In crisis, needing life’s basics of food, clothing and shelter, young people come to Covenant House day and night and are accepted without question or cost.
Covenant House offers young people protection and safety. We stress the reality of the present moment and encourage belief in their potential for the future.
At Covenant House, lasting, caring relationships are built on unconditional love and absolute respect. We teach our youth the benefits of positive values like honesty and trust.
Stability is uncertain when facing homelessness or human trafficking. We offer young people guidelines, plans, and options— not rules and regulations that will impede them.
Change, freely chosen, brings the surest progress. We assist our young people in making positive decisions about their future.
Who are our kids?
In Their Own Words
Our young people are so much more than statistics. They are good, and beautiful, and brave.
Despite all they have been through in their short lives, they are full of hope.
“I am blessed to have turned my life around these past six months. Now that I have a job, and soon an apartment, I have begun thinking about possibly working in youth ministry.”
“I want to go to college and become a surgical nurse so I can make enough money to give back to the people at Covenant House.”
“I don’t have my own family helping me, so just by having Covenant House as a family – it’s like a miracle to me.”
“I can’t remember how many different foster care homes I lived in. I just remember how happy they were to see me go. When I was sixteen I ran away to New Orleans.”
“I came here to get myself together, and I ended up finding a lot of friends and a lot of staff that really support me mentally and emotionally.”
“The staff here at Covenant House have had a big impact on my life. If I hadn’t come here, I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing with my life.”
“There’s no place like Covenant House. You can come here, build up your pride, self esteem, confidence, and your money.”
“Covenant House helped me realize that people who might not be related to you are actually with you during your struggle off the streets.”
“My mom had a drug problem, and she left one day. Covenant House is a place where people really care about you. It was the best move I ever made.”
Senior Leadership Team
Rheneisha is a passionate advocate and demonstrated public health professional with over 20 years’ experience in Non-profit Leadership and Community Public Health. Her extensive resume reflects a successful career and dedication to positive youth development and adolescent & women’s health. Throughout her career she has worked to improve the overall health outcomes and quality of life of marginalized communities, with a particular interest and focus on women, youth, and communities of color.
Rheneisha’s professional achievements include 15 years with the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, a national non-profit health organization domiciled in New Orleans. Her various leadership roles at IWES have included Chief Programs Officer and Chief Operations Officer. She has served on the boards of Girls on the Run NOLA, the Greater New Orleans Breastfeeding Advocacy Coalition, and Emerge LA. She currently serves on the board of Iggie’s House – A Nia Robertson Foundation, and the New Orleans Metro Stars. Rheneisha is also a past member of Off the Field Players’ Wives Association, a national association comprised of wives of active and retired professional football players.
Rheneisha earned a master’s degree from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and a bachelor’s from Xavier University of Louisiana. She is a graduate of the Brian Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum and the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership program. She is a proud native of New Orleans, wife, and mother of two young adults.
Senior Program Team
Ebonee C. Adams
Board of Directors
Christian has been a practicing attorney and Lobbyist in Louisiana for over a decade. He received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Fordham University and his J.D. from Loyola College of Law. His first “real” job out of college was as a legal analyst inside the Pentagon, detailed to the Renovation and Construction Program. This experience triggered a career in maximizing the possibilities of success at the intersection of government, business, and community.
Since passing the Louisiana Bar in 2008, Christian has actively practiced law in the various branches of state and local governments throughout Louisiana. During the oil spill of 2010, Christian was tasked to be BP’s liaison to Governor Bobby Jindal. In the following years, Christian focused the majority of his practice towards traditional state lobbying. One of Christian’s proudest professional achievements was working with law enforcement interests, the faith-based community, Governor John Bel Edwards, a bipartisan group of state legislators, and the bipartisan criminal justice reform interest group Justice Action Network to safely reduce the prison population throughout the state.
As always, Christian is grateful to be married to Robin Rhodes. Together, they are the proud parents of Claiborne, Johnny and Cassius.
David is the managing partner of Krebs, Farley & Dry and works in the New Orleans office. He entered Tulane Law School after earning an MA in History and Economics at the Karl Eberhards Universität in Tübingen, Germany. While at Tulane, David was a member of Tulane Law Review and graduated magna cum laude in 1982. After graduation, at point he started as an associate at Phelps Dunbar, where he remained until 1991, having become a partner in the interim. In 1991, he started his own firm and has practiced in that capacity ever since.
David’s practice has focused on commercial litigation with a strong emphasis on trial work. He has tried approximately 100 cases in his career, many of them jury trials, which he prefers. Most of these cases were complex, high-dollar and long, and distributed roughly evenly between state and federal court. David’s trial experience includes proceedings in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and California.
Active in the community, David served as the Chair of the New Orleans Pro Bono project for two years following Hurricane Katrina. As Chair, he led the Project during a time of a massive effort to address the extraordinary legal needs of the displaced poor of New Orleans. He also personally led the legal team that created the framework for the Qatar Tremé Project to finance the restoration of 100 residences in the historic Tremé neighborhood.
When not working, David likes to travel, read, cook, and spend time with his family and friends.
Dr. Deidre Hayes (Chair)
Deidre Hayes, DSW, BCD, LCSW-BACS is a Professor of Practice in the Tulane University School of Social Work. She has been a licensed clinical social worker in New Orleans for over 30 years. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Loyola University of the South, a master’s in social work from Tulane University, and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She has extensive experience with individuals and families, specializing in mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Her private practice specializes in individual, children and family evidenced based interventions.
Deidre has been an integral part of many start-up initiatives including Covenant House, the New Orleans Drug and Mental Health Courts, and the New Orleans Family Justice Center. She is a clinical consultant for National Child and Family Services Wrap Around Program, providing clinical supervision and guidance for social workers who serve the most vulnerable members of the community. Additionally, she serves as both supervisor and mentor for those seeking licensure. Dr. Hayes currently serves as the Co-chair of the Empowering Change Task Force and Director of the Elk Place Health Spot, a monthly community health fair for the Tulane School of Social Work.
Derrick is a Managing Partner at Sugchairo, Moi & Martin Economic Advisory Services. He previously served as the Executive Director for the Algiers Economic Development Foundation (AEDF), whose priorities are ensuring long-term economic vitality for Algiers. In this capacity, Derrick redirected AEDF’s focus towards developing strategies for business retention, expansion and corporate attraction as well as becoming an integral part of the state’s economic development eco-system. Prior to joining AEDF, he served as the Director of Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) at the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA).
During his leadership role within Maricopa County Workforce Development Division in Arizona, Derrick championed business development for over 400k businesses. He was tasked with challenging workforce and economic development issues such as creating pipelines of talent, lay-off aversion, positioning businesses for sustainability and developing specialized training programs. Derrick’s experience also includes key roles in national marketing campaigns for companies such as General Motors, Verizon, The Coca-Cola Company and other private and public entities. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from Jackson State University, along with certificates in Project Management from George Washington University and Six Sigma Studies from Kettering University formerly General Motors Institute. He also serves on the board of directors of Crescent City Schools.
This past November, Derrick was honored to co-chair the 9th Annual Covenant House Sleep Out. He is married to Leah and has three children (Briana, Leilani, & Xavier).
Eric is an insurance advisor at Marsh & McLennan Companies, specializing in governmental agencies. Originallyfrom Texas, he received his bachelors of interdisciplinary studies and a master’s in business administration at Louisiana State University on a football scholarship, winning a BCS National Championship under head coach Nick Saban. He subsequently played professional football as a member of the New England Patriots for 6 years, winning Super Bowl XXXIX under head coach Bill Belichick.
Eric currently serves as Secretary for the NFLPA Former Players New Orleans Chapter and on the board of Community Works of Louisiana. He also appears regularly as an LSU game-day analyst for Cox Sports Television. Eric enjoys traveling and working out. One of his greatest accomplishments was training for and finishing the Boston Marathon. He and his wife Brandi have one daughter, Ellison.
Gregor was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He came to New Orleans in 1990 to attend Tulane University. After falling in love with New Orleans during college, he decided to dedicate his life to the city.
After Tulane, Gregor started a lifelong career rehabilitating properties in New Orleans. For the first 20 years he concentrated on renovating historic houses uptown, doing most of the work himself. For the last decade he has been developing commercial properties in the historic Marigny neighborhood.
In addition to real estate development, Gregor has experience in financial management and philanthropy. He has a keen understanding of financial markets, asset allocation, and investing with an eye to preserving capital and liquidity. In philanthropy, he has experience working with his family foundation, as well as serving on the boards of YaYa and the New Orleans Ballet Association.
In addition to being a lover of New Orleans cuisine, culture, and history, he is a father of three and a dedicated family man.
Heather Millican Doyle
Heather is the owner of a local design company that specializes in creating custom-designed headpieces to individuals and groups. This past November, she was honored to co-chair the 9th Annual Covenant House Sleep Out. She is an active member with the Junior League of New Orleans, having previously served as Business Council Director and helped organize monthly birthday celebrations for Covenant House residents.
Originally from Bellaire, Texas, Heather received a Bachelor of Arts in Russian and Eastern European Studies from Arizona State University. She has a background in the estate sale business, is an avid seamstress, and loves making elaborate cakes. For several years, she studied Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense program.
Heather lives in Central Carrollton with her husband Warren and their three boys, Warren, Parke, and Ethan.
Dr. Jake Kleinmahon
Jake is the medical director for pediatric heart transplant, heart failure and ventricular assist device programs at Ochsner Hospital for Children. He also has advanced training in taking care of infants and children with pulmonary hypertension and runs a clinic dedicated to taking care of patients with pulmonary hypertension. He trained in pediatrics at Tulane University Hospital and Ochsner Hospital for Children before completing fellowships in pediatric cardiology and pediatric heart transplant and heart failure at Children’s Hospital Colorado. While in Colorado, he was awarded the Colorado Chapter of the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association’s Doctor of the Year award in 2017. He was also elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society as a resident.
Jake is active in the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation and has been asked to present multiple times at their annual conference. He is also active within the pediatric heart transplant study society. He is the principal investigator of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study and Advanced Cardiac Therapies Improving Outcomes Network (ACTION) at Ochsner. His interests include taking care of children with heart transplants and pulmonary hypertension. He resides Uptown with his husband Thomas and their two young children.
Karyn serves as the Director of Communications and External Affairs at Intralox, a global manufacturing company headquartered in New Orleans. She was the Global Marketing Manager for Intralox, an Executive Vice President at Audubon Nature Institute and Managing Director of the Audubon Aquarium for 13 years. Her board service includes an eight-year term as a Commissioner for the Downtown Development District and a term with the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
After Katrina, Karyn worked tirelessly as a founding member of Citizens for One Greater New Orleans and to rebuild and reopen the Audubon Aquarium. She was president of the Young Leadership Council and is a co-founder of the New Orleans Proud to call it home campaign. She was honored by City Business as a Woman of the Year. Karyn is a two time sleeper for Covenant House. She received her BA from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She lives in New Orleans with her husband Bill and has two sons, Jackson and Pierce.
Having traveled the globe crafting uncommon experiences for some of the world’s most progressive companies, Katie Harvill brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as vice president of Etherio Incentives. Before combining forces with Etherio Group, she spent five years as the owner and operator of Matchstick Creative, a boutique incentive design firm that offered out-of-the-box experiences for the corporate market. For her clients, Harvill personally orchestrated events in more than 45 countries that strengthened client culture across senior leadership teams and top performers.
Before founding Matchstick Creative, Harvill gained a broad understanding of the intricacies of global marketing as the vice president of marketing for Solera, Inc., an international data and software company based in Dallas.
Harvill resides in New Orleans with Asher, her golden retriever. When not traveling the world for her clients, she enjoys seeking out new, unique personal travel destinations, exploring New Orleans’ restaurant scene, honing her cooking skills and walks in Audubon Park.
Kristin Gisleson Palmer
Kristin represents New Orleans City Council District C which includes Algiers, French Quarter, Marigny, Treme, St. Roch and Bywater neighborhoods. This term is her second representing the people of District C, serving back in 2010-2014 before taking a break to spend time with her family. With over 20 years of experience in neighborhood revitalization, economic development and community organizing, she has developed and implemented innovative solutions for some of the most challenging issues confronting New Orleans. She is a leading champion of community-driven neighborhood planning and revitalization, smart growth and sustainable development.
Kristin played a leading role in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. As Executive Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, Kristin developed one of the largest AmeriCorps and Vista programs and led over 10,000 volunteers to help rebuild Katrina-damaged homes. She founded Confetti Kids, a non-profit that improves the quality of life of children in Algiers Point through the renovation of parks and playgrounds, and was a founding board member of Evacuteer.org. In 2014, Kristin opened a housing construction and renovation company focused on reducing blight and providing affordable housing to almost 30 new homeowners in Algiers.
The daughter of a former federal prosecutor and a school teacher, and the second of eight children, Kristin was raised in New Orleans. She graduated from Ursuline Academy and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from St. Louis University. She and her husband Bobby live in Algiers with their youngest daughter.
Judge Lance Africk
Judge Africk was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by George W. Bush in 2002. Born in New York, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his bachelor’s degree in 1973 and from the University of North Carolina Law School with his J.D. in 1975.
Lance began his law career as a clerk for Judge James Gulotta of the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1975 until 1976. In 1976, he worked in private practice before becoming a state prosecutor. In 1977, Lance became the Director of the criminal bureau for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, where he worked until 1980 as part of a specialty task force dealing in the prosecution of repeat offenders. In 1980, Lance moved back to private practice for two years. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1982 to 1990, when he was appointed to the federal bench as a federal magistrate judge. Since 1986, Africk has also been a part-time professor at the University of New Orleans.
Lance and his wife Lisa reside Uptown.
For over 10 years, Luis has focused on helping individuals and families manage their financial affairs, focusing on portfolio construction, investment advisor selection and monitoring, cash flow management, and comprehensive financial planning. His diverse background in investment management, financial planning, banking and entrepreneurship allows him to advise his clients on how their cash flow, estate planning, trust, and tax requirements can be integrated to meet their financial goals. Prior to establishing Crescent Capital Consulting, Luis was associated with Equitas Capital Advisors and managed a private family office in New Orleans. He has also served as the Chief Financial Officer of a Louisiana-based liquor import company and a corporate lending officer at a New Orleans-based regional bank.
Luis earned his MBA from Tulane University along with a MA in Latin American Studies. In addition, he also has a BA in Business Administration from American University in Washington, DC. He is a Certified Financial Planner(TM) (CFP®) and is a member of the New Orleans Estate Planning Council. Luis is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Keller Family Foundation and is a Trustee of the RosaMary Foundation. He is also on the board of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, where he serves as Chairman of the Investment Committee.
Luis and his wife Regina reside in New Orleans with their three children.
Dr. Marc Behar
Marc has been active in numerous civic and non-profit organizations throughout New Orleans, serving on or chairing many boards over the years, including Forum for Equality, New Orleans Human Relations Commission, Alliance For Good Government, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Jewish Pride NOLA, Temple Sinai and Avodah. He is the developer of Pride Prom NOLA and since 1992 he has been consecutively elected to 8 4-year terms on the Orleans Parish Executive Committee.
Marc resides in New Orleans with his longtime partner, Jeff Sbisa.
Judge Paula Brown
Judge Brown was elected to the State of Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit on March 25, 2017, and was re-elected without opposition on July 20, 2018. She was formally a judge at Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, where she served for 7 years. A native of Oceans Springs, Mississippi, Judge Brown attended Tulane University on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management from the A.B. Freeman School of Business. She received her Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.
In 1993, as a young lawyer, Judge Brown began to hone her skills by serving as a judicial law clerk for the former Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Bernette J. Johnson, in Civil District Court and again in the Supreme Court. Her vast experience led her to an appointment as Judge Pro Tempore for Orleans Civil District Court in 2004. A Louisiana Bar Foundation Fellow, Judge Brown’s board service includes the A.P. Tureaud American Inn of Court (President), Louisiana Green Corps (executive board), Louisiana Appleseed, Louisiana Heat Foundation, I.N.S.P.I.R.E., RR, Inc. (Vice President), and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (New Orleans Affiliate). As a breast cancer survivor, and a person living with trigeminal neuralgia and multiple sclerosis, Judge Brown is passionate about promoting awareness for these diseases.
Judge Brown truly believes to whom so ever much is given, much is required.
S. Parkerson McEnery
Parke McEnery is the Sponsoring Broker, Principal and Manager of The McEnery Company & McEnery Residential.
Parke is also regularly engaged in personally serviced commercial real estate sales and leasing, project management, both fee-based and personal real estate development, and specialized real property consulting assignments. He has been featured, quoted and included in many local regional and national media publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, The Advocate/Nola.com and City Business. Parke is a licensed real estate broker in Louisiana and Mississippi, and a general certified real estate appraiser in Louisiana.
During the course of his career, Parke has closed in excess of $200 million in real estate brokerage sales and leasing transactions and has managed over $50 million in fee based and personal real estate development and investment. For well over a decade, Parke managed The McEnery Company valuation platform and has opined on the market value of an estimated minimum of $2 billion in real property assets. In 2014, the Appraisal Institute ® awarded Parke the prestigious MAI designation.
In addition to Covenant House, Parke has served or is presently serving on boards and committees related to Rhodes College, Trinity Episcopal School, and numerous other local charitable and social causes. He is happily married to Marti McEnery, and is also the proud father of three young children. Parke is a graduate of Rhodes College, where he was a multi-year letterman on the football team.
Peter Wilson, Jr.
Peter is an associate at Roth Law Firm, primarily practicing in the areas of project development, private equity investment, and associated financing, with a special emphasis on historic rehabilitation and community development real estate transactions. Since joining Roth Law Firm in 2017, he has represented developers, lenders, and investors in structuring, negotiating, and documenting a broad range of commercial transactions.
Peter earned a dual MBA and Juris Doctor from Tulane University and a B.A. from Wofford College. He and his wife Rosalind reside Uptown.
Tawana is an employee of St. Thomas Community Health Center and a former resident of Covenant House. She is an active participant in events and helps to mentor and encourage our many young people.
“I was 17-years-old, my child was two-months and I had no place to go,” she says. “The staff at Covenant House
became my family. This place is such a safe haven to so many, especially for mothers with young children.”
Thelma is the President & CEO of Total Community Action, Inc., the city’s federally designated anti-poverty agency, and Head Start grantee. As a champion and advocate for early childhood development, quality and equitable education and employment opportunities, Mrs. French serves as the Secretary of the Board of the Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN), and a member of the Steering Committee of the New Orleans Early Care & Education Network (NOEEN) and a board member of BENOLA.
Her public administrative experience includes serving as Director of Board Operations and Intergovernmental Relations for the Orleans Parish School Board, Executive Assistant for Federal and State Programs for former mayors Marc Morial and Ray Nagin. Ms. French has also served as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her community and board service includes the National Community Action Partnership, the Alliance for Children and Families, the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council, the New Orleans Workforce Development Board, the Association of Community Action Partnership of Louisiana, Orleans Parish Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Black Education for New Orleans, Providence Community Housing, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Thelma’s proudest achievements are her children, daughter Nia Danielle Harris French, son, Gerard Norbert French
and grandchildren Cairo Gerard, Reese Bailey, and Reagan Danielle.
Michele Fontenot is currently the Assistant Director of Network Performance and Engagement at Peoples Health where she builds and maintains relationships with practice leadership and clinical influencers actively involved in practice transformation to improve quality, efficiency, and utilization. Fontenot is active in our community, having served in leadership roles for several professional, civic and charitable organizations, including the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the New Orleans Black Chamber of Commerce, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon Committee, the Louisiana Folic Acid Committee, Neighborhood Conservation District Advisory Committee, and is a long time Sleep Out participant.
Michele comes from a long line of members of the Randolph family who have been members of the Covenant House New Orleans Board of Directors since our 1987 founding, beginning with her grandmother Dorothy Randolph, succeeded by her aunt, Vaughn Randolph Fauria and ending with her cousin Dr. Christian Fauria-Robinson.
Hon. Stanwood Duval
How Can You Help?
In the past 10 years, the number of youth in our care has grown from 45 to over 200 per night. Support our youth as they work to reach their incredible potential.