The VCPORA office at 816 N. Rampart is generally open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please call ahead (504-581-7200) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an appointment.
Meg Lousteau Meg’s interest in preservation began during her undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies and Liberal Arts in 1991. After graduating, she moved to Paris, where she was an au pair for a large family and studied French. Living in Europe offered Meg the opportunity to travel extensively throughout both Western and Eastern Europe, and even into western Asia. These travels furthered her interest in protecting and preserving her home town of New Orleans. Upon her return, she enrolled in the University of New Orleans’ College of Urban and Public Affairs, where she was a graduate assistant. She earned her Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning, also completing the Historic Preservation component, in 1996.
Meg then went to work for the Preservation Resource Center, where she was assistant director of the Operation Comeback program for 8 ½ years. During that time, Operation Comeback marketed historic neighborhoods, helped people buy and renovate houses, produced a variety of workshops to help homebuyers and neighborhoods, advocated for preservation at the city and grass roots level, and undertook dozens of renovation and resale projects on its own.
Her next step was to become the first executive director in the history of the Louisiana Landmarks Society. Located in the Pitot House, which the organization helped save from demolition in the 1960s, Landmarks’ mission involved both interpreting one of the oldest houses in the state, as well as acting as a vigorous advocate for preservation and neighborhoods. During her tenure, Landmarks successfully worked on numerous advocacy efforts, including the creation of the New Orleans’ Nine, modeled on the National Trust’s Eleven Most Endangered.
Meg left Landmarks after Katrina, and became involved in real estate and renovations. However, her love of preservation and advocacy lured her back to the non-profit world, and in November of 2008, she accepted a position as the first executive director of VCPORA.
Meg serves on the board of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, and on the PRC’s Property Advisory Committee. In 2004, she was named on of CityBusiness Magazine’s “People to Watch,” and in 2003, that publication included her as a member of the “Power Generation.” In 2001, she was named one of New Orleans Magazine’s Eight Under 35. She was first a member, and then a co-chair of the Young Leadership Council’s Neighborhood Renaissance Partnership from 1994-99.
Property Owners Category
Carol Allen (President), a native of southwest Louisiana, made New Orleans her home in the early 80's. After living in Paris, France, for more than 22 years, Carol returned to New Orleans and lives on Royal Street. A former superintendent of schools and university professor, Carol has run a non-profit in Paris, organized international conferences, written three books (including the biography of New Orleans chef, Leah Chase), and, since returning home, has served VCPORA as committee chairperson of the Quality of Life committee, board member, and president of the board, 2010-2011. She is also a member of French Quarter Citizens, Patio Planners, and has volunteered with the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Trinity Episcopal Church's Loaves and Fishes program, and worked to raise funds for the Mahalia Jackson Early Childhood & Adult Learning Foundation, founded by Phyllis Landrieu. Happy to call New Orleans home, Carol is vigilant in safeguarding, preserving, and protecting the Vieux Carré.
Peggy Armstrong (Treasurer) is a retired Certified Public Accountant. She attended the University of Tulsa, the University of Texas at Arlington, and received her B.S. from the University of New Orleans. Peggy and her husband, Robert, live in the French Quarter. She has been VCPORA treasurer for the past two years and served on the board in the 1990s. Peggy and her husband have two daughters and four grandchildren. Peggy is active in other New Orleans organizations, including the World Affairs Council and serves as treasurer of the Girl Scouts Louisiana East Council. Peggy cites walking along the Mississippi River in the early morning as one of her favorite things about living here. She also enjoys reading and spending time with her grandchildren.
Ira P. Babin has served for many years on the board of directors for Baton Rouge’s Magnolia Mound Plantation and has also been a trustee of the board of the Beauregard-Keyes House here in the Vieux Carré. Ira’s interest in preservation and tourism goes back to his high school and college days, when he was a tour guide at Houmas House and where he later became the manager. Now retired, his most recent post was as director of marketing with the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
Barry Cooper hails from Houma, Louisiana. He received an MBA (1994) and Juris Doctorate (2000) from Loyola University, clerked with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office, and has been in private practice here in New Orleans for over 10 years. Barry is a member of National Preservation Trust and Resources, on the board of both the New Orleans Ballet Association and New Orleans Opera Association, and is a commercial/instrument rated pilot, certified by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He’s been a resident of the Vieux Carré since 1997.
Tony Marino moved to the Vieux Carré in 1976 after graduating from the University of New Orleans. From 1977 to 1978 he owned and operated Trio’s Restaurant in the 900 block of Royal Street after working in a number of French Quarter restaurants. During that time, he was active in various neighborhood and preservation organizations. Later, Tony attended Loyola Law School and graduated in 1985. He purchased a home on Bourbon Street in 1993 where he began numerous phases of restoration of the Greek Revival townhouse and the dependencies located on the property. The restoration projects have been recognized by the Vieux Carré Commission and the Preservation Resource Center and published in New Orleans Magazine, Remodeling Magazine and several other magazines. Tony previously served on the board from 1994 to 1998 and as VCPORA president from 1998 to 2002. He is a shareholder of the law firm of Slattery, Marino & Roberts
Kelly McLaughlin offers a voice informed by her experience as an architect and educator. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she practiced architecture there for nearly twenty years. Her design practice included master planning, historic restoration, renovation and new construction of varied program type and scope. She taught design studios in Auburn University’s College of Architecture Urban Studio and The University of Alabama’s Department of Interior Design. She had a decade long commitment to the Birmingham Historical Society, first as a guide and ultimately as a member of the Board of Trustees. Kelly is married to a New Orleanian. In 2007, they moved from Birmingham to the French Quarter. As a resident, homeowner and parent, her professional background is broadened on a daily basis by the realities of living in the best neighborhood in the country.
Andrée Moss has a long and rich history with the Vieux Carré. Her family has owned an antique store on Royal Street since 1899. She literally grew up immersed in the problems and issues of the Quarter; her father served on the Vieux Carré Commission and neighborhood issues were an ongoing topic in her family. Andrée attended Newcomb College of Tulane, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She was also a member of Tulane’s first women’s tennis team. Andrée has served on many non-profit and charitable boards including Newcomb, Longue Vue House and Garden, the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Art Advisory Board, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Frances Swigart Steg is a practicing artist whose mediums are from Medieval times with a focus on the use of archival materials. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Newcomb College of Tulane University, where she studied Louisiana's history in architecture under Sam Wilson. Frances has a long history with New Orleans - she’s fifth-generation - as well preservation, particularly in the Vieux Carré. She is currently the caretaker of a creole townhouse owned by her aunt since the 1950s.
Jerry Walker Zachary (Vice-President), a native of Homer, Louisiana (Claiborne Parish) has lived in the French Quarter since January of 1981 when he joined VCPORA, Patio Planters, New Orleans Athletic Club and subscribed to Le Petit Theatre. With degrees from Louisiana Tech and Louisiana State University, he spent more than 14 years in Chicago working in banking, public relations, and singing in Chicago Symphony Chorus (six Grammys). He directed the chorus at Our Lady of Holy Cross College for 10 years, performed with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans for 26 seasons, and in 1983 founded the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus. Jerry and his partner of 21 years, Henry Bernstein, share a 1835 creole cottage on Burgundy Street.
Vickie Bassetti owns Taylor Bercier Fine Art on Chartres Street. She moved to New Orleans immediately after college in the early 1960s and worked in an art gallery in the Lower Pontalba. Later, she relocated to Mexico City for almost a decade. Vickie returned to the U.S. and New Orleans in 1974. She has worked in the mechanical design field, coordinating design and construction of offshore processing facilities for the oil industry. In the 1980s she founded a graphics firm (Litigraphics) that developed visual and graphic displays for in court cases, primarily in oil field-related litigation. Vickie returned to the world of fine arts, in the 1990s, opening Bassetti Fine Art Photographs. She joins the VCPORA board with a clear vision: “My commitment to the protection of our national treasure is profound.”
Nadine Blake, a native of New Orleans, returned to the Crescent City in 2004 after careers in Los Angeles and New York. In 2007, after recovering from Hurricane Katrina, Nadine opened her eponymous design and gift shop at 1036 Royal Street. While living in Los Angeles, Nadine worked as program director of the city’s Cultural Affairs Department, a not-for-profit arts agency. In New York she was a decorator with the internationally-known design firm, Mark Hampton Inc. She lived in pre-war co-operative apartment building and served on its board of directors. She and her husband, Simon, now happily live on Esplanade Avenue.
Rental Residential Category
Lou Bush is a native of Alabama and came to New Orleans in 1951 to work for the U.S. Department of Defense. After a long career with the agency in management and procurement, she has gone to work as a full-time volunteer, including 20 years as ombudsman in the Louisiana Long Term Care Program. She is also active in administrative work at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church on Esplanade Avenue. Lou has lived in the French Quarter, and only the French Quarter, for 24 years and she would not live anywhere else in the city.
James Crouch (Secretary) grew up in Elkton, Kentucky where his family has lived for generations. He first came to New Orleans to study Architecture at Tulane. After graduation he worked in the architecture and preservation fields; post-Katrina, he has worked as an historic architect for Federal Emergency Management Agency, the State Historic Preservation Office, and currently the Shaw Group. James has lived in the French Quarter since 1997.
Charles O. (Chuck) Dunn was born in Bolivar County, Mississippi. He and his wife, Edie, had had a residence here since 1994, but became permanent Quarterites in May of 2008. Chuck graduated from the Citadel, has a law degree from the University of Alabama, and attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He’s served in the army, practiced law privately and as a company attorney, and been a chief executive officer. Chuck has served ably as VCPORA’s representative to the French Quarter Management District, and is also on the board of The Edible School Yard, New Orleans.
Jim Babst (Vice-President) is a lifetime New Orleanian: born at Hotel Dieu, raised Uptown, Jesuit boy, graduate of Yale (1971) and Tulane Law (1976). He is an attorney in private practice with the firm of Wegmann & Babst, LLC, and is on the adjunct law faculty at Tulane, where, with David Marcello, he teaches the clinic in legislative and administrative advocacy. His private practice is wide-ranging, with concentrations in civil and administrative litigation, appeals, and governmental relations. Jim has been active over the years in the United Way, the Louisiana State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Council of the Louisiana State Law Institute; he is currently on the board of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, which he served as chairman in 2001. Jim and his wife, Cynthia Wegmann, lived at 933 Burgundy Street for 18 months after Katrina while the storm damage they sustained at their home on Napoleon Avenue was repaired. They remain committed to nurturing and strengthening the Vieux Carre.
Louise (Lou) Chapman Hoffman is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has lived in New Orleans since 1968. She was a staff member at The Historic New Orleans Collection for 19 years, serving as editor of the Historic New Orleans Collection Quarterly and other publications. She was co-editor of "Preservation Press" (1979 - 1981), predecessor of the Preservation Resource Center's "Preservation in Print." She served as president of the Garden District Association in the early '90s and on the board of Louisiana Landmarks. Currently she is a board member of the St. Charles Avenue Association and the Alliance Française of New Orleans. In 2009, her biography of the artist Josephine Crawford (1878 - 1952), who lived in the French Quarter at 612 Royal Street and studied at the Quarter's Arts and Crafts Club, was published by The Historic New Orleans Collection.
Sara Orton graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She studied Spanish at the Universidad de Sevilla in Seville, Spain and received an associate’s degree in Spanish Language. After working in a real estate office in the French Quarter, she acquired a real estate license and worked at French Quarter Realty with clients throughout the French Quarter and other historic neighborhoods. In 1998, Sara started the Masters of Preservation Studies program at the Tulane School of Architecture. Sara’s professional experience in preservation began at Earth Search, where she was an architectural historian, and continues in her present position at CH2MHILL as a cultural resource specialist working on projects all over the U.S. She’s been a fervent supporter of the Vieux Carré since moving to New Orleans 16 years ago, and chose to get married here in the Quarter.