Top row (left to right): NOMA Trustees Ron Bechet, Gayle Benson, Stephanie Burks, and Terrah Green
Bottom row (left to right): NOMA Trustees Marshall Hevron, Tully Forrester Jordan, and Michael Sawaya
NOMA ANNOUNCES NEW TRUSTEES FOR 2024
NEW ORLEANS – During their December 2023 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) elected seven new members, who joined the board on January 1, 2024. The Board of Trustees works together to support NOMA’s mission to inspire lifelong learning with a wide-ranging collection of art, thoughtful exhibitions, and innovative programming. A full list of NOMA’s Trustees is available below and at noma.org.
“This group of newly elected trustees exemplifies the dynamism and vibrant culture of our city,” said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “We are honored by their commitment to the museum, and we are grateful for their expertise, as we all work together to further NOMA’s mission.”
A nationally and internationally acclaimed visual artist, Ron Bechet is a New Orleans native. He is the former longtime chairman of the art department and a current professor at Xavier University. In addition to serving as an educator and studio artist, Bechet is an active community member, collaborating with artists and serving on boards including Antenna, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Board, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Gayle Benson is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and sports franchise owner. Benson is re-joining the Board of Trustees and her unfailing support has significantly impacted the museum’s success through the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, her foundation, and her leadership as co-chair of one of the museum’s most successful Odyssey fundraisers.
Stephanie Burks is Co-Founder, Vice President, and Division Leader of Administration for RYCARS Construction, LLC. In this capacity, Burks leads operations, accounting, human resources, and other administrative duties—as well as managing all philanthropy matters related to RYCARS. She serves as a board member of the New Orleans Ballet Association, Dress for Success, and WYES, and was also a past president of BRAVO (Ballet Resource and Volunteer Organization). Burks is a member of the UNCF NOLA Leadership Committee, and she was one of the New Orleans Women of Fashion in 2016 and FestiGals 2018 Grand Diva. Burks is a member of the Crescent City (LA) Chapter Links, Incorporated.
Terrah Green has dedicated over 15 years in Operations and Project Management in the advertising and marketing industry for both traditional and digital disciplines. In addition, Green is the managing partner of TWG Investments, a real estate investment company in Detroit. She is committed to lifelong learning and has a passion for building strong communities through team building and project execution. She is currently in the process of developing and launching a mobile app, Tried & True, to connect lives in professional sports. As the wife of an NBA head coach and retired player, Green has lived in 10 different cities over the past 13 years, and her personal mission is to cultivate, create, and empower authentic communities. Green is a graduate of Central Michigan University and holds a BS in Business Administration.
A litigator and partner at Adams and Reese in New Orleans, Marshall Hevron returns to NOMA’s Board of Trustees. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Hevron is also on the boards of the Louisiana Family Military Assistance Fund, the Preservation Resource Center, and the City of New Orleans Board of Trusts.
Tully Forrester Jordan is 2024 chair of the NOMA Volunteer Committee and represents the NVC on NOMA’s Board of Trustees. Jordan served as 2023 chair for the NOMA Egg Hunt and Family Festival, and in her role as NVC chair, she will lead the group’s efforts to support the museum’s signature fundraisers throughout the year.
Michael J. Sawaya is President and CEO of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. A 45-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Sawaya came to New Orleans in 2018 from San Antonio, where he served as Executive Director of the Convention and Sports Facilities Department and as Interim Aviation Department Director for the City of San Antonio over a 15-year municipal government career. Sawaya was recognized as one of the most influential Business Leaders in the New Orleans Area for 2022–24, and serves as a board member for the Greater New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. Additionally, under his leadership, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center received the International Association of Venue Managers Venue Excellence Award in 2023.
Peggy Scott Laborde, host and producer of WYES’s Steppin’ Out and board member of the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association, joined NOMA’s Board of Trustees in fall 2023.
Henry Coaxum Jr. and Dathel Georges return to the Board of Trustees as invited members of the Executive Committee.
|NOMA’s Board of Trustees
|Jane B. Steiner
|Edgar (Dook) Chase IV
|Philip S. DeNormandie
|R. Foster Duncan
|Immediate Past President:
|Gregory C. Feirn
|Julie Livaudais George
|The Honorable LaToya Cantrell, Mayor
|Peggy Scott Laborde
|Joe Giarrusso, New Orleans City Council Member
|Henry M. Lambert
|Tully Forrester Jordan, NOMA Volunteer Committee Chair
|Pamela Reynolds Ryan
|Honorary Life Members
|Sandra Draughn Freeman
|Kurt A. Gitter, M.D.
|J. Thomas Lewis
|Billie Milam Weisman
|Harry C. Stahel
About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden are home to innovative exhibitions, installations, educational programs, and research. Exploring human creativity across time, cultures, and disciplines, the global scope of the museum’s initiatives open a vibrant dialogue with the history and culture of New Orleans. The museum stewards a collection of nearly 50,000 works, with exceptional holdings in African art, photography, decorative arts, and Japanese art, as well as strengths in American and French art, and an expanding collection highlighting contemporary artists. The museum’s exhibitions and dynamic learning and engagement offerings serve as a forum for visitors to engage with diverse perspectives, share cultural experiences, and foster a life of learning at all ages. Recent exhibitions include Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers, The Orléans Collection (an exhibition of forty European masterpieces from the collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans), East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth Century America Landscape Photography, and Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (seven contemporary art projects focusing on reimagining stories from the city’s past).
NOMA’s 12-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expands visitors’ experiences of the museum with one of the most notable sculpture gardens in the country. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden, free and open to the public seven days a week, has nearly 100 sculptures and outdoor works of art situated in a unique landscape featuring Spanish moss-laden live oaks and a sinuous lagoon surrounded by an expansive ecosystem of native plants. The works in the garden range from the 19th to the 21st centuries, with pieces by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Louise Bourgeois, Ida Kohlmeyer, Claes Oldenburg, Sean Scully, Maya Lin, Do Ho Suh, Ugo Rondinone, Wangechi Mutu, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden features contemporary design elements—including a sculpture pavilion, an amphitheater, and an architecturally significant canal link bridge connecting the garden’s original 2003 footprint with a 2019 expansion. Its water management practices support the health and resiliency of New Orleans City Park and the surrounding environment. Throughout the year, NOMA hosts outdoor programs in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden including festivals, performances, wellness classes, tours, and more.
Charlie Tatum, Director of Marketing and Communications
New Orleans Museum of Art