Meet Our Staff | Garden of Memories Funeral Home & Cemetery & Cremations
Garden of Memories Funeral Home and Cemetery in Metairie, LA

Meet Our Staff - Metairie, LA

Our staff provides excellent funeral planning services

We have years of experience caring for families from all walks of life, cultures and faiths. Our unsurpassed staff and our family provide kind, caring, professional service. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession who are dedicated to excellence in service, adhere to the highest funeral industry standards, and have exceptional integrity. We consistently earn phenomenally high customer satisfaction survey results.

Our licensed, professional staff is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please call 504-833-3786 anytime. We will even come to you to make arrangements in the comfort of your home.

Prompt, compassionate service is always just a phone call away, where and when you need it.

John B. Appel Jr., Esq.

John B. Appel Jr., Esq.

Managing Partner/Funeral Director

John has been helping families since 2005, having joined the industry thirty days before hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.  He attended Jesuit High School, Loyola University and Loyola Law School, is married to Jean Newman and is the father of twins, John III and Patrick (graduates of Jesuit High School and University of Louisiana - Lafayette) and step-father to Scot, a student at Jesuit High School.  He changed careers after the unexpected death of his father.  Going through that experience revealed to him the need for preplanning and the importance of educating families that their burial property and funerals can be handled before the loss of a loved one.


Carrie Kippers Bruno

Carrie Kippers Bruno

Funeral Director

Carrie has been serving families since 2008, joining the industry after losing her great-grandmother and having to assist with making her funeral arrangements.  She is married to Brad and is the mother of Cameron and Dagan, both students at John Curtis Christian School.  She is a lifelong resident of River Ridge, Louisiana.  Carrie's first role in the funeral and cemetery industry was as a Family Service Counselor at Garden of Memories, assisting families with making cemetery property selections, both pre-need and at-need.  The more experience she gained the more she knew she wanted to focus on helping families at their time of loss, so she became a Funeral Director.  Carrie enjoys serving her community by helping families have a meaningful funeral and celebration of life for their loved ones.  


Toni Palestina

Toni Palestina

Funeral Director

Toni was born and raised in New Orleans and has been a resident of River Ridge, Louisiana for the past 18 years.  She is a graduate of the Delgado College School of Mortuary Science.  Toni is compassionate and cares greatly for the trials her families are faced with, helping each individual on their own path through grief.  She has been married to Frank Palestina for 20 years and is the proud mother of two fur babies, Sabrina and Loretta.


Tina Mayeux

Tina Mayeux

Funeral Director

Tina has been serving families for over 27 years.  She graduated from St. Charles Catholic and the Mortuary Program at Delgado Community College.  She is mother to Heidi, a member of the United States Air Force; and Justice, a sophomore at the University of Louisiana - Lafayette (Nursing).  Tina's grandmother cleaned funeral homes when she was a child, and after attending many services for family members she decided funeral directing was her calling.  She has been helping families ever since.  Tina was Secretary of the Louisiana Funeral Director's Association (Southern District) for three years.


Alexandra Mahoney

Alexandra Mahoney

Funeral Director Intern

Alexandra has been married to Erik Matos, one of our Family Service Counselors, for almost 10 years.  They have four children: Autumn, Dominic, Lily and Ophelia.  They previously worked together as EMTs.  Alexandra saw the value of helping people through difficult times when she lost her father and sister; she enrolled in school to get her degree as a funeral director.  


Kyle Deichmann

Kyle Deichmann

Care Center Manager

Kyle has been serving families for over 23 years.  He graduated from Ecole Classique, Tulane University and the Mortuary Program at Delgado Community College.  He is a Sergeant in the Louisiana Air National Guard and has served for over 15 years.  While working for the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office Kyle decided he wanted to work in an area of the industry which would allow him to better help families in their time of need.  


Marc Gelpi

Marc Gelpi

Manager - Family Services

Marc has been helping families for 10 years.  He graduated from Rummel High School and the University of New Orleans.  He is married to Stephanie and is father to Alex, a graduate of Patrick A. Taylor High School and a senior at Alabama.  Marc's wife was employed in the corporate office of a funeral home and Marc was looking for a job to allow him the opportunity to give back more to the community.  He joined her in the funeral industry and has been very happy helping families in need.


Stephanie Manos

Stephanie Manos

Family Service Counselor

Stephanie obtained a degree in Respiratory Therapy from the School of Nursing at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.  Additionally she was a production coordinator and set designer for true crime reality shows produced here in New Orleans.  Stephanie started with Garden of Memories in 2018 and continues to serve the city, culture and families that she loves.


Ernesto Aguilar

Ernesto Aguilar

Family Service Counselor

Ernesto is a native of Mexico City and has settled in Slidell LA for the last twenty six years; he considers himself as an “adopted child” of the greater New Orleans area. He holds a degree in public accounting from the International Technical Institute from Mexico City and is fluent in both English and Spanish.  He’s been married for twenty four years and has three children; he’s also a “Papi” to four adorable grandchildren.  Ernesto became a citizen of the United States in 2004 and as a result of the 9/11 attacks he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  As a Chief for the Navy Reserves, he has performed hundreds of military funeral honors and is unwavering in his belief that serving our nation is the best choice he’s ever made.  Ernesto is passionate about helping families prepare, protect and secure their end of life pre-need plans. He combines his professional knowledge, his training, and personal experiences to understand the most difficult moments that families go through when losing a loved one.



Patrick Oxley

Patrick Oxley

Family Service Counselor

Patrick is married to Rachel and is the proud father of three dogs, Lord Byron, Coffee and Scarlett O'Hara.  He had worked at a cemetery in the '90s (where Col. Sanders and Muhammad Ali are buried) bringing in services and had always wanted to return to the community service aspect of that job.  He was happy to find that again in his position as Family Service Counselor and enjoys protecting families and helping them in their times of need.


Erik Matos

Erik Matos

Family Service Counselor

Erik has been married to Alexandra Mahoney, one of our Funeral Directors, for almost 10 years.  They have four children: Autumn, Dominic, Lily and Ophelia.  They previously worked together as EMTs.  Erik originally started with Garden of Memories as an assistant in the cemetery but saw greater opportunity to assist families as a Family Service Counselor.  He enjoys having more contact with families as a Family Service Counselor and the chance to help them before their time of need.


Jacques Legrand

Jacques Legrand

Family Service Counselor

Jacques is a native of New Orleans, has been married to Emily for ten years and has three children: Blaine, Ann Reilly and Ellen.  Blaine and Ann Reilly attend St. Clement of Rome and Ellen will be there shortly.  He attended Rummel High School and the University of New Orleans.  Jacques comes from a very large family.  Helping other families become knowledgeable about their funeral and cemetery needs is a natural outgrowth of his family background.    


Catherine Alesich

Catherine Alesich

Manager - Advanced Planning

Catherine came out of retirement from ownership of a private company after the passing of her Mother in 2015.  The experience she and her family suffered at that time was the catalyst for joining the funeral and cemetery industry.  She has raised four children: Chantel, Brent, Katherine and Brielle and has nine grandchildren.  Her travels have taken her around the world extensively and she has lived in Louisiana, Texas, Massachusetts and the Bahamas.  Her first role was as a Family Service Counselor and she was soon promoted to Assistant Family Service Manager, after which she moved to Manager of the Advanced Planning Division.  She thrives on educating her families about the importance of understanding their "Place and Space" for the future!  Protecting her families through pre-planned funeral services, whether traditional or cremation, is one of her passions, as well as hosting seminars to educate the community.  Sharing her life's experiences brings comfort and opens the hearts of her families to share their experiences as well.


Kyle Engel

Kyle Engel

Advanced Planning Counselor

Kyle is a native New Orleanian and returned here from San Diego, California in 2017.  He holds a B.A. in Social Science from San Diego State University, an A.A. in History from Mesa and Miramar College and a Louisiana Realtor's license.  He is married to Kelly and has one son, Jax.  Kyle served his country in the U.S. Army, stationed with the "Old Guard - 11b Infantry."  He participated in hundreds of Arlington Cemetery military/dignitary burials as a casket bearer and served as a member of the Presidential Casket Team.  Kyle was placed on special duty at the Pentagon escorting public affair officials, top military and political personnel (both foreign and domestic).  He experienced the loss of his father in 2016 and recognized the importance of pre-planning funeral and cemetery requests for the future.  He brings with him the same passion and energy he had while serving our country.


Gail Calderone

Gail Calderone

Advanced Planning Counselor

Gail has been serving families since 2012.  While she has previously worked in the travel industry and furniture and design industry, nothing comes close to her current position here at the Garden of Memories.  Gail finds the most rewarding aspect of her job the ability to help her families with some of the most important decisions of their lives, to offer them direction and to guide them in what will be in their best interest.  She knows making decisions on the day you have lost a loved one can be very difficult and having someone there to assist you is crucial. 




Contact Us


Garden of Memories Funeral Home & Cemetery
|
4900 Airline Drive
| Metairie, LA 70001
|
Tel: 504-833-3786
| Directions
Garden of Memories Funeral Home & Cemetery
|
4900 Airline Drive
| Metairie, LA 70001
|
Tel: 504-833-3786
| Directions

You are welcome to call us any time of the day, any day of the week, for immediate assistance. Or, visit our funeral home in person at your convenience.

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