About Us


Karen Ewing, PRESIDENT

 Karen Ewing got involved with Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge because she believes "every person needs a home." Ewing grew up in New Orleans, obtained a Bachelor's degree from LSU and spent 22 years working in sales and management in Baton Rouge. Today, she enjoys retirement by volunteering for RTBR.  Karen and her husband Chris have been married 30 years are the parents of two wonderful daughters. 



 Rene' joined the Commercial Division of NAI Latter & Blum in 2014 after retiring from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank as Executive Director and Manager in the Private Banking Department. During his banking career, Rene' was very involved in working on many annual rebuild projects.  During the last 5 years, he has been actively involved with RTBR as volunteer and House Captain, helping deserving families continue to live in their homes longer and safer. 


Leroy McKeever, TREASURER

 Leroy McKeever was born in Shreveport, LA.  Graduating from Southern University with a degree in chemistry and business, he has worked with Eco Services as a quality control manager for over 25 years.  Leroy has a passion for giving back and has been with RTBR since 2005.  He has served on the board and as house captain too many times to count.   


Linda Fontenot, SECRETARY

 Linda Fontenot is an educator. Serving in public schools and higher education, she has come to know life as a gift from God. Using her servant leadership style, Linda has also, worked as a consultant for university programs, church conferences, Regional Head Start and other for-profit and non-profit groups. Since her retirement, Linda serves on other boards, and continues to enjoy mentoring, reading, writing, research, and training. She has an earned PhD in Human and Organizational Behavior, and a Doctor of Letters in Christian Education. Her two children are college graduates and are gainfully employed. Linda’s faith in the plan of God for her life continues to unfold each day as she allows the Holy Spirit to guide her in helping and inspiring others. 


Joel K. Phillips

 Joel Phillips is a construction superintendent with Lincoln Builders, Inc of Baton Rouge. He has over 25 years of experience in varying forms of construction including Commercial, Multi-Family, Residential
and Industrial. Originally from Shreveport, Joel has lived in Baton Rouge since 1976 and is a graduate of Lee High School. He is married with three daughters and three dogs. His volunteer activities have included a tenure on the Board of Directors for Forum 35 (2005–2008), Co-Chair of the FestForAll Music committee (2004–2007), Outreach volunteer for the Council to Prevent Child Abuse (1996–1998), Friends for Life (1995–1996) and the Goodwood Property
Owners Associate Board of Directors (2011 – 2012). 


Julie Baxter Payer

 Julie Baxter Payer serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Communications/Legal/Special Projects, for Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.  She graduated from the LSU Law Center in 2005 and went into private practice as a lawyer before joining the Louisiana Senate as an attorney in 2011.  Julie opened her own law practice, Julie Baxter, Attorney at Law, LLC, in 2012.  Prior to practicing law, Julie worked for 14 years as an investigative reporter in radio and television news, reporting for nearly a decade at WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge and winning numerous awards including the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative television reporting.  


Michelle Hardy

 I am fortunate to work for a company, Turner Industries, who has a deep commitment to the communities where we live and work to strengthen and enhance our neighbors lives. When our communities thrive we all benefit. Rebuilding Together Baton Rouge restores hope and revitalizes neighborhoods one house at a time. We go out into our community and through groups of volunteers we perform repairs to homeowners who otherwise could not afford them. 


Mark Upton

 Mark Upton was always meant to live in Louisiana but didn't get to Baton Rouge until 1971.  Since then, he has been actively involved in community work.  Past President of the Garden District Civic Assoc, Past President of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and currently the Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of LA, Mark stays very busy. Mark is past Vice President and a current board member with RTBR.  


Forrest Guedry

 Forrest Guedry is an associate in the Baton Rouge office of Kean Miller. He joined the firm in 2018 and practices in the casualty and mass tort litigation group. Forrest has represented national retail establishments, international restaurant chains, local contractors, municipalities, business owners, employers, and landlords in the defense of premise liability matters, personal injury lawsuits, contract disputes, defense of workers compensation claims, and eviction proceedings.  Prior to joining the firm, Forrest practiced insurance and worker’s compensation defense in Lafayette, Louisiana.