah Project. These two institutions have partnered to create St. Peter Claver-Micah Local Organizing, a non-denominational, multiracial, multicultural, faith-based collective based in Central City that works with 14 member congregations to create innovative solutions to a range of challenges faced by families living in the Greater New Orleans area. Over the last year, its organizing members have been working to build capacity to organize around, and advocate for the implementation of, stormwater policies and projects in their communities.  Most recently Mrs. Boucree has been working on behalf of St. Peter Claver-Micah and in partnership with the Gulf Restoration Network to provide community input to developers working towards meeting the stormwater retention/detention requirements of the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. Alena and her family are residents in the Tremé Lafitte neighborhood.

 

Susannah Burley - Board Term: Jan 2017 – Jan 2020

Susannah Burley lives in Mid-City off of Broad Street with her husband and son. She is an Atlanta native, spent eight years in Los Angeles film industry, and is proud to call New Orleans home for the second and final time. Burley is trained as a landscape architect, worked as program director from 2012-16 at Parkway Partners, and founded Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) in June of 2016.  She is thrilled to be working with the Greenway board on this incredible project, and hopes to bring her skills and passions to her position, as well as her experience utilizing similar green spaces in other cities.

 

Kevin P. Centanni - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Kevin is an entrepreneur, inventor, and hobbyist. For over 25 years, Kevin and his company, Controlled Entropy, have designed and produced hundreds of interactive experiences, museum exhibits, tradeshow displays, and electronic gadgets for clients worldwide. Kevin grew up in Metairie but lived in New York City for most of his adult life. He returned to New Orleans in 2010 and now lives next to the Lafitte Greenway. In 2014, Kevin bought the historic but abandoned 10th Precinct Police Station located on the Greenway. He is currently working with Susan Spicer to open a restaurant in the space. Kevin's personal interests include industrial archaeology, New Orleans history, pinball, trains, and infrastructure.

 

Foster Duncan - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Foster has more than 30 years of senior corporate, private equity, and investment banking experience. Mr. Duncan is an Operating Partner of Bernhard Capital Partners, a private equity fund focused on investing in industrialized energy services. Mr. Duncan also serves as a Senior Advisor to EHS Partners in New York, a management consulting firm focused on improving operational effectiveness, earnings, and growth. Previously, Mr. Duncan was a Managing Director at Advantage Capital, Managing Member of KD Capital L.L.C., Executive Vice President and CFO of Cinergy Corporation, Chairman of Cinergy’s Investment Committee, and CEO and President of Cinergy’s Commercial Business. Foster has also held senior management positions with LG&E Energy Corp., Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold, Howard Weil, and Edison Electric Institute. He graduated with Distinction from the University of Virginia and later received his MBA degree from the A. B. Freeman Graduate School of Business at Tulane University. Foster serves on the Boards of Directors of Atlantic Power Corporation (NYSE:AT) in Boston, Massachusetts and Greentech Capital Advisors in New York, a firm focused on M&A services and general strategic advisory services for Sustainable Infrastructure companies and projects. Mr. Duncan is active in a number of civic organizations including in New Orleans the Board of Directors of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital Foundation, The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, and Parks for All and in Charlottesville, Virginia the National Advisory Board and Selection Committee of the University of Virginia Jefferson Scholars Program and Co-Chairman of the Jefferson Circle, which promotes the preservation of the Rotunda and historic Grounds. 

 

Ellen Frischhertz - Board Term: Jan 2018 – Jan 2021

Ellen is a resident of the City Park neighborhood, frequent user of the Lafitte Greenway and has been an active community volunteer for over 40 years. In 2016, she received the Alma Mater Award from Jesuit High School, recognizing her extraordinary contributions of volunteer time and talent supporting the school. In addition to experience as a social worker, Ellen is an advocate for healthy, active lifestyles, currently serving on the board of Liberty’s Kitchen, and looks forward to bringing her passions and prior nonprofit experience to help Friends of Lafitte Greenway carry forward the community's vision for the Lafitte Greenway as a great public space.

 

John Hopper - Board Term: Jan 2018 – Jan 2021

Hopper has over twenty-five years of non-profit management experience, ran an operating foundation at the American Red Cross National Headquarters with a $93 million endowment, served as the Executive Director of the Young Leadership Council for seven years, and has overseen the successful implementation of scores of grants. He presently serves as the Chief Development Officer and Director of Public Affairs at New Orleans City Park and has been instrumental in raising over $130 million for the park since Hurricane Katrina. He has a B.S. in Management with a Specialization in Spanish and an MBA. He served in the United States Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. He has and continues to serve on a number of non-profit boards. 

 

Ernest Johnson - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Ernest is a community leader, an advocate for youth and families, and a respected local organizer. For the past 6 years, he worked as a community organizer for Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), fighting to bring the voices of families and communities into discussions concerning juvenile incarceration and other social matters. In addition to his work at FFLIC, Ernest is President of the Treme/Lehmann Booster club, a former board member of Safe Streets Strong Communities, and a current national board member of Equal Voice Action. He is also co-chair and member of the advisory committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) and worked on the 2015 electoral campaign of State Representative John Bagneris. He has spoken on issues of equity and incarceration, and the importance of centering parents and families, at Tulane University, the Joan Mitchell Center, on WBOK, and in two interviews with the New Orleans Times Picayune. He was born in the 6th Ward in the Lafitte Housing Development and the Lafitte area has been home to him through all the changes and revitalization it has experienced over the decades. Recently, he organized the First Lafitte Family Reunion, which was attended by over 500 former and present Lafitte neighborhood residents. His passion is connecting community members to each other and to opportunities in the city and he is excited to continue that work with Friends of the Lafitte Greenway.

   

Antonia Keller -Board Term: Jan 2017 – Jan 2020

Antonia Keller serves as Director of Operations for Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which supports educational initiatives for children in the areas of nutrition, life skills development and cultural enrichment. She joined the foundation in 2006 to participate in the recovery of her native New Orleans, and previously she worked in the special events industry in Dallas, Las Vegas and New Orleans. Antonia is a past member of the advisory board for Special Events Magazine. A graduate of LSU, she is a Mid-City resident and enjoys bike riding for recreation.

 

Stosh Kozlowski - Board Term: Jan 2018 – Jan 2021

Stosh currently serving as the Principal Transportation Planner with Transdev in service to the Regional Transit Authority. Formerly, he was a Senior City Planner with the City of New Orleans, City Planning Commission as well as the Department of City Planning with the City of Atlanta. He has years of experience working with diverse communities throughout the south, focused on the advancement of comfortable, safe and effective multi-modal transportation networks. His expertise includes the development of complete streets, pedestrian safety, transit-oriented development and transportation planning. Before pursuing his career in Urban Planning, Stosh worked in the New York City film industry as a Location Scout and Location Manager. He holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgia State University and resides in New Orleans with his wife, Meredith, and daughter, Pia.

 

Seth Levine - Board Term: Jan 2017 - Jan 2020

Seth is a business lawyer, with a degree in finance, and licensed Louisiana real estate broker with a decade of experience guiding clients through commercial transactions that are often complex and crucial to a company’s success. A partner in the New Orleans office of Jones Walker LLP, Levine works with exploration and production, hospitality, real estate development, and manufacturing companies as well as national and local lenders. A member of the Energy, Environment & Natural Resources practice in the firm's New Orleans office, his practice involves a wide range of energy matters and he has extensive experience in project financing, land acquisitions, servitude acquisitions and all other real estate matters, including all aspects of real estate due diligence and title matters, hydrocarbon processing, handling and transportation agreements, master service contracts for offshore and onshore oilfield services and equipment, and energy infrastructure projects, including LNG facilities, pipelines, storage facilities and floating production systems.

 

Demetric M. Mercadel - Board Term: Jan 2017 - Jan 2020

Demetric has several passions, but her top three include family, community service and political  activism. Demetric has more than 35 years of experience in the accounting, finance and planning fields with responsibilities ranging from basic operations, administrative accounting, preparing variance analysis reports and special projects. Demetric currently is public affairs, senior customer service specialist, for Entergy New Orleans, Inc. In this post, she develops working relationships with the City of New Orleans and with the New Orleans delegation of the state legislators and supports strategic regulatory, energy efficiency and energy policy initiatives. Demetric is a proud New Orleanian–born and raised in the 7th Ward–who works with numerous community organizations such as president of the board of directors of the French Market Corporation and of the Upper Pontalba Building Association, president of the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic Church Pastoral Council and recently completed the coordination and development of the Corpus Christi- Epiphany Neighborhood Community Center in the 7th Ward; past president of the board of directors of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.; former president and now vice-president of the board of directors of St. Augustine High School, currently serving as board secretary; board member of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and much more.

 

Larissa Muetzel - Board Term: Jan 2018 - Jan 2021

Larissa is originally from a small town near Moscow in Russia. Larissa moved to the United States in 2001. She received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Russian State Agrarian University in Moscow. In 2010 Larissa successfully completed Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) program.  In 2014 Larissa became a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and currently provides accounting services for various organizations. She is the Treasurer for the International School of Louisiana Board of Trustees. Previously Larissa worked as the Director of Finance & Administration for the Young Leadership Council (YLC) and as CFO for Ernst Café, Inc. Larissa resides in the Irish Channel with her husband, Brandon, who works for a local non-profit organization, Energy Wise Alliance.  Together they enjoy traveling and entertaining friends and family at their home.

 

Natalie Mitchell - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Natalie is an attorney and political consultant specializing in public policy research, government relations, and advocacy. Natalie previously worked for the Business Council of New Orleans managing Forward New Orleans, a coalition of local business, civic, and neighborhood organizations who came together after Hurricane Katrina to advocate for improvements in city governance. Natalie previously worked for the New Orleans City Council as a staffer for Council President Jackie Clarkson. She is a native of Waveland, Mississippi and moved to New Orleans in 2006 to attend Tulane Law School. Natalie has lived near the Greenway for the past three years. During that time she has grown to appreciate the positive impact the Greenway is having in connecting and improving adjacent neighborhoods and is eager to do her part to make sure we get the most out of this amazing community asset.

   

Andreanecia Morris - Board Term: Jan 2014 – Jan 2017

Andreanecia serves as the Executive Director for HousingNOLA, is a 10-year public private partnership working to solve New Orleans’ affordable housing crisis. The 10-year Strategy and Implementation Plan, released in 2015, indicates the need for 33,600 additional housing opportunities by 2025. Morris has worked to create affordable housing opportunities in the Greater New Orleans Area in both the public and private sector--creating opportunities for approximately 500 families to become first time homebuyers after Hurricane Katrina. She was lead organizer for the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA) when it started in 2007 as collaborative coalition of non-profit housing builders and community development corporations. In 2016, UNITY of Greater New Orleans named Morris Outstanding Advocate for Affordable Housing, BIZ New Orleans Magazine named Morris one of the Top 10 Influencers in Real Estate and Urban Conservancy and Stay Local named her to its 2016 Urban Heroes Class.

 

Darby Shields - Board Term: Jan 2017 - Jan 2020

Darby is an avid biker and regular user of the Lafitte Greenway Bikeway. He is a member of the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway since 2015 and has supported many activities. Mr. Shields started an aerospace engineering company in 1982, sold the business and moved to New Orleans in 2015. He has served on boards for the Boys and Girls Club and the High Street Theater Foundation in California, with experience as President and Treasurer and raising funds for 501c organizations. He has a special interest in expanding the bike path to City Park and insuring safety on the cross streets.


Kevin U. Stephens, Sr., MD, JD - Board Term: Jan 20178- Jan 2021

Kevin U. Stephens, Sr., MD, JD has been serving as the Senior Pastor at Christian Unity Baptist Church since October 1, 2017. His previous experience includes serving as the Health Director for the City of New Orleans for eight years (2002 – 2010).  His accomplishments include leading healthcare in the City of New Orleans through the most destructive man made and natural disasters and building a public health infrastructure from ground zero.  Kevin U. Stephens, is a board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist who was in private practice in New Orleans East for over 14 years.  His has previously served as the Women’s Health Medical Director for the Office of Public Health in the Department of Health and Hospitals for the State of Louisiana.  Additionally, he has served on the NIEHS Advisory Board and Childhood Lead Poison Prevention Advisory Committee. Dr. Stephens has worked with as a consultant to local, state and federal agencies; he has given lectures across the country, and is committed to community education about medical issues. Dr. Stephens is a native of Gonzales, Louisiana and holds a B.S. in Physics from Southern University in Baton Rouge, M.D. from LSU Medical School in New Orleans, and a residency in Ob/Gyn from Tulane University.  He also has a J.D. from Loyola Law School.  He is married to Dr. Cheryll Bowers-Stephens, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and they have 3 children.


Charles Stewart - Board Term: Jan 2018 - Jan 2021

Charles Stewart is a Loan Officer at Iberiabank in downtown New Orleans, where he helps clients with consumer and commercial financing across various industries. In April 2018, Charles will help open a new Iberiabank branch in Mid-City, blocks from the Lafitte Greenway. Charles began working for Iberiabank in 2016 after graduating from LSU. Born and raised in New Orleans and a graduate of Jesuit High School, his hobbies include working out, running, and spending time with friends and family. He loves the outdoors and believes that he can give back to New Orleans by volunteering with Friends of Lafitte Greenway.

 

Leonetta Terrell - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Leonetta was a founding Board member of Friends of Lafitte Greenway and remains an active member of the Community Engagement Committee. A longtime residents of the Tremé neighborhood, Leonetta  got involved with the Greenway to be a voice for Tremé. She works professionally as social worker. Leonetta is an active member of St. Peter Claver Church.

   

Jeffrey J. Thomas - Board Term: Jan 2016 – Jan 2019

Jeffrey Thomas is principal of Thomas Strategies, LLC, a strategic planning firm that facilitates public-private financing, policy, and partnership solutions to spur resilient community and economic development. Jeffrey has over fifteen years of legal, public administration, and community development experience, including public- and private-sector projects aimed at increasing community investment in environmental quality, sustainable public infrastructure, neighborhood-scale economic revitalization, renewable energy solutions, and public access and participation in governmental decision-making.