Company Logo

Team and Board

Staff

Anne Rolfes

Director

Anne began her career in Nigeria, collaborating with local communities to address oil companies’ destruction of the Niger Delta. She returned to Louisiana in 2000 and collaborated with women along Cancer Alley to found the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Anne was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana where many people made their fortunes from the oil industry. She has seen the wealth and the poverty created by oil production and seeks a phase out of fossil fuels in her lifetime. She has a Masters in International Development from Tulane and has twice testified before Congress. Her work has been recognized by local and national awards, including the Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Public Advocacy and the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader Award.

Hope LeBlanc

Accountant

Hope has 20 years of service in the non-profit community as a Program Manager. Her experience has been primarily with grants and financial management of small nonprofits, as well as assisting small businesses to establish and maintain their financial records system. Hope manages the books and works with our community partners to develop their capacity for financial management. She enjoys working behind the scenes in order to ensure that the vision and purpose of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is fulfilled. She has been with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade since 2008.

Lenora Gobert

Genealogist

Lenora is utilizing her many years of conducting family history research in south Louisiana to assist River Road community members in building out their ancestral ties to the parishes along the Mississippi River. Historically, African American families have been pushed aside in the name of progress and economic growth. To this end, former plantations along the Mississippi River in St. James and other parishes which encompass African American communities and burial sites of former enslaved people have been  bought out, plowed under, built upon or ignored by the purchasers of the land. African American families with deep ties to these former plantations are fighting to reclaim the history of their ancestors. This requires historical documentation to recreate families and their connections to the land, which can be a daunting task for most African Americans with formerly enslaved ancestors. We recognize this history will be a powerful tool in taking on the petrochemical industry. To help community members uncover this documentation and reconstruct their families the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is utilizing Lenora’s skills as our in-house expert in genealogy and family history research.

Susan Sakash

Grants Manager

Susan (she/her/hers) writes grants for our community partners and for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. She joins the organization with over 15 years of experience raising funds for transformational community organizations in sectors as varied as urban agriculture, arts and culture, racial justice, and youth development. A New Orleans resident since 2013, she is a founding member of Cooperation New Orleans, a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to developing a more just and cooperative economy; a member of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee; and part-time operations manager with Schmelly’s Dirt Farm, a local compost collection and delivery company. Playing brass music, getting her hands in the dirt, and learning to be an anti-racist parent round out Susan’s daily practices.

Jack Reno Sweeney

Campaign Assistant

Jack Reno Sweeney (he/him) is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Baton Rouge. He graduated from LSMSA in Natchitoches, LA in 2015 before earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and French from Tulane University in 2019, including one year of study at l’Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris). Jack began his career in organizing in electoral campaign communications and field operations. He has participated in numerous progressive state and local campaigns, including the New Orleans voter turnout effort for the 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial election, the opposition to Louisiana Constitutional Amendment 5 in 2020, and the Save Your NOLA Library millage campaigns in 2020 and 2021. Jack is an active member in the New Orleans chapters of DSA and Sunrise Movement, an avid home cook, and a Guinness World Record holder for tallest okra plant. He has worked with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade since 2019.

Dana Blandin

Administrative Director

Dana Blandin, a Florida native, brings over 10 years of experience working with organizations to develop and manage operational processes. She manages the operation and administrative tasks for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Dana moved to New Orleans in 2017 after being drawn to the passion and potential of the New Orleans entrepreneurial community and has played a role in supporting growing businesses ever since. She is a founding member of Growhaus Studio, where she also holds the title of Director of Business Operations. Dana holds a BA in Organizational Management and Business Law, from the University of Miami, School of Business. She spends her time enjoying the outdoors, cooking for friends, and streaming anything binge-worthy.

Sheila Tahir

Bike Ride Manager

A New Orleans native, born and bred, Sheila holds an intense love for her city and state. She has an intimate understanding of how racial and environmental injustices throughout Louisiana’s history have shaped uneven geographies across the state, and how the petrochemical industry has helped perpetuate these divisions that have led to such stark disparities in terms of health, wealth, and opportunity. After graduating with a B.A. in English, Sheila taught abroad and traveled extensively before completing her M.A. in Social and Cultural Anthropology. She has returned to her first love, Louisiana, and is honored to be a part of the LABB team, working towards saving her home from further environmental degradation. She is eager to share her passion about Louisiana with others on the bike ride she leads through the river parishes, as well as introduce our community partners along the way in order for them to share their own unique stories. Sheila likes animals, reading, and Mardi Gras.

James Hiatt

Southwest Louisiana Coordinator

James has over a decade of experience working in the petrochemical industry – as a ship agent, a dock worker, a tank farm operator, and a laboratory analyst. He has seen and experienced the cognitive dissonance many workers feel between earning a living and the negative impacts on health and the environment that come from these industries. James has deep roots in Southwest Louisiana, having been born in Sulphur and raised in Lake Charles. He is currently finishing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from McNeese State University. He completed a two-year Contemplative spirituality program in 2019 at the Living School for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His great joys in life include spending time with his family and friends, traveling, music, and working towards a more just and loving world.

Lou Hobson

Chief Financial Officer

Lou is a native New Orleanian with 20 years’ experience as a CPA and valuation/forensic accountant with a firm in the Washington DC area, and then with her own company, Hobson Analytical LLC. She graduated from the M.B.A. program at Rice University in Houston, Texas and received a Masters in Accounting at American University in Washington DC. Lou returned to New Orleans in 2015 and learned about the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and the important work being done to stand up against petrochemical companies that are polluting our air and water. She was delighted to join the Bucket Brigade to align her education and experience with her lifelong personal goal to help protect and save the environment.

Shreyas Vasudevan

Campaign Researcher

Shreyas Vasudevan (he/him) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2020 he began working for the Americorp VISTA program at a Pittsburgh-based community development non-profit. During these years, Shreyas built his experience by canvassing for political campaigns in Pennsylvania, organizing and engaging in direct action to pressure fossil-fuel divestment, and helping neighborhood community development organizations better affect environmental justice conditions in the areas they serve. Since joining the Bucket Brigade in 2022, Shreyas conducts research on Louisiana’s petrochemical industry to provide information that arms our fight to protect and improve environmental conditions and the well-being of our residents. In his free time, Shreyas enjoys cooking, reading, and exploring the city of New Orleans.

Key Consultants

Pastor Harry Joseph

Technical Assistance

Pastor Harry Joseph leads our Down by the River bike ride and provides technical assistance to our economic development program. Pastor Joseph is a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana and has lived in St. James Parish for eight years. For the last decade, he has been the pastor of Mt. Triumph Baptist Church. He cares for his community by giving out masks, taking care of the elderly and families in need. Pastor Joseph is the proud father of four children and raised two others. He is retired from his work as a heavy equipment operator. Pastor Joseph loves chocolate.

 

 

 

 

Justin Kray

Cartographer

Justin Kray is a cartographer and open data advocate, committed to challenging bad decisions in government and building a more equitable and inclusive world. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans while Justin was working towards a Masters Degree in urban planning at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY – and the city’s recovery became the subject of Justin’s passionate interest in community development. Work was hard to find, so he returned to NYC to join the Pratt Center to lead their data and map based (GIS) advocacy efforts around affordable housing. Justin eventually found his way back to New Orleans and landed a position in Mayor Landrieu’s administration to organize the BlightStat program of public meetings, which won Harvard’s Kennedy Innovation award for civic data analytics and contributed to the City’s rapid housing recovery. Through his years of advocacy, Justin has always retained a keen interest in the power of maps to clearly tell powerful stories with data, so he is delighted to now be working with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, RISE St James, and the Center for Constitutional Rights to investigate and empower community groups in St James and neighboring parishes in Cancer Alley.

Board

Clare Giesen

Chair, Sociology Instructor at Delgado Community College

Clare Giesen is sociology instructor at Delgado Community College. She served as Executive Director of the National Women’s Political Caucus, where she was successful in significantly contributing to the increase of the number of women in federal office. As a member of the Clinton Administration, Clare held a number of positions, including White House Liaison for the Department of Energy and Special Assistant for the DOE’s utility restructuring and deployment of renewable energy technologies. At the USDA, she was Senior Advisor in the Office of Rural Utilities and successfully developed a loan program to deploy renewable energy on rural electric cooperatives. Clare’s organizing, fundraising and experience with the energy sector are vital to her role as a board member of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

Eric Parrie

Director, Special Projects, Gary Community Investments

Eric brings communications, research and management expertise to our board. He worked on the Senate campaign of Mike Johnston in Colorado and taught US History at G. W. Carver Collegiate Academy. Prior to joining the faculty at Carver in 2013, Eric worked as an Operations Manager for The New Teacher Project and as an organizer on several political campaigns in Pittsburgh and New Orleans. He served as a Research Associate for the Bucket Brigade in 2009 and taught English in Nantes, France for three years, offering courses at Lycee les Bourdonnieres and the law school of the University of Nantes. He currently serves on the boards of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Libraries without Borders. Eric holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Masters in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Nantes, and a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane University.

Holly Witherington

Managing Director, DevelopWell

Holly has 15 years of experience working to grow, develop, and cultivate meaningful communities of people working to change the world. Prior to founding DevelopWell, Holly wais the Deputy Operations Director at UltraViolet, a national women’s rights group based in DC. Holly worked at MoveOn.org as a lead organizer on the field team. She managed staff and created programs that trained MoveOn members across the country as organizers, and helped them build council structures to carry out various strategies in the field. Before MoveOn, Holly was an internal organizer with the Service Employees International Union in San Francisco, CA, and Portland, OR. Holly began her organizing career in New Orleans, with the Bucket Brigade after Hurricane Katrina, and is excited to be a part of the organization again. Holly currently lives in New Orleans with her partner Dustin and a herd of animals. In her free time, you’ll find her doing yoga, spending time outdoors in her garden, and traveling as much as possible.

Lisa Flanagan

Independent Creative Scholar and Content Developer for GP Strategies Corporation

Lisa Flanagan is an independent creative scholar and a content developer for GP Strategies Corporation. She has a B.A. in philosophy
from the University of Texas, Austin; and also holds an M.A. in speech communication and a PhD in communication studies from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge with a concentration in performance studies.
Her creative scholarship centers on stage and film directing, visual and material culture, community engagement, the poetics of place, alternative tourism, and storytelling as tools for social justice and
advocacy.

Angelle Bradford

Chair, Moms Demand Action, Louisiana Chapter

Born and reared in Baton Rouge, Angelle has actively worked as a fellow or organizer on campaigns for progressive candidates during local, state and federal election cycles spanning from 2012 through 2019. But after the year 2016 in particular, during her time as an adjunct instructor at Southern University, Angelle decided to shift course and really cultivate relationships with communities across Louisiana, moving from a place that felt more transactional to one of greater intent. Her work most recently reflects a profound commitment to gun violence prevention and a just transition in the face of climate change. She serves as the current leader for the Louisiana Chapter of Moms Demand Action and actively volunteers as an executive committee member, student and intern liaison, and grassroots network organizer with the Sierra Club Delta Chapter, and statewide partners, to strategize and implement policy agendas. She looks forward to ideating, contributing to, and dreaming with the Bucket Brigade family about a just and beautiful Louisiana future.

Jo Banner

Co-Founder of The Descendants Project

Jo Banner’s love for Louisiana was sparked in large part by her grandparents who often spoke of the colorful and wild folktales of their rural community. Utilizing a BA in Mass Communications from Louisiana State University and MA in Communications from Southeastern Louisiana State University, Jo has shaped her area’s unique tourism industry throughout the last 20 years working with regional, state,  and international agencies to increase tourism and awareness. Her perspective as a descendant, particularly from those enslaved to the nearby plantations, sparked Jo to create The Descendants Project, a nonprofit organization that fights for more ethical, culturally sensitive, and community-engaged representation, especially in the area of tourism.  Jo expanded the mission of The Descendants Project to include Environmental Justice in order to protect the descendant community she belongs to from the threats of heavy industry while preserving culturally significant spaces such as the unmarked burial grounds of the enslaved.