In 1970, the Foundation was set up to be the nonprofit owner of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – Jazz Fest – with a mission to sow the seeds of our unique culture for generations to come.
In the early days, the festival wasn’t the world-famous event that it is today – one that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to New Orleans and pumps $300 million a year into the local economy. No, it is often said that at the first Jazz Fest there were more performers onstage than people in the audience.
But the founders believed that Jazz Fest would one day grow into a major success. Everyone involved wanted to make sure that the festival’s proceeds would be redistributed into the local community.
So the Foundation, a 501©(3) nonprofit organization, was established with a distinguished board of directors and a full-time staff. It’s mission:
“To promote, preserve, perpetuate and encourage the music, arts, culture and heritage of communities in Louisiana through festivals, programs and other cultural, educational, civic and economic activities.”
Anthony J. Ruda, President
Anthony J. Ruda, a former chief executive of the United States Postal Service for the State of Louisiana, is the president of the Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors. A New Orleans native, he grew up in the city’s Irish Channel neighborhood and is a proud product of the New Orleans public school system. After a two-year stint in the Army and attending both Delgado Community College and the University of New Orleans he took an entry-level job with the Postal Service in 1973. He steadily worked his way through the ranks, becoming District Manager for Postal Operations for Louisiana in 1995, overseeing a budget of more than $800 million. He completed executive education programs at Emory, Stanford and Harvard universities. During his career he was recognized with a Meritorious Service Award and, twice, with the Vice President's Award. He was recruited to join the Foundation’s Advisory Council in 1997, and became a member of the Board of Directors in 2002. He has served on the board of the Greater New Orleans YMCA, and currently is a member of the Postal Service Credit Union Supervisory Committee. He retired from the Postal Service in 2006, and now enjoys spending time with his wife Jeannie, their two children and three grandchildren.
Demetric Mercadel, First Vice President
Ms. Mercadel is the Senior Associate Analyst for Entergy New Orleans, Inc., where she has worked since 1981. She attended Xavier and Tulane universities and serves on many professional and civic associations. Currently, President of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, LA Chapter; President of the Sisters of the Holy Family Development Board, President of the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic Church Parish Council, Member of the Board of Directors of the French Market Corporation and Board Member of the Upper Pontalba Building Restoration Corporation, and has previously served as a member of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Youth Program, the College Fund/UNCF Run/Walk, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Super Bowl Committee, and the National Forum of Black Public Administrators. Ms. Mercadel has received numerous awards and recognition for outstanding community service throughout her professional career. She was a founding member of the Kiwanis of Metro New Orleans.
Donna Santiago, Second Vice President
Ms. Santiago is an attorney with 17 years of experience in arts, entertainment and nonprofit management. She holds a B.A. from New York University and a J.D from New York Law School. She has served on the board since 2003. Ms. Santiago is a partner in Hypersoul, a New Orleans entertainment firm offering talent management, booking and publicity services to a roster of established and up-and-coming artists. She is also the founder and executive director of the Backbeat Foundation. She was associate producer and music supervisor of the documentary film “90 Miles,” which won awards at the Havana Film Festival and the New York Latino Film Festival, and aired nationally on the PBS series “P.O.V.” She was the producer of the film “Dear Talula,” a documentary that won awards at the Tribecca Film Festival and Luna Festival, and aired nationally on Cinemax.
Kathleen Turner, Secretary
Kathleen Turner has more than 20 years of experience as a manager of performing arts centers and touring Broadway productions, working at locations throughout the United States. She is an expert in operations management, with a long track record of reducing deficits, increasing revenues and implementing marketing plans. She has programmed numerous series of Broadway plays, concerts and community events. She recently oversaw the completion of a $7 million restoration of the Pontchartrain Center. She currently serves on the boards of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Longue Vue House and Gardens and the Laketown Festival Foundation. She contributed to the master planning of the New Orleans riverfront redevelopment.
Jeffrey Goldring, Treasurer
Jeffrey Goldring is a Director of the Sazerac Company, America's largest distiller of alcoholic beverages, which owns and manufactures nearly 200 brands of spirits sold throughout the United States and abroad. He is also a Director of Crescent Crown Distributing, the nation's second-largest beer wholesaler. Jeffrey is the fourth generation to lead the family business, which was started by his great-grandfather, Newman Goldring, in Pensacola, FL, in 1898. A New Orleans native, Jeffrey holds a B.S. in business administration from Tulane University and is a graduate of Isidore Newman High School. In keeping with his family's longstanding leading role in the civic and philanthropic life of New Orleans, Jeffrey serves the boards of many local nonprofits. In addition to those of the Goldring Family Foundation, the Woldenburg Family Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Jeffrey also is on the boards of the Tipitina's Foundation, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the New Orleans Jewish Federation, Temple Sinai, the Anti-Defamation League and KIPP Charter Schools. Jeffrey is married and has one child.
Jay H. Banks
Dr. Sid Bhansali
Cecil “C.J.” Blache
James B. Borders, IV
Dr. Beverly Guillory-Andry
Douglas S. Hammel
Deborah D. Harkins
Tara Carter Hernandez
Johnny Jackson, Jr.
Clifford V. Johnson
Allison H. Pena’
Belinda Lewis Batiste
Sidney H. Cates IV
Karen Nabonne Coaxum
Rachel F. Cousin
Roger D. Dickerson
Karen Bourgeois Solomon
Lewis W. Stirling III
Past Presidents Senate:
Judge Michael G. Bagneris
Arthur Q. Davis, Sr. (deceased)
Emilo “Monk” Dupre
Don T. Erwin
Judge Gerald Federoff (deceased)
Sarah Allen Freeman
Chief Warren McDaniels (deceased)
David W. Oestreicher II
D. Joan Rhodes
William “Bill” Rouselle
Judge Ronald J. Sholes
Michael J. Gourrier
Dr. Henry Lacey
Dr. Gabou Mendy
- Don Marshall, Executive Director
- Marsha A. Boudy, Chief Administrative Officer
- Sheri LaBranche, Chief Financial Officer
- Scott Aiges, Director of Programs, Marketing & Communications
- Rachel Lyons, Archivist
- Jarrod Remetich, Senior Accounting Clerk
- Shanna E. Hudson-Stowe, Development Associate
- Kia Robinson, Programs, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
- Dolores Hooper, Associate Archivist
- Dashika Davis, Receptionist / Typist