Staff and Board

Our Staff

Kelsy Yeargain, Executive Director


Kelsy 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 Board President of the Broad Community Connections and the co-chair of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance Policy committee. Kelsy is currently enrolled in University of Arizona’s Master’s in Real Estate Finance program.

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. In 2018, she graduated with the inaugural class of  UNO’s Community Development Finance Certificate Program. 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.

Deneka Vallius, Director of Client Services and Communications


Deneka is  a first generation Haitian American native of New Orleans, LA. She graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations and a minor concentration in Accounting and Finance. She began her  real estate career, utilizing marketing and accounting skills to build a solid client base and connected them to a team of licensed contractors and loan officers to secure residential purchases. After witnessing the lack of affordable housing in New Orleans, She co-founded Reclaiming NOLA, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in New Orleans focusing on community development and housing through inclusion. She joined Tulane Canal Neighborhood Development Corporation in August 2019 as the Client Services Coordinator. She utilizes her passion to connect homebuyers with affordable housing by insuring that our clients  achieve their goals of homeownership, financial stability, and housing security. She holds a specialization as a Historic Property Specialist with the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans and she is a member of the National Association of Realtors, New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors, NOMAR’s Young Professional Networking Housing Opportunity Committee, and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. 

Imani Mitchell-Wyatt, Construction Coordinator

Imani Mitchell-Wyatt is the Construction Coordinator at Tulane Canal Neighborhood Development Corporation. Imani received her Bachelor of Art in Art History with a minor in Architectural Studies from The University of Missouri in 2016. Imani is a native of Chicago, IL, who has resided in New Orleans, LA, since August 2018. Post undergraduate, Imani fulfilled community development roles as project manager for a Chicago based development company and New Orleans as an educational outreach program specialist for underserved communities. Currently, Imani is a Graduate candidate in the Masters of Preservation Studies at Tulane University. She distinctly remembers as a child growing up in Chicago the fascination with abandoned and historic buildings. She recalls the myriad of questions asked regarding the history of those buildings; No answers were given, so she created and imagined a narrative based on the surrounding community and culture present.   Her interests in historic preservation are based on the correlation between historic preservation and affordable housing. She believes that a myriad of cultural and architectural history may be impacted by the lack of passion for sustaining communities. Imani’s interest also includes research on the most efficient way to sustain, maintain, utilize and preserve cultural heritage for the underserved community in architecture. The underserved community of interest ranges from black and brown people, LGBTQ, homeless, and women and children. 

Our Board

NaShawn Johnson,  Board President


Nashawn 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.

Katy Heeren-Mueller, Board Vice President

Katy 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 Vice 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 Orleanian can live.

Antonio Carbone, Treasurer

Antonio Carbone

Antonio 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.

Sydney Shivers,  Secretary

Sydney Shivers

Sydney 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. 

Sarah Sievert, Board Member

Sarah Sievert

Sarah 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.

Kahlida Nicole Lloyd,  Board Member 

Kahlida Nicole Lloyd is an attorney, thought leader and a women of purpose. Kahlida is the Founder and President of Mission Reconcile, a faith based racial reconciliation nonprofit created to bring together predominantly single race/culture churches to talk about race, racism and create organic relationships. Kahlida is a positive, innovative and dedicated leader who has a love for people and a love for bringing people together. She is passionate about achieving justice through an equity lens. 

Adrian Long, Board Member

Adrian Long is a native of New Orleans Louisiana with very deep roots in the community.  As a child she lived in various neighborhoods throughout the city, allowing her to understand firsthand the importance of becoming a homeowner in our beloved community.  Adrian is a graduate of University Louisiana Layette graduating with a BA in Mass Commutations and a minor in marketing. She started her broadcasting radio/Tv career in college which then lasted for over 25 years.  During which time, she worked on projects with a variety of organization like Habitat for Humanity and Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right” initiative to help bring New Orleanians back home after hurricane Katrina. Adrian then went on to continue renovating homes in underserved neighborhoods throughout the city. As the owner of Willow Bee Media Marketing and Consulting firm, she continues to use her expertise from working with one of the biggest media companies in the country for over 20 years (I Heart-Media/Radio) to help small businesses strategies and strengthen their marketing and advertising campaigns.