Meet The Board
Glenda is a native of Shreveport La, Glenda holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from McNeese State University. Glenda is currently serving her second term as a member of the Calcasieu Parish School Board. She is married to Kenneth R. Gay a native of Natchitoches, LA. They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.
Glenda Gay, board president, has been affiliated with the festival for over 33 years.
Stella Brown Miller
Director & Chief Curator
Daughter of educators, Stella Brown Miller grew up in San Antonio, Texas under the watchful eyes of her parents. She graduated with honors from Phyllis Wheatley High School and attended Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Texas and a master’s degree in education from McNeese State University.
Known for her advocacy of education as well as promotion of African-American arts and culture, Stella Miller helped organize the Black Heritage Festival in 1987. After 23 years as Executive Director of the Festival, she became chief curator of the Black Heritage Gallery- a Project of the Black Heritage Festival of Louisiana.
Stella Miller is a leader and visionary whose career has impacted the lives of so many in Lake Charles and beyond. As an educator, she taught in the public schools in Houston, Texas; Lakeland, Florida; and Lake Charles, Louisiana. After 23 years at McNeese State University, she retired as Director of the MSU Upward Bound Program. In her spare time, Stella enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Shawn Michael Jude Papillion is a 6-year volunteer who serves as a board member and security chairman.
Shawn is a native of Lake Charles, LA, and a graduate of McNeese State University. He is a Deputy Sheriff for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and a Bailiff assigned to Division F 14th JDC. His leadership roles include District Deputy Grand Master 7th Masonic District PHA, M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Louisiana and its Jurisdictions as well as Deputy Chief of Louisiana of Atakapa Ishak Nation of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Shawn also serves as a mentor for various community outreach programs.
He is married to Shalanda Clayton Papillion and is the father of three.
Malinda Reese Stevens
Director Of Kidz Zone
Malinda Reese Stevens is a native of Lake Charles, LA., and has served as Director of Kids Zone for many years. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Calcasieu Unit of Retired Teachers, and Louisiana Retired Teachers.
She is a member of New Covenant Faith Baptist Church, where she serves as Youth Director and Deaconess President.
Mrs. Stevens is married to Charles Stevens. They are the parents of two daughters and have 2 grandchildren.
Katrina Holland Burks
Katrina Holland Burks, Secretary, has been affiliated with the Black Heritage Festival since February 2019.
Katrina is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. Katrina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Katrina currently works at Bridgeway Psychiatric Center as a therapist. She is married to Reginald D. Burks, Sr., a native of Grambling, Louisiana and they have four sons.
Kymeyonme Nicole Dumas
Kymeyonme Nicole Dumas, board treasurer, is a 9-year volunteer with the festival. Nicole formerly served as Co-Chair of the Partner-in-Education committee.
Nicole is an Administrative Support Specialist for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and studied at Texas A&M University – Kingsville.
Nicole is married to Retired Navy Veteran Andrew Dumas, III.
BHF Scholarship Chairman
Ellaweena Woods is a 6-year volunteer with the festival. She is a board member and chairs the scholarship committee.
She is a graduate of Southern University & A&M College, as well as McNeese State University where she holds a Masters + 30 degree.
Ellaweena is a retired middle school principal and currently works for Beyond Words and Ellaweena Thrift Shop.
Cynthia Thorne Metoyer
Exec. Dir. Of BHF Pageant
Cynthia Thorne Metoyer is a 25-year volunteer with the festival where she serves as the pageant’s Executive Director. A native of Welsh, Louisiana, Cynthia graduated from Welsh High School and attended Louisiana Technical College in Jennings, Louisiana.
Mrs. Metoyer has been involved in pageantry for the past 34 years and 26 years as a judge and coach. She has judged pageants at local fairs and festivals on every level throughout Southwest Louisiana including the Mrs. Louisiana America and Miss Black Louisiana US pageants.
Mrs. Metoyer retired from the Calcasieu Parish Child Protection Office where she worked as a caseworker assistant.
Actively involved in her community, Cynthia has received numerous awards and recognitions.
Cynthia resides in Lake Charles, Louisiana with her husband, Chris. They are the proud parents of two handsome sons. She enjoys spending time with her darling grandchildren and being active in the community.
Cynthia Coffey Daigle
Dir. of Entertainment Hof
Cynthia Coffey Daigle is originally from Monroe, LA. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist and has actively provided services in the educational and healthcare arenas since 1979. She received
a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Louisiana – Monroe and attended Louisiana Tech and Lamar Universities to secure a Master’s Equivalent and a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology.
As a charter member of Black Heritage Festival, she co-founded the festival’s Entertainment Hall of Fame along with Chester Joseph Daigle, II, also a charter member. She also initiated a talent show which featured varying categories of acts including, vocalists, bands, dancers, dramatization, spokes models, comedians, etc. Cynthia remains active with the festival and is recognized as Director of the Black Heritage Festival Entertainment Hall of Fame. Individuals from Southwest Louisiana are nominated and a pre-selected committee votes to determine the honorees in the areas of Music, Dance & Choreography, Theatre & Drama and Promotions & Productions.
Cynthia is the proud parent of two and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc
Claudia Jacobs Williams
Scholarship Seminar Chairman & Gallery Ambassador
Claudia Jacobs Williams, board member, started volunteering with the festival in 1994. She has served as scholarship committee chairman, newsletter editor, board secretary, board treasurer, and is also the founder of the Black Heritage Festival Scholarship Seminar and College Fair. In addition, she is an Ambassador and curator for the Black Heritage Gallery – a Project of the Black Heritage Festival of Louisiana.
Claudia is a retired accountant and holds a BS degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing from Southern University and A&M College. She also has 32 years experience in the travel industry, which allowed her to visit more than 60 countries and working in several. Claudia is a Notary Public for the State of Louisiana, serves on the board of Culture Fest Louisiana, Advisor to the Phillips 66 Black Employee Network, volunteers with several other culture-related and community-service organizations, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Claudia has received numerous professional and community service awards. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world, listening to Old School music, and enjoying a good-read.
A native of Natchitoches, LA, she has one daughter, two granddaughters, and resides in Lake Charles, LA.
Belinda Dugas is a board member and public-school teacher who chairs the vendor committee. She joined the organization because she felt the need to help bring the community together and better understand the many cultures of Southwest Louisiana.
Belinda is an avid traveler and loves to rodeo, and hunt deer, elk, and bears. To her, the Black Heritage Festival of Louisiana is about Fun, Family, and Togetherness.