METAIRIE —The East Jefferson General Hospital Auxiliary announced eight local residents are the 2013 recipients of the Great Lady/Great Gentleman award.

The honorees are Sarintha Buras, JoAnn Christopher, Jackie Elliott, Mary Fonseca, Diane Hollis, Janice Kishner, Lynn Skidmore and Faye Young.

The 37th annual award is given for community service and philanthropic work throughout the greater New Orleans area.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon at 11 a.m. April 14 at the Audubon Tea Room, 6500 Magazine St., in New Orleans. Tickets are $60.

A patron party will be held at the family home of Dr. Chuck Cucchiara from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 11. Tickets are $30.

Tickets to both the patron party and the luncheon are $85 per person. Proceeds from both events benefit East Jefferson’s nursing education and leadership support program as well as the hospital’s nursing certification reimbursement program.

For tickets or to make a reservation, call Rosalie Edwards at (504) 466-8875 or send an email to

Sponsorships are available. For information, call Lisa Baynham at (504) 456-7083 or send an email to

Sarintha Buras

Having worked in Plaquemines Parish for many years, Buras has volunteered for a variety of efforts benefitting children, such as tutoring elementary students, working as a substitute teacher, driving a bus and coordinating cheerleaders. Her interest in the welfare of children also led her to work to raise money to send high school juniors to Louisiana Girls State, volunteering with the local Make-A-Wish Foundation and reaching out to the children of Padua House.

Buras also works with physically and mentally challenged individuals, reading to them, painting murals in their recreation rooms and raising money for needed equipment.

Buras has devoted herself to American Legion Post 193, having served on every board position as well as working to rebuild post-Hurricane Katrina membership. She also has served the Council on Aging and volunteered her time to the Riverbend Nursing Home and the American Red Cross.

JoAnn Christopher

Christopher works to make her community a more beautiful place. She is one of the founding members of Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful Inc., which provides trees for public spaces, schools and parks in the metropolitan area.

Christopher also volunteers her time to Friends of Longue Vue House and Gardens, serving as past president of the group and the 2011 Home and Art Tour chairwoman. She served as the chairwoman of Art in Bloom, benefitting the New Orleans Museum of Art and has served as a trustee for the New Orleans Botanical Gardens and a Master Gardener by the LSU Ag Center.

Christopher is a founding member of the Shady Oaks Garden Club and she served as president when the club celebrated its 50th anniversary. She was honored by the Louisiana Garden Club Federation with its 2010 Inter-Club Relations Lifetime Award for her 30-year tenure as artistic design instructor. She is working toward becoming a nationally accredited flower club judge.

Jackie Elliott

Elliott is an active member of the East Jefferson General Hospital Auxiliary. However, the Metairie Sunrise Rotary Club has held Elliott’s interest for many years. She serves the club as president, photographer and publicity chairwoman. She received the Paul Harris Award for outstanding achievement, selecting her as the Rotarian of the Year in 2011.

Elliott is a member of the Leading Ladies of Jefferson Performing Arts Society, a board member and historian. Elliott also chaired the JPAS gala fundraiser, “Pasta and Puccini,” for two years.

Well known throughout the area through her real estate business, Elliott’s volunteer interests also include the New Orleans Opera Guild, Metairie Woman’s Club, Jefferson Beautification Inc. and Lafreniere Park, where she served as a board member of Patrons of Lafreniere.

Diane Hollis

As a former educator for the Jefferson Parish Public School System, Hollis was honored by Roosevelt Middle School in Kenner as teacher of the year. She is proud of utilizing her education to reach out beyond her own school by her efforts to mentors at-risk students at Jefferson Community School and by chairing the Foundation Board of Discovery Health Science.

Hollis has served on the boards of directors and as committee chairwoman of both Cancer Crusaders and Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful Inc. She has represented the New Orleans region and chaired numerous committees for Louisiana Center for Women and Government, working as vice chairwoman of the center’s Leadership Council and serving as the center’s protocol committee member and on its fundraising and awards committees.

A 30-year resident of Jefferson Parish, Hollis was selected as the Louisiana delegate to the Republican National Convention. In addition, she served as an interim councilwoman-at-large for Jefferson Parish, was chairwoman of the Governmental Ethics and Audit Committee; and was a member of the Jefferson Economic Future Fund Committee.

And Family Service of Greater New Orleans honored Hollis with its Outstanding Person Award.

Mary Fonseca

Fonseca, the mother of five and grandmother of 12, has devoted herself to her Catholic faith and Catholic education throughout her life. She began by volunteering at her parish, St. Benilde Church in Metairie, where she visited home-bound parishioners and organized the first parish blood drive. After moving to St. Clement of Rome parish, Fonseca and her husband co-chaired the Marriage Preparation Ministry and counseled engaged couples. As a member of the parish Guild, Fonseca served the Meals on Wheels program, providing meals to the sick in her parish.

In the larger community, Fonseca has devoted many years to the efforts of Catholic Charities’ ACCESS Program, serving as past co-president of the organization, working on the group’s advisory board, overseeing the recording of the organization’s history, raising funds, organizing fundraisers and establishing the Pro-Life Parish Award.

Fonseca is also a published author of “Weekend Getaways in Louisiana” and “Louisiana Gardens.”

Janice Kishner

Kishner is the chief nurse executive of East Jefferson General Hospital, and she is dedicated to community service and continuing education. A graduate of Dawson College in the province of Montreal, Canada, she was honored in 1979 as Canadian Orthopedic Nurse of the Year and later joined the board of directors of Canadian Orthopedics.

After a brief stint in Bossier City, Kishner joined the staff of East Jefferson General Hospital as unit director of pediatric intensive care. She later joined the board of directors of Louisiana Organization of Nurse Executives, receiving the group’s President Citation for Management Excellence at East Jefferson.

Kishner has served the governing boards of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institution and the EJGH Foundation board of directors. She is an accomplished lecturer and author, as well, promoting the importance of preparation in disaster recovery, quality care and training.

Lynn Skidmore

A retired St. Tammany Parish school system administrator, Skidmore attended Loyola University and the University of Hawaii before receiving her bachelors and masters degrees in education from the University of New Orleans.

Skidmore served the New Orleans Garden Society as both first vice president and president. She is the two-time chairwoman of the group’s “Bewitching Affair” fundraiser. She has been an active member of the New Orleans Museum of Art for 30 years and is a long-standing supporter of the New Orleans Opera Guild and the Guild of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre.

Skidmore is a lifetime member and past member of the board of directors of Cancer Crusaders and the Lake Vista Women’s Club. She has volunteered for Metairie Woman’s Club, chaired fundraisers for both Goodwill Industries and Meals on Wheels and was instrumental in the planning of the celebration of Louisiana Bicentennial.

Faye Young

Young is a former educator and member of the Louisiana Teachers Association and the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association. She has dedicated herself to students beyond her classroom, serving as the dance team sponsor, a tennis, track and softball coach, a volunteer instructor for at-risk students, a one-on-one counselor, and a Homework Hotline partner for the St. Charles Parish School System.

In addition, Young serves on the board of directors and on several committees of Cancer Crusaders, St. Elizabeth’s Guild and Ladies Leukemia League. She has led the Ladies Leukemia League as president and served on several of the organization’s committees.

Young is a founding member of the group’s Children’s Leukemia League. She is an active member of the River Regions Arts and Humanities Council, Habitat for Humanity, the Center for Abused Children in St. Tammany Parish, the Elmwood Fitness Advisory Board, BRAVO and the Contemporary Arts Center.