For these five mother/daughter co-working duos, business is personal. While they acknowledge that the boundary blurring can occasionally be a bit much, these proud mamas and their kids-turned-colleagues wouldn’t trade their professional partnerships for anything.

A Family Affair

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Kathie Carnahan

Founding Partner and Certified Educational Planner

Sarah Pottharst Girolami

Managing Partner, Visual Arts, The Carnahan Group 

Sarah Pottharst Girolami describes the process of working with her mother as unfolding “little by little.” 

Girolami’s mother is Kathie Carnahan, founder of The Carnahan Group, a business that has helped students and families with admissions and educational planning for over 25 years. Girolami was a journalism major and initially began helping Carnahan with essay writing. “Little by little, I found myself next to Mom, working with her, consulting with students through the admissions process,” said Girolami. 

Since those days nearly a decade ago, she has become the firm’s Managing Partner, moving home to New Orleans from a stint overseas to oversee staff and operations across New Orleans, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida and Spain.

“I always felt like she would be good at this, but she had to realize it herself,” said Carnahan. “It had to be her idea, which I appreciated.” 

Each woman praises the other’s expertise. Girolami points to her mother’s experience and the sterling reputation she has developed in the industry. Carnahan is a Commissioner of the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners, has served on the board of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, and has earned the designation of Certified Educational Planner. As Girolami said, “Following in those footsteps can be intimidating, so it makes me work extra hard… because I have such big shoes to fill.” 

Carnahan thinks her daughter is filling those shoes exceptionally well, noting her ability to bring fresh ideas and excellent organizational and technology skills to the business. “She loves to see what’s established and knows how to take a youthful, fresh spin on things that make us more relatable with students with whom we work,” said Carnahan.

In addition to their professional symbiosis, mother and daughter get along well – and manage to compartmentalize work and family matters. In fact, Girolami credits their close working relationship for one significant personal development: “She actually introduced me to my husband, and she introduced my brother to his wife… She knows you well enough to figure out who your perfect life partner will be!”

Though both describe themselves as ‘workaholics,’ they continue to be inspired by helping young people navigate important chapters in their lives. As Carnahan said, “Working with so many kids with stars in their eyes, I know we’re going to be just fine.” 

Ideal day/night in NOLA

Kathie: “I’m a walker – six miles a day, 10-12 on weekends. I love to walk around Audubon Park, St. Charles Ave… I’d meet friends at Martin’s Wine Cellar for lunch and then, with my children who are in town, go to dinner – either a family favorite or we’d cook. It’s always fun to visit Arnaud’s, Commander’s [Palace], Galatoire’s… places that have happy memories associated.” 

Sarah: “My daughter is big into animals, so we try to get to Audubon Zoo as much as possible. I’d spend the morning there, then brunch at something like Ruby Slipper, where you can take your kid in dirty zoo clothes and sit on the patio. My husband (even though he’s from Italy) is super into beer, so we might try a new brewery.” 

Favorite local small business

Both: Betty Hunley Designs! 

Kathie: “Betty is one of those people – she is just so creative… You can tell she loves what she does, and some of her custom creations are just works of art.”

Sarah: “The stationery, creative work, event planning… she is the friendliest person, so good at what she does. You walk into her store and get happy. You find all these little trinkets and things and say, ‘I don’t know what I’m even going to use this for, but I have to have it!’”  

Favorite family traditions

Kathie: “Traditions are holiday related when we can all get together. We really like being with each other, cooking at home.” 

Sarah: “We will sit around a fireplace and talk about what’s new. We get to catch up… since the cousins are all spread around [two of Sarah’s three siblings live outside of New Orleans]. And a new tradition for my little ones since we moved back to New Orleans… they are very into the streetcar, so we take a ride.” 

A Family Affair

Betsey Hazard

Principal Designer and Owner, House of Hazard Interiors

Kiki Bernard-Nixon

Design Associate and Artist 

Design is a family tradition for Kiki Bernard-Nixon and her daughter Betsey Hazard. 

Bernard-Nixon grew up with House Beautiful magazine for inspiration. “Every time I would see a room or a different color – I was crazy – I would just paint it the next day!” she recalled. That approach continued into her daughter’s childhood, which featured a similar creative chaos of renovating and redecorating. 

Hazard spent summers as a teenager working with her grandfather’s construction company, painting, hanging wallpaper and learning other skills that would help in her professional future. After studying advertising at LSU, she moved to New York and tended bar – until meeting a young woman at a party who was studying interior design. “I didn’t know you could do interior design for a living,” said Hazard. “I thought it was just for fun.” 

That revelation sent her to design school, where she embraced her professional calling. In 2010, Hazard returned to New Orleans and began working in real estate then transitioned to interior design, spending the next decade working with designer Shaun Smith. Bernard-Nixon came on board to contribute her design expertise, and about three years ago, Hazard created House of Hazard Interiors, where her mother remains in the mix. 

“She’s really good at measuring,” Hazard said of her mother. “We will draw out the rooms and measure everything together and brainstorm.” She also relies on Bernard-Nixon’s uncanny talent for contributing the “missing piece” final touch (like an obscure fabric) to a project. 

Day-to-day, Bernard-Nixon works in her art studio next to Hazard’s office on Esplanade Avenue but is always available for consultation: “If Betsey has a question about wallpaper or something, she just yells it out.” Bernard-Nixon credits that open communication for their successful working relationship. “It’s about not holding back and just saying what you have to say, and the other person knowing you love them no matter what.”

For Hazard, the key to harmony is sharing similar interests: “That is the no-brainer in this equation. We could sit and analyze something for an hour that would be so boring to someone else with no interest in design.”

In addition to mother and daughter, Hazard’s design business also extends to Hazard’s husband and brother (who makes custom furniture). And the family wouldn’t have it any other way. As Hazard said, “This is sappy, but my mom’s like my best friend… We all love working together.” 

Ideal day/night in NOLA

Kiki: “I’d jog around that lake at City Park. Then go to [Lake Pontchartrain], meet my brother, and go sailing. On the way back, maybe stop at the museum. I really like going to Second Saturday on St. Claude with Betsey – and dinner at some little taco place.” 

Betsey: “I would sleep in… then have some yummy breakfast at La Boulangerie on Magazine Street. I’d hit up all my favorite antiques stores on Magazine: Dunn and Sonnier, Balzac Antiques, B. Viz Design, Wirthmore Antiques. We try to buy as much locally, especially antiques, as we can. Lunch at San Lorenzo… Merchant House. Take a little nap, then get ready for the night. Go to N7 and to Second Saturday art walk, have some cocktails with girlfriends. I’d scoop up a bunch of fabulous art. Can you tell I love my job? That’s like a work day!”

Favorite local nonprofits

Betsey: “Claire Elizabeth Gallery, a gallery we work with, does an art cart for Children’s Hospital – Amy’s Art Cart, which I have a personal love for. I have had family members with addiction, so Bridge House / Grace House is another one.” 

Kiki: “Bridge House / Grace House and St. Anna’s Episcopal Church on Esplanade. They do a lot of great work.” 

Favorite local small businesses

Betsey: “Ayu Bakehouse. It’s so good. And my neighbor owns Hazeltine Scents. [The candles] are hand-poured in New Orleans. We have them all over our office.” 

Kiki: “Beth Biundo Sweets – beautiful cakes. La Petite Sophie in River Ridge – the best bakery.” 

Favorite family traditions 

An Easter egg hunt at Kiki’s house for her seven grandchildren. The hunt has moved to the family’s home in Ocean Springs, MS, which Kiki and Betsey have been decorating together for the past several years. 

A Family Affair

Jane Casbarian & Katy Casbarian

Co-Proprietors, Arnaud’s Restaurant

Though this mother-daughter duo entered the restaurant business in very different ways, they have both proven to be hospitality naturals. 

Jane Casbarian and late husband Archie bought Arnaud’s in 1978 when the restaurant had fallen on hard times. Her husband had spent his career in the hotel business, but Jane had no hospitality background. 

“She had never served a table!” said Katy. “I have so much respect for my mother for her knowledge and grit, especially for someone who didn’t grow up in the industry and had no training, formal or otherwise.” But Jane learned fast, helping revive an iconic restaurant to share with a new generation.

Katy and her brother (and co-proprietor) Archie were steeped in Arnaud’s from childhood, working various jobs in the restaurant. “From the time she was little, all of her projects at school revolved around food,” said Jane. “When she was in kindergarten, she said she wanted to go to the [Cornell University School of Hotel Administration] and she did. She’s always wanted to be part of our restaurant.”

After college, Katy spent a few years in New York sharpening her hospitality skills before returning to New Orleans in 2003. Since then, mother and daughter have relished the opportunity to spend time together, both inside and outside of work. “A lot of people take for granted their relationship with their parents,” said Katy. “I know too well – I lost my father way earlier than I imagined… Sometimes it takes losing a parent for people to reevaluate time spent with them. I feel very fortunate that I can spend all day with my mom.”

Jane is happy to have the perspective of a younger generation to bring a fresh perspective to areas like marketing and technology, while continuing the family tradition of hospitality. “Katy is just as effective back of the house as front of the house,” said Jane. “She’s perfect for this business – a wonderful hostess who greets guests, remembers people’s names… She is very talented that way.” 

Katy, in turn, lauds her mother’s organizational skills (“Nothing falls through the cracks”) as well as her expert eye, which she credits for Arnaud’s striking interiors. 

In addition to the hours spent together at work, the two walk every morning in the French Quarter and often end the day with a shared dinner. As Katy said, “We just enjoy each other’s company.”

Ideal day/night in NOLA

Jane: “Walking is important to me. A visit to Saks Fifth Avenue is always fun. Lunch or dinner with friends. I aways love to try new places – and old places we go to all the time.” 

Katy: “New Orleans is a very special place, and we appreciate the wonderful things it has to offer. Anytime we can take advantage of those things, it’s a wonderful day, especially if the weather is great. Being with friends or my husband, going to lunch, people watching. Maybe throw in a little shopping. Drinks and dinner with friends is always special, whether within our own restaurant or another.” 

Favorite local nonprofit

Katy: “Lighthouse Louisiana is an organization that’s near and dear to our hearts. My father was visually impaired and had a lot of great resources from there. I sat on the board, chaired the board for a number of years. They do great things for the community, for the nation, so we have a special relationship with them.”

Favorite local small businesses

Katy: “I love SOSUSU and Pilot and Powell on Magazine Street, both great women-run businesses. We love Hazelnut – great shopping for gifts. Tasc, and of course, my sister-in-law’s shop Malachite for luxurious special finds for the home.”

Favorite family tradition

Weekly home-cooked Sunday evening dinner with extended family at Katy’s uncle’s home. As Katy said, “It’s something my grandmother did when we were young, and that continued after she passed away. My parents hosted every Sunday, and I took it for granted when I was a kid. Now I really look forward to it… It’s special for us all to be together – and rare that anyone misses.”

A Family Affair

Skye Price & Susan Price

Realtors, Latter & Blum 

If you ask Susan Price, daughter Skye was the last of her children she would have predicted to become a realtor. That’s because growing up, Skye spent many hours reluctantly accompanying her mom on real estate outings. “I dragged her everywhere!” said Susan. 

But those early lessons clearly took root. Susan has been in the industry for nearly 30 years, 15 of those with her daughter. Skye initially imagined the arrangement as a post-college summer gig but ended up making it a career.

Skye praises her mother’s innate relationship-building skills: “It comes naturally to her to think about keeping up with people that we sold houses to years ago, just to touch base with them… If someone is having a baby, she will hear about it word of mouth and bring them a baby present. She likes to keep those relationships going.” Skye also appreciates Susan’s deep historic knowledge of different neighborhoods, which can add helpful color for clients. “Especially when we do something in Metairie Club Gardens, [Mom] knows the history – ‘Oh, this was so-and-so’s house… I know the house was this way 20 years ago.’ Those things are great to have.”

Susan applauds her daughter’s love for the business side of real estate as well as home inspections and technology. “Skye is big into finance and investment property, and she loves numbers – any kind of numbers!” 

Both consider their strong personal relationship (and a shared love for shopping and dining out) the key to their successful professional connection. They also appreciate being able to share the wins and losses in a high-pressure job. “It’s fun to have someone who can really understand when you go through the lows of work or deals are falling apart,” said Skye. “When you’re in a high, you get to celebrate that with someone who feels the same way.”

In a pinch, it helps that ‘Mom’ is a phone call away. “If you have a business partner who’s just a business partner and you go out of town, maybe you’d hesitate to call them if something happened,” said Skye. “Where with my mom, I have no shame in calling… When your client needs something, you have someone who’s going to figure out a way to help you out, always.”

Susan is delighted to see her daughter flourishing in the real estate tradition. “It’s great seeing how much she really does like it. We’re very proud of her and how much she’s accomplished.”

Ideal day/night in NOLA

Skye: “I like to do outdoor things. I love Jazz Fest. I like places that make you feel like you’re on vacation, like going to Santa Fe in Mid-City and eating outside or going to eat at the lakefront with my husband then hanging out by the water.” 

Susan: “My husband and I really like [Ye Olde] College Inn. It’s a fun place to go and you always see somebody you know. Café Degas is a nice place to be in (and out when they have the awnings up). Or just going for a drive by the museum or down Esplanade.”

Favorite local nonprofits

Both have a long-standing relationship with the Junior League of New Orleans. The two also support Bridge House / Grace House and the Preservation Resource Center.

Favorite local small businesses

Skye: “We love to shop on Metairie Road at Relish, Vita, FeBe (our office is upstairs), Estella’s and Em’s. City Greens is great – a friend of mine owns it so I get a lot of lunches there. Rock-n-Sake for girls’ dinner with friends. We both frequent Salon Senoj and About Face.”

Susan: Shopping at Perlis for men or women or boutiques like SOSUSU. On the dining side, favorites include Radosta’s for po-boys, Nor Joe’s, Rosedale, Ralph’s on the Park, Byblos, Galatoire’s, Commander’s Palace, Saba, La Petite Grocery and Sal’s Sno-Balls. 

Favorite family traditions

Gathering for all holidays at Susan’s house. And real estate! 

A Family Affair

Carling Lee Gannon & Shirley Lee 

Co-Owners, Miss Shirley’s Chinese Restaurant

Carling Lee Gannon has been part of the family business from the time she could stand on an overturned 5-gallon bucket to wash glasses. That was back at Royal China, the Metairie restaurant the Lee family said goodbye to in 2021 – after 44 years. The plan was retirement for her parents, Shirley and Tang Lee, but that arrangement didn’t stick.

“When I left Royal China, I cried almost every night,” said Lee. “I missed people so much.” 

Gannon, a real estate lawyer, was exploring investment properties when she found the Magazine Street building that formerly housed Jung’s Golden Dragon II. That space became Miss Shirley’s, which opened in late 2022 to a warm neighborhood reception – and had Gannon working alongside her mother once again.

Gannon manages areas including inventory, paperwork, marketing and social media. Shirley cares for guests, and Tang handles the kitchen. 

“Now [having] my daughter with me together, I enjoy it, becomes more fun for me,” said Lee. “I don’t work as hard as I used to. I can be ‘Shirley’ – social with customers, be sure everything is all right for them. That’s my job now.”

Along with the restaurant’s demands, Gannon maintains her legal career (with Fleur De Lis Law and Title). She appreciates the sacrifices her parents made for her to pursue a career in law: “I don’t want to give it up – because I know that was their dream too.”

Gannon calls her mother the hardest worker she knows and hopes that when the time comes to start a family and continue running the business, she can achieve even a fraction of her mother’s success. “But then I hear my mom’s voice in my head saying, ‘Why you not better?’ And that little voice continues to drive me.”

Ideal day/night in NOLA

Carling: “Walking around the city and seeing everyone love New Orleans, especially during festival season when there’s glitter and bubbles in the air. On my day off, listening to music, having a nice dinner, and hanging out with friends.” 

Shirley: “We go out for dinner and do things. Otherwise, I have no habits – no tennis, casino, mahjong… All my social life and all my friends are in [the] restaurant!” 

Favorite local nonprofits

Shirley follows Carling’s direction about donating and supporting nonprofits: “Whatever she tells me to do, I do for her!” That includes supporting Isidore Newman School, her daughters’ alma mater. 

Carling is a board member of Shuck Cancer (through the American Cancer Society). “I have several friends who have had cancer. Not everyone has a support system or job flexibility to be able to take their family members and friends to treatments. Our local Shuck Cancer supports transportation grants. It’s an easy thing we can raise money for while they’re just trying to fight to survive.”

Favorite local small businesses

Shirley: “I love bread. My friend Donald Link’s bakery la Boulangerie – I love their croissant. It’s my favorite thing.” 

Carling: “Costera and Bisutoro are some of my favorite restaurants. I love Fleurty Girl, Dirty Coast, Lucy Rose, Pippen Lane and Hazelnut. Another favorite is Fischer Gambino – a lighting store in the French Quarter. The owners are my mom’s best friends – and two strong women powerhouses. My whole life I’ve grown up with strong independent women (along with my dad) who made incredibly successful businesses. They have always been my drive to be as successful and smart as they are. As an adult, I realize they have paved the way for me and future generations of women.”

Favorite family traditions

Shirley: “Chinese New Year when the family gets together. We give a red envelope with money in it for the kids – when they open it, they are so happy to see the money inside! That’s a happy thing we share.”

Carling: “Chinese New Year is a big one. We sit around and make dumplings and cook. A funny family tradition: at the old restaurant my parents only closed for the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, we clean the house because we never had time to deep clean. Everyone else wakes up to gravy, and I wake up to bleach and Pine Sol! My mom also taught me how to sew, paint and knit. I still sew.”