Board and Staff

Board President Amy Stelly is an artist, designer, and planner. Her body of artwork includes architectural and urban design, along with abstract painting, drawing, mask-making, photography, mixed-media and three-dimensional construction. She has led collaborative art projects and taught integrated arts to a variety of students including autistic, gifted, main-stream and incarcerated youth. She has studied and worked with acclaimed masters, including Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and the late Charles Moore. As a designer and planner, she has worked on a variety of projects including building and open space design, historic restoration, downtown and neighborhood revitalization, environmental planning, municipal zoning, incentives, entitlements, site planning, streetscapes and gardens. Amy has also served the New Orleans community as an advocate for water safety and water management. She has lectured on community garden design and the history of open space in the Treme. She’s also written about resiliency and public engagement in New Orleans. Amy was born uptown and raised downtown in Treme, where she lives today.

Vice President Jill McGaughey moved to New Orleans from her hometown of Minneapolis in 1999 after a torrid long-distance love affair with the historic French Quarter and New Orleans in general. A self-described “aesthetic pilgrim” in need of a reviving dose of beauty, Jill arrived here in search of inspiration which she finds daily in the architecture, vegetation and the sense of living history that permeates her adopted home. Her career as an art dealer has thrived in this culturally rich community; Jill formerly managed the Vincent Mann Gallery at 305 Royal Street, one of the city’s oldest fine art galleries; before Hurricane Katrina, she lived on Dumaine and Bourbon and worked for Bryant Galleries at 318 Royal. As a merchant on Royal Street for 15 years, she was keenly attuned to the unique ecosystem of the Quarter, observing firsthand the delicate balancing act between world-class attractions for visitors and the quality of life demanded by residents. Jill joined the board of VCPORA in 2015. Recently she co-founded Mac-Gryder Gallery on Julia Street in 2017. She is also a passionate advocate for her neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny, where she and her husband Eric own a small shotgun house with a large garden in the Triangle, which they share with their three LA-SPCA rescued mutts.

Secretary Kate Simister has been a resident of the French Quarter since 1991 and a member of the VCPORA board since 2015. She was previously a member of the French Quarter Citizens Board for several years and also a member of the initial Rampart Street Committee in 2004. Kate has a B.A. in Social Science from UC – Berkeley and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). During a 30+ year career in engineering and construction project management, Kate worked in Alaska, Algeria, Iran, and Chile. She provides project management services through her company, Acanthus Consulting, LLC, and is currently working with Waldemar S. Nelson & Company on Freeport-McMoRan copper and gold mining projects. Kate greatly enjoys the convenience, conviviality, and neighborliness of life in the French Quarter and says owning and caring for a property here has been one of her most rewarding and challenging experiences.

Treasurer Lee Alexander is currently living in his third house in the French Quarter on Burgundy, which has been through some renovation. After living in several cities and countries, he loves living in a true community that offers everything within a simple walk. He has renovated several houses in the Quarter on a pro-bono basis to help preserve the historic nature of the homes. Beginning his professional career as a US Naval Officer, upon graduation from Notre Dame in Civil Engineering and receiving a Masters at Marquette, he quickly went into the private sector to be an owner’s representative building shopping malls. Later during his first time in the Quarter, he was overseeing work at Harrah’s Casino (both the temporary and permanent version), then overseeing the work at the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street. After a short stint away, he returned to help rebuild a plant in Empire, Louisiana that had been totally destroyed in Katrina, and has lived here ever since. He was a former Senior Vice President at Daybrook Fisheries, Inc. and has been the local president of the Louisiana Engineering Society and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of the Louisiana Levee Board Nominating Committee, which sends nominees to the Governor for inclusion to both the East and West SELA Levee Boards.

Property Owners

Ira Paul Babin served as President of the board for the Foundation of Historical Louisiana during the 1990’s and more recently, as a long standing member of the board of directors for Magnolia Mound Plantation, both in Baton Rouge. Additionally he has been a trustee of the board of the Beauregard-Keyes House here in the Vieux Carré and currently volunteers as a docent. Ira’s interest in preservation and tourism reach back to his high school and college days, when he was a tour guide at Houmas House, later becoming the manager. Now retired, his most recent post was as director of marketing with the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

Edward Bonin first visited New Orleans with his paternal grandmother to visit relatives as a young child. Having grown up in St. Martinville, a trip to the city was a big deal! He moved to New Orleans to go to Nursing school in 1983. In 1987 he became a full-time resident of the French Quarter. Eddie has worked as a Nurse Practitioner for Tulane University in the Section of Adolescent Medicine for the past 20 years. He is past chair of the National Healthcare for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network Steering Committee and served as President of the Board of that organization. He has been a board member for several organizations locally – Summer Lyric at Tulane Steering Committee, Save Our Cemeteries, Louisiana Landmarks Society, CrescentCare (formally NO/AIDS Task Force). His interest in, and appreciation of, historic preservation started with the renovation of his home on Esplanade Avenue and continues with other properties in the Treme Neighborhood.

Brigid Brown was born and raised in New Orleans, where her French, Irish and German ancestors had settled by the mid-1800s. She is an attorney practicing in New Orleans and previously served as a Judicial Clerk at the Louisiana Supreme Court. Brigid permanently moved to the Vieux Carré’s Exchange Alley in 2009, where she lives with her husband, Steven Guidry. She is continuing in her role on the VCPORA Board of Directors and has previously served on its Quality of Life Committee, along with serving on Committees of the American Bar Association and International Association of Defense Counsel. She is also a volunteer at Ozanam Inn. Brigid is a regular attendee of Yoga at the Cabildo and is an avid collector of local art. When she is not walking and biking around New Orleans, she is enjoying Louisiana’s coastal waters at her camp in Grand Isle.

Sherry Cannon began celebrating birthdays and anniversaries in the French Quarter in the mid 1970’s with her husband, Robert. They both fell in love with this special community but never dreamed they would actually live here until they looked at a condo in 2012 on a whim, made an offer that was (surprisingly) accepted, and quickly adapted to life in the Quarter. They became full time residents in 2015. Sherry is an attorney practicing family law and was employed by the Louisiana Civil Justice Center where she assisted pro se litigants with legal issues related to family matters. She currently volunteers with the New Orleans Pro Bono Project at the Civil District Court. Prior to attending law school, Sherry was a teacher, school principal and central office administrator with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

Jane Cooper moved to New Orleans from the Midwest in 1985 to take a healthcare job and found herself living on Dumaine St. in the Quarter and loving it. She sampled several other neighborhoods in the city over the next 24 years but found the French Quarter home of her dreams on Barracks St. in 2011 and moved back to the Quarter with her husband Bob. They live there with their canine children Deuce and Pearl, taking their 6 am walks through the neighborhood as a family every morning. Jane’s career has been as a healthcare entrepreneur, starting 4 healthcare companies, including a national healthcare and advocacy business. She currently consults and teaches business at AB Freeman/Tulane University. Jane and her husband Bob also own Grande Krewe Fine Wine and Spirits in the Marigny, a unique retail and event destination. They are avid supporters of the New Orleans music and arts community. Jane also serves on the Board of the New Orleans Angel network and the Contemporary Arts Center.

Terry A. DuFrene, currently a Managing Director and Senior Investor, has been with J.P. Morgan for the past 25 years and joined their New Orleans team in 2011 after transferring from their Houston offices. Outside of his professional demands, Terry is on the board of the New Orleans Ballet Association, a member of the Investment Committee for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, sits on LSU’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Council, is the treasurer of the Vieux Carré Commission Foundation, is past VCPORA treasurer, and serves on the Finance Committee of VCPORA. His favorite hobbies are hunting, fishing, and traveling. Terry and his wife, Lynette, live here in the French Quarter.

Mark Masor has lived in the French Quarter as full time resident since 2012. As a Naval Architect, licensed Professional Engineer, and Project Management Professional, he heads up his company’s Gulf Coast office. He serves on the section board of his industry society. Mark is an active volunteer in the community. He volunteers with the National World War II Museum where he served as the naval architect for an all-volunteer team restoring the Higgins PT-305 for passenger operations. Mark has started up a New Orleans chapter for One Brick, a community of volunteers that support other local nonprofits by creating a friendly and social atmosphere around volunteering. Mark is a super fan of the French Quarter and enjoys our diverse New Orleans culture.

 

Commercial

Rylan Domingue grew up on the lakefront in Mandeville but spent endless amounts of time enjoying all that New Orleans had to offer including every possible moment traversing the French Quarter with her grandparents. After some time spent in Dallas, then the greater NYC area, she’s been back in New Orleans and working in the Vieux Carré for the last 8 years; half of those were fabulously consumed as a full time French Quarter resident. Being a lifelong hospitality industry veteran, she understands the economic engine of the Quarter, but as a former resident, the vibrancy and importance of America’s most unique neighborhood. As the general manager for Latrobe’s On Royal, she has spent countless hours loving and learning about the current French Quarter while working within a stunning 200 year old, purple rated national landmark. Rylan has ongoing working relationships and is in communication with many other groups including, but not limited to, French Quarter Citizens, NOFD, NOPD, New Orleans & Company and the FQBA. During the moments when she’s not working, she can be found enjoying all of the local French Quarter shops, courtyards, museums and food/beverage establishments. Her goal is to move towards a very sustainable future that works best for everyone, while drawing on and preserving what makes the Vieux Carré truly special.

Elizabeth Simpson, MPS, LEEDap, has a background in architectural conservation with an expertise in historic architectural colors, along with over 30 years’ experience in interior and textile design. Before earning her master’s degree in historic preservation at the Tulane School of Architecture, Elizabeth lived in New York, Brussels, San Juan, Florence, and Tangier practicing her design abilities, promoting and teaching sustainable building techniques, and dabbling in the dramatic arts. Originally from Seattle, she now makes New Orleans home where she has received numerous awards from the regional AIA chapter and others for her work on local historic renovations and research. Currently curating and managing collections, contributing to the content and design of exhibits, and researching and writing about the Beauregard-Keyes Historic House and Garden as a full time staff member, Elizabeth also consults on color, design, and building conservation through her company Studio Patina. She is a new resident of the French Quarter living on Ursulines with her cat, Jezebel.

 

Rental Residential Category

Julie Weiner is a native New Orleanian and a long term French Quarter resident. Passionate about French Quarter life, she has been an active VCPORA, Patio Planters and French Quarter Citizens member and volunteer. Dedicated to her rescue poodle, she volunteers for Inner Pup and Big Easy Animal Rescue, fostering and helping other less fortunate pups. Her career in outside sales, currently in the automotive industry, allows her the flexibility to enjoy French Quarter life fully.

Andy Gallagher became a resident of the French Quarter in 2010 after several years next door in Faubourg Marigny. His family is native to New Orleans, but he grew up with the valued experience of living in multiple cities around the world. His travels have affirmed Andy’s strong belief that New Orleans is a global treasure whose architectural landmarks and unique traditions are to be cherished and preserved for future generations. Andy is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. He enjoys his work as the Operations Manager for Raintree Services, a local nonprofit which has been helping vulnerable children throughout the New Orleans region since 1926. His responsibilities include licensing, policy, safety, budgeting, and the upkeep of the agency’s historic Garden District campus. On his days off, you can find Andy strolling the streets of the Quarter with his wife, actress/author Laura Cayouette, celebrating our cultural landscape.

 

Associates

Carol Gelderman moved to New Orleans from Chicago after earning a Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University to teach at the University of New Orleans. Settling first in the Garden District so her children could live near schools they attended, she moved in the mid-eighties to the Quarter for the next sixteen years, moving back to the Garden District in 2000. In her almost four decades in the city she has served on the VCPORA board twice before now, as well as on several other boards – A Studio in the Woods, The Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation, and the Tulane and Xavier University Center for Bio-environmental Research. Due to her publication of ten books and several dozen magazine articles, she served for several years on the board of the Writers Conference, a non-profit organization that enabled local writers to meet New York agents, editors, and publishers, and on the board of the PEN American Center, an international association of writers, specifically as Chair of PEN Gulf South that represented seven Southern states.

James Rolf is a New Orleans native and graduate of Jesuit High School. He attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he received his B.S. in Business Administration. While living in Natchitoches, he worked to restore homes in the Natchitoches Historic District, the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. After graduation, James worked as the facilities manager for a large hotel chain in the Greater New Orleans area. He completed his Masters in Preservation Studies at Tulane University in 2016, where he was instrumental in the preservation of the Carrollton Courthouse. James works for the Recovery School District as the Director of Planning and Preservation and assists with school facilities financing, community outreach, and construction planning and supervision. He is also responsible for structuring tax credit deals for schools in Orleans Parish. James is a fifth-generation Gretna resident and is passionate about preserving the community in which he lives. He is Second Vice President of the Gretna Historical Society, as well as Newsletter Editor and a member of the Finance and Building Committees. James continues to preserve Gretna’s built environment through his restoration efforts of both residential structures and churches. James’ preservation group, Rolf Preservation Works, L.L.C., is directing the tax credit work for the Saint Joseph’s Church and Auditorium restoration. Most recently, through the joint venture Calhoun + Rolf Preservation Works, James has started the McDonoghville National Register District nomination process. James is involved with various preservation advocacy groups throughout Louisiana, including VCPORA, playing an active role in last year’s Tricentennial Celebrations. During his free time, he enjoys the great outdoors and DJing dance music under the moniker DJ Carpenter aka DJ Preservation.

 

Staff

Executive Director Erin Holmes, a native Louisianian, made New Orleans home in 2006. She received a Bachelor of Interior Design from Louisiana State University and worked for a small commercial interior firm before deciding to further her education, specifically in the field of Historic Preservation. She obtained a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans with a double specialization in Historic Preservation and Economic Development. Upon graduation, she joined the staff of VCPORA as Assistant Director. She later moved on to the Preservation Resource Center, serving as the Advocacy Coordinator for preservation policy initiatives, while serving on VCPORA’s Board of Directors. She returned to VCPORA in January on 2019 as Executive Director. In her down time, she can be found exploring New Orleans neighborhoods, traveling, and parading with the Krewe of Goddesses.

Assistant Director Jack Greenwood was raised in Dallas, Texas, where he noticed the built environment’s effect on well-being at an early age. His interest in urbanism intensified while studying at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon, where he extensively researched urban design, housing affordability, and transportation infrastructure, and collaborated with food justice and sustainable development non-profits. He moved to New Orleans in 2016. He has worked with Bike Easy, Ride New Orleans, Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and various neighborhood organizations to promote smart urban design and strong communities. On a nice day, he can be found riding his bike around the city.

Office Hours:

The VCPORA office at 816 N. Rampart is generally open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Please call ahead (504-581-7200) or email (info@vcpora.org) for an appointment.