Jazz & Heritage Foundation Board

Board Officers

David Francis, President

David Francis is the retired Executive Vice President and Publisher of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, working for NOLA Media Group and its predecessor, The Times-Picayune, for more than 20 years. Previously, Francis served as a Regional Business Planner and Manager of Financial Operations for Pepsi-Cola and Audit Manager for Deloitte & Touche. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in business administration from Tulane University and is a CPA (Inactive status). In addition to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation board membership, he is the President of the Institute of Mental Hygiene board and Vice Chair, Lakefront Management Authority Board of Commissioners.  He is currently a board member of Liberty Bank and Trust, LSU Healthcare Network and The Times-Picayune Doll and Toy Fund.

Tara Carter Hernandez, First Vice President

Tara Carter Hernandez is President of JCH Development, an urban real estate development company that converts underutilized real estate into “cool”, creative spaces.  She is also actively involved in the technology investment community as an investor and Fund Manager for Reform Ventures, LLC. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge MA with a Master of Science Degree in Real Estate Development and a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in Finance.  She holds positions on several not for profit boards, including the PORT of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, Ochsner Health Foundation, the Idea Village, and as Past Chair Emeritus of Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc). She is a member of Alpha, Kappa, Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Rachel F. Cousin, Second Vice President

Rachel Ferrouillet Cousin retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2013 after 35 years of employment. Of her 35 years, she spent 32 years in various management positions, with 27 years in the Sales and Marketing arenas. Since retiring, she has become a home-based travel agent and enjoys finding the perfect vacation for her clients. She fills her time traveling, spending time with family and friends and community volunteering. She presently serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts Diversity Gala and Eldercare Services. She has worked with the Jazz & Heritage Foundation since 2008. A New Orleans native, Rachel attended St. Joseph Academy and Dominican College. She is married to Alan Cousin, with whom she shares four children and two grandchildren.

Sidney H. Cates IV, Secretary

Judge Sidney H. Cates, IV has served as judge of Civil District Court, Division C, since September 2004. He was chosen by his colleagues to be Chief Judge of Orleans Parish Civil District Court for a two year term from January 2016 through December 2018. Prior to his election, Judge Cates was a litigator for twenty-eight years, earning national recognition for his success as a trial and appellate advocate, particularly in products liability and statutory employment litigation. He has served and continues to serve on various community and educational boards. Judge Cates has been a member of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Board of Directors since 2015 where he is currently the Secretary. He has also been a WWOZ Board of Directors member since 2016 where he is currently the Chair. Judge Cates is an honors graduate of St. Augustine High School, Loyola University, and Loyola University Law School in New Orleans and has been a member of the Louisiana State Bar since 1976.

J Pegues, Treasurer

J Pegues recently retired as Managing Director of Huron Consulting Group, capping over 35 years’ experience specializing in strategy formulation and execution, strategic marketing and sales, and new business development.  J’s experience includes growing businesses in new markets and leading strategic turnarounds.  He is expert at setting a clear vision for organizations, building consensus among leadership, and securing commitment to pursuit of that vision. Prior to joining Huron, Mr. Pegues held senior leadership roles with LSU, Aetna, CIGNA, Humana, and Coventry Health Care.  J earned his Masters in Business Administration from Tulane University, where the faculty awarded him “The Outstanding Graduate” honor.  He joined the Jazz & Heritage Advisory Council in 2014 and was elected to the Jazz & Heritage Board of Directors in 2017.  He also serves on WWOZ’s Board of Directors, which he chaired from 2019 until 2021.


Board Members

  • Candice Bates Anderson
  • Jay H. Banks
  • Gerald Billes
  • Cecil “C.J.” Blache
  • Skipper Bond
  • Sidney H. Cates IV, Secretary
  • Rachel F. Cousin, 2nd Vice President
  • Richard F. Cortizas
  • David Francis, President
  • Deborah D. Harkins
  • Tara C. Hernandez, 1st Vice President
  • Barbara Lacen Keller
  • David A. Kerstein
  • Ellen M. Lee
  • Brittany Major
  • Ronald P. McClain
  • Virginia Miller
  • Julie Wise Oreck
  • J.R. Pegues, Treasurer
  • Parker Robinson
  • Howard L. Rodgers III
  • Caryn Rodgers-Battiste
  • Katy Roubion
  • Leonard Smith III
  • Karen B. Solomon
  • David Torkanowsky

Advisory Council

  • Flozell Daniels Jr.
  • Monique Morial
  • Tania Tetlow