Gr8 Neighbor: A fashionista turned community volunteer

Updated: Feb. 10, 2020 at 10:42 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - This month's FOX 8 great neighbor can light up a room full of people and she does it all in the name of charity.

Joann Chelchowski knows a thing or two about fashion. She loves showing off old photos dating back decades.

“That’s the mayor, and the police chief, the sheriff,” Chelchowski said. “They all got to be models that year and they loved it.”

Chelchowski has been a fashionista pratically her whole life. Over the years, she’s been a fashion director for big department stores. She even owned her own modeling school in Metairie.

"Back then I would represent Seventeen magazine, and I would do major shows,” Checlchowski said. “Everybody who was anybody in the city was part of this Glitz, Glamour and Giving in the United Way.”

After Hurricane Katrina, Chelchowski retired from the corporate world, and now devotes her time toward volunteering for nonprofits.

Over the years, she estimates she’s done close to a thousand shows.

She also volunteers at My Girlfriend’s Closet, an upscale ladies resale boutique in Slidell. The money raised by the boutique goes to the East St. Tammany Rainbow Child Care Center.

On the day FOX 8 caught up with her, Chelchowski demonstrated how putting on an impromptu fashion show is just second nature to her.

“And now it’s holiday time and we love just a little bit of glitter,” Chelchowski exclaims. “This dress is an absolute must for everybody, perfect fit, easy style, great neckline, a Meghan Markle neckline. Add a hat and it’s absolutely royal everybody.”

Chelchowski rarely says no to showcasing her talents for a good cause.

"It’s just my way of giving back and I can do it, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time researching. I can say I got my new Vogue, so I’m ready to go, so we can do our thing,” Chelchowski said.

Her outstanding service was just highlighted over the weekend, as she served as Grand Marshal for the Krewe of Slidellians, put on by a group of civic minded women with a desire to serve.

“Oh I love doing it. They’re my buddies in all the groups. Everybody’s like, oh yay it’s Joann, it’s showtime. So we have fun doing that,” Chelchowski said. “I thought god blessed me. I don’t have lot of money, but I can do this and raise money.”

With no signs of slowing down, this FOX 8 great neighbor says this is her calling and her passion. Chelchowski has worked with Volunteers of America, Susan G Komen Foundation, Covenant House, United Way, and the list goes on.

If you know someone doing great work in the community, we’d love to hear about it. Just fill out a nomination form here:

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