Susan Read Johnson
The only one surprised to hear that Susan Johnson was selected as Sustainer of the Year for 2008 was Susan Johnson. That is because this community leader is as modest as she is active. “her list of accomplishments and contributions is awe inspiring,”
writes Betsy Fowler. Barbara Bush describes Susan as “lovingly and unselfishly devoted to her community.” And so, it is because of her awe-inspiring devotion to new Orleans that the JLNO honors Susan as it Sustainer of the Year.
Susan joined JLNO is 1976, and enjoyed serving on numerous placements, though her most famous contribution to the League is Jambalaya, the beloved spiral-bound and supremely popular JLNO cookbook that was developed and debuted under Susan’s leadership and endless recipe testing. Susan fondly recalls her dear friend Peggy Sarpy, who guided and supported her within JLNO, and whom she credits for her involvement in the League.
In her nomination letter, Fran Villere raved about Susan’s many contributions to the Junior League, and to the New Orleans community. Fran describes Susan as “dedicated, competent and dependable.” Susan is often recruited by Fran to serve on committees, either as an “effective leader” or “a diligent soldier,” depending on the situation, because “her work will be done thoroughly, quietly and happily.” Linda Schroeder agrees that Susan is impressive as both a leader and a “selfless worker for the League and community project.” Again described as “selfless,” Susan Prentiss writes that Susan is also quiet, dignified, and giving of herself to a “myriad of causes, affecting positively many lives in the process.” In addition to her volunteer work ethic, Susan is known for her “strong moral values and faith,” as described by Colleen Emory. Ann Fuselier described Susan’s most outstanding attribute as “her desire to achieve success in her many project with the intent of glory for the worth and not for her name recognition.”
Susan was honored in 2006 as the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, for her tireless work raising funds for numerous institutions, notably Catholic Charities and United Way. She has chaired the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including the Parenting Center, Longue Vue House and gardens, Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees and Hermann-Grima House. Additionally, she has served on the boards of the Maison Hospitaliere and the Academy of the Sacred Heart, where her three daughters attended school.
After Hurricane Katrina, Susan took on leadership roles in tow of the most high-profile – and successful – groups of community activists. She visited our legislators in Washington D.C. as a member of Women of the Storm, and actively campaigned for the nonpartisan Citizens for One Levee Board.
Susan directly relates her volunteerism to the loving guidance of her late father, A. Lewis Read, who also served Catholic Charities and United Way. She also credits the support that she has received from her wonderful husband, as Doug’s hard work has provided her with “a very good life” and the means to share her blessings with others. And she is thankful to the League for providing her, and so many women, with the opportunity to directly reach out to eh community, through its many programs. Susan is amazed at who JLNO has grown throughout the years, and is especially proud of its current involvement in so many different facets of the community.
In addition to all of the praise she has received for her tireless hard work for the betterment of the community, Susan is devoted to her husband, family and church. She is an outstanding person, an extraordinary fired, a good golfer, and beautiful inside and out. the League is indeed blessed to have been the recipient of this fabulous lady’s many years of dedicated Service.
Susan At a Glance
- Susan and her husband, Doug, have been happily married 40 years, and have three beautiful daughters, Courtney (Mrs. Ted Le Clercq), Leslie (Mrs. Chris McClanahan) and Kelley (Mrs. Tom Daniel).
- She is the proud grandmother of Douglas, Price and Susan Le Clercq, Olivia and Eleanor McClanahan, and Caroline, Thomas and Price Daniel. She is especially proud of her young granddaughter, Susan’s strength in battling cancer, and thanks Children’ Hospital for the magnificent treatment she has received. Susan’s favorite quote is that “having grandchildren is the only thing in life that is not overrated.”
- Susan has served on the Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees since 1987, and also currently serves on the Selley Foundation Board of Trustees, The Women’s Exchange Board of Directors, the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center Board, Catholic Charities Board of Directors, Ochsner Board of Councilors and Lambeth House Foundation Board.
- “The greatest reward in volunteering is the gift of helping other people.”