Education: Metairie Park Country Day School, Bachelors in English from Vassar College, Juris Doctorate from Tulane University School of Law
Family: Husband, Steve; sons Matthew, 24, William, 21
Mentors: My parents, Judge and Mrs. Charles Gaudin; my husband; and a number of past presidents from the Junior League.
Melanee Usdin has served on boards that reflect what's going on in her own life.
As a member of the board of directors for KID smART, she helps brings art into classrooms in New Orleans. Noticing how much her own children were interested in the arts piqued her interest in the organization.
Since retiring from practicing law in 1992, Usdin has devoted her time to countless organizations, including serving as president of the board of the Junior League of New Orleans, on the boards of the Arts Council of Greater New Orleans, The Contemporary Arts Center and on an advisory board of the Parenting Center of Children's Hospital.
She's expanding her reach to older members of the community, serving on the board of directors for Poydras Home, a senior citizens retirement community in uptown New Orleans.
What did you like most about practicing law? It was never monotonous. Every case was different, and you had a window into different industries and different businesses, and you had to really immerse yourself into the subject matter.
What's the best advice you've been given? From my dad: Don't sweat the small stuff.
What do you hope for the future of New Orleans? We need to attract our own children back home and increase job opportunities here.
That's why I'm excited about the reforms in the public school system. I think that's why a lot of young professionals are moving to New Orleans.
What do you like to read? I always read fiction. I like Southern American Literature like Walker Percy and William Faulker.
Where is the last place you traveled? I just got back from visiting my sons in Oxford, England; and Abu Dhabi, and visiting Paris. I think Paris is more fun to visit when you're older.
What are your hobbies? I love to write. I've written short stories and memoirs. I have a couple of things published related to the legal profession.
iBERIABANK is proud to present a series of profiles featuring entrepreneurs, volunteer activists and artists whose work is making a difference. As iBERIABANK continues to make significant investments in our community, this special feature focuses on a few individuals who are doing the same.
While we can not include everyone who is inspiring change and worthy of recognition, we are proud to highlight a select few who give tirelessly to our community with their time, energy and passion.