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WWII Museum Announces New Chairman of the Board, Officers and Trustees

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NEW ORLEANS — From the National WWII Museum:

The National WWII Museum announced the election of Ted Weggeland as Chairman of its National Board of Trustees and the installation of a slate of board members and five new trustees. Weggeland follows outgoing President John Koerner, whose leadership from 2020 to 2022 has been critical in advancing the museum’s mission and goals despite significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida.

Weggeland has been a passionate supporter of the museum for more than two decades, and his tenure as chairman coincides with a momentous time for the institution as it prepares to celebrate the completion of its long-planned physical expansion in 2023 with the opening of the liberation pavilion. , his last showroom and the parade ground of Colonel Battle Barksdale. The museum is also planning the world premiere of its new permanent attraction, Expressions of America, on Veterans Day weekend, a nighttime sound and light experience that will completely transform the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground with cutting-edge technology, stunning visuals, vintage cocktails, festive gourmet offerings and more.

The new team of officers charged with leading the board through 2024 includes:

President of the council

Ted Weggeland, Founder, Raincross Corporate Group, Riverside, CA

Weggeland is the founder of Raincross Corporate Group in Southern California. He is an active civic leader, having served on the California Travel & Tourism Commission and the California Fish & Game Commission, the California State Commission on the Political Reform Act of 1974, as co-chair of the National Convention of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society of 1999., and as the youngest member of the California State Assembly in the 1990s.


Suzanne Mestayer, Managing Director, ThirtyNorth Investments, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mestayer is managing director of ThirtyNorth Investments and serves on the boards of Pan American Life Insurance Group Inc. and Ochsner Health, which she previously chaired. She is also past president of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, Loyola University New Orleans, Greater New Orleans Inc., and United Way of Greater New Orleans.


John Georges, CEO, Georges Enterprises, New Orleans, Louisiana

Georges took his family business, Imperial Trading Co., into a $3 billion corporation and is currently CEO of Georges Enterprises and CEO of Georges Media Group LLC, Louisiana’s largest media company. Over the past 30 years, John has served on more than 30 boards, including the State of Louisiana Board of Regents.


Sonia Pérez, President, AT&T Southeast States, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Pérez is chairman of AT&T Southeast States and is currently an independent director of Hancock Whitney Corporation, a member of the Governor’s Resilient Louisiana Commission, and a member of the executive committees of the University of Texas Foundation and the Louisiana Board of Regents. She has chaired various boards, including the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the Committee of 100, and Xavier University of Louisiana.


James Maurin, Founder and Past President, Stirling Properties, Covington, Louisiana

Maurin is one of the founders of Stirling Properties and served as chairman. He currently serves on the boards of Ochsner Health, Highland Cashiers Hospital and the LSU Real Estate Facilities Foundation. He is also a member of the Freeman Business School Council at Tulane, the Small Scale Development Council at the Urban Land Institute, the Young President’s Organization and the Chief Executive Organization.


John Hairston, President and CEO, Hancock Whitney Corporation, Gulfport, Mississippi / New Orleans, Louisiana

Hairston has served as CEO of Hancock Whitney Corporation since 2006, having joined the company in 1994. He serves on the board of the New Orleans Business Council and the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and he previously chaired the Mississippi Board of Directors. Information Technology Services, the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the Mississippi State University College of Business Executive Advisory Council, and the Gulf Coast Business Council.

Past President

John Koerner, Chairman, Koerner Capital, LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana

Koerner is Chairman of Koerner Capital. He served as chairman of the New Orleans Business Council and the board of Tulane University, and currently serves on the board of Lamar Advertising Company.

The five newly appointed members of the National WWII Museum Board of Trustees, who will serve three-year terms, include:

  • Louis E. Caldera, former Secretary of the Army and former President of the University of New Mexico, Bethesda, Maryland

Caldera served as an officer in the United States Army and later as a California legislator. In 1998, President Clinton appointed him Secretary of the Army, and he also served in the Obama administration as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Military Office. Caldera has also served as president of the University of New Mexico and professor of law in California, New Mexico and Washington, DC.

  • Fleur C. Harlan, Trustee, Manhattan Institute, New York, New York

Harlan is a trustee of the Manhattan Institute and a member of Business Executives for National Security. His previous professional roles include Limited Partner at RS Lauder, Gaspar and Co., Managing Director of Central European Development Corporation, Director at Bain & Company and Strategic Planner for Scitex Corporation in Israel.

  • Deanna Rodriguez, President and CEO, Entergy New Orleans, LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana

Rodriguez is President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans and a 28-year veteran of Entergy Corporation, where she held several leadership positions in the company. Rodriguez has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the past and currently serves on United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Louisiana Women’s International Forum, as well as Subiendo, along with the University of Texas at Austin, School of Business.

  • Laura Stephens, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Stephens Inc., Dallas, Texas

Stephens is Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Stephens Inc. Prior to joining the company in 2015, she was an Account Executive at Rooney Partners.

  • Sandy Villere, Partner and Portfolio Manager, Villere & Co., New Orleans, Louisiana

Villere is a partner and portfolio manager at Villere & Co., which he helped develop for nearly 60 years. He has served a number of civic organizations including the Eye Ear Nose & Throat Foundation, United Way and the Willwoods Foundation.