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Each year, Louisiana Appleseed hosts a Good Apple Gala to celebrate the previous year's work performed. During the Good Apple Gala, Appleseed awards select volunteers who have risen above the typical pro bono commitment with a Pro Bono Good Apple Award. We also take a moment to celebrate pillars within our communities whose daily lives align with Louisiana Appleseed's mission to increase Access to Justice, Opportunity, and Education, with a Community Good Apple Award.

Support for this annual event comes from general donations, event sponsorships, and through our Good Apple Donor-Members


Louisiana Appleseed celebrated the 12th Annual Good Apple Gala virtually on Thursday, January 21. Did you miss it? Not to worry! Watch the video here!

Learn more about our 2021 Good Apple Honorees, Co-Chairs, and Sponsors below.



Community Honorees

Our Community Honorees are individuals whose daily work and lives embodies the mission of Louisiana Appleseed to solve problems at their root cause by creating Access to Justice, Opportunity, and Education. Mr. Michael Hecht is Appleseed's Community Good Apple Honoree. In simpler times, Mr. Hecht's organization tracked and encouraged business in the New Orleans area. It is during these COVID-19 times, however, when Mr. Hecht embodied creating access to opportunity in the face of tremendous adversity. COVID-19 instigated a dramatic shift of business across the state. Instead of stagnating, Mr. Hecht pivoted alongside the multitude of businesses that were also altering their business strategies to be resilient and responsive to the emerging crisis. GNO, Inc. connected businesses to markets and to each other to facilitate success. As our state continues to manage the ongoing turmoil of the pandemic, we are encouraged by Mr. Hecht and his team's abilities in finding opportunity where there otherwise is none.

The pandemic summer of 2020 brought with it frustration as an ageless movement sounded the alarms on equity and fairness. There was a reckoning.  Businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and citizens, asked themselves: “What can I do to promote racial justice?” “How can I contribute to a racially just community?”  “What is racial justice?” These are questions that the Campaign for Equity New Orleans asks every community leader who participates in one of their events. CENO engages processes that require both deep personal reflection and the courage to look critically at the systems in which we work, live, and lead.  Led by a small advisory group of organizers (Shawn Barney, Andrea Chen, Liza Cowen, Allen Square, and Kelly Saulny) the Campaign works to educate, connect, and mobilize leadership throughout the city in order to address areas of systematic racism and build a more equitable future for New Orleans.  Its goal is to make New Orleans the most equitable city in America – a challenge that Appleseed supports wholeheartedly.

Michael Hecht

President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc.

Greater New Orleans, Inc. is the economic development agency for southeast Louisiana. GNO, Inc.'s mission is to create a region where our kids can stay and prosper. Before coming to GNO, Inc. Michael led the quarter-billion dollar Katrina Small Business Recovery Program for the State. Previous to coming home to Louisiana, Michael worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City, running the post-9/11 small business program.

Campaign for Equity New Orleans


CENO is working to make New Orleans the most equitable city in America. Led by a small advisory group of organizers, the Campaign works to educate, connect, and mobilize leadership throughout the city in order to address areas of systematic racism and build a more equitable future for New Orleans.

Pro Bono Honorees

Our Pro Bono Honorees have extended themselves above and beyond the typical pro bono commitment to justice. This year's honorees have greatly expanded our network and made significant changes in a particular project. Tonya Rhodes Jupiter is our Good Apple Honoree for creating Access to Justice by leveraging over 100 hours of time within a two-month period from students in the Tulane Law Pro Bono Program. Louisiana Appleseed has been working closely with our partner, Lagniappe Law, to create the state's first Legal Navigator. This massive online project requires considerable pro bono time reviewing and curating content for the soon-to-be-released self-help legal resource.  For her persistent work generating interest in our projects and partners, we honor Tonya Jupiter as our Access to Justice Pro Bono Good Apple.

Margaret Viator did not know when she signed up to volunteer with us that her work would be desperately needed. Margaret Viator, with the help of interns and project partner Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, curated the 2020 Disaster Manual contents. As Hurricanes Marco and Laura churned in the Gulf, Ms. Viator doubled down on her effort to finalize the manual. The Disaster Manual was completed the day Hurricane Laura struck the western half of our state and was distributed the next day. Ms. Viator has also taken on the project to develop a non-weather related manual that addresses pandemic and other types of emergencies. For her work in expanding access to wealth, such as home and job preservation in the face of disasters and emergencies, we honor Margaret Viator as our Access to Opportunity Pro Bono Good Apple.

Tonya Rhodes Jupiter

Associate Director of Pro Bono and Advocacy Programs, Tulane Law School

Tonya Rhodes Jupiter serves as the Associate Director of Pro Bono and Advocacy Programs at Tulane Law School and a faculty supervisor for experiential learning opportunities. Prior to joining Tulane in 2016, her legal career included work with various private firms where she concentrated on civil defense litigation, including toxic torts, general casualty, commercial and personal injury litigation.  Ms. Jupiter also clerked with the Hon. Michael G. Bagneris at Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans.

Margaret Viator

Associate, Phelps Dunbar, LLP

Ms. Viator practices in the area of litigation with a focus on commercial litigation. Her experience ranges from helping clients involved in disputes of breach of contract, breach of licensing agreements, tax issues and misappropriation of trade secrets. While in law school, Margaret served as an extern to The Hon. Shelly Dick, Middle District of Louisiana. She gained legal insight as the Notes and Comments Editor for the Journal of Energy Law and Resources.



Louisiana Appleseed selects gala chairs through a network of recommendations. They are responsible for setting the tone for the year's gala event and assist with logistics and fundraising efforts. They meet periodically over year prior to the event. This year's co-chairs have surmounted incredible obstacles in creating an event during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for the hard work of Kenn Barnes and Cherie Teamer for their relentless efforts in creating a memorable event celebrating our pro bono honorees, our network, and our community.

Kenn Barnes

Louisiana Supreme Court

Kenn Barnes is a native Louisianan, a graduate of LSU Law, and serves as the Special Counsel of Criminal Justice & Specialty Courts for the Louisiana Supreme Court. As Special Counsel of Criminal Justice and Specialty Courts, his duties include serving on committees on behalf of the Court such as the Louisiana Clean Slate Committee, Drug & Specialty Court Commission, and Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Committee; attending meetings as a liaison of the Court such as attending Louisiana State Law Institute, Louisiana Public Defender Board, and New Orleans City Office of Criminal Justice meetings; and facilitating the execution of court initiatives such as launching a Pretrial Services case management system and program in New Orleans to reduce the use of bail as a condition of release and reduce pretrial detention population at New Orleans’ jail.

Cherie Teamer

Teamer Legal Corporation, LLC

Born and raised in New Orleans, Cherie Teamer of Teamer Legal Corporation, LLC is an attorney focusing on being an advocate for her clients in the courtroom and at the mediation table. Ms. Teamer enjoys fighting for her clients and helping them to find solutions to their legal issues.  Ms. Teamer has operated a solo real estate, successions, and personal injury practice since 2015. Additionally, she works in a political consulting practice that focuses on Political Campaigns, Public Affairs, and Municipal Land Use.  Ms. Teamer is a board member of the Antenna Works, an organization that funds, produces, and prints art connecting local artists and writers with audiences across the city. She is also an Active Member of the Junior League of New Orleans and on the executive board of the Krewe of Muses.


Thank You to Our 2021 Gala Sponsors

Louisiana Appleseed Sponsors are integral to our programs. Making up almost 1/3 of Appleseed's total annual budget, sponsors enjoy a host of benefits including invitations to a private event, gift certificates to restaurants, Appleseed gift bags, and more. 




Smith Advocates

Hancock Whitney


Adams & Reese

Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, LLC

Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana

Phelps Dunbar, LLP


Jeannine Sullivan


Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier, & Warshauer

Juneau David


Laitram, LLC

Liskow & Lewis

Louisiana State Bar Association Access to Justice


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