Our Team

Friends’ team is comprised of staff members, our Board of Directors, Advisory Committees, community engagement teams, and hundreds of volunteers

SOPHIE HARRIS VORHOFF | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Sophie Harris Vorhoff is Executive Director of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, a nonprofit organization working to build, program, and promote New Orleans’ Lafitte Greenway as a great public space. Sophie joined Friends of Lafitte Greenway in 2012 as a board member, and has served as the organization’s first Executive Director since 2014, where she leads strategic direction, public programming, marketing and communication strategies, design and advocacy, financial administration, and development. Under Sophie’s leadership, Friends of Lafitte Greenway developed an innovative public-private partnership with the City of New Orleans. Prior to working with Friends of Lafitte Greenway, Sophie coordinated special projects and community development for Providence Community Housing on a Fox Leadership Fellowship through the University of Pennsylvania. Sophie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Urban Studies and Political Science. She currently serves on the High Line Network Steering Committee, the Regional Planning Commission, and the Complete Streets Coalition.

Camly Tram | Operations & Project Director

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Camly Tram is a proud New Orleans local continuing to work to uplift our city. Camly is a Tulane University graduate with a degree in Psychology and Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. She is back on the team after serving Friends as a Serve Louisiana AmeriCorps member in 2019-2020. When not working from home, you can find her visiting local coffee shops and diving into a new book.

Alexis Marceaux | Community Relations & Development Manager

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As a proud New Orleanian, Alexis looks forward to creating programming that celebrates the culture of New Orleans. Alexis joins the team with 12 + years in the New Orleans music community and a background in Vocal Performance and Education. Alexis attended high school at NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) in the Musical Theater Department and Southeastern Louisiana University. She is excited to fuse her music career and education experience with her position at the Greenway. When she is not biking, walking or working on the Greenway, you can find her performing with her bands Sweet Crude and Alexis & the Samurai at venues all throughout the city.

   
                                                                                                                                            

Guerline Camille | Communications & Programs Coordinator

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Guerline Camille is the Communications & Programs Coordinator at Lafitte Greenway. She is also a graduate of Florida International University with a degree in Social Work. Guerline has a passion for writing and hopes to become a published author one day. As an Americorps VISTA member, she is eager to get to know and serve the New Orleans community.

Tyronnisha "Ne Ne" Johnson | Get Fit Coordinator

I am super excited to be a part of the Lafitte Greenway family. I'm thankful for this life-changing experience of being able to interact with communities and nature in a change for the better. Thank you and welcome me to the family, Friends of the Lafitte Greenway.

Board of Directors

 

Essence Banks - Board Term: Jan 2021 – Jan 2024
Essence Banks celebrates sixteen years as a heart disease survivor and Founder/ President of Heart N Hands, Inc., founded in 2014, a nonprofit focused on increasing awareness and educating girls aged 10-18 about heart health and heart disease prevention in the community. Essence is a native of New Orleans, graduated from McDonogh 35 High School, received her BA from Loyola University New Orleans and her MBA from the University of New Orleans. Essence has a background in human resources/talent management, certified Six Sigma Black Belt, training & development and experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Essence enjoys spending time with husband Nick Banks and 2 sons, Jaden and Connor.
 
 
 
Emily Bullock - Board Term: Jan 2020 – Jan 2023

Emily Bullock is a Principal with Spackman Mossop Michaels landscape architects. She has experience designing open space projects and leading community engagement efforts in dynamic and diverse communities across New Orleans, Detroit, Chattanooga, and many others, including a youth-inclusive design process with middle school students at Paul Habans Charter School in Algiers focused on stormwater management, and a bilingual neighborhood green infrastructure engagement plan in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Emily has enjoyed following the development of the Greenway since its early planning stages and looks forward to contributing to the momentum and continued success of the Greenway.

 

Debbie de la Houssaye - Board Term: Jan 2020 – Jan 2023

For over 25 years, Debbie de la Houssaye was Artistic Attaché in New Orleans for the Government of France, bringing visual and performing artists to New Orleans and facilitating exchanges for local artists in France.  With degrees in Romance languages from LSU and UNO, she recently returned to LSU for a degree in social work, subsequently establishing and coordinating the Helpline at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Currently she works part-time in the field of social work, serves on the board of New Orleans Jazz Celebration, and volunteers for Compost Now through the NO Public Library. Debbie and her husband, Lake Douglas, were founding members of Friends of Lafitte Corridor and have actively supported the Greenway since its inception. She aspires to share her interest and expertise in gardening, biking, climate concerns, and the community at large.

 

Laura Carleton Doody - Board Term: Jan 2021 – Jan 2024

Laura Doody is currently serving as Assistant Vice President of Ochsner Health, where she is responsible for strategic planning, modeling, and overall accountability for the finances of the Northshore West Region. Originally from Lake Charles, LA, Laura graduated from Louisiana State University with a Masters of Business Administration. While at LSU, Laura competed for the track and field and cross country teams and holds the school records for the 5k and 10k. Still an avid runner and regular user of the Lafitte Greenway, Laura lives in Gentilly with her husband, Cullen, New Orleans based contractor and developer with Reynolds Developments. They enjoy traveling, exploring New Orleans with their goldendoodle, Maddox, and volunteering as assistant coaches for the Jesuit High School XC team.

 

Susan Guidry - Board Term: Jan 2022 - Jan 2025

Susan is a native of New Orleans and retired from the New Orleans City CounciL after serving from 2010 - 2018 as the District “A” representative and Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. Her professional career also includes working as a teacher and a civil litigation attorney. Susan earned a B.A. degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a J.D., cum laude, from Loyola Law School. Susan and her husband Hervin have been members of Friends of Lafitte Greenway for many years. Upon inauguration to the City Council, Susan announced the Greenway as her top priority capital project. Susan presently also serves on the board of the LA/SPCA.

 

Vann Joines - Board Term: Jan 2021 – Jan 2024

Vann has over 15 years of experience in affordable housing, renewable energy and commercial real estate development. His company, JOIN Development, specializes in utilizing public private partnerships and tax credit financing to build more sustainable communities. Vann has also held positions at the City of New Orleans, on their Infrastructure Development Team, and at Gulf Coast Housing Partnership. He holds a master's degree in Sustainable Real Estate Development from Tulane University and undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from Haverford College. Vann has lived in New Orleans since 2006 and prefers biking as his primary form of transportation.

 

Brian Knighten - Board Term: Jan 2021 - Jan 2024

Brian is an almost lifelong resident of New Orleans who currently lives in Bayou St John. His interest in the Greenway date back to pre-Katrina days when the concept of a rails-to-trails passage within the city was just beginning to take hold. Professionally Brian is a former high school teacher and university administrator, turned residential and commercial real estate developer. He currently owns two businesses along the Greenway - The Broad Theater and newly opened, outdoor venue Broadside. He is a former board member of Broad Community Connections, New Orleans Film Society, among others. Personally, Brian is a husband and father of four (three under one roof!), who spends his time coaching football, listening to live music, biking, golfing and fishing when his buddy's boat is working

 

Alonzo Knox - Board Term: Jan 2022 – Jan 2025

Alonzo Knox is an entrepreneur and co-owner of Backatown Coffee Parlour. He has had a rewarding career highlighted by managing programs for distinguished national educational nonprofit organizations, consulting on disaster recovery for a leading housing consultant firm, working for three elected officials; as well as, fighting in Operation Desert Storm during his 14-year enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. With his diverse background, Alonzo was appointed by two mayors to serve as Commissioner of the New Orleans Historic District Landmark Commission. He is an active board member of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association (HFTA), and has been engaged with the development of the Greenway since its early years. He was educated at Southern University – Baton Rouge (Political Science and Law Enforcement) and at Trinity University – Washington, DC (MBA with emphasis in organizational development). He has been married for 18 years to Jessica Knox.

 

Greg Lawson - Board Term: Jan 2022 – Jan 2025

Greg Lawson is the Senior Vice President for Strategic Neighborhood Development at the New Orleans Business Alliance. He is a social change leader, with a focus on advocacy, community building, and engagement. Over the years, he has consulted with national nonprofit, government agencies, and social enterprises on equitable community development strategies, program, and public participation policies. With nearly a decade of experience, Greg has extensive knowledge in community development, nonprofit management and implementation of community-based initiatives that addressed social/racial justice issues in the Greater New Orleans area. Greg has worked both in the nonprofit and government sectors, where he oversaw the capacity building and advocacy programs designed to enhance the community development infrastructure across the gulf coast region through training, skills development, and coordination of grants assistance for grassroots leaders and organizations; raising over $5 million to implement community-based programming such as Civic Leadership Academy and more recently the Resilient Corridor Initiative (RCI). He has proven experience in working alongside communities securing representative community involvement and participation in government decision-making. He holds a B.S. in Management/Business Administration from Xavier University of Louisiana and is a Master of Public Administration from the University of Phoenix. He is currently studying to become a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) with the International Economic Development Council.

 

Melissa Lee - Board Term: Jan 2020 - Jan 2023

Melissa, a resident of Mid-City, co-leads an integrated team of planners, designers and technical experts in the completion of community engagement, planning and facilitation activities at Concordia. As an experienced urban redevelopment professional and solutions-focused administrator with a comprehensive background in neighborhood economic development, community organizing, and urban planning, Melissa has shepherded socially innovative programs from inception to completion across multiple U.S. cities. Her previous work experience includes serving on executive teams to advance program strategy and project implementation related to Federal Disaster Community Development Block (D-CDBG) investment initiatives; the facilitation of walkable and bike-friendly neighborhoods through design; the development of a unified, City-lead neighborhood economic development investment strategy and agenda; and the Lower Manhattan Small Business and Workforce Retention Program aiding in the September 11th recovery. Melissa envisions equitable planning and development more than buzzwords. She is committed to making planning more responsive to the quality of life demands of all populations, developing new tools for understanding how social and economic conditions affect access across racial and socioeconomic disparities, and diversifying the involvement of those participating in planning processes.

 

Mike Leitzinger - Board Term: Jan 2020 - Jan 2023

Michael is a mechanical engineer and Mid City resident. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Michael fell in love with and moved to New Orleans over a decade ago. He developed a passion for volunteerism from an early age. With the help of his wife Emily, Michael has spent the past 10 years giving back whenever and wherever possible. Michael works as the Manager of Mechanical Engineering department at Infinity Engineering Consultants, LLC. He oversees several engineers in the development and management of projects. When he isn’t volunteering or working, Michael rides with the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi entertaining Parade goers during carnival season. Michael looks forward to supporting the Friends of Lafitte Greenway and promoting the great thing the Greenway has to offer.

 

Sally Lindsay - Board Term: Jan 2021 - Jan 2024

Sally Lindsay spent years in New York City studying the evolving landscape as an Urban Studies major at Columbia University, specialized in Social Psychology. Her award-winning research explored how social media was altering the way humans imagined, built, and navigated the city. Sally moved to New Orleans with the startup-oriented Venture for America fellowship, where she landed at the New Orleans Business Alliance. Sally launched Big Easel Collective to connect local New Orleans artists to place-based businesses to design memorable art installations. She has been recognized for her community and economic development expertise by Columbia University, Venture for America, the International Economic Development Council, the City of New Orleans, and the Emerge Summit Millennial Awards. Most recently, she began as Director or Business Development for an affordable housing design-build startup, Shibusa Systems. When not working, she serves on the board of several nonprofits, bikes, listens to podcasts, and decorates elaborate costumes.

 

Montgomery (Monty) Lunn - Board Term: Jan 2022 - Jan 2025

Monty Lunn is the current Vice Chairman of Friends of Lafitte Greenway as well as leading the Fund Development Committee. He is a licensed Commercial Realtor with NAI Latter & Blum. Monty has an extensive background in management and legal consulting while in career positions with Deloitte & Touche, Thomson Reuters and Huron Consulting. He and his wife Kathleen are native New Orleanians and have lived, worked and traveled extensively. A passion for the City of New Orleans(Kathleen currently serves on the City Planning Commission) brought them home and both are deeply engaged in public and private sector initiatives and community service. Monty holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Mount St. Mary’s in Los Angeles.

 

Justin Morgan - Board Term: Jan 2022 – Jan 2025

Justin Morgan is a lifelong resident of Louisiana who hold a BS in Mechanical Engineering from LSU as well as an MBA from Southeastern Louisiana University. During his eighteen years in the recycling business he has held a variety of roles involving metal procurement, transportation, import/export, and marine demolition. He currently serves as the Regional Manager for the New Orleans area and oversees two operating facilities. When not working, he enjoys spending time in nature with his wife and son.

 

Michael Ricks - Board Term: Jan 2020 - Jan 2023

Mr. Michael Ricks has served as District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration since 2004, first in Alabama and currently serving Louisiana since 2008.  Prior to joining the SBA, Mr. Ricks served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer, a Program Manager for Advanced Technology and Production Readiness projects for the U.S. Marine Corps in Washington, DC, and as a Defense Acquisition Officer in early Program Concept Development for the Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia as Chief of the Information Systems Division. As an active duty and reserve infantry officer, Mr. Ricks completed numerous overseas combat and hazardous duty deployments. He was medically retired from active service and is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Mr. Ricks is a former small business entrepreneur and operated a consulting company in Florida which advised on software development, business processes, electronic manufacturing, and information systems technology. Mr. Ricks earned a bachelor’s degree in Technology from the University of Houston. He also holds a graduate degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California, as well as an MBA from Troy University in Alabama. Mr. Ricks was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where much of his extended family still resides.

 

Christina Ruffins - Board Term: Jan 2022 – Jan 2025

Christina is a native of the Treme neighborhood, currently residing in the French Quarter and working in Human Resources at ESPN for The Walt Disney Company. Her goal is to align her passions for arts with culture preservation through selfless acts of service, driving her interest in the Friends of Lafitte Greenway. She is also a 400-hr certified yoga instructor (via scholarship at Swan River Yoga) and founder of Ruffins & Co. LLC which offers accessible, affordable, and convenient yoga resources to the BIPOC community. Ruffins’ connections with communities along the Lafitte Greenway run deeply through familial ties - a daughter of Kermit Ruffins and a great-granddaughter of the late Andrew Robertson Sr. who founded the Little People’s Place in the Treme. She is an alumna of Spelman College, McDonogh 35 Senior High School, and St. Peter Claver Elementary School.

 

Anna Wilson Schnitzler - Board Term: Jan 2022 – Jan 2025

Anna Wilson Schnitzler is an artist, graphic designer and founder of her small stationery business Sassy Banana Design Co. In 2020, Anna founded a nonprofit called Bayou Yacht Club (BYC) where she is currently the Executive Director. BYC provides opportunities to artists and musicians, while giving back to the community through collaborative projects and special events. Anna received a BFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia in 2012. After SCAD, Anna worked for four years as a marketing designer and art director at several agencies in St. Petersburg, FL before accepting a design role at a tech startup, which brought her back home in NOLA in 2016. These experiences helped build skills that would later help her serve in the nonprofit sector toward causes close to heart and home. When she’s not working, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband Ian, dog RZA, and large cat Vince. She also loves yoga, kayaking, and long walks on Bayou St. John. Anna is a proud native New Orleanian and an alumna of Academy of the Sacred Heart and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).

 

Darby Shields - Board Term: Jan 2020 - Jan 2023

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. Darby has served on the board of Friends of Lafitte Greenway since 2017 where has performed as Secretary.

 

Philip Stelly - Board Term: Jan 2022 - Jan 2025

Philip Stelly has extensive experience in journalism and corporate communications. He is currently the public information officer at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office where he is responsible for media relations and community engagement.  Previously, Stelly served as a senior communications advisor at Florida Power & Light Company. Prior to that, he was a staff writer for several trade and general interest publications in New Orleans and Miami. Stelly has served on the board of directors for Ride New Orleans as well as Susan G. Komen for the Cure-Florida Chapter, including one year as chapter president. He is an occasional yoga practitioner, a frequent user of Blue Bikes, and an avid wine buff.

   

Reed Wiley - Current Board PresidentBoard Term: Jan 2021 - Jan 2024

Reed Wiley is currently a commercial associate broker with Latter and Blum, Inc. and has called New Orleans home for the last 7 years after spending the previous 11 years in Los Angeles. As a commercial associate broker, Reed has worked in a multitude of real estate sectors and has experience working alongside State and City economic agencies in showcasing our remarkable City. Reed is also a passionate advocate for the current/future development of the Greenway and, through his occupation, is exceedingly knowledgeable of the Greenway and the surrounding neighborhoods/communities it connects. Having previously enjoyed wonderful experiences working alongside members of the Friends in a volunteer capacity including the Greenway Hikefest and a few mural/art projects along the Greenway, Reed looks forward to having the opportunity to work with his fellow board members to continue championing/building upon the growth of the Greenway and focusing on the long-term goals/plans needed to ensure this vital public asset further establishes itself as the central conduit bringing together family, friends, neighbors, tourists, and experiential explorers alike. Reed thanks you for your time and consideration!

  

Julia Zuckerman - Board Term: Jan 2022 – Jan 2025

Julia lives along the Lafitte Greenway with her husband and daughter. Julia’s passions include stormwater management, crafting, and, most recently, finding toddler friendly playgrounds. In her professional life, Julia is an associate at Ciolino & Onstott. Prior to joining Ciolino & Onstott, Julia worked as an attorney for Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and as the Director of Land Use for former New Orleans City Councilmember Jared Brossett. At Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Julia helped victims of the 2016 flood in Baton Rouge access federal and state recovery benefits through title clearing and successions. In addition to her skills as an attorney, Julia has helped many residents, real estate developers, and other entrepreneurs navigate the complex processes of zoning and permitting. This included working with several entrepreneurs through the conditional use permitting process as well as resolving issues with the applications of permits with the City’s Department of Safety and Permits. Julia is excited to apply her professional skills and experiences towards the continued success of the Greenway.