First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me. - Steve Martin
Klasson has been active in New Orleans Secular Humanist Association since 2005 and is currently in her third year as board president. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in journalism and public relations and has worked in magazine editing, book publishing and advertising. She is also a volunteer scuba diver at the Audubon Aquarium and served on the national board for the National Organization for Women representing the Mid-South region from 2012-2016. She enjoys her sweet cats, photography, good food, creative cocktails and New Orleans culture.
The separation of church and state and legislative action are several of the focuses she has brought to the organization in an effort to encourage secular humanists to get involved in public policy and knowledge of government.
Born in Philadelphia, lived in California for 20 years, working as a Silicon Valley computer geek. He got bored with that and decided to go back to school. He is now a PhD-Candidate in Anthropology and an adjunct instructor at Tulane, working mostly in linguistic anthropology.
His side interests include social conflicts between modernity and tradition, including how they manifest in the Creation-Evolution debate and censorship attempts in the present-day U.S.
I was born many years ago in New Bedford, MA, grew up attending Hebrew school, was Bat Mitzvahed and confirmed in the synagogue and didn't question much. In the mid 70's I landed in Louisiana after moving here with my ex-husband. Then, in the mid 90's I divorced and moved from Metairie to New Orleans (when I learned that Metairie is not really New Orleans and, after thinking I hated living here for all those years, that I actually love this area). Anyway, being on my own and then meeting and hanging out with (and now married to) Dave Thomas is when I truly began to "evolve", and understand more fully that I am a secular humanist.
After retiring as an Executive Assistant in 2015, I've been doing lots of volunteering including trapping feral cats, (to get them spayed/neutered - wow, there are hundreds of ferals just in New Orleans alone!), administrative work for the Lower 9th Homeownership Association, auction assistance for various fundraising projects, and progressive political group involvement. There's more volunteering on the horizon as well. Retirement is exhausting and exciting!
Semi-retired decorating and construction trades contractor, Bankson joined NOSHA three years ago. He has an Associate of Arts degree from Wharton County Junior College (Texas), and attended University of Texas, Austin until 1969. He adopted a skeptical mindset early, which was re-energized on witnessing the increasing politicization of fundamentalist Christianity and Islam. Current member of the "All-American" groups ACLU, AHA, AU, Democratic Socialists of America, and Southern Poverty Law Center. He's a volunteer for New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation and a contributor and copy editor for the NOSHA quarterly newsletter, The Humanist Advocate. Follow his blog ‘Bricolage’.
Pearl is a computer consultant for New Orleans area small businesses. He has a B.S. in Biology and has worked as a zookeeper in the Audubon and Houston zoos. He has been an outspoken atheist and staunch state/church separationist for over 30 years. He is a long-time member of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the National Center for Science Education, and is an active volunteer in the community. Pearl's numerous side interests include music and history.
C.P.A., B.A. in Administration. M.A. in Psychology. He has served on Boards or held office in: N.O. chapter of LA CPAs; French Quarter Business Assn.; Alliance for Good Government; Business & Professional Toastmaster Club; Alliance for Affordable Energy; LA Retailers Assn; Greater N.O. Casino Development Assn. Elected President of NOSHA for 15 years. He has been the host of NOA-TV “New Orleans Humanist Perspective” for 15 years.
He has addressed local Unitarian churches; Godless American March on Washington; City-wide “Remembrance, Renewal Rebirth”, a Katrina anniversary event.
Dave is an Associate Professor of Biology at Nicholls State University. He received a Ph.D. from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. His areas of research interest and expertise are in fish ecology and evolutionary biology. Dave was a founding member of NOSHA and has served as NOSHA’s Vice-President, website manager and membership coordinator for many years. He is also the faculty advisor to the Secular Student Alliance at Nicholls State University.
I received a Bachelor of General Studies degree from UNO after some earlier education at the University of Houston and the University of Kansas. I am now retired after 22+ years with the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV Program, initially as an HIV natural history case investigator and then as a field epidemiologist.
A native Texan, I also lived in Kansas before moving to Metairie, LA in 1987. I’m also a mom of a terrific son and grandmother of two beautiful little girls. After retirement a couple of years ago, I married my long-time best friend and sweetheart, and fellow NOSHA member, Dave Schultz. We live in Thibodaux with three cats and a dog.
Somewhere in my early twenties, I had an epiphany about religion when I realized from studying just a little anthropology and world geography, that all the world’s religions couldn’t individually be right, but rather none of them were. It didn’t take much more rational thought and study to realize that the whole concept of gods, or for that matter, anything supernatural, was poppycock, and that science and reason answer most of life’s questions.
As a founding member of NOSHA, I am committed to helping NOSHA bring science and reason to the greater New Orleans region.
Beth Deitch has a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Tulane University and is currently a professor in the Department of Management at the University of New Orleans. Her main areas of research are workplace discrimination and employee well-being. She's involved in a wide variety of local organizations, including Mardi Gras krewes, charitable endeavors, and political organizations. Hobbies include graphic design and reading as much as possible about everything (but especially physics, politics, social psychology, identity, and cognition).
Gautreaux teaches all levels of high school French at Riverdale High School in Jefferson Parish. He especially enjoys teaching students in Levels 1 through 5 in the International Baccalaureate Program. He holds a Certificate of Education Specialist and Master's degrees in French literature and in Curriculum and Instruction, all from LSU in Baton Rouge. Gautreaux enjoys playing piano, his dog Lily, travel, learning languages, walks in the park, reading, the French Quarter, singing with the New Orleans Opera for the past 19 years, and conjugating irregular French verbs in the imperfective subjunctive mood.
He discovered NOSHA in 2008 and was ecstatic to discover other non-believers like him.
Baudot works as a photographer in New Orleans, and is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in Fine Art. "As a young child I have always been interested in religion from across the world. As I studied theology on an academic level I began to gravitate to a more humanist and secular way of thought. After joining Meetup, I found the NOSHA group and have not looked back."
Anne McKinley, a native New Orleanian, graduated from Benjamin Franklin high school, the University of Texas at Austin, Plan II Honors, and the University of Rochester with degrees in History. She has worked as a grants writer since 2000, working with Federal, State, and local grants. She enjoys telling terrible puns.