Our Story


We who recognize God’s providence and fidelity to His people are dedicated to living out His Covenant among ourselves and those children we serve, with absolute respect and unconditional love. This commitment calls us to serve suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children. Just as Christ in His Humanity is the visible sign of God’s presence among His people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of God, working through the Holy Spirit among ourselves and our kids.

Guiding Principles


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.


We offer young people protection from the streets and from their pasts. We stress the reality of the present moment, and encourage belief in their potential for the future.

Values Communication

Lasting, caring relationships are built on trust, respect and honesty. We teach our young people that the “values” of street life are destructive.


Stability is unknown on the streets. 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?

The reality of what many of our young people have experienced is harrowing. They come to our door after years of abuse, violence, and trauma.


Young people receive care at Covenant House each year

  • 85% are survivors of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse, assault, or rape
  • 30% aged out of foster care
  • 15% ran away from home
  • 75% were thrown out of homes that no longer wanted them
  • 52% are young women, 46% are young men, and 2% are transgender
  • 40% of our young men and 30% of our young women have been released from jail or juvenile detention
  • 36% of our young women are mothers
  • 30% are survivors of human trafficking and/or sexual labor
  • 35% identify as LGBTQ+
  • 85% suffer from PTSD/poly-trauma – 35% receive medication
  • 80% have used drugs – 40% have a serious addiction

In Their Own Words

The numbers are sobering, but 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

James R. Kelly

James R. Kelly

Executive Director
Jim founded Covenant House New Orleans in 1987. In 2011, he returned to Covenant House as Executive Director.

In the past forty years, Jim has worked in ministries that serve the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. Jim is the past Co-President of Catholic Charities of New Orleans. The organization played a major role in the community’s relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts following Katrina.

Jim serves on many local Boards of Directors and has testified before numerous Congressional Committees. He and his wife Ginny have three children: Elizabeth (30), Michael (29), and Stephen (19).

Richard Arnold

Richard Arnold

Director of Development & Communications
Monica Chanel

Monica Chanel

Human Resources Manager
Clinton Charlot

Clinton Charlot

Director of Finance and Treasurer
Brian Gorman

Brian Gorman

Director of Administration
Wyatt Hines

Wyatt Hines

Director of Programs
Deneen Jackson

Deneen Jackson

Director of Non-Residential Services
David Jones

David Jones

Director of Transitional & Independent Living
Tara McKinney

Tara McKinney

Director of Program Planning and Evaluation
Vantrelle Payton

Vantrelle Payton

Director of the Crisis Center

Board of Directors

Judge Lance Africk
U.S. District Court

Charles Beasley
Baptist Community Ministries

Edgar “Dook” Chase IV
Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

Philip Claverie, Sr.
Phelps Dunbar

Heather Millican Doyle
Heather Doyle Designs

Tawana Ewing
St. Thomas Health (CHNO alumna)


Dr. Christian Fauria-Robinson
LSU Health Sciences Center

Katie Harvill
Matchstick Creative

Dr. Deidre Hayes
Tulane School of Social Work

David Krebs
Krebs Farley

Madeleine Landrieu
Loyola College of Law

Martha Landrum
Community Advocate

Derrick Martin
Algiers Economic Development Foundation


Kristin Gisleson Palmer
New Orleans City Council

Christian Rhodes
Roedel Parsons

Gene Simon
Bertucci Construction

Dr. Julie Slick
SE La. Veterans Health Care

Tod Smith

Luis Zervigon
Crescent Capital Consulting



Jack Benjamin

Judge Stanwood Duval

Margaret Kelly


How Can You Help?

In the past 8 years, the number of young people in our daily care has grown from 65 to 204 per night. You can help give them a chance.