Displaced teachers dressing for success

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 13, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools Executive Director of Personnel and Legal Services, Ann LaBorde, has teamed up with her two daughters to bring in clothing for displaced teachers.

Ann’s daughter, Yvette Hightower, an architect with Mark Humphries and Associates of Dallas., decided to send several boxes of clothes to St. John Parish, after asking her mother, Ann, how they could help.

“After getting back in to town, we had a lot of displaced applicants,” LaBorde said.

“I talked with my daughter and everyone she works with knew she was from New Orleans and they wanted to help, and asked how. I told them if they wanted to do something it would be nice if they could donate some clothes for the displaced teachers and professionals.”

LaBorde said all she asked was for each person do donate one good professional outfit, but she was sent much more.

“We received so much stuff,” she said. “We have professional clothes for men and women of all sizes. The initial intent was to help the displaced employees professional clothing, but these clothes are for any adult who needs them.”

LaBorde said when her other daughter, Meg Phenix, a writer for Greenleaf books in Austin, TX., got word about the donations, she got together with her employees and sent many boxes too.

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School sixth, seventh and eighth grade Math teacher Sean Freund, was a resident of New Orleans and commuted daily to work in St. John Parish, but after Hurricane Katrina, he was left with just the clothes on his back.

“This is fantastic,” Freund said. “I didn’t have anything, but maybe two suits that were appropriate to wear to work. It was really, really nice to come back and not even have to ask for clothing. I don’t know what I would have done without it.”

Many other teachers and professionals are taking advantage of the clothing available to them, especially during a time when “it’s hard to afford suits and appropriate clothing for working professionals,” according to LaBorde.

Professional clothing for men and women is available in the conference room of Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School in LaPlace from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

There are no returns or exchanges.