WWII Museum Announces New Board Chair, Officers and Trustees

NEW ORLEANS — From the National WWII Museum:

The National WWII Museum has announced the election of Ted Weggeland as chairman of its national board of trustees and the installation of a slate of board officers and five new trustees. Weggeland follows outgoing chairman John Koerner, whose leadership from 2020 to 2022 was critical to 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 term 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 Liberation Pavilion, its final exhibition hall, and the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground. The museum is also planning for the Veterans Day weekend world premiere of its newest permanent attraction, Expressions of America, 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 food offerings and more.

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

Chairman of the Board

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

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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 1999 Congressional Medal of Honor Society National Convention, and as the youngest member of the California State Assembly in the 1990s.

Vice Chairwoman

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

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Mestayer is Managing Principal 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 chairwoman 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.

Vice Chair

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

Georges took his family business, Imperial Trading Co., to a 3-billion-dollar corporation and currently serves as CEO for Georges Enterprises and CEO of Georges Media Group L.L.C., Louisiana’s largest media company. Over the past 30 years, John has served on over 30 boards, including the State of Louisiana Board of Regents.

Vice Chair

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

Pérez is President of AT&T Southeast States and currently serves as an Independent Director for Hancock Whitney Corporation, on the governor’s Resilient Louisiana Commission, and on 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 Chairman, 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 Tulane’s Freeman Business School Council, Urban Land Institute’s Small Scale Development Council, Young President’s Organization, and Chief Executive Organization.


John Hairston, President & 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 New Orleans Business Council Board of Directors and Greater New Orleans Foundation, and he has previously chaired the Board of Mississippi Information Technology Services, the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the Mississippi State University College of Business Executive Advisory Board, and the Gulf Coast Business Council.

Immediate Past Chairman

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

Koerner is President of Koerner Capital. He is a past Chairman of the New Orleans Business Council and Tulane University Board, and he currently serves on the Board of Lamar Advertising Company.

The five newly appointed members of The National WWII Museum’s 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 a commissioned officer in the US 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 a law professor in California, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C.

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

Harlan is a Trustee of the Manhattan Institute and a member of Business Executives for National Security. Her previous professional roles include limited partner at RS Lauder, Gaspar and Co., managing director at Central European Development Corporation, manager at Bain & Company, and strategic planner for Scitex Corporation in Israel.

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

Rodriguez is President & CEO of Entergy New Orleans and a 28-year veteran of Entergy Corporation, where she has served in multiple leadership roles across the enterprise. Rodriguez has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the past and currently sits on the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Louisiana’s International Women’s Forum, as well as Subiendo, with The University of Texas at Austin, School of Business.

  • Laura Stephens, VP Marketing & Communications, Stephens Inc., Dallas, Texas

Stephens is Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Stephens Inc. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, she was an account executive at Rooney Partners.

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

Villere is Partner & Portfolio Manager at Villere & Co., which he helped to grow over a nearly 60-year tenure. He has served a number of civic organizations, including the Eye Ear Nose & Throat Foundation, United Way, and Willwoods Foundation.

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