Our Blog

A Message From Our Executive Director 2021

Marguerite smiling.

Dear Friends,

Your support this past year is what made has it possible for New Orleans Habitat to keep building and supporting our partner families, to plan ahead, and to adapt to the unexpected changes everyone has faced. Seeing people come together during the multiple crises of 2020 and 2021 reminds us anew of the importance of the communities we build and the relationships that support and make those builds possible.

As we prepared this report, Hurricane Ida brought major wind and flood damage to the Louisiana Coast. Our team immediately began assessing the damage, deploying resources, and making plans to serve the rebuilding needs of the community, yet it felt frustratingly slow. In the wake of a disaster, it never feels like enough and it never feels fast enough. NOAHH’s 38 years on the frontlines of providing housing solutions have taught us that every storm has its own profile, and that long-term disaster recovery is very different from immediate response. Each form of recovery is vital and each carries unique complexities and constraints. It reminds me that there are times when all of us must rely on others, and that together, we are indeed stronger. Our sister affiliates from Mississippi, Lafayette, Houston and beyond all stepped up to offer advice, resources and support. I am deeply grateful to each of them and to our teammates at Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) for their kindness and willingness to help. Without their support, it would have been much harder for us to provide help within our service area.

One of the many challenges we are facing is how to help homeowners navigate the complexities of applying for disaster aid, filing insurance claims and working with contractors. For the community we serve, meeting the “named storm deductible” has been especially difficult when so many lost their jobs in the pandemic, depleting savings and upending everyone’s best laid plans. A special thanks to Lowe’s, The Home Depot Foundation, AT&T Louisiana, IBERIABANK/ First Horizon Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and our other partners who are providing support for those who are struggling. If you would like to aid our Ida recovery work, visit www.donatenola.org.

I am delighted to announce that early next year, we will begin construction on a new community called Rising Oaks that will be located on a former golf course in Jefferson Parish. Our work building homes within existing communities in New Orleans and home repair services will continue, but Rising Oaks will be an opportunity to design an entire residential community. As always, the residents will take part in our First-Time Homebuyer program, completing sweat equity and buying their own homes with an affordable, 0% interest mortgage. This community will provide affordable homeownership opportunities in an area that is within walking distance to employment (over 4,500 jobs within one mile) and everything Habitat homebuyers need to thrive. You’ll see a preview of our plans for Rising Oaks deeper in this report.

I am grateful to the New Orleans Habitat staff. Our team ‘s extraordinary work throughout the pandemic made it possible to operate without interruption of service. We are profoundly grateful to our supporters, donors, and volunteers for your support of our programs and services, especially during the pandemic and following Hurricanes Ida and Zeta. We look forward to working with you to bring Rising Oaks and other projects to life.

Thank you,

Marguerite Oestreicher
Executive Director
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity

Meet Our Leadership

Our 2021 Board of Directors

Robert Eustis, President
Chairman Emeritus, Eustis Mortgage Company

Ann Clayton Chamberlain, Vice President
Vice President, Program Management, Methodist Health System Foundation

Chris Ferris, Secretary
President and CEO, Fidelity Bank

Tyler Nichols, Treasurer
Consultant, Bourgeois Bennett CPA

Joe Blanchek
General Manager, Marriott Convention Center

Sue Bonseigneur
Household of Faith Family Worship Church

Dann Cahoon
Managing Partner, Rault Resources

John Creevy
Partner, Herman, Herman, and Katz

Terri Dreyer
Owner and Founding Partner, NANO LLC

Brandin Dubos
Assistant Loan Officer, Iberia Bank

Lona Hankins
Deputy CEO for Infrastructure and Planning, Regional Transit Authority

Riley Kennedy
Director of Organization Development, Woodward+Design Build

Larry Palestina

Kelly Theard
Managing Director, Deutsch Kerrigan

W. Anthony Toups
Principal, Advantage Capital

Our 2021 Executive Leadership

Marguerite Oestreicher
Executive Director

Allen Bell
Director of Strategic Planning

Harry Bruns
Director of Retail Services and Growth Initiatives

Clark Bucko
Director of Family Services

Bradley Holland
Director of Construction

Annette LeBlanc
Chief Financial Officer

Tim O’Rourke
Director of Operations

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