Richard Bates is a native New Orleanian (Franklin High School) who spent most of the 90’s homesick in grunge-less New York, Paris, and London. With Young Audiences since November of 1999, he is currently putting NYU English and French degrees to good use as Associate Director, shuffling budgets, project outlines, and special requests for maximum impact in compliance with Intergalactic Arkestral auditing requirements. His favorite part of the job is holding the paper trail at bay long enough to actually see or speak with any of our phenomenal teaching artists, all of whom have made great personal sacrifices to develop and share their inclusive, transformative gifts with children and with the community at large. Richard is also a thankful son, mischievous brother, fortunate friend, lucky husband, bewitched father, aspiring rock star (hear him with the hons), and vehement enthusiast of the serial comma.
Director of Extended Learning
Jon was born and raised in the 9th ward of New Orleans and was a graduate of Edna Karr High School. Jon joined the Young Audiences team in May of 2011 shortly after getting his degree in Business Management and Legal Studies from Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business. As the Director of Extended Learning, Jon relishes every free moment he gets. In those moments, he loves to spend time with his Boo and his Fantasy Football teams.
Abigail is a delta native, a Louisiana nationalist, and a child of the world. Born in Flowood, MS and raised in Lafayette, LA she made her way to the big city of New York only to find that her heart was stuck in the swamps. Intensely engaged with the unearthing of Creole French literature and obscure French novelists of Louisiana’s 19th century, she managed to graduate from Barnard College of Columbia University with a degree in French literature and a tendency towards the dramatic. Returning to her home country of Louisiana, she moved to a city more her style. An actress and performance artist, she has spent the last year making New Orleans her artistic home; producing mime shows, performing classical Greek plays, and making puppets. She may run away to France some day but for now she’s happy cooking crepes and speaking French with her petit choux. In another life she was a Viking shield maiden. You gotta suck da head on dem der crawfish.
Office and Program Manager
Courtney was born in Bronx, New York and raised in New Orleans, LA. She graduated from McDonogh 35 Senior High School in 2003 and studied Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism in college. She started working in hotels in 2005, working as a Front Desk Representative, then rising gradually to Managing the Front Desk and Reservations for New Orleans Boutique Hotels. She began working at Young Audiences Charter School in 2014 as the Office Manager and has since transferred to the YALA Main Office. In her spare time, she likes to shop, read and travel. Her favorite quote is: "Choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."
Director of Education and Programs
Jenny joined the Young Audiences team in January 2007 as a physical education specialist in an after-school program, but surprisingly found that her English Degree better prepared her to supervise the implementation of Young Audiences' arts-integrated literacy program, Arts for Learning Lessons. She quickly moved into the role of Program Director. When she is not at the office or a school, she spends her time practicing her Italian and trying to devise ways to meet Rod Stewart.
Afterschool and Summer Program Associate
A computer geek and aspiring fiction writer, Chean lived in various states along the east coast before settling in Louisiana. She graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of New Orleans in 2012; in September 2013 she enthusiastically joined the Young Audiences staff. Chean maintains the student databases and assists with everyday office duties while fending off massive stacks of paper. After hours, she writes, polishes her web design skills, goes dancing, or rides her hybrid bike around the city.
As a native New Orleanian with a strong commitment to the city's growth, Heather joined Young Audiences with hopes to serve as an advocate of arts and cultural education and development. She earned her degree in Art History from Tulane University in 2003 and has since acquired many years of experience in nonprofit development. When Heather is not planning new fundraising strategies, she enjoys reading, traveling, studying the latest fashion styles and trends, spending time with close friends and family and relaxing at home with her cat, Alex.
Arts for Learning Coordinator
Maureen was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. She has been traveling nonstop for a few years and is happy to feel settled and at home in New Orleans. Maureen graduated from Columbia University with an M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education. With experience as a teacher and passion for arts in education, Maureen's position as the Arts for Learning Coordinator is a perfect fit at Young Audiences. When not working, Maureen is playing with her dogs Magnolia and Toulouse and eating her way through the city!
Rickie, a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, has been Executive Director of Young Audiences of Louisiana for 22 years. During her tenure the organization has expanded its mission to focus on arts, education, and youth development. Prior to joining Young Audiences, she taught drama and language arts to high school students. When Rickie is not visiting schools or writing grants she can be found jogging in Audubon Park or having early morning coffee breaks with friends.