The New Orleans (LA) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated
In Service and Friendship to the New Orleans Community Since 1957
The New Orleans (LA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, sponsored by the Houston Chapter, was chartered on November 23, 1957. The New Orleans (LA) Chapter was the first chapter of The Links, Incorporated in the state of Louisiana. The chapter is a part of the Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and the Bahamas. The chapter sponsored the Baton Rouge (LA) Chapter in 1964.
The original 14 charter members of The New Orleans (LA) Chapter shared the vision of the national organization and were committed to educational, civic, and intercultural activities. The dedicated women extended their outreach to national and international endeavors and developed programs that nurtured the visual and performing arts along with other programs to address the issues of the times.
The New Orleans (LA) Chapter has been recognized and has won several awards over the years for its programming.
For over 30 years, The New Orleans (LA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has hosted the local rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The goal of the spelling bee is to encourage students in grades 5th through 8th to challenge themselves to master the fundamentals of vocabulary and spelling. The top spellers from our region compete for one spot at the national bee in Washington, D.C.
In 2021, the local rounds of the spelling bee were hosted virtually by the New Orleans (LA) Chapter. Zaila Avant-garde of Louisiana was the winner of Louisiana’s local round of the bee. On July 8, 2021, Zaila Avant-garde became the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion. She was the first African-American winner of the Bee and the first ever Louisiana winner.
During the 2017 Southern Area Conference, the chapter was recognized for Best Practices in the Southern Area for its Civic Engagement and Awareness Program. The program was a year long endeavor with the mission of educating and engaging students in the electoral process – – from understanding the issues, to debating, to volunteering, to learning the voting process, to registering to vote and ultimately voting for the first time.
The Chapter was also recognized at the 2017 conference for its Arts Facet’s Classic Through the Ages Signature Program.
During the May 2011 National Assembly in New Orleans, the Chapter won 1st place for its Reading 360′ program and 2nd place for its Arts Exposure Outreach Initiative.
The goal of the Reading 360’ program was to encourage students to master basic skills, including spelling and vocabulary. The program was composed of three components that allow students to enhance their reading, spelling and vocabulary in order to strengthen critical thinking and comprehension skills: the local round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, National Read In Day and our tutorial program at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary.
The goal of the Arts Exposure Outreach Initiative is to make the visual and performing arts accessible, affordable and attainable for African Americans from all walks of life. The chapter achieved its goals with programs such as “Music in the Classroom” which featured a workshop with native New Orleanian Terrence Blanchard and the music from “The Princess and the Frog”; “An Evening with Pearl Fryar”, the world-renowned topiary artist who was featured in the documentary “A Man Named Pearl”; and “Opera in the Classroom” featuring Mezzo-Soprano Givonna Joseph and Accompanist Carol Rausch from the New Orleans Opera Association, who performed “A Celebration of Song” which highlighted the contributions of major African-American composers and performers. In 2016, the arts students of Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School participated in a music workshop featuring cast members from the Broadway production of Motown The Musical.