Meet the Staff
Mariah Stidham Wineski, Executive Director
Mariah Stidham Wineski has 15 years of experience working throughout the United States and internationally on social change campaigns, violence prevention, and curriculum development. She is the current chair of the Louisiana Domestic Violence Prevention Commission and previously served on the board of directors for Boulder Sister Cities. She also serves on the Victim Services Advisory Board of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, the Membership Committee of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and the advisory board of the Louisiana Violent Death Reporting System. She is trained as an instructor by the Stalking Resource Center, a program of the National Center for Victims of Crime. She has extensive experience with statewide organizations, having previously served as Director of Education at Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. Ms. Wineski has coordinated legislative policy, public affairs, and media relations for regional and national women’s health organizations and has managed several regional gang violence prevention initiatives. She has provided international consultation on educational policy and curriculum development. She has a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies and an M.S. in Sociology.
LeTesha Davis, Director of Public Affairs and Ally Engagement
LeTesha Davis manages LCADV’s training and technical assistance to allied professionals, as well as the coalition’s strategic communications and public policy efforts. LeTesha began her work in the domestic violence movement in 2012, serving in direct advocacy, training, and social change roles, and building relationships necessary to promote survivor safety in the Acadiana region. In 2014, LeTesha was named Faith House’s employee of the year. LeTesha has extensive experience in legal advocacy, working with law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to promote best practices in domestic violence response. She participated in the Lafayette Domestic Violence Council, where she assisted with the planning and development of opening the Family Justice Center of Acadiana. LeTesha has played important roles in various coordinated community responses to domestic violence, having served as a member of the Lafayette Domestic Violence Council, Quality Assurance Steering Committee, Social Services Agency Network, Lafayette’s High Risk Response Team, and the Fatality Review Team. She is a certified danger assessor, and has a B.S. Degree in General Studies with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Josie St. John, Director of Program Development
Josie St. John manages LCADV’s Program Development Team, which provides programs with the training and resources necessary to ensure quality shelter, advocacy and children’s services. Josie began her work full-time in the domestic violence movement in 2014, serving in a local program. Starting as an on-call advocate in a domestic violence shelter, Josie worked her way up into a leadership role. Josie has also served at the National Network to End Domestic Violence on their Capacity Technical Assistance team. Most recently, Josie served in a leadership role for the House of Ruth Maryland where she was responsible for training and supervising the Resident Advocate team and ensuring effective 24/7 staffing of the 96 bed emergency shelter. She is a certified danger assessor, and has a B.S. in Human Services from Springfield College and an M.S. in Justice, Law, and Criminology from American University. Josie is also a veteran of the United States Army.
Donna Dupre, Finance Manager
Donna Dupre’ is currently the Finance Manager of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Ms. Dupre’ has a diverse background, holding an Associate of Science Degree in Business Management with extra course work in Accounting as well as an Associate Degree in Information Technology and Practical Nursing. Ms. Dupre’ is a Certified Quickbooks ProAdvisor and offers private consulting services for Quickbooks. Ms. Dupre’ has over 20 years of accounting experience in the private, corporate, and small business sector. Ms. Dupre’ has held positions as a Bookkeeper, Office Manager, Accounting Manager and most recently as a Controller for a local Engineering firm. She is excited to join the LCADV team and looks forward to using her expertise to further the Coalition’s mission.
Donna Lavigne, Operations Administrative Assistant
Donna Lavigne provides administrative support to the LCADV staff. Donna retired from the Department of Transportation and Development with over 30 years of service. As Director, she worked with all transit programs funded by the Federal Transit Administration. Her experience includes administering, managing, and monitoring the Federal Transit Programs statewide and developing the annual operation budget. She served on numerous committees, associations, and commissions. Donna has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education/Administration from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Cory Alford, Attorney
Cory Alford received his B.A. from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, his M.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas, and his J.D. from Southern University Law Center. In law school, Cory worked as a research assistant and student attorney in the Southern Elder Law Clinic. The elder law clinic handled Medicaid, guardianship, wills, successions, housing, consumer fraud, as well as abuse and neglect cases. After law school, Cory clerked at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services where he helped author a guide to child support. Cory has also participated in externships with the Pro Bono Project and the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center. He is licensed to practice law in Louisiana.
Rachel Abadie, Attorney
Rachel Abadie is a native of Carencro, Louisiana and a registered member of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2007 with a major in Political Science and her Juris Doctorate and Graduate Diploma of Civil Law from the Louisiana State University Law Center in 2012. Rachel is licensed to practice before all Louisiana state courts and the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of the United States District Courts for Louisiana. Her primary background includes litigation with an emphasis on civil rights and family law. She has handled cases involving temporary restraining orders, child custody, property, and divorce. While in law school, she completed an externship wherein she represented juveniles from their entry into the system through adjudication and also spent time working in the child support enforcement office of the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office.
Dawn Joseph, Project Administrator
Dawn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of New Orleans. She has spent much of her career in administrative roles with non-profits where she coordinated tasks as diverse as payroll and event planning. Dawn has extensive experience in the design of websites, advertisements, charts, graphs, spreadsheets and other print resources. She has also done disaster work with the US Army Corps of Engineers, and provided direct services to Seniors and underprivileged youth. Dawn designed the Louisiana statewide license plate recognizing the issue of domestic violence.
Nicolette Joseph, Children’s Advocacy Coordinator
Nicolette is an experienced social service professional, with over 10 years of experience in working directly with clients that have experienced crisis related trauma. She was formerly a Forensic Interviewer at Hearts of Hope: A Children’s Advocacy Center in Lafayette, LA, where she conducted non-leading forensic interviews when there were criminal investigations relating to sexual abuse, physical abuse, severe neglect, and/or violent crime. Nicolette has additional experience in specialty court settings, working directly with clients enrolled in drug court programs. She has also provided school and home based counseling services to youth who suffer from emotional, mental, and behavioral issues. Nicolette has a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Darla O’Connor, Justice Systems Advocate
Darla was the founding Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Community Transition and Treatment Center, an adult co-correctional, residential reentry program contracted through the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She retired after 31 years of service to the Baton Rouge community. Darla is a Department of Justice Certified Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) auditor and after retirement founded Strategic Justice Solutions, LLC. Darla is a subject matter expert in correctional residential re-entry. She has collaborated on several projects with retired Bureau of Prisons personnel, establishing new residential reentry programs and working to influence criminal justice reform. She has contracted for PREA audits on the state and federal level in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, and Virginia. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Belhaven University and a M.S. in Criminal Justice from Louisiana State University. She is a certified civil law notary. Additionally, Darla is a certified SafeZone trainer, and an alumni of the Reformation Project Leadership Cohort training, both related to LGBTQ+ issues and policies.
Hatari Washington, Housing Advocacy Coordinator
Hatari Washington is an experienced housing professional with over 15 years in the housing industry. Throughout her career she has held various roles, from property manager to certified housing specialist. Her extensive frontline housing experience includes work as an Intake Specialist, being the first point of contact with the Housing Choice Voucher program and various other special housing programs for veterans, domestic violence survivors. Ms. Washington has received certifications as a property manager and housing specialist. She is knowledgeable of HUD regulations, and passionate and committed to helping individuals access housing and other related resources.