Líderes: Juan Francisco García

Para leer este artículo en español, presiona >>>Líderes: Juan Francisco García

Get to know our community leaders in New Orleans, like Juan Francisco García, Multimedia Journalist and TV Host

Where are you from?  I’m from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I’ve been in New Orleans since September 2022. 

Where did you go to school? I attended high school at Instituto Tecnológico Administración de Empresas (Intae). I received my degree in Communications and Publicity from the Universidad de San Pedro Sula (USAP).

What does your job entail? As a news reporter for Telemundo 42, my job is to inform the Hispanic community. I contact community leaders, organizations, and authorities to provide our community with helpful information that can help. I have to stay active on social media all the time.

What do you enjoy the most about your job? I love it when my videos or reports help someone. I want my interviews to make a difference, entertain, inform, inspire, and make people feel special.

What is your favorite activity in New Orleans? I enjoy going downtown for a drink, and why not Bourbon Street? There’s always something fun to do in New Orleans. I also enjoy walking or having coffee in City Park. 

What is your favorite food? Chinese fried rice and noodles. But being from San Pedro Sula, baleadas and pollo con tajadas have a special place in my heart. 

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy? I enjoy going to the movies, especially horror movies. I also like to go on road trips and visit new places. I enjoy going to dinner with my partner, too. We’re foodies! 

What makes you proud of your heritage? I see being Hispanic as my superpower. I’m proud of being Honduran and hope my people in Honduras are proud of me. 

What makes you proud about being in New Orleans? I like that New Orleans has a vibrant Hispanic community. Seeing Hispanics as leaders and entrepreneurs makes me proud. New Orleans has an enigmatic and magical personality that I enjoy.


Del Alto Valle, Coffee with Purpose

Para leer este artículo en español, clic >>Del Alto Valle, Café con Propósito

It is uncommon to meet an entrepreneur with Paola Barona’s passion. Her dedication to her product, Del Alto Valle Coffee, clearly goes beyond creating a successful company. Barona has a full-time corporate job and dedicates her free afternoons and weekends to importing, promoting, selling, and distributing fresh Colombian coffee roasted by herself in New Orleans.

On a trip to a farm in the central mountain range of the Andes, in the town of Ulloa, Colombia, Barona became interested in the process it takes behind enjoying an excellent cup of coffee. Thousands of families in Colombia depend on coffee farms. Hundreds of families on one farm depend on Del Alto Valle Coffee to continue working and surviving.

That is where Barona’s motivation comes in. She created Del Alto Valle Coffee and seeks to position it well in the American market to care for the farmers. Their beans come from a single farm and make a gourmet and artisanal coffee packaged in 4 presentations: Original, MadreMonte, Pink Bourbon, and Geisha. When you try any of these varieties, each cup of coffee results in a sensory journey that emanates the richness and diversity of the best coffee in the world.

The Del Alto Valle Coffee brand was created due to the economic difficulties that the pandemic generated for farmers. “I was on the farm, and I saw how the farmers of Colombia’s most important product did not receive any help. I thought they deserved better treatment and thought of a way to help them,” says Barona. Her small production has received a great reception from supermarkets in the New Orleans metropolitan area and online consumers. From conscious planting and production to carefully designing its packaging, Barona protects the quality of her coffee.

Believing in that quality, she decided to participate in the first NOLA Coffee Festival, an event in which large commercial brands and recognized artisan brands from different parts of the world with years of experience in the industry gathered to showcase their coffee.

Del Alto Valle Coffee, a new brand unknown to many, with a team of one person, was crowned champion of the competition, receiving the most coveted title, Best Brewed Coffee. “I didn’t even understand when they said my name. The person beside me told me I had won the prize, and I couldn’t believe it,” said Barona. Del Alto Valle Coffee’s Geisha variety, represented by an orchid on its packaging, was the champion among around 40 competitors with decades of experience.

The Geisha variety is Del Alto Valle Coffee’s most precious and limited edition. “It is a difficult grain to obtain,” explains Barona. Geisha coffee is renowned for its distinct and complex flavor profile. It often exhibits floral and tea-like aromatics and other delicate floral elements. Its vibrant acidity, nuanced sweetness, and clean, silky body characterize the taste. Tasting notes might include hints of tropical fruits, stone fruits, and citrus. Geisha coffee is known for its rarity and limited availability. The trees are less productive than other coffee varieties, and the meticulous care required during cultivation, harvesting, and processing further restricts the quantity of Geisha coffee produced. The altitude of the land where it grows provides optimal conditions for Del Alto Valle Coffee’s geisha bean, and caring for it is the task of the families who cultivate it.

That’s why, beyond demonstrating the excellent quality of Del Alto Valle Coffee, the brand exists with the mission of supporting the education of the children of the families of the coffee farmers. Barona seeks to make the company self-sustainable but dedicates all profits to funding educational projects for children in the Ulloa region. By purchasing any variety of Del Alto Valle Coffee, you are enjoying a great cup of coffee and allowing 150 families from three towns to receive school supplies and Christmas gifts and have a better quality of life.

Supporting the families is the reason that moves Barona to create the best coffee: highlight the work of the families who take care of each bean and reward them for their hard work, ensuring they can have a decent, fair source of employment.

If you want to impress someone with good taste this Christmas or surprise your friends and family on any occasion, gift the best Colombian Coffee roasted in New Orleans. You can find Del Alto Valle Coffee at your favorite supermarket or order online at delvallecoffee.com.


Build Your Network

Para español clic: Construye tu Network

By Lisa Barback

Strong business relationships are key to your success. I could go into all the networking reasons to get out there, but if you’re reading this, you will likely know the “why.” Let me commend you on your desire to be a leader!

You are one person with a limited number of hours a day. You must find a way to use your time efficiently and effectively. You need people and information (resources) you can trust. You can build trust through relationships.  Family, friends, and business associates are part of your circle of trust. Find a business group that fits your needs. If you’re at a table where everyone agrees on everything all the time, you are most likely at the wrong table. Don’t roll your eyes.  Growing will bring about change. The challenge is to implement the change that works for your business. We all need space to learn about a different view, with time to digest the information and some room to explore deeper before seeing a new light.

Westbank Business & Industry Association (WBIA) was created by a handful of businessmen that realized what they did mattered, and they needed a voice to share their needs and concerns with area leaders, and state 

officials. As the years went on the leaders learned that the group created a strength among themselves that supercharged their individual personal growth. WBIA continues providing business leaders opportunities to explore, learn, and grow.  Your business earns credibility when you are active in the community. Networking at monthly meetings, attending special events, or participating in committees increase your visibility and ability to connect and communicate as you cultivate new business relationships.  

There are a host of civic groups and business organizations out there. Find one that feels comfortable and engaging with space for you to grow! Are you looking for a site for a new business? Did you know that Jefferson Parish is rezoning the industrial districts? Have you met your Parish Councilperson? Have you seen the recent development in Plaquemines Parish? Do you need help to train new employees? There is a list of items that will eventually drop on your desk, and you will have questions. Make the time to build relationships and create the resources you need to make informed decisions.  


Introduce yourself at a WBIA monthly luncheon. We have educational topics on the workforce, economic development, governance, and on occasion, sports (we are all fans). Look us up while searching for your new professional development experience. Come to learn and leave with some restored hope and renewed strength that you are not alone. 

Líderes: Axel "LOLA" Rosa

En Español>>Líderes: Axel 'LOLA" Rosa

Axel Lola Rosa is an Artist Manager and the founder of South 25 Entertainment

“I’m an Artist Manager learning something new daily, and I love connecting with other music/entertainment-related individuals. The goal is to put all New Orleans on the Map, not just my Latino Community. So let’s connect y’all!”

Where are you from? I was born at Charity but raised in Metairie. If you know, you know! My heritage is Honduran. 

What is your favorite plan in New Orleans?  I love to grab a to-go drink at Good Friends in the French Quarter and stroll around, then jump on the streetcar and wander on Magazine St. for snacking and shopping at various places. 

What is your favorite food? Honduran food! But overall, everything. I’m a big boy, and that’ll never change!

What kind of hobbies or activities do you enjoy? Walking at the lakefront, spending time with my close friends and their kids, and volunteering. I love attending food-focused festivals and events and, of course, going to live music shows! I also enjoy reading entertainment/gossip and business-related articles.

Where did you go to school? I graduated from Grace King High School in Metairie. I earned my Associate Degree in Business & Management from Delgado Community College. Later in life, I earned my Bachelor’s & Master’s in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL. 

What does your job entail? I handle all business affairs for music artists and entertainers I represent. I currently manage a local Latin Artist, E.D.G. El Agresivo, which includes financing and managing his brand and music marketing, scheduling and finding recording studios, producers, engineers, and other collaborators. 

Why did you get into this field? The industry caught my attention as a child. I used to buy CDs with my allowance and listen to them while reading the credits. I was fascinated with production and the behind-the-scenes. I also read tabloid and pop culture magazines and got upset hearing how some of my favorite artists signed record deals that did not financially benefit them. So, I decided to educate myself and use my powers for good! 

What do you enjoy the most about your job? The awesome people from different walks of life that I get to collaborate with and eventually befriend! 

What is the best advice you’ve received? I have three memorable tips: 1. Do everything as it was for God and not for me, a client, or a boss, with love and respect. 2. Always be humble, don’t speak but listen. 3. Write everything down! 

How do you support your community? I volunteer for non-profit organizations. I am on the Board of the Hispanic Chamber of Louisiana Young Professionals Committee. Currently, we are raising money for our scholarship fund! 

What makes you proud of being in New Orleans?  That I am actually from here. Our city is unique and the closest thing to Europe if you think about it! When you share that charisma with the outside world, whether going on vacation or a business trip, those people get a feel for our city based on our mannerisms and how we like to have a good time! Business-wise, I’m proud because I stand out in my unique industry, and it’s bringing light to the Music City we should be known for. 

What makes you proud of your heritage? The delicious food we make, the sense of unity when I run into another Latino at the store or park, and what some Latinos have accomplished in the U.S.A. and our home countries!

Andres Fuentes, a New Face on Local News

Andres Fuentes, a New Face on Local News

By AnaMaria Bech

Click aqui para español- > Andrés Fuentes, una cara nueva en las noticias locales

Andres Fuentes is one of the new faces on local news. He joined the WVUE Fox 8 team in January as the only bilingual on-camera reporter. A native of Kenner, Fuentes is a Rummel Raider and a Loyola University graduate.


Though Spanish isn’t his primary language, Fuentes grew up speaking Spanish to his grandmother at home. As a third-generation Mexican American, his bi-cultural upbringing will help Fuentes connect with the Latino community in the Greater New Orleans area, just as he did at his previous job in Biloxi.

During his first year as a reporter at WLOX, Fuentes had a year flooded with constant updates during the Covid crisis and a busy hurricane season. Fuentes provided this information also in Spanish, serving the non-English speaking population during a critical time. His goal is also to help the Spanish-speaking community in our area.

Fuentes is very excited to return home and live out his dream of reporting the news in his community.

Jannette Zorrilla Executive Producer, WVUE Fox 8 Morning Edition

Jannette Zorrilla
Executive Producer, WVUE Fox 8 Morning Edition

Click aqui para español- >Jannette Zorrilla Productora Ejecutiva, Fox 8 Morning Edition

Where are you from?
I was born in New Orleans, but my blood is 100% pure Colombian. Both of my parents are from Caicedonia, Colombia.

Where do you reside?
Post-Katrina, we moved to Metairie, but I grew up in St. Bernard Parish.

What is your favorite plan and place in New Orleans?
I love going out and experiencing new restaurants. I enjoy going to festivals, parades, and concerts.

What is your favorite food?
This is a tough one. There are too many wonderful options to choose! I would say seafood makes up most of my top 10.

What kind of hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I’m an avid Saints and LSU fan. Watching the games with friends and family is so much fun! I love to read and one my greatest joy is watching and supporting my nieces/nephews play sports, dance, compete or just playing in the backyard.

Where did you go to school?
High school: Andrew Jackson High School, Chalmette, LA. I was part of the last all-girl graduating class.
College-University: University of New Orleans
Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Drama & Communications

What does your job entail?
I’m the Executive Producer for FOX 8 Morning Edition. It’s a weekday, 5.5-hour newscast. We are the number one morning newscast in New Orleans. I supervise the editorial content, strategy, and morning staff.

Why did you get into this field?
I knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was in the 7th grade. I serve the public by presenting factual, objective information. We hold officials accountable. We provide information to keep the public safe during severe weather events such as hurricanes. We clearly explain issues that impact the public and at times offer entertainment and uplifting stories of hope.

I used to watch WVUE as a child, so it was a thrill when I got my college internship in 1993 and was hired shortly afterwards. I’ve been with WVUE ever since.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?
While I enjoy the day-to-day news production, getting a chance to work on special projects, like documentaries, is great. I really get to delve into a topic, do research and create something brand new.

What would you tell someone who wants to get into this field?
Be prepared before you walk into a newsroom. Consume the news, whether it’s print, TV or digital. Get the apps, follow news organizations on social media. If you want to be a journalist, you must stay current with the news, understand how it’s presented.

What is the best advice you’ve received?
No one has a monopoly on good ideas.

How do you support/help your community?
Over the years, I have worked with various Spanish-speaking agencies to help keep the community informed. I’m especially excited about FOX 8’s partnership with Viva NOLA. Besides offering a bi-weekly on-air segment in FOX 8 Morning Edition at 8 AM where we provide the news in Spanish, FOX 8 News has a web page too, www.fox8news/espanol.

What makes you proud of your heritage?
My family taught me to be extremely proud of Colombia. The language, the people, the food, the traditions, the music. It all colors my life beautifully.
Jannette has won several local and state awards for her newscasts and special broadcasts, including a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for a documentary and a Regional Suncoast Emmy award for a documentary celebrating WVUE’s 60th Anniversary.

Alvaro Rivera

Alvaro Rivera. Customer Service that supports entrepreneurs

By AnaMaria Bech     

Click aqui para español- >Alvaro Rivera

As an active member of the CADA Insurance team since 2015, Alvaro Rivera has achieved great success as a home, auto, and commercial insurance agent.

His extensive knowledge of the market and everything related to insurance mixed with a positive attitude when interacting with different people generate great trust among his clients, who, being satisfied with his service, constantly refer new clients to him.

Rivera has established a strong connection with his Kenner community, where he has resided for over 25 years. That connection has allowed him to deal with members of the Anglo, Latin, and global community, as well as business leaders.

His passion for providing excellent customer service has allowed him to assist several local entrepreneurs in formalizing their business operations. With the knowledge that he has acquired, Alvaro has identified the great need for guidance among entrepreneurs who are beginning to navigate the commercial world, start their company, and obtain all the business requirements to operate.

Beyond advising his clients with the required insurance, entrepreneurs and business people can count on Alvaro to help them navigate many of the questions that arise as the company consolidates.

If you are looking to start your own business or need information on business operations to strengthen your business, do not hesitate to contact Alvaro Rivera at the Kenner CADA Insurance office or by calling (504) 305-4446.

Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera

NOLA Living Realty

Click aqui para español- >Diego Rivera

Where are you from? 

I’m proud to call New Orleans home. I was born in Colombia and moved here at the age of ten. There is no place I’d rather be.

What is your professional experience?

I have worked in different industries, mostly in sales within marketing, finance, banking, construction, and real estate development.

How does your previous experience help you as a Real Estate agent?

Working in sales has honed the skills that make me an incredible agent because I’m more focused on the client than the commission. I approach every customer with no-strings-attached compassion.

What makes you a great Real Estate Agent?

Having learned that seemingly trivial transactions can be monumentally life-changing to an individual, I value my customers and their goals and never pressure them.

What is your most vital skill?

I consider myself an expert negotiator who will go to great lengths to secure my clients’ wishes. I have cultivated the skills necessary to navigate real estate contracts and multiple-offer scenarios.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

The joy of helping others. I go the extra mile every time. Helping my clients make substantial investments that build wealth.

What are you focusing on at the moment?

I’m happy serving a range of clients, and I have a particular interest in working with first-time homebuyers and Spanish speakers. I want to ensure that every client is educated and feels confident.

What is your motto?

You are investing in real estate. I’m investing in you.

What else do you enjoy doing?

I like to spend time with my family, travel, read, and run marathons.

Jae Coello

Jae Coello

Click aqui para español- > Jae Coello

On-Air Personality on Telemundo and Latino Mix 97.5.

Makeup Artist.

Where are you from? 

Villanueva Cortes, Honduras.

Where do you reside?

New Orleans, Louisiana.

What is your favorite plan and place in New Orleans?

Spending time with my family is my favorite plan followed by having brunch and cocktails with friends. Jack Rose is my favorite place.

What is your favorite food?

Charbroiled oysters!

What kind of hobbies or activities do you enjoy?

Traveling and music festivals. I love discovering new restaurants. However, in Coronavirus times, watching movies is my favorite activity.

Where did you go to school?

I attended USAP, Universidad Privada de San Pedro Sula, and I finished beauty school in 2013 in Honduras.

I’m currently enrolled at Delgado Community College.

What does your job entail?

As a TV and Radio personality, my main objective is to entertain, keep our audience informed on local issues, which requires me to be up to date on music, news, movies, and entertainment. Another important part of my job is to establish a strong connection between our audience and our TV and radio sponsors.

Why did you get into this field?

I’ve always been fascinated by the magic in movies which lead me to have an interest in working on TV. Since I was a kid, I got involved in school activities related to theater and beauty pageants.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I enjoy the makeup and wardrobe session before recording a TV segment. Afterward, my favorite part is editing.

What is the best advice you’ve received?

To be constant in everything I do and have a well-defined personality on-air, while keeping my feet grounded.

What makes you proud about being in New Orleans?

I love living in a city that is known worldwide and being part of the only Hispanic TV channel.

What makes you proud of your heritage?

I love being a Latina in the U.S. because we offer a different point of view based on the teachings and values we grew up with in our home country, which are now mixed with the modernism and freedom of the United States of America.

Arlenne Retana

Arlenne Retana

Click aqui para español- >Arlenne Retana

Arlenne Retana is a Realtor with the Karen Trebes Team at Home Smart Realty South. A Costa Rican native, Retana moved to New Orleans at age 13 and had to learn English and adapt to a new culture. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of New Orleans, where she obtained a bachelor‘s degree in Business Administration. After working in different fields, Retana decided to get into Real Estate and has been making homeownership a reality for her clients ever since, including for those who prefer to make the transaction in their native language of Spanish.

She finds great pride in buyers’ “this is it” moment when she is showing them a house. “Buying a house is a huge personal achievement for most people, and to be part of that major milestone is greatly satisfying,” says Retana. Her job can become very personal, and Retana enjoys when clients make her part of their family. Retana is engaged in all aspects of the process when helping her clients in buying, selling and renting properties, whether it is to occupy them or for investing, or facilitating access to lenders when needed. Her goal is always to make the home buying process as smooth as possible.

Beyond her commitment to her job, Retana also supports the community. With her team at Karen Trebes, first time home buyers can take seminars once a year. Retana also gives back through her volunteer work for the Gulf Coast Doberman Rescue Association by raising funds, helping at events, and finding a loving home for the animals in their care.

Retana loves working in New Orleans and says that the best advice she can give is to “be yourself…clients like transparency.” That’s why she finds success in all she does, because she is always herself and clients always feel comfortable working with her. You can contact Arlenne at 504-339.8289

“Omar, el Jaguar”

“Omar, el Jaguar”

Andrea Olatunji Launches children’s book series in Spanish

Click aqui para español- > “Omar, el Jaguar”

Andrea Olatunji grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay and moved to New Orleans in 2002 as the first Uruguayan to participate in a Fulbright teaching program.

She evacuated due to Katrina in 2005. When her first son was born in 2015, she and her husband decided it was time to return to New Orleans.

As a language teacher, Andrea finds stories to be a remarkable resource to enable children to explore their own cultural roots and get insights into different traditions and values. Through her teaching years, she always found it difficult to find the right resources for her Spanish lessons and usually ended up creating them herself, which was exciting but extremely time-consuming.

Two years ago, she decided to put a passion for books, art, and teaching together and start writing her own stories. And that’s “Omar, el Jaguar” was born. It is the first book of an upcoming series that promises to continue the traditional use of storytelling as a very natural way to help children learn a language.

As Andrea reminds us, “reading stories to children at a young age promotes a feeling of well-being and relaxation, increases their willingness to communicate their thoughts and feelings, encourages imagination and creativity, and, of course, increases their verbal proficiency.”           

What is “Omar, el Jaguar” about?

Omar is a lonely jaguar that wants to make friends. He encounters other animals that invite him to play but he thinks they are not suitable to be his playmates because they don‘t look like him. He later discovers that they do have something in common and that they need to team up to protect it. Being different can be an advantage after all.

How did you come up with the story and character for “Omar, el Jaguar”?

When I decided to create this series of books for children, I intended it to be more than just a story. I wanted it to teach beautiful values and to showcase our rich and diverse Hispanic culture. So, the idea of using animals that are native to the Americas as main characters popped up.  The jaguar is an amazingly beautiful animal which was considered sacred among many pre-Columbian societies. It is also in danger of extinction, so I thought this could be a great springboard to bring awareness into this issue.

I find the jaguar so fascinating that I even named my son after it. His name is Nahuel, which means jaguar in the Mapuche language. That‘s how “Omar, el jaguar” was born. This book delivers two important messages: embracing diversity and protecting our environment.

What is Cuentacuento?

Cuentacuento (meaning storyteller in English) is a site where parents and teachers can find beautiful stories to share with their young audiences. Storytellers have been some of the first keepers and spreaders of culture. In these challenging times when kids spend considerable amounts of time in front of a screen, Cuentacuento aims to foster the fascinating experience of telling and listening to stories.This project stems from an instructional framework that my husband and I promote as educational consultants in our company Align Education, LLC. The framework is called F.A.C.E.S., which stands for FUN, AFFIRMATION, CHALLENGE, EXPRESSION, and SUCCESS.  These elements – which we believe are crucial for learning and success – are behind all my stories.

Why are the stories in Spanish?

All the stories are in Spanish, but the educator guides, website, and other documents are in English. This is because my main audience is educators and schools in the United States. I am also trying to help those parents who don’t speak Spanish but want to expose their kids to the language. With time, I would like to make the website and resources bilingual but not the stories. Personally, I don’t like bilingual stories. I have a four-year old son and we read in Spanish or in English but not both in the same book. Having taught little ones, I never needed to translate to them. We would use mime, pictures, gestures, etc., to convey meaning, and here is where having the vocabulary contextualized into a story helps! You have the plot, the pictures, everything you need!

Tell us about upcoming projects.

Once the project gets funded, I will get my hands busy with the next book in the series. In fact, I already have it in draft, and it addresses an important element I think every student needs.

I am also planning storytelling activities, teacher workshops and school visits, among other things to promote the books.

Where can people get “Omar, el jaguar”?

The book is available now for pre-order. Being a part-time teacher, I don’t have the funds to carry out a project like this without help. For this reason, I am planning a fundraising campaign where people will be able to purchase the book at discounted price plus exclusive rewards. This launched September 9th.  Right now, anyone that’s interested can sign up to my website cuentacuento.com and get first dibs on these discounts and rewards.-

Jose Efrain Lozano

Jose Efrain Lozano

Math Resource Center Staff Instructor

Where are you from?

I was born in New Orleans, LA. My parents are both from La Ceiba, Honduras. I have lived there for 6 years as a child before moving back to New Orleans.

How long have you been at Xavier University?

I have been at working at Xavier for 20 months (since Aug. 2017).

What is the best part about working at Xavier University?

Seeing students express their gratitude for the support they have received at the Math Resource Center.

What programs are the most recognized at Xavier University?

The most recognized program at Xavier is the pharmacy program. However, Xavier

is a well-recognized school for its Science programs. That’s why I chose to attend Xavier to prepare for medical school. 

Why should someone consider attending Xavier University?

The classes at Xavier are academically challenging in that they force students to think critically. As a result, students are better prepared for post-baccalaureate-level work.

What programs are the most recognized at Xavier University?

Pre-Med and Pharmacy programs.

Yafreisy Martínez

Conozca Xavier University

Yafreisy Martínez


¿De dónde es?

Nací en San Juan, Puerto Rico, pero mis padres son de Republica Dominicana.

¿Dónde vive?

Vivo en Nueva Orleans, Luisiana.

¿Qué estudia?

Actualmente estoy asistiendo a la Universidad Xavier de Luisiana, ya terminé mi primer año de especialización en química con énfasis en pre-medicina y empiezo mi tercer semestre ahora.

¿Por qué debemos considerar estudiar en Xavier University?

Xavier te prepara para hacer y ser el mejor en tu carrera. Xavier te prepara para salir listo. 

¿Cuáles son los programas más reconocidos en la Universidad Xavier?

El programa más reconocido es farmacología. Sin embargo, Xavier es reconocido por tener buenos programas científicos. Mi meta es ser doctora, por eso decidí estudiar aquí, y también porque ofrecen oportunidades de becas que permiten a muchas personas a acceder a una educación de calidad.

Rey Rivas

Rey Rivas, Spark foundation

By AnaMaria Bech 

Click aqui para español- >Rey Rivas

Where are you from? 

Piedras Negras Coahuila, Mexico.                                                 

Where do you reside?

Chalmette, LA.

What kind of hobbies or activities do you enjoy?        

Every Tuesday, I get to see different parts of the city with the 504th run crew. I play soccer, read and I participate in any educational workshops or networking events that can help advance my business and non-profit. 

What schools have you attended?

Chalmette High School and Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Latino Studies/Latino Ministry with a minor in both Business and Spanish/English Translation.

What does your job entail?

I started Spine NOLA Construction, LLC along with my father. We focus on residential and commercial remodeling. I also lead the New Orleans chapter of a national non-profit organization called Spark Foundation which seeks to motivate and enrich multicultural diversity in the student and local communities through an individual’s success stories and testimonies. We also assist individuals achieve higher education with educationally driven scholarships, focused on students currently under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy (DACA).

Why did you get into this field?

My faith and flame grew my freshman year at SNU with the DACA immigration policy passed in 2012. This struggle shaped my vision. I didn’t know how then, but now with Spark, I am contributing to making someone’s educational dreams come true. As the vice president of scholarships and a founding board member, I plan on creating a safe community of DACA recipients and Dreamers here in New Orleans where they can share the journey and succeed through all obstacles. I plan to attract sponsors for the cause and provide the stories of brave individuals in need of funding opportunities and merit driven scholarships in order for their stories to help move individuals to a place to work towards their career goals.

 What makes you passionate about this work?

With Spark, we are trying to magnify the stories of those pursuing a greater way of life through education and impacting their community, regardless of their legal status or race. In the famous words of Kennedy,” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This is our future. This is our Spark.

What makes you proud about being in New Orleans?

New Orleans has really shaped me in seeing the world in one city, a world of diversity and community. People are friendly and outgoing, welcoming to all. The vibe is always for a good time!

Xavier University: Margarita Echeverri

Margarita Echeverii

By Anamaria Bech

Click aqui para español- >Conozca Xavier University Margarita Echeverri

Where are you from?


How long have you worked at Xavier University?

Nine years.

What is the best part about working at Xavier University?

I really like the family environment that Xavier University offers.

Why should someone consider attending Xavier University?

Xavier University offers its students an education with care and values.

What programs are the most recognized at Xavier University?

As the Educational Coordinator in Health Disparities, Diversity and Cultural Competence in the Pharmacy College, I have to recommend our excellent Pharmacy program which holds a place of distinction among the nation’s colleges of pharmacy and has allowed minority youth to pursue our mission of eliminating health disparities in underserved communities.

A Message From Carling Dinkler

Click aqui para español- >Un mensaje de Carling Dinkler

The largest population of Hondurans in the United States can be found in New Orleans. I celebrate this diversity and I’m proud that many Hondurans and Latinos have chosen to be a part of this community, contributing to our economy and culture. The Latino community has always had a strong presence in New Orleans, but immediately following Hurricane Katrina, they were quick to help New Orleans rebuild and allow an even stronger comeback.

I’m running for the State Legislature with the intent of advocating for immigration policies that keep families together, respect human rights and dignity, and give everyone the opportunity to succeed in our state and country—especially those who have historically not had a voice at the State Legislature. We can start by being more thoughtful about how we refer to these human beings—using language such as “undocumented immigrants” instead of “illegal aliens” would be a good start.

Not everyone shares these values. At the federal level, the Trump administration has taken an aggressive stance on immigration. Family separation, failed plans to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and dehumanizing asylum seekers have been hallmarks of this Administration.

Over the last two years in Louisiana, the number of individuals in local jails has decreased due to a number of reforms in the criminal justice system. But at the same time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed asylum seekers in jails and detention centers across Louisiana, adding about 2,790 to these local jails. ICE reimburses these local jails twice the amount to house a detainee, creating a perverse incentive to incarcerate more refugees. Many asylum seekers in these institutions have called their treatment “psychological torture” and have staged hunger strikes. The Office of the Inspector General found “egregious violations of detention standards.” Who will speak out for them?

It is immoral to treat asylum seekers like prisoners in this country; it is not the America I know and it is not how I want members of our community treated. Civil rights organizations like VOTE have mobilized to provide support in Louisiana. Still, many of these refugees are caught in a system that is difficult to navigate, provides little to no transparency in the process, and dehumanizes them. Little attention is paid to this issue and that needs to change.

The fabric of our community is comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and countries around the globe. We are strengthened by people who come to our city to work and raise their families. We need policies and laws that treat people humanely, keep families together, and reflect our country’s values of equality, independence and positive mobility. If elected to the State Legislature, I will commit to serving as this voice. 


Carling Dinkler

Candidate, House District 91

Louisiana Legislature

This message is brought to you by the Friends of Carling

Mari Alejos-Puente

Mari Alejos-Puente, CEO Passport Polish

Click aqui para español- > Mari Alejos-Puente

In just one year, Mari Alejos-Puente’s cosmetic brand company  Passport Polish has gained recognition around the world. Her love for traveling inspired Passport Polish, a solution for artsy instagrammable travel pictures that can now include the perfect  vivid nail polish colors that represent the elements of the various countries in your travel itinerary.

Born and raised in Mid-City in New Orleans to Cuban and Nicaraguan parents, Mari Alejos-Puente is the first entrepreneur of her family, which makes all her relatives extremely proud.

She is well educated. Alejos-Puente has a marketing undergraduate degree from Tulane University, and a Masters in Psychology from Xavier University. Having graduated from these institutions is special, because her mother and her grandmother held jobs their first job at these campus respectively when they first immigrated with no English and limited education.

Before becoming the Passport Polish CEO, Alejos-Puente worked in the medical field, like many of her relatives, until one night, inspired by an entrepreneur friend, she decided to give a chance to creating and devoting her talent, time, and effort to her own business.

She learned how to mix chemicals and colors to make her products, she is back in business school furthering her knowledge, and she is on top of her social marketing game, her online retail, and of fulfilling orders, creating customized colors, and providing her products to customers all over the world.


Passport Polish offers quality products that you can purchase on https://passportpolish.com/

Remember when you are buying these vegan, cruelty-free products, you are supporting the business of a local, inspiring,  fearless Latina.

Find your favorite colors and tag your pictures on Instagram with 



The Caribbean Collection was the first batch of products to sell out! It was inspired by the colors of the countries Alejos-Puente had already visited in the Caribbean, which are also present throughout the city of New Orleans.

The Passport Pout line of lipsticks was launched in January. The colors are inspired by different countries and by the colors of their staple food items: Argentina for red wine, Cuba for “guava and cheese pastelitos”, Nicaragua for the chicha drink.

All the products are created by hand by Mari (she will have to outsource soon) and are vegan, cruelty free, and safe for sensitive skin. 

The Passport Polish Powders are inspired by more exotic destinations. 

You can dip your nails in the bright colors of Bali, Morocco, Brazil, Kenya and St. Croix, among many others, and your travel ready manicure will last around 2 weeks.

Cary Caro PH.D

Cary Caro PH.D

Asociate Professor of Management

Click aqui para español- >Cary Caro PH.D

Where are you from? 

Rio Grande City, Texas.

How long have you worked at Xavier University? 

Nine years.

What is the best part about working at Xavier University?

The sense of community that we are able to establish with our peers and with our students. Our small size is an advantage in really building a whole individual.

Why should someone consider attending Xavier University?

While our academic reputation in the Division of Business speaks for itself, we have an incredible placement rate for our graduates. We prepare you academically, and then send you off to wonderful opportunities in industry when you graduate.

What programs are the most recognized at Xavier University? 

The Accounting program at the Division of Business is renowned for placing nearly 100% of its graduates in either graduate school to complete their CPA or in their careers in industry. We are very proud of that here at the Division! 


The Division of Business is a “hidden gem” at Xavier. You should come to know our story and be a part of its writing!

Ashley García

Ashley García, Leasing & Marketing Manager - BGPM

Click aqui para español- > Ashley García

Where are you from?                                                   
New York City

Where do you reside?
Central Business District, New Orleans

What is your favorite place in New Orleans?
I go between newly curated boutique hotels that have preserved New Orleans culture like The Pontchartrain or Hotel Peter & Paul to restaurants with the best brunch and happy hours in town.  Lately, I have grown fond of the New Orleans Botanical Gardens.

What kind of hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I frequent the local libraries. They are great spaces to get things done and get a smile or joke told to you by a nine-year old. The Rosa F. Keller library is my favorite! I also enjoy dancing with Ritmeaux Krewe!

What schools have you attended?
I studied International Business at Loyola University. I am currently finishing the Civic Leadership Academy class at New Orleans City Hall.

What does your job entail?
I help tenants find a place to call home. I manage the lease search and move in process at BGPM, and I am responsible for leasing our full portfolio, front desk management and marketing.

Why did you get into this field?
I have always had a passion for real estate. I had my real estate agent’s license in New York City when I was 17.
What is your favorite part of the job?
There is something new going on every day. This job takes me to the world. I meet many people and their stories along the road. I can capture special moments and experience historic episodes in life.
How do you support your community? 
I currently serve on board of local non-profit Fund 17. We just opened an incubator within the St. Rose de Lima campus for local entrepreneurs to be serviced. I also assist in advising a women’s organization on Loyola’s campus.

What makes you proud about being in New Orleans?
There are community organizations, panels and events that anyone can attend. You can easily be part of many. Other cities don’t have the luxury of being able to attend a board meeting on one side of town, take a dance class, have dinner and still make it to a concert all after work. This is powerful and truly represents the New Orleans professional/community ecosystem.

New Orleans has been and will continue to transform through change. If you have an opinion about an initiative or a cause, make sure to get involved. Those who impact a positive change in the community welcome all opinions! We can’t do anything if you aren’t out there having these conversations.

Vincent Barraza

Vincent Barraza

Digital Preservation Librarian

Where are you from?

Ventura, California.

How long have you worked at Xavier University?

Four years.

What is the best part about working at Xavier University?

I love discovering new/hidden collections deep in the Archives.

What programs are the most recognized at Xavier University?

The Pharmacy program has produced more African American doctors in the United States than any other University.

Things are changing rapidly in the Xavier University campus in ways that the city has never seen before. Over the last couple of years, Xavier’s big push has been inclusion, especially within the extended communities, minorities, and nationwide. I feel this will benefit the university as a whole and I’m excited about what the future holds for everyone at Xavier University.


Para más información sobre los diferentes programas ofrecidos en Xavier University, comuníquese con 

Priscilla Gonzalez-Felix en la oficina de admisiones al (504)520-7411

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