Board & Staff

Staff

Benjamin Clapper

Executive Director

Benjamin Clapper has committed his life to speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. His expertise in the pro-life movement ranges from the political and legislative realm to youth education and activism.

Benjamin serves as the Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life. Louisiana Right to Life, established in 1970, works through education, activism, legislation, and service to restore the right to life in Louisiana. During his years with Louisiana Right to Life, Benjamin has built a volunteer-run organization into a professional operation making an impact in Louisiana from the State Capitol to the high school classroom. During his time working to advance pro-life legislation, Louisiana has been at or near the top of the list of most pro-life states in the nation.

In addition to Louisiana Right to Life, Benjamin serves the national pro-life movement in a number of capacities. Through his work with the National Right to Life Victory Fund, Benjamin has worked on the political side to elect pro-life leaders to office. He also helped start pro-life youth training programs in many states through the “Life and Leadership Youth Camp Initiative.”

Benjamin is also the Executive Producer of the award-winning short adoption documentary film  I Lived on Parker Avenue.

Benjamin’s dedication to the pro-life movement began in late high school in his hometown of Mobile, AL, but was crystalized in college as he actively worked with Students for Life of America and went on to found Louisiana Students for Life. In 2013, Benjamin was honored to receive a top award from SFLA.

Benjamin graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in 2007 as the Ignatian Award winner for Outstanding Male Graduate. At Loyola, he was blessed to meet his future wife, Kristen, through their collaboration on pro-life activities. Kristen and Benjamin reside in Mandeville with their four beautiful daughters: Kate, Mary Rose, Julia, and Claire.

Email: [email protected]

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Angie Thomas

Associate Director

Angie Thomas serves as Associate Director for Louisiana Right to Life. Prior to this position, she served as CEO of the Woman’s New Life Clinic, a professional counseling and medical clinic offering life-affirming services for women in unplanned pregnancies, post-abortive men and women, and women’s health. She led the effort to expand authentic women’s health services in South Louisiana, reclaiming reproductive healthcare and offering alternatives to Planned Parenthood.

Her work includes legal education and training for pregnancy centers, development and outreach, legislative advocacy, education about life issues, and implementing new programs in building a culture of life. Angie also serves as Attorney with National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

She was trained through the Blackstone Fellowship, an intensive training in Christian worldview principles and how they apply to the study and interpretation of law.  She worked for Americans United for Life and Bioethics Defense Fund during and following law school.

Angie is a graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University (B.A. 2001, magna cum laude) and Loyola Law School (J.D. 2004, cum laude).  She lives in New Orleans with her husband and four daughters.

Email: [email protected]

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Tara Wicker

State Director, Black Advocates for Life

Tara Wicker is an activist and community leader in the fight for life, justice, and righteousness. Her conviction to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves has been a driving force that has fueled her passion for pro-life advocacy throughout her life. It is her fundamental belief that in the fight for justice we must first stand up for righteousness because it is righteousness that truly qualifies us to fight for justice. Tara brings a wealth of energy, excitement, and experience as she proudly takes on her new role as the State Director of Louisiana Black Advocates for Life.

She is a native of Baton Rouge and is the First Lady of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church, which she and her husband, Pastor Michael Wicker, founded in January 2014. Tara is a dedicated and passionate Christian who believes strongly in the value of the family unit. She has lived and worked throughout the capital city of Baton Rouge for most of her life and career.

Tara served for 12 years as an East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Councilwoman and also as Assistant Chief Administrative Officer in the Office of the Mayor-President for the City of Baton Rouge. She served as chair of the Metro Council Finance & Executive Committee and was chairman of the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging. Tara served as chairman of the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission and was a member of the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC). She was an Executive Assistant for the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, is a former United Way board member, and served as chairman for the Community Investment Cabinet and co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Council.

Tara holds a master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Policy Analysis and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She is the President & CEO of The W Consulting Group.

Above and beyond political parties or racial boundaries, her internal drive to always do what is right fuels her passion to help save lives of the unborn by strategically working to reduce the number of abortions within the Black community, all while encouraging effective pro-life advocacy work and involvement in communities throughout Louisiana. Tara has shared her personal testimony at several pro-life events throughout the years and served as the keynote speaker for the 2019 Baton Rouge Right to Life March.

She has been married for 29 years to her high school sweetheart, best friend, Pastor, former Louisiana State Trooper, and business owner, Mike Wicker. Together they have given birth and are raising six amazing children, Tya, Trinity, Michael-Joel, Mya, Magnus, and Mailey-Grace.

Tara and her husband established several Life Academies, including Couple’s Academy International, Wealth Academy, Young Kings and Young Queen’s Academy, Transformations Health Academy, and the Rebuild Academy, which were designed for ministry to the total person. They have a dream to one day open the Caleb House for at risk, pregnant mothers and the Baby House for abandoned and neglected babies newborn to 5 years of age.

Email: [email protected]

Alex Seghers

Director of Education

Alexandra Seghers joined the Louisiana Right to Life team in August 2015 as Youth Programs Co-Director and now serves as Director of Education. In this capacity she focuses on a combination of medical ethics education and legislative public education, grassroots organizing, chapter development, and social media. Most notably since the start of this position, she led grassroots efforts in the Love Life Constitutional Amendment campaign and orchestrated the Post-Roe Louisiana Summit occurring after the Dobbs v. Jackson opinion leak.

Previously she directed youth initiatives such as the PULSE Leadership Institute, PULSE Immersion Weekends and the Geaux Forth Rally at the March for Life in Washington D.C. and led LARTL youth education efforts in schools and youth organizations throughout Louisiana, including over 200 speaking engagements to 15,000+ youth during this tenure. She now supervises the Youth Programs Directors team across the state.

From her Covington, Louisiana, home church to her University of Dallas campus, she was involved in pro-life activism, clubs, apologetics, and sidewalk counseling; she attended a PULSE Immersion Weekend (formerly Camp Joshua) in 10th grade and represented her college pro-life club at Students for Life’s 2014 Pro-Life Student Leadership Summit Conference. During the summer of the 2014 Senate election in-between college semesters, Alex served as the Northshore Field Director for the Susan B. Anthony List’s Women Speak Out PAC campaign, managing door-to-door canvassers speaking to voters about a candidate’s pro-abortion voting record.

Alex received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from the University of Dallas in 2015. She is completing a Healthcare Ethics Certification with the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

She and her husband, Robert, live in Metairie with their children, Yvette and Nicholas.

Email: [email protected]

Sarah Zagorski

Communications Director, Adoption Education Director

Sarah Zagorski rejoined the Louisiana Right to Life staff in January 2018 after pro-life involvement in northern Colorado. There she served as the Director of Colorado Citizens for Life, the state affiliate of National Right to Life and was a staff writer for LifeNews.com. Also, she worked as a lobbyist advancing pro-life legislation at the state Capitol for Colorado Family Action, a policy partner of Focus on the Family. She now serves as our Communications Director and Adoption Education Director.

Sarah’s dedication to the pro-life cause stems from her own personal story of being rescued from abortion and spending nearly eight years in the Louisiana foster care system. At the age of 9 she was adopted by a loving family dedicated to the pro-life movement. In 2012, she graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Biblical Studies.

Her work has been published in the National Review, Washington Examiner, USA Today, and by Focus on the Family. Sarah’s advocacy at Louisiana Right to Life is also highlighted by her development and implementation of an infant-adoption education program for public high school students with the aim of providing an untapped audience with abortion alternatives.

Now Sarah resides in Greater New Orleans with her young son Jesse. Visit her online at SarahZagorski.com.

Email: [email protected]

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Krystal Romero

Acadiana Director

Krystal Romero is a well-known pro-life advocate and native of Acadiana. She is passionate about protecting the most vulnerable. As a pro-life activist, mother, and registered nurse, she felt called to accept the position as Acadiana Director for Louisiana Right to Life.

Her work experience has provided her with a comprehensive understanding of the pro-life movement, challenges and appreciation of the amazing work this organization continues to do to restore the right to life. She has worked several years at the DesOrmeaux Foundation and currently serves on its Board of Directors. Her journey began as a volunteer and advanced to Executive Assistant. 

Her background gives her valuable insight and experience running a successful nonprofit organization. Throughout her career, she experienced many different aspects of pro-life ministry. She worked in the Women’s Center of Lafayette, consulting with women seeking abortion, adoption, and parenting their babies. As the housing director of the St. Marguerite d’Youville maternity home, she interviewed and assessed every potential resident. She formulated individual care plans for each resident to fit their specific needs. The care plans ranged from obtaining a GED, starting a career, counseling, and drug rehab programs for mothers who wanted to parent. She has advocated and assisted mothers seeking to have an adoption. She has been involved in the process from assisting with choosing adoptive parents, staying at the hospital, advocating for the mother and baby, and assisting the grieving mothers when they return home without their baby.

Krystal has three children, but her oldest, Gracey Claire, passed away in 2009. She has two children currently living, Emma Grace and Grayson. As a mother to a son with Digeorge Syndrome (22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome), she can relate and understand everyday challenges faced with having a special needs child. Words can’t express how grateful she is for her son and the everlasting impressions that he has left on her soul. She believes every life is precious in the eyes of God and life begins at conception.

Her goals are fundraising, organizational awareness, and developing and maintaining relationships throughout Acadiana. Krystal wants to have conversations with everyone including pregnancy centers, social service leaders, superintendents, elected officials, church leaders, etc. She believes conversations are the only way to lead to conversion, which is critical in making abortion unthinkable.

Email: [email protected]

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Ashley Gilliam

Youth Programs Director, Southeast

Ashley Gilliam joined the Louisiana Right to Life team in 2021 as Youth Programs Co-Director. 

Ashley became involved with pro-life activism when she was a student at Tulane University and joined the pro-life organization on campus. She served on the executive board throughout college and led as president during her final year. Through workshops, volunteering, and conversations with students, Ashley gained knowledge and experience in pro-life advocacy and providing support to people in her community. She became passionate about educating and empowering young people to work to uphold the dignity of life. 

Ashley grew up in Arizona and enjoys exploring the beautiful outdoors with friends and family. In 2021, she graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. She lives in Metairie. 

Email: [email protected]

Kandace Landreneau

College Director; Youth Programs Director, North Louisiana

Kandace Landreneau began her activism when she was a student at LSU after hearing a speech by Bobby Schindler, who told of his sister Terry Schiavo’s life. This presentation convicted her to join the pro-life campus group the following day.

She helped grow the club and produced different pro-life events on campus. She led activism campaigns on campus with weekly pro-life apologetics teachings, with an emphasis on tabling in Free Speech Alley and dialoging weekly with students about pro-life issues. The group also offered free resources to women on the sidewalk at the Delta abortion facility in Baton Rouge twice a week. Through these encounters they saw many minds changed and lives saved.

Kandace served as the Youth Director for Louisiana Right to Life in 2014, conducting pro-life presentations at high schools and college campuses, running Camp Joshua (now Pulse Camps) and focusing on activism on campuses.

She graduated from LSU-Shreveport in May 2020 with a Mass Communications degree with a concentration in Journalism. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Public Policy.

Kandace grew up in the pro-life movement, following in the footsteps of her parents, who passionately defended the defenseless their entire lives. She owes all of her pro-life achievements, whatever they may be, to her father, Dr. Michael D. Landreneau, and her mother, Dr. Kandace J. Landreneau.

Kandace is from Shreveport, where she spends most of her free time training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Email: [email protected]

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TJ Burgess

Director of Events

TJ Burgess joined the Louisiana Right to Life team in the summer of 2017, serving as a youth programs intern, and continued in that capacity until August 2019. In January 2021 he returned to the team as Special Projects Director, and now serves as our Director of Events.

TJ was rooted with a passion for pro-life activism early on in life, though he only started his advocacy in 2015. He was activated as a pro-life leader in his first year of high school when he attended one of the Louisiana Right to Life’s PULSE pro-life youth camps. He was so inspired to be a change-maker that he devoted his life to making any human rights abuse unthinkable.

As a junior in high school in 2018, TJ launched Men for Life, a pro-life organization that advocates for the protection and expansion of human rights by encouraging men to be informed, active, and purposeful defenders of life. In just a few short years, Men for Life has grown to be internationally acclaimed, and TJ has spoken at protests, press conferences, and rallies across the country.

Email: [email protected]

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Abby Rose Nichols

Cenla Youth Director

Abby Rose Nichols joined the Louisiana Right to Life team in 2021 as Cenla Youth Director through a partnership between the Cenla Pregnancy Center and Louisiana Right to Life.

After researching the topic of abortion for an assignment during her freshman year of college, Abby Rose quickly developed a passion for being a voice for the pre-born and supporting women. This led her to connecting with and volunteering at her local pregnancy center, Cenla Pregnancy Center. She served as the Event Coordinator for Louisiana College Students for Life in 2021 until she graduated, planning and coordinating bi-weekly meetings, pro-life speaking events & service project efforts. 

In 2020, Abby Rose co-founded Live to Love for Life, a ministry focused on educating and empowering individuals across the world to advocate in a culture of life. Through Live to Love for Life, she has led online pro-life trainings covering various topics such as fetal development, abortion procedures, and Planned Parenthood. These trainings have been taught to people in multiple states and countries around the world. In the summer of 2021, she organized and coordinated a fundraising drive through Live to Love for Life accumulating more than 1,000 donations from people throughout the United States and the country of Bosnia in which all donations were distributed to pregnancy resource centers across the state of Louisiana. 

Abby Rose lives in central Louisiana where she enjoys writing and meeting new people. She graduated from Louisiana College in 2021 with her Associates of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assisting.

Email: [email protected]

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Jacob Tonglet

Acadiana Youth Director

Jacob Tonglet joined the Louisiana Right to Life Team in 2021 as the Acadiana Youth Programs Director.

Jacob became involved in the pro-life movement at the University of Louisiana, where he was a member of Pro-Life Cajuns. He later became vice president of the group during his senior year.  Jacob has also been attending PULSE camps as a leader and speaker since 2015.  He credits the stories of several of his close friends as his inspiration to be a pro-life activist. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Men for Life.

Jacob grew up in the New Orleans area and attended Jesuit High School. He graduated from the University of Louisiana in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in Economics. He now resides in Lafayette.

In his free time, Jacob enjoys spending time with his friends from the Young Adult and Grad Student Bible Study at Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church in Lafayette.  He is a youth minister at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Maurice. and an active member of the Knights of Columbus.

Email: [email protected]

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Kelly Johnson

North Louisiana Advisor

Kelly Johnson joined the Louisiana Right to Life staff as North Louisiana Director in August 2018, after serving as a spokesperson and leader for the pro-life and pro-family movement in Louisiana and beyond for nearly two decades. She is now serving in an advisory capacity with Louisiana Right to Life.

She is also a Licensed Pastoral Counselor, a practicing member of the National Christian Counselors Association, and a certified teacher who has taught in the classrooms of some of Louisiana’s top public and private schools.

Kelly and her husband, U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.), have been called to serve in ministry together on the “front lines” of some of America’s most pivotal cultural battles. For their work in promoting the sanctity of human life, marriage and traditional family values, they have been the recipients of many honors, including “Champions of the Faith” award by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Kelly has been interviewed by and featured in many national media outlets including ABC’s Good Morning America, the CBS Morning News, TIME magazine, Citizen magazine, World magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.

Kelly earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Louisiana Tech, pursued a Master’s in Education at Centenary College, and earned her counseling license from Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling.

Kelly and Mike reside in Benton with their four children: Hannah, Abby, Jack and Will.

Email: [email protected]

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State Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of Louisiana Right to Life directs the activities of the organization.

William Watkins

President

William “Bill” Watkins was elected Vice President of Louisiana Right to Life in September 2007.

Watkins is a past President of Terrebonne-Lafourche Right to Life Committee and a lifelong resident of Houma, where he lives with his wife, Elizabeth.

He practices law in both federal and state courts around Louisiana with the firm of Duval, Funderburk, Sundbery, Lovell & Watkins. They have 4 daughters, and two grandchildren. He credits his involvement in the pro-life cause to his mom, Shirley Watkins, who devoted many years of service and prayers.

Celie Clark

Vice President

Celie and her husband, Dan, founded the Terrebonne/LaFourche Chapter of Right to Life during their 5-year stay in Houma. She served as Federation President and Chairperson for the National Right to Life Convention hosted in New Orleans in 1987 and was also active in planning when the convention returned to New Orleans in 2015.

Celie and Dan, who have five children, live in Madisonville. Celie previously served as director of Religious Education at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Covington before retiring.

John Nickelson

Treasurer

John Nickelson is a recently-elected City Councilman, representing District C in the city of Shreveport. He is licensed to practice law in Louisiana and Texas. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, served as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge, and practiced with a national firm in Dallas before returning home to Shreveport. He and his wife, Emily, have three daughters and are active members of their church, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans.

Peg Kenny

Executive Secretary

Peg Kenny has been a motivating force behind the operations of Louisiana Right to Life for many years. Heavily involved in both the Louisiana and national legislatures, she is recognized for her years of work in promoting and passing pro-life legislation.

Separate from her involvement in LARTL, Peg previously served as Director of the Louisiana Pro-Life Council, which acted as the Respect Life Office for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Sharon Ryan Rodi

Delegate to the National Right to Life Board of Directors

Sharon Ryan Rodi serves as the National Delegate to National Right to Life for Louisiana Right to Life and has been a key leader in the pro-life cause since the mid-70’s. Sharon is a retired attorney and former director of Catholic Charities Refugee Social Services program, and in 2017 she received the St. John Paul II Award by the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans for her outstanding service of human dignity.

Her husband of more than 50 years, Mark Rodi, and their daughters and spouses, Shannon Rodi Nash and Michael Nash and Erin Rodi Rotolo and Brian Rotolo, cheer Sharon on in all her endeavors.

Michelle Gorney

At-Large Director& Ex Officio

Michelle Gorney has been involved with LARTL for more than 20 years when she and her husband, Chuck, founded St. Tammany Right to Life. Michelle has been a pro life speaker on many occasions and has attended NRTL Conventions and the National March for Life several times.

Michelle previously served four years as LARTL President and currently serves as Secretary of St. Tammany Right to Life. She works as a mother and nurse in St. Tammany Parish.

James B. Godchaux, M.D.

At-Large Director

Dr. James Burton Godchaux of Lafayette was born in Houma and grew up in Opelousas. He graduated from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1972, interned at Lafayette Charity Hospital, then did a diagnostic radiology residency in Shreveport from 1973-1976. It was in those early days of legalized abortion when he and his wife, Kathleen, began to get involved in pro-life activities.

Dr. Godchaux is board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and began his practice in Lafayette in 1976 at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. For a time there he served as Head of the Department of Radiology. He also held a Neuroradiology CAQ 1998-2008. In 2004 he helped to develop Envision Imaging of Acadiana, an outpatient imaging center, where he serves as radiologist and previously as medical director.

He is the father of four sons and has 14 grandchildren. He and Kathleen both serve on the boards of Acadiana Right to Life, the DesOrmeaux Foundation’s Women’s Center of Lafayette, and the Zerben Bienvenu and William Smith Fund for Pro-Life Education in Acadiana.

He is a member of St. Pius X Catholic Church, where he and his wife Kathleen served as Lay Ministers for 30 years.

Leslie Ellison

At-Large Director

Leslie Ellison served on the Orleans Parish School Board from 2012 to 2020 and is a leader in the Algiers community of New Orleans. She was elected to serve on the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee in 2016 and reelected in 2020.

Leslie is a longtime member of Gideon Christian Fellowship International. She has been a dedicated pro-life advocate for many years and is passionate about expanding pro-life outreach in the black community.

Dana Hammer

At-Large Director

Dana Hammer is an active pro-life leader, having founded the Advertise for Life Initiative with Louisiana Right to Life in 2014.  Dana has served as the Chairwoman for the 2020 and 2021 New Orleans Proudly Pro-Life Gala and continues to serve on the committee.  Dana and her husband Mike founded the New Orleans Pro-Life Luncheon to unite pro-life leaders working to defend life and help mothers in the greater New Orleans area.