About Us

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.”

To that end, the Foundation has developed numerous programs and assets. Click here to learn more about them, and here to contribute to the Foundation’s efforts.

Board Officers

Demetric Mercadel

Demetric Mercadel, 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

Donna Santiago, First 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

Kathleen Turner, Second Vice President

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

Jeffrey Goldring, Secretary

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.

David Francis

David Francis, Treasurer

New Orleans native David Francis is the executive vice president and associate publisher of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. He has worked for NOLA Media Group and its predecessor, The Times-Picayune, for more than 18 years. During his tenure, the paper has won four Pulitzer Prizes, the first in its 176-year history, and most recently NMG has received national recognition for “Louisiana Purchased” the joint investigation by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and New Orleans Fox network affiliate WVUE into the state's campaign finance practices. The investigation won a national Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association, the national Peabody and Headliner Awards, as well as three regional Murrow Awards. Prior to joining The Times-Picayune, Francis served as a business planner with the Pepsi Cola Company, based in Denver, CO, where he developed strategic and annual operating plans. Before that he was the region's manager of financial operations and services, responsible for the Rocky Mountain area's accounting and auditing departments. Francis came to Pepsi from Deloitte & Touche, where he worked as an audit manager. He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees in business administration at Tulane University and is a Certified Public Accountant (Inactive status). In addition to the board membership of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, he is secretary of The Times-Picayune Doll and Toy Fund Board and is a member of the New Orleans Museum of Arts Director’s Council. He is a former president of the Louisiana Press Association, Louisiana Daily Newspaper Publishers Association and Children's Bureau of New Orleans. He has served on the boards of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Board of Advisory for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Board Members:

Jay H. Banks
Dorian Bennett
Dr. Sid Bhansali
Gerald Billes
Cecil “C.J.” Blache
Skipper Bond
James B. Borders, IV
Mickey Caplinger
Judge Sidney H. Cates IV
Richard Cortizas
Rachel Cousin
David Francis
Dr. Beverly Guillory-Andry
Douglas S. Hammel
Deborah D. Harkins
Nadir Hasan
Barbara Herman
Tara Carter Hernandez
Clifford V. Johnson
Allison H. Pena’
Rafael Perales
Carol Solomon
Karen Bourgeois Solomon
Parker Sternbergh
Suzette Toledano
David Torkanowsky

Advisory Council:

Marc Barnes
Dubravka Gilic
David A. Kerstein
Ellen M. Lee
Ronald P. McClain
Virginia Miller
Joseph Moran
Julie Wise Oreck
J.R. Pegues
Howard L. Rogers III
Katy Roubion
Jeff Rubin
Leonard Smith, III
Kathy Cobette Saloy
Bruce Wainer

Past Presidents Senate:

Judge Michael G. Bagneris
Garic “Nikki” Barranger (deceased)
Johann Bultman
Arthur Q. Davis, Sr. (deceased)
Earl G. Duffy
Emilo “Monk” Dupre (deceased)
Don T. Erwin
Judge Gerald Federoff (deceased)
Sarah Allen Freeman
Marion Greenup
Nancy Marinovic
Chief Warren McDaniels (deceased)
David W. Oestreicher II
Arthur Pulitzer
D. Joan Rhodes
William “Bill” Rouselle
Joel Sellers
Judge Ronald J. Sholes
Dan Williams
Roxy Wright

Honor Council:

Penny Randolph-Biagas
Michael J. Gourrier
Johnny Jackson, Jr.
Dr. Henry Lacey
Dr. Gabou Mendy
Bill Rucker
Steve Tujague


  • Don Marshall, Executive Director
  • Sarita Carriere, Director of Finance and Human Resources
  • 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
  • Jason Doyle, Production Manager
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.