Celebrating Our MEMBERS

Celebrating our Friends of City Park

What makes a good friend? 

A few words that may come to mind are kind, dependable, loyal, adventurous, helpful, caring, and trustworthy.

During this time of uncertainty, our friends are more important than ever. Friendships lift us up, comfort us, and bring joy to our lives. A friend provides that familiarity, connection, and sense of community that we all crave.

At Friends of City Park, we are incredibly thankful for our Members and Friends. We appreciate their generosity, loyalty, and kindness, now more than ever. The Members of Friends of City Park have responded remarkably to City Park’s plea for help during the Covid-19 crisis and the extraordinary response has not gone unnoticed.

We would like to thank our members and spotlight their efforts by featuring the real members of Friends of City Park in our annual Membership Campaign. The campaign, beginning June 3, will highlight and honor members through a series of photos and testimonials.


For a chance to be featured and share your Friends of City Park story, complete the steps below by Friday, June 1, 2020:

  • Become a Friend of City Park Join Now!
  • Submit your favorite photo of yourself in City Park 
  • Answer the following questions:
    • What is your favorite thing to do at City Park?
    • What is your favorite place to visit in City Park?
    • Why are you a Member of Friends of City Park, and what does it mean to you? 
    • Describe your favorite memory of being in the Park
  • Email your photo and response to the questions above to friends@friendsofcitypark.com 
  • Or post your favorite photo to Instagram and tag us @friendsofcitypark. Answer the questions above in your caption and use #FOCPMember

Membership is vital to the survival and sustainability of our organization. Our members are the heartbeat of this organization, and without them, we could not continue our mission. Thank you for being a Friend.

Please contact friends@friendsofcitypark.com for more information.

New Beginnings – A Fresh Start for Friends of City Park

Friends of City Park is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Stephanie G. Bell, MBA, to the position of Executive Director, Andrea Lockwood to the position of Director of Special Events and Marketing, and Taylor Gibbs to the position of Administrative Assistant. The new hires join the team alongside Membership Manager, Natalie Robinson, who has been with Friends of City Park since 2012. The Friends of City Park Board of Directors and Staff are delighted to welcome them and to share this positive and uplifting news during this time of difficulty.

Stephanie Bell joins us with a background in nonprofit management and an impressive history of leadership – helping organizations to innovate, thrive, and increase visibility. Prior to joining, Mrs. Bell successfully created value-added programs, planned and executed special events, and exceeded fundraising goals as Vice President of Investor Relations for the New Orleans Business Alliance. Mrs. Bell also served as the Director of Outreach and Alumni Engagement for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in conjunction with Delgado Community College. She has filled several positions across the marketing and communications field as she has built her career, including leading a team of marketing consultants as the Advertising Manager of McClatchy-owned Sun Herald Multimedia and working in marketing and enrollment in academia. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Anyone that knows me would say that I am eternally enthusiastic. I am very goal-oriented and have a knack at sparking initiative in those around me.”

– Stephanie Bell, Executive Director

Get to Know Stephanie 

With a strong history of community leadership and passion for environmental sustainability, Mrs. Bell currently serves on the board of the US Green Building Council of Louisiana, the Regional Sustainability Council, and the Woodlands Conservancy. She is a native Louisianan who currently resides in New Orleans with her husband, Brandon, and their dog, Auggie. Mrs. Bell enjoys classic New Orleans events and festivals such as Hogs for a Cause, Jazz Fest, and Japan Fest.

Q&A with Stephanie

Q: Why were you drawn to Friends of City Park?

A: When working in economic development, you spend a lot of time thinking about ways to market your community and you focus on those gems that add to the quality of life in your area.  Naturally, New Orleans City Park is always top-of-mind when it comes to valuable assets in our City.  When the opportunity to become the next Executive Director of Friends of City Park became available, I could not pass up the chance to represent this gem and work with Friends members to sustain this beautiful space for City of New Orleans’ residents. Having an opportunity to advance environmental conservation, social health equity and wellness is appealing to me and it hits me at my core – It is meaningful work. 

Q: What is your favorite attraction or activity in City Park?

A: I really enjoy taking walks among the Park’s mature live oaks while listening to a nerdy podcast.  There is no better way to get in 10k steps a day!  My husband, Brandon, and I take our dog, Auggie, to City Bark every weekend for some much-needed play time.  I recently picked up tennis as a hobby and am looking forward to the courts reopening soon so I can improve my game.

Q: What is your overall goal or lasting impression you hope to make at Friends of City Park?

A: I plan to add to the phenomenal impact!  Friends of City Park Board of Directors have been raising awareness for Park improvements for over 40 years. Understanding all the good work that has come before me, I will work hard to create a fresh vision for Friends that builds on the passion that the members have for the Park.  Without hesitation, I commit to ensuring operational excellence, transparency, and financial sustainability. I also intend on sustaining the positive working environment for the staff.  It is a great group of committed individuals who work hard and like to have fun!   

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Andrea Lockwood joins us with a strong background in event planning and production where she developed exceptional logistical processes and procedures to streamline her high-profile client’s complex events. Prior to joining, Andrea executed creative concepts, event management tools and displayed leadership through her cultivation of social, non-profit, and corporate events as the Events and Operations Manager at Z Event Company. Andrea also worked in Film Production and Accounting for large studios such as 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, and MGM, where she learned diplomacy, and perfected her planning, budgeting, and problem-solving skills. Some of her most notable projects include Django Unchained, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and The Magnificent Seven. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Mississippi.

“I am extremely loyal and very determined. I will dedicate everything I have to the people and causes I care about.”  

– Andrea Lockwood, Director of Special Events and Marketing

Get to Know Andrea

As an active community member, Andrea gives back by serving on several committees. She is a Junior Executive Board Member and Logistics Committee Chair for Shuck Cancer New Orleans – The American Cancer Society, the Décor Chair for Colors of the Mind – Ochsner Neuroscience Institute and is on the Restaurant Committee for Research for the Cure – Louisiana Cancer Research Center. Andrea finds tremendous joy in celebrating others and giving generously to those in need. Her position with Friends of City Park grants her the ability to celebrate life through special events and to give back to the community she loves.

Q&A with Andrea

Q: Why were you drawn to Friends of City Park? 

A: As a frequent visitor to City Park and as a lover of nature and being outdoors, my connection to Friends of City Park was immediate. To work with one of the largest and most visited urban parks in America brings me great joy and excitement. In addition to the beautiful grounds and abundance of cultural and recreational experiences, I was drawn to the way Friends of City Park connects with the community. I also feel most fulfilled while working with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Q: What is your favorite attraction or activity in City Park?  

A: Picnics under the oak trees with my husband, Joseph, and dog, Tucker, is a favorite for me. I also enjoy the biking and running trails as a way to stay healthy and active. However, no visit to City Park is complete without a beignet or frozen café au lait from Café du Monde.

Q: What is your overall goal or lasting impression you hope to make at Friends of City Park? 

A: Friends of City Park has done a tremendous job over the years and has some of the most successful and recognizable fundraiser events in the city. I will work in collaboration with my talented team members to grow and continue the success of these events. In addition, I hope to establish and produce new, visionary events and concepts for City Park to benefit from for years to come.

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New Orleans native, Taylor Gibbs, is a long-time employee of City Park.  She started her tenure at the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and was promoted to the Assistant Manager of the Oscar J. Tolmas Visitor Center. She also served as an Event Manager for Scout Island Scream Park prior to joining the Friends of City Park team as our Administrative Assistant. 


“First impressions reveal that I am easy to talk to and have a bubbly personality.  When you get to know me more you will find that I am pretty strong and very reliable.”

– Taylor Gibbs, Administratve Assistant

Get to Know Taylor

Taylor studied Child & Family Studies at Northwestern State University and was the leader of her CYO group at church. She loves spending quality time with her family, listening to music, and being a tourist in her own city.

Q&A with Taylor

Q: Why were you drawn to Friends of City Park? 

A: Having worked for seven years for New Orleans City Park, I have devoted my career to helping it grow and have witnessed the many changes over the years. Having an opportunity to work in so many areas of the Park has given me a deep appreciation for the capital improvements that have happened over the years.  Joining the Friends of City Park staff was a great fit because now I get to work towards improving and beautifying the place that I love so much. Supporting the fundraising efforts to transform parts of the Park through capital improvements is a true joy!   

Q: What is your favorite attraction or activity in City Park?

A: Of course, it is hard to choose just one!  I truly find something new to do every time I spend time in the Park.  Currently at the top of my list is the New Orleans Botanical Garden. It is one of the most peaceful places in the Park.  The space is always changing with every season, so it is a must see at least four times a year.  They have recently added an outdoor kitchen and they provide cooking demonstrations and food education using fresh veggies and herbs right from the garden.    

Q: What is your favorite festival to attend in New Orleans? 

A: By far, French Quarter Fest is my favorite festival in New Orleans.  You cannot beat the spring-time weather and the largest display of Louisiana music.  My favorite tradition is visiting Landry’s for their lobster, crab and shrimp bisque while hitting up all of the stages throughout the Quarter.

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Friends of City Park is thrilled to welcome Stephanie, Andrea, and Taylor. Together they bring many assets, talent, and fresh perspective to this organization. Their knowledge, experience, and expertise will continue to add to the impact Friends of City Park has made over the last 40 years. 

Friends of City Park is a regional, non-profit organization whose mission is to maintain and increase the value and importance of City Park as a place of natural beauty, culture, recreation and education for the public. 

For additional information about this or Friends of City Park, please contact friends@friendsofcitypark.com or (504) 483-9376.