Our Team

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

   
    
 
   
Sophie Harris VorhoffExecutive Director
Email Sophie
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, NOLA Parks for All's Board of Directors, and the Complete Streets Coalition.

 

                                                                                                                                                 

Camly Tram, Interim Project and Program Manager
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. 
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
 
 
  

Miguel Wise, VISTA Planning and Engagement Coordinator
Miguel Wise is the new Americorps VISTA member for the Greenway. Having grown up in Southern California and graduated in History from a college in Pennsylvania, he is excited to become part of the community in the Greenway and the city. In his free time he likes to read, head out on long walks, play guitar and he is currently teaching himself Italian.
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                  
 
 

    

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.

 

Kevin P. Centanni - Board Term: Jan 2019 – Jan 2022

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.

 

Andy Dale - Board Term: Jan 2021 – Jan 2024

Originally from North Carolina, Andy Dale found his way to New Orleans via Ole Miss. He currently works as the Manager & Business Development Officer of IberiaBank, a Division of First Horizon at their Lakeview office. Andy and his fiancé live in Mid City with their Olde English Bulldog, Bootie. She is the biggest fan of the Greenway and can’t wait to be a part of the future growth.

 

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.

 

Foster Duncan - Board Term: Jan 2019 – Jan 2022

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. 

 

Misty Frye - Board Term: Jan 2020 – Jan 2023

Misty Frye is the happy and proud wife of Abiram Frye Sr., and their union is blessed with four children Abiram Jr., Abria, Abrian, and Abron. Misty Frye is currently the General Manager for the Historic Carver Theater. Under her leadership at the Historic Carver Theater, she has established many relationships within community and businesses as an initiative to revitalize this historical landmark. She has also implemented new programming under the Historic Carver Theater Foundation. Misty currently operates and manages a Permanent Supportive Housing Unit (PSH) for the New Orleans Family Justice Center. She is a Realtor with Frye & Melancon Realty. She comes with twelve years of experience and calls herself the “Real Estate Queen”. She also shares ownership of Top Job Cleaning Services with her husband, which provides residential and commercial cleaning services. Their business motto is “Your Perception Is Our Reality”. Misty’s educational background consists of receiving Associates in Business Management, Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, and her Master’s in Public Administration. She attends Holy Faith Temple Baptist Church “The Treme Church”. Her favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Susan Guidry - Board Term: Jan 2019 - Jan 2022

Susan is a native of New Orleans and is recently retired from the New Orleans City Council, where she served for eight years as the District “A” representative. Her professional career also includes working as a teacher and a civil litigation attorney. Susan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Loyola Law School. As Chair of the Council’s Criminal Justice Committee, Susan was committed to reforming our criminal justice system.  Susan also served on the City Council’s Utility Committee, where her agenda focused on growing our green industry and energy efficiency, including spearheading the implementation of the Council’s award-winning Energy Smart program.   

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 worked to push through the first contract for design and construction management and oversaw the Greenway citizen’s advisory committee.  She has remained involved both as a Council member and a Friends member. Susan has served on the boards of Parkview Neighborhood Association, the City Park Improvement Association and the New Orleans Museum of Art and presently 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

 

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.

 

Seth Levine - Board Term: Jan 2020 – Jan 2023

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. Seth has served on the board of Friends of Lafitte Greenway since 2017.

 

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 2019 - Jan 2022

Monty Lunn is the Interim Chair of Friends of Lafitte Greenway’s Fund Development Committee, where he has been a leading member since 2016. Monty serves as Managing Partner of Atlas Greenway Partners, a New Orleans-based real estate development company. He is a licensed agent with eXp Realty with an extensive background in management and legal consulting while working with Deloitte & Touché, Huron Consulting and Thomson Reuters. Monty and his wife Kathleen are native New Orleanians, and have lived, worked and traveled around the country. A passion for the City of New Orleans brought them home, and both are deeply engaged with both the public and private sector initiatives and community service. Monty holds a BA Magna Cum Laude in Philosophy from Mount St. Mary’s.

 

Nolan Marshall III - Board Term: Jan 2019 - Jan 2022

Nolan Marshall III moved back to New Orleans in 2018 with his wife and son, and intentionally chose to live near the Greenway. Nolan is the Vice President of External Affairs and Policy with the New Orleans Business Alliance - the official economic development agency of the City of New Orleans.  Prior to joining NOLABA, Nolan served as the President and Executive Director and Uptown Dallas Inc, and has held positions with the Downtown Development District, Tulane University's Cowen Institute, and Common Good at Loyola University, in addition to being an entrepreneur.  Nolan has also been an active civic leader, serving as Chair of the City Planning Commission, President of the Young Leadership Council, Treasurer of the Bio District, Board Chair of Einstein Charter School, and serving as a member of numerous other boards and commissions that serve the community.

 

Demetric M. Mercadel - Board Term: Jan 2020 – Jan 2023

Demetric has served as a board member of Friends of Lafitte Greenway since 2017.  Demetric has several passions, but her top three include family, community service and political  activism. Demetric has more than 40 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 recently retired from Entergy New Orleans, LLC. In her public affairs role, she developed 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 has worked with numerous community organizations such as past president of the board of directors of the French Market Corporation and of the Upper Pontalba Building Association, current president of the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic Church Pastoral Council and completed the coordination and development of the Corpus Christi- Epiphany Neighborhood Community Center in the 7th Ward; board members of Significant Educators Charter School System; 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; former board member of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and much more.

 

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.

 

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 2019 - Jan 2022

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.

 

Leonetta Terrell - Board Term: Jan 2019 – Jan 2022

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.

   

Reed WileyBoard 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!