Staff and Board

Our Staff

Kelsy Yeargain, Executive Director

45817968_10107847888445680_4150247879040040960_n.jpgKelsy Yeargain is the Executive Director of the Tulane/ Canal Neighborhood Development Corporation (T/CNDC). Kelsy joined the T/CNDC team in 2015 and has overseen the growth and professionalization of the organization. In addition to her work as Executive Director, Kelsy is also active in advocacy work in New Orleans. She is the co-chair of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance Policy committee, a founding member of the Put Housing First campaign, and a board member of the City of New Orleans Economic Advisory Committee. Additionally, Kelsy is an adjunct professor in the Sociology Department of Tulane University.

Kelsy graduated from the American University of Cairo with a Masters (M.A.) in Refugee and Migration Studies along with a Graduate Diploma in Gendered Political Economy. Her B.A. degree is  from the University of North Texas in Sociology with minors in Women’s Studies and Economics. She also completed one year of a doctoral program in Political Geography at the University of Kentucky. In 2018, she graduated with the inaugural class of  UNO’s Community Development Finance Certificate Course. For the past ten years, Kelsy has worked on issues of displacement and housing, from natural disasters to forced migrations to the continuing need for affordable housing. She has lived and worked in Montana, Kentucky, Budapest, India, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Cairo, and Haiti.

Paulina Apone, Serve Louisiana AmeriCorps Member


Paulina Apone is the current member for the Serve Louisiana Americorps Program. She is a transplant from the Pacific Northwest. After spending a year and a half in Nicaragua, she moved to New Orleans.

Paulina received her B.A. in English with a Minor in Business from Portland State University. For the past 5 years, she has collaborated with various organizations such as; The Portland Housing Center by hosting basic financial literacy classes for first time home buyers, assisted Mercy Corp with transcription work, Peace Corps as an Entrepreneurship Education Program Volunteer, and provided financial management with the Oregon Money Management Program.

Currently, she taking the time to learn and explore New Orleans-past all the Mardi Gras posters and the renowned Bourbon St.

Our Board

Katy Meeren-Mueller, Board President

Katy Heeren-MuellerKaty moved to New Orleans to complete a year-long volunteer program 14 years ago and she never left! She is proud to call New Orleans home and to raise her four children in this city.  Katy and her husband feel privileged have had the opportunity to purchase their home from T/CNDC. Since becoming homeowners in the Tulane Canal neighborhood, they have become active participants in the many changes occurring in the neighborhood. Katy and her family frequently enjoy early evening walks on the Lafitte Greenway. This is just one of the many benefits of living in the Tulane Canal neighborhood that her family now enjoys. Katy demonstrates that she is serious and passionate about helping more families into homeownership through her leadership as Board President of T/CNDC. Her hope is that homeowners, renters, schools, and local business can continue work together to make the Tulane Canal neighborhood a desirable place where any New Orlean can live.

Justin Pitard, Vice President

Justin Pitard

Justin graduated from the University of Holy Cross in New Orleans in 2006. He and his wife, Christy, own and operate Avery’s on Tulane, which sits inside of TCNDC’s borders. Justin has been a supporter of the neighborhood and to the revitalization of Tulane Avenue in particular. He has been a Board Member of TCNDC since 2013 and has served as our Vice-President since 2015. He, along with others within and outside of TCNDC, worked to create the Tulane Canal Neighborhood Association in 2015. In 2016, Justin graduated from the New Orleans Civic Leadership Academy and received the Mayor’s Community Excellence Award for Business Leadership.

Sarah Sievert, Board Secretary

Sarah SievertSarah Sievert brings a wealth of experience in non-profit administration and affordable housing to the TCNDC Board. With more than a decade of experience in the non-profit sector, Sarah has provided leadership in human resources, federal grant administration, fundraising, and project and financial management. Sarah has worked for both grassroots non-profits, as well as larger entities, including The National WWII Museum, where she is currently employed, SBP (formerly St Bernard Project), HandsOn New Orleans, and the University of Virginia. Sarah holds a BA from the University of Virginia and serves as a founding board member for the Science Teacher’s Equipment Lending Library (STELL), in addition to her work as Board Secretary for TCNDC.

Antonio Carbone, Board Member

Antonio CarboneAntonio moved to New Orleans in 2008, to attend Tulane University. Upon graduating, he began his 5 year career working with J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Antonio bought a home in the Tulane-Canal neighborhood in 2016 where he lives with his partner, Tom, and dog, Riley. Antonio is an active member of the Tulane-Canal Neighborhood Association, Young Leadership Council, and Association for Corporate Growth. He has experience with affordable housing through serving on Project Homecoming’s Finance Committee.

Gilad Meron,  Board Member

Gilad MeronGilad Meron is an independent designer, researcher and writer focused on community development, civic engagement, and the emerging field of public interest design. He works with nonprofits, foundations and firms on research, strategy and design projects that support issues such as affordable housing, economic development and impact assessment. He the co-founder of a design collective and shared workspace in New Orleans called The Blue House and a Board Member for the Association for Community Design. Gilad earned his BS in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University with a focus on Environmental, and is particularly interested in the intersection of economics, politics, design and visual communication.

Sydney Shivers,  Board Member

Sydney ShiversSydney came to New Orleans with a desire to empower children to become leaders in their communities, as a Teach for America Corps member. For two years, she taught first and second grade at Phillis Wheatley Community School, which is located in the Treme neighborhood and shares the Lafitte Greenway with the Tulane Canal neighborhood. As a teacher, she planned many lessons and activities which drew upon  New Orleans’ legacy of civil rights and the strength of our communities. Additionally, Sydney sought development on anti-racist pedagogy and co-led staff professional development on racial identity and educational equity. From the classroom, Sydney observed how the lack of affordable housing impacts the lives of students and their families.

In the summer of 2017 Sydney received a fellowship from Leadership for Educational Equity to be a policy and advocacy fellow at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. Sydney was drawn to TCNDC for its track record of  personalized service to clients and the creative aspect of creating new opportunities for affordable development and  homeownership in Tulane Canal. She believes that homeownership is a vital component of solving our City’s current affordable housing crisis and securing long overdue equity for residents of the Tulane Canal neighborhood. Sydney graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelors of arts in US Government and a dual Bachelor/Masters degree in Urban and Environmental Planning, focusing on Housing and Community Development. Sydney served as the TCNDC AmeriCorps member for one year and is now a fellow with the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance. 

NaShawn Johnson,  Board Member

johnson_nashawn_headshotNashawn Johnson is a native New Orleanian with a deep passion for community development and anti-poverty work. In her professional career, she has worked on a variety of issues related to these areas including workforce development, anti-hunger initiatives, and affordable housing.  In her lastest role at Greater New Orleans, Inc., she supports projects and initiatives that highlight high-wage, high-demand workforce opportunities in the regional economy. Prior to her work at Greater New Orleans, Inc., Nashawn served as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. As an Emerson Fellow, Nashawn conducted a community assessment on senior food security in Los Angeles County with LA Kitchen and conducted analysis of presidential and congressional budget proposals and their impact on women and families with the National Women’s Law Center. Nashawn graduated from Columbia University where she studied urban studies and political science.