Legends of New Orleans

Honoring the Legends of New Orleans

In September of 2022, the largest classroom in historic Heaton Hall (also the home of the Tom and Pat Thrailkill Auditorium) was renamed the “Legends of New Orleans” room in dedication to iconic leaders who served their New Orleans YMCAs and Blue Ridge Leaders’ School for decades: George & Marlea Frentzos, Boots & Erna Hoffman and Phil & Gail Wortman.

George & Marlea Frentzos

From 1965-1997 George and Marlea Frentzos dedicated themselves to serving the YMCA of Greater New Orleans and their community. George worked as the Assistant Physical Director of the Lee Circle YMCA, Physical Director of the Metairie Y and Executive Director of the Westbank and Lee Circle Ys. George was most proud of his work in Metairie founding the Leaders Club and inspiring young people to develop the skills and discipline necessary to be successful in their future careers. George’s wife Marlea was an avid supporter of his efforts and volunteered at various gymnastics and weightlifting tournaments, fundraisers and student events. She also taught adult fitness classes and movement education courses (kindergym) to preschoolers throughout the metro region.

Boots & Erna Hoffman

For more than 50 years, Boots and Erna Hoffman made a huge impact in the YMCA of Greater New Orleans. From becoming a Youth Director to the Executive Director of the Westbank Y, Boots’ impact is felt wide and deep. The more than 30 years Boots served at Leaders’ School were some of the most important years in his life. Being able to share that experience with his wife, Erna, made it even more valuable. Erna served as the school nurse for years. “I truly believe that the values we shared at the YMCA and Leaders’ School have been a guide for our life to this day.” Boots and Erna are true Legends of New Orleans.

Phil & Gail Wortman

For over 50 years, Mr. Phil and Mrs. Gail, as they are affectionately known, served selflessly at Leaders’ School, and those who wore the New Orleans Lee Circle YMCA mantle were highly trained in leadership skills and steeped in tradition of high performance. Mr. Phil was deeply involved in the overall program leadership and direction of the School. Mrs. Gail served by teaching classes and assisting the school nurse. Both sons, Phil and Eddie, were Leaders and spent several adult years on School staff. As a family, they shared their lives with those who were involved in the Leaders Club program. The immeasurable impact the Wortman family had on so many lives is an inspiring reflection of their servant leadership.