2015 New Orleans Mom of the Year Finalists

Disclosure :: Our 2015 New Orleans Mom of the Year is sponsored by Touro Infirmary

We received some amazing nominees for our first New Orleans Mom of the Year campaign … nominated by husbands, fiancés, daughters, sons, sisters, and friends … all who have made a difference in the lives of others and who motivate and inspire those around them. Selecting the top 8 finalists from all of the nominations proved to be a very difficult task.

A team of objective judges from Touro Infirmary will determine the New Orleans Mom of the Year from the 8 finalists below, and the winner will be announced on Sunday, May 3rd!

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The Top 8 Finalists

Elodie Carter

Elodie Carter{Nominated by :: Rickey Carter} My wife deserves Mom of the Year simply because of the time & effort she puts into our children. She’s a stay at home mother to our 3 young boys. The oldest is 5, and the last two will be making 3 next month (twins). The youngest (by 20 minutes) of our twins was diagnosed with Autism this past January. She does everything in her power to make sure that he feels no different then his older brothers. He has tantrums; she’s patient. I know his meltdowns can be overwhelming at times, yet she keeps going. She teaches the kids, takes them to see and learn about our city, manages our home, manages me, and never really has time to herself. She works tirelessly with the kids, and I truly think she deserves to have this prize.

Teri Hrabovsky

Teri{Nominated by :: Annie Hrabovsky and Caitrin Alb} My mom, Teri, deserves to be Mom of the Year because she is the most selfless and giving person I know. She and my dad have their hands full with five children, whose ages range from 17 to 3, but my mom always goes out of her way to help others. The youngest two children are adopted from the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and she continues to be a foster mother for other children. My mom also runs a non-profit organization which helps other families who foster, DCFS, and other families in need. Clothes, beds, and toys are a few of the things she collects for them. Even with her busyness, she always wears a smile. Her passion for helping people and making a difference is really amazing. Not only does she make a difference in other’s lives but in ours as well. My mom homeschooled me until high school and she home schools two of my sisters. She makes it a priority to have plenty of time for us, no matter what she has going on. Another special quality my mom has is the ability to make everyone who comes into our home feel welcome and comfortable; whether it be a foster child, friends, or a new guest. Her hospitality, love, and kindness inspires me to do what I can to make a difference in our New Orleans community and beyond. She makes a difference in everyone she meets and inspires others to pass on the love and care as well. My mom does so much for her kids and the people in New Orleans she definitely deserves to be Mom of the Year.

Sarah Chrestman

{Nominated by :: Andy Chrestman} From the moment she first Sarah Chrestmanlaid eyes on our first child, I knew she was a natural. Our son’s birth was atypical in that he was born with global brain damage, and he spent the first month of his life in the NICU at Children’s Hospital. It wasn’t until several weeks in that she was even able to hold him. But I distinctly remember the first time she saw him after her C-section. They wheeled her into the room where he was, drowning in tubes and medical equipment. Sarah cries at the drop of a hat, so I fully expected her to lose it. But what I saw instead was the personification of maternal love and strength. The way she looked at him that day told me that this child would be taken care of. That this child was lucky. That mental image is permanently etched in my brain. Since that day, she has been an amazing mother to our son Kohl and now our daughter Amelia. She is a source of strength for all of us. Raising two kids is difficult. Raising two kids while also working full-time is very difficult. Raising two kids, while working full time, and while one of those kids has significant special needs is unbelievably difficult. Yet, she handles it with grace and a positive attitude. I’m proud to call her my wife, and I know my kids are proud to have her as their mommy. That’s why I nominate Sarah Chrestman as the 2015 Mom of the Year.

Casey O’Keefe 

CaseyOKeefe{Nominated by :: Ross O’Keefe} Casey helped start and is actively involved in a post-partum support group (2020 Moms Group) in coalition with her birth doula work at Nola Nesting. Together, they are meeting with moms and giving these women a chance to talk and vent to other moms and find proper support for the women who need help. She’s a loving mom to both of her daughters, Emory (3) and Laurel (1), and she demonstrates involvement at all levels of the community whether it is through her work as a doula or her civic work as Vice President of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association. She organizes kickball games for the neighborhood and makes sure our neighborhood gets the needed attention it deserves. Casey’s tireless in her devotion to her children. After attending long births with laboring mothers, Casey comes home and starts checking in with our daughters and listening to their days often spent with family members, neighbors, nannies, or myself after a 24 hour shift at the firehouse. She juggles the schedule on a daily basis and it is not easy. She even returns the favor of babysitting for other doulas and will watch their children for hours on end. When it’s a long day and the girls are in bed, I will often look over at my wife texting away madly into the glow of her Iphone because a new mom has just texted her with a question. About what? I don’t ask anymore because she knows what it is like to be a mom with questions and she knows what moms need. Love.

Heather Engelhart

Heather Engelhart{Nominated by :: Ana Borden} Heather is an exceptional mother and wife who, despite having had a challenging year, still wears a constant smile and lives life full of grace. She is the mother of Lincoln, a tracker and hat loving 2-1/2 year old, and wife to Kyle. Originally from South Dakota, she has made New Orleans home with her family. She is a full time working mom juggling the many roles every mother has but for over a year she had been an example of true grace from nearly loosing her husband, the loss of her (unborn) son, and losing three “brothers” she served along side with during her service to our country in Iraq. When I shared with her our news that were expecting, shortly after their loss, she received the news with such true excitement and has been so thoughtful during our entire pregnancy. It is moments like these that you see what a truly exceptional person she is. She continues to serve our country in the National Guard and is a talented artist. She documented her wartime experience through a series of paintings with the 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment, in Iraq from 2004 and 2005. Heather is a fun loving mother to Lincoln and for all of these reasons and more, it is my pleasure to nominate her as Mother of the Year.

Karen Eagan

Karen Eagan{Nominated by :: Meagan Blouin} As a mother of five girls, my mom has played the role of summer baseball coach, school mothers’ club president, and after-school chauffeur, among others. But her greatest role has been mother of our youngest sister Molly, who has Down syndrome. Our mom is the personification of courage and hope as she works tirelessly to ensure Molly’s success in life, both socially and academically. She has met with school leaders to discuss viable options for Molly within the school system and has met with other mothers of children with Down syndrome to consolidate ideas for their success and to develop plans to lobby on their behalf. Our mother is a champion. She never gives up. She lacks the ability to say “no” regarding her involvement in our lives, but has no problem with the word when to comes to discipline. But it’s that discipline that has guided us towards good, moral choices. In addition to “mom,” she goes by other names as well: “LSU sports fanatic,” “goofball,” and “old-school” (especially when it comes to her technological skills). But without a doubt, our favorite name for her is simply … “Mom.”

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones{Nominated by :: Jamal Bates} My mom puts everyone before herself. She has raised my brother and I alone, and the last couple of years has financially helped and supported my elderly aunt that just passed away. My mom works full time, volunteers in the community, and makes sure two different generations had all the love and support needed. She is the friend that her friends call when they need mothering too. She welcomes our friends in our family as if she is their second mom, and even took in a young man that my brother meet through a leadership group that aged out of Boys Town before he entered the military. I do not know how she does it all and never complains. She put herself through Xavier University while raising us and just got accepted in the Tulane Executive MBA program. My mom deserves Mom of the Year because she mothers everyone she knows.

Kandie Hinyub

kandie{Nominated by :: Lacy Todd} I would like to nominate my friend Kandie because not only is she a great wife, mother, and grandmother, but for the other lives she touches on a daily basis. As the Director of GUMP Preschool, she touches the hearts of 125 children on a daily basis along with their parents, grandparents, and her staff of 22 women. But, it doesn’t stop there. She also coordinates a monthly outreach for the children at the local apartment complex next to our church (Gretna United Methodist). If someone needs something, Kandie goes above and beyond the call of duty to help whoever it is, no questions asked. Did I mention that she is basically the sole caretaker of her Grandmother, bringing her to doctor appointments and cleaning her house every Saturday? She is also a Sprout6 hero and does community service projects with them. You can always find Kandie doing thing for others before doing them for herself. She is a pure heart, and never asks anything in return. She always gives 100 % in anything and everything she does. How she finds the time or energy I will never know. She has made me a better person just by knowing her. If anyone is more deserving of this title it should be Kandie Hinyub!!!

Not only will the winner be crowned the 2015 New Orleans Mom of the Year, but she will also win the fabulous prize package giveaway valued over $700 including:

  • Day of Joy Spa Package from Love Joy Day Spa including a Lovejoy Manicure, Lovejoy Pedicure, 60 minute Full Body Massage, A Murad Signature Facial, and a delicious lunch (value of $235)
  • A Gift Card from Bra Genie with Expert Bra Fitting (value of $100)
  • An Outfitting Session from ALG Style (value of $150)
  • One Month Unlimited Membership to KINDRED Lifestyle Studio (value of $225)
  • A Bottle of Cathead Vodka, made in Mississippi, from bin428 (value of $20)

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The winner will be announced on Sunday, May 3rd!

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