2013 Mom Of The Year


Our 2013 MOY,  Cherie Melancon Franz, was nominated by her husband, Art. 

 I’m so proud of my wife for being an outstanding mother.  We have a special-needs child, Ethan (six), with autism. He’s a handful who has trouble transitioning from situation to situation. It’s a boxing match to get him dressed and out the door on time. I’ve seen the bruises he can leave when Ethan declares, “No school today!” and won’t back down. He has no filter, is still learning the right and wrong of life, still has anxiety attacks, and verbally (and physically) abuses Cherie in the mornings getting to school and in the evenings when she takes him to speech therapy. 

            Cherie bears the burden gracefully because she sees the goal clearly—to help Ethan grow and develop. She is always amazed and upbeat when considering how far Ethan has come.  “Remember when he couldn’t walk without leg braces?” she will tell me. “Remember when he wouldn’t eat? When he couldn’t speak? He’d just stare out at nothing, lost in his head.” You couldn’t tell now—Ethan is loud, verbal, speaking in complete sentences, playing pretend with toys, using the potty (!) and laughing at school.

            We have a 10-year-old daughter, Anabelle, who is a bright and happy child with a whimsical fashion sense and a playful spirit. Cherie realized early on that Ethan’s challenges would risk monopolizing our lives and put Anabelle in second position. Cherie works hard to make extra opportunities for Anabelle to have fun and get her own special set of memories with Mommy. Cherie has taken Anabelle to New York on a girls’ weekend; they’ve travelled to Orlando together. Cherie has found auditions for Anabelle to participate in plays and musicals around the city. Anabelle is in her ninth production, and it’s been great to watch her make friends, conquer stage fright, and push her little smile out into the world.

            There’s one more thing. Cherie is a stylist with Stella and Dot, a lifestyle brand of jewelry and accessories. This year Cherie launched a new campaign to help fundraise for autism. By hosting parties and providing auction strategies to her clients, she’s helping to raise money to help other mothers and children get every resource they need to mitigate the challenges of autism.

            I’m so proud of her for turning her business into altruism. I’m so proud that she’s able to balance all her responsibilities, be an inspiration to others, and yet always put her children first.

Nominated by Cherie’s husband, Art Franz

Pictured: Anabelle (10) and Ethan (6) with Cherie Melancon Franz

Newsletter Signup

Your Weekly guide to New Orleans family fun. NOLA Family has a newsletter for every parent. Sign Up