Our Team



Several years ago, people of faith convened around an issue facing countless families in the New Orleans community — homelessness. The growing number of people experiencing homelessness increased to 70 percent after Hurricane Katrina. The number of places used to house families in crisis was few compared to the need. After hours of meeting with already existing providers, conducting research around the need and endless hours of consultation, we formed the Hotel Hope nonprofit corporation.

 A two-bedroom house in the Broadmoor neighborhood was purchased in 2016, renovated and sheltered 23 moms and 56 children over a two-year period.  In 2018 Hotel Hope sold the house and purchased a 24 bedroom hotel which provides each guest with safety and security in a gated environment.  The former Cares Center located at Blessed Trinity Parish will be renovated and ultimately serve as an early childhood development center and resource center for homeless women and their children.



Mary Lou Specha, PBVM
Executive Director

A Sister of the Presentation for over 25 years is an experienced nonprofit executive. Sister Mary Lou most recently served as the Executive Director of Café Reconcile. She has a decade of nonprofit leadership and administration and a career devoted to working for systemic change. Sister Mary Lou has experience in fundraising, strategic planning, nonprofit board development and fiscal reporting. Sister Mary Lou lives in Central City, New Orleans, and is committed to neighborhood revitalization. Sister Mary Lou believes in the mission of Hotel Hope and is committed to serving families with love and compassion. Email: mlspecha@hotelhope.org


Ingrid Foy, MCJ
Administrative Assistant

Ingrid was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She went to Southern University at New Orleans where she got her Bachelors in General Studies and her Masters in Criminal Justice. Since high school, she has continuously volunteered whether it was feeding the homeless or helping low-income and first-generation children. She has a passion for helping people to achieve greatness. She has helped teach through education, cultural aspects, and interactive activities such as cheerleading and dance. Families, especially with children, set the path for the next to come. Ingrid feels if she can help them succeed, she essentially has a hand in helping our world be a better place for us all. We’ve got to take it one step at a time. Email: ifoy@hotelhope.org


Julie Marsh, PBVM
Director of Hotel Operations

Sr. Julie is the Director of Hotel Operations.  Sister Julie is a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Dubuque, IA.  She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Arts degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri with other graduate work from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.  She has 20 years’ experience with families and young adults which included guidance, teaching and administrative experience. As Director of Hotel Operations, Sister Julie oversees the management of services and facilities as well as assists in developing programs, activities, policies and procedures the guests of the hotel.  She nurtures a spirit of hospitality to all guests, staff and visitors. Email: jmarsh@hotelhope.org



Anita Marshall Jefferson
Director of Program Services

Anita Marshall Jefferson comes to New Orleans, Louisiana from Columbus, Ohio.  She has obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism with a minor in Communications from Southern University at New Orleans, and a Master’s in Social Work from Tulane University School of Social Work.  She has attended the Rutgers University Training for Mid-Managers at the State University of New Jersey and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Boston Massachusetts.

Anita has recently joined the Staff at Hotel Hope as the Program Services Director. As a previous Hotel Hope Board Member, she now brings that passion, enthusiasm and excitement internally.  She has worked in this career for over 22 years.  She has previously worked at the Regional Transit Authority (RTA)/Veoila/Transdev as an Executive Assistant, Quality Assurance and Special Events Manager, and Director of Human Resources.  The training and skills received have been the road map to the trajectory of her career to where she is presently.

Anita has spent her entire career in across the board sectors of service.  Her dedication and passion resides with a gospel song by Mahalia Jackson, “If I can help somebody as I travel along, …. then my living will not be in vain.” Email: ajefferson@hotelhope.org


Rainna Richard
Case Manager

Rainna was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She went to Southern University of New Orleans where she got her bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work. Rainna has a passion for assisting and advocating for the community. She has set the tone by linking and navigating families to resources that will assist with overall goals for achievement.  Rainna believes that providing exceptional case management for families creates a positive change in the family unit as well as the change in the community. Rainna also states that taking community problems and placing them at the forefront for solutions will assist with making every day changes.

Email: rrichard@hotelhope.org

Andrea Chura

A native of La Paz Bolivia, who moved to New Orleans in 2006 with her H-2B work visa to help with the rebuilding of the city after Hurricane Katrina.

Andrea has worked in the hospitality industry and brings to Hotel Hope her experience and expertise in working in the best hotels in New Orleans.  Andrea is an excellent housekeeper and keeps the hotel in top shape for our guests. Andrea took the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony and complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

Dondra Hills

Catherine Kinabrew
Guest Services Coordinator

2016 Catherine Kinabrew retired after almost 40 years as an elementary school teacher. She soon met Sr. Julie Marsh and found out about Hotel Hope. Because Catherine had a deep, abiding question about homelessness, she was delighted to be a volunteer when the Chalet opened. In April 2019 Catherine was hired as the Guest Services Coordinator and loves working closely with the families. She loves being part of Hotel Hope in its earliest stages and is energized by Hotel Hope’s mission to bring love, compassion, and empowerment to some of New Orleans’ most vulnerable citizens. Catherine and her wonderful husband John are blessed with five children and 7 grandchildren. Email: ckinabrew@hotelhope.org


Ms. Bobbie Garner, MSW
Case Manager

Bobbie has worked with children and families in various capacities for more than 10 years. In addition, Bobbie’s educational and career paths have consistently focused on her passion for helping others, providing leadership through technology, and building networks through community endeavors. Bobbie is a dedicated professional with an enthusiasm for connecting people to resources and a focus on empowering her clients/customers with knowledge to solve their immediate needs and future goals. In her role as Case Manager, Bobbie will coordinate referrals for Hotel Hope guests to the continuum of care partner agencies, manage HMIS data and reporting, monitor guest progress through the program, and provide outreach and on-going case management to guests after completion of the program. Email: bgarner@hotelhope.org


Board of Directors

  • Nakisha Ervin-Knott (Chair)
    Louisiana Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit
  • Fred Kirchgraber (Vice Chair)                                                                                *Founding Board Member
    Retired Insurance Executive
  • Mary Jeandron (Treasurer)                                                                                         Certified Public Account
  • Karen Kirchgraber (Secretary)
    *Founding Board Member
    Retired Corporate Trainer
  • Clarence Adams
    Executive Director Ozanam Inn
  • Rev. Louis Arceneaux, C.M.
    Spiritual Advisor, Ozanam Inn
  • Byron Chambers
    *Founding Board Member
    Crosby Energy Services
  • Mike Hammer
    Principal, Pontchartrain Capital, LLC
    *Founding Board Member
  • Anita Marshall Jefferson
    Master Social Work
    Registered Social Work
  • Elizabeth McCartney
    Executive Director, SBP
  • Romney Kriedt Richard
    President Kriedt Enterprises Ltd.
  • Sr. Judy Zynda, OP
    Teacher / Director
  • Danita Bright
    Certified Sterile Processor
    Education Assistant, Boys Town
  • Krystle Duplessis
    Attorney at Law
  • Jennifer Guenard
    Certified Public Accountant
  • Ashley R. Lusk
    Marketing Communications
  • Sr. Patty Huffman, DC

Board Member Emeritus

Denise Redmann Hoffman
Attorney at Law

Committee Members