DeAnn Kalich is a professor of Sociology and Head of the department of Sociology, anthropology and child and family studies at UL Lafayette. She is internationally certified by the association for death education and counseling as a fellow in thanatology. She has taught sociology of death and dying for two decades, and facilitated numerous bereavement groups for people of all ages, including currently a survivors of suicide group for the diocese of Lafayette. She is also the current president of the Board of Directors for jacob crouch suicide prevention services.


A retired French Teacher of 34 years, Brenda Mounier never misses an opportunity to share her language and culture. Having graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, with a French Major and English minor in '1971, Brenda continued her studies in Montpellier, France and in Canada.In 1998-99 her 4 grade students narrated a 50 minute documentary entitled, " Bonjour, l' Histoire: Cajun history for kids, by kids."Her work as an educator includes and continues beyond the classroom. She also shares her vision and roots as a French poet and currently produces two French language programs at Acadiana Open Channel for the French-speaking community.


Mike Blanchard - From 1995-2007, Mike served dual roles as director of community education for Hospice of Acadiana and executive director of the Hospice of Acadiana Foundation. In that capacity, he was responsible for public relations and fundraising efforts for the local non-profit organization and for overseeing the volunteer program.
From 2007-2015, Mike served as vice-president of development for Hospice of Wake County, based in Raleigh, North Carolina. During those eights years, he led fundraising efforts which resulted in more than $32 million in donations to hospice, including $15 million for the creation of a nine acre hospice center, which includes a 20-bed residential hospice facility. 
Mike has also been a consultant to several non-profit organizations, first in his roll as executive of the Volunteer Center of Lafayette from 1990-1995 and then as the principal in Foundations of Leadership. Through his affiliation with both organizations, he has conducted numerous trainings on board development, fundraising, and strategic planning. 
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mike is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia. He also earned a Masters degree from Indiana University and did additional graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
Mike has published a number of articles on hospice care and end-of-life issues and authored a chapter in a nursing text book on end-of life care published by Jones-Bartlett. In September 2015, he published "Naming the Silence: New & Selected Poems."


SARAH BRABANT, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1973. She is a Certified Sociological Practitioner and holds additional certifications in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement, and Family Life Education. In 1981, she designed the first course on Death and Dying at ULL, a course she taught until 2006. She has served as a support person for Compassionate Friends, Acadiana Chapter since 1983, counseled Persons Living with AIDS through Acadiana CARES since 1988 and was appointed to the faculty of the Delta Region AIDS Education and Training Center in 1990. She was one of the founders and served on the Board of Directors of The Grief Center of Southwest Louisiana (now the Healing House), a local program for bereaved children. She is the author of the book, Mending the Torn Fabric: For Those Who Grieve and Those Who Want to Help Them. Other publications on death and grief related issues appear in Omega, The Hospice Journal, ADEC Forum, Illness, Crisis & Loss, Teaching Sociology, International Journal of Addictions, Death Studies, Clinical Sociology Review, AIDS Patient Care, and Journal of Gerontological Social Work as well as a number of edited books. She has presented numerous papers, workshops, and lectures on death and bereavement at the local, state, and national level.


Gretchen Faust is a multi-disciplinary artist, herbalist, and traveler, based in New Orleans, LA. She has studied with a wide array of Southern herbalists, is guided by her Appalachian ancestors, and practices folk plant medicine within her punk and weirdo community. Gretchen holds a B.A. in Art Practice and Urban Studies from U.C.Berkeley and a Masters in Visual Anthropology and Media from Freie Universität Berlin. Her artwork is research-based with a strong focus on society's connection to land/body/wellness, conceptualized into layered forms of installation through sound, video, and illustration. She can be found deep in the library or out in the wild.