Adrinda Kelly

Executive Director of BE NOLA (Black Education for New Orleans) | New Orleans 500 Close-Up April 2022
Lens 500 Adrinakelly

Education: New York University (MA), Harvard University (BA)


Did you know?
Adrinda Kelly is committed to transforming structural relationships of inequity affecting marginalized populations. In her current role, she supports Black educators and Black-led schools in New Orleans through community engagement and fundraising, while her past achievements include bringing the first college guide for LGBTQ+ students to publication. She is a former diversity studies fellow at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.


What’s your favorite festival?
The new NOLA Zydeco Festival that my friend Gabrielle Deculus puts on in March is fast becoming one of my faves! Can’t beat the music, and love that she created the festival as an homage to her family.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Don’t chase title, position or money. Chase purpose. The rest will come.

What’s something exciting on the horizon for your company/organization?
We’re about to launch a fellowship for Black educators in New Orleans called the Black Is Brilliant Institute. We’re excited about what a space focused on the holistic support of New Orleans Black educators will contribute toward advancing educational excellence for all children in our city.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would your dream career be?
I’d be doing something at the intersection of art, design and construction. I’m fascinated by built environments and the aesthetics and values that can be embedded, preserved and disrupted through architecture and design.

What’s your hidden talent?
I’m really good at decorating. My style is rather eclectic with industrial inflections.

What’s your favorite New Orleans restaurant?
Whew, that’s hard! I live down the block from Compere Lapin so that’s an easy one to mention. My husband is West Indian and we both love the nod to Caribbean food cultures on their menu. Plus, the bar is serving up some of the best cocktails in the city.

What’s your favorite movie, TV show or book?
This is going to seem random, but my favorite move is “Elizabeth” with Cate Blanchett. I’ve been fascinated by the Tudor period since I was young and think the movie did an excellent job interpreting that character and the tensions of the era.

Who would play you in a movie?
The singer Jill Scott. I think we look alike!


Categories: 500 Magazine, Biz 500