LAAPA (Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts) began as I (Wanda) started teaching piano lessons out of my home in 1970 while starting college, with recitals annually in my parents’ home. As I married and moved, began a family I still taught out of my home with growing numbers of piano students. In the year 1985 my husband and I began looking into adoption. At that time, we had one son Ryan, age 4 and another child Josh who was just a baby. About the same time we began our adoption quest, I brought on two piano teachers to teach in my home. We began to expand the program. In 1986 we adopted a sibling group of 4 (later to become 5) from Costa Rica and our family grew from 2 to 6 and then 7 (and later to 8!).
Shortly after this, we moved into our first commercial location in River Ridge and began adding other music programs to our schedule, such as voice, saxophone, guitar, and more. The school was then named River Ridge Music School. From there we expanded and moved to another location in River Ridge with 4-5 teaching studios and continued to add more teachers and more programs. It was in this location that current LAAPA Director, Ryan Cullen, became a part of our school. He was then studying at Loyola University in the JAZZ STUDIES program and began teaching with us and became an administrator in every way. He then assumed the title of LAAPA Director. We spent 10 years in a 1600 sq ft school with 6 studios and an office and waiting area and grew in every way under Ryan’s direction. In 2010, and we moved into our current location of River Ridge School of Music & Dance and currently occupy a 3800 sq ft space with glass viewing windows in all our studios as well as cameras in each and every room of the school for our student’s and parents’. Here we offer everything in the way of Music lessons (piano, voice, guitar, violin, viola, cell, drum, all wind, all brass, preschool music) and added a full Dance curricula 4 years ago (ballet, tap, jazz, parent and tot dance, comtemporary, modern, tap, musical theater, adult dance in all forms).
In the year 2004 we purchased and moved into our current Mandeville School of Music location with 8 studios and have been there for the last 13 years offering all the above programs with outstanding instructors and amazing staff. This October 1, we will be moving this location to 105 Campbell Blvd at HWY 59 near I-10. This space is a 4000 sq ft space built out and all brand new. We are adding a full Dance program, a Recording studio, and it will feature 12 studios, a Performing Arts room, Preschool room, and IT room with cameras in each room and TV screen where parents can watch their child’s lessons. Each studio (as is true in all our studios) feature a glass insert for parents to view at any time in addition to the camera view. Also, our parents will love the additional parking as we were getting fairly crowded on Girod Street in Old Mandeville. We will now be LAAPA’s Mandeville School of Music & Dance!
As far as our Covington location, we began teaching in one room in the Greater Covington Center on Jefferson Avenue 13 years ago with two teachers who taught many programs! From there we moved to Collins Blvd and remained there for 7 years. A few years ago, we moved to Village Walk Drive near the Abita Roasting Company with 8 studios and a full front desk team and a beautiful waiting area, doors to studios with half glass viewing windows, and cameras in each room. Here we also offer full music curricula as stated above.
To date we have well over 1300 students with over 55 university trained teachers, we offer Music and Dance Recitals in professional venues twice a year in December and in June in addition to other festivals, contests, and incentives for our students to excel and perform. LAAPA also has an administrative team of 7 manning our front desks. We are truly blessed and extremely grateful for our success. Ryan and I thank Kids and Family New Orleans for being a HUGE part of that success!
Interaction with Toni and her team has always been a joy. Whether via email, telephone, she is available. In the earlier years, we were able to be onsite more with events and it was wonderful to really get to know her. Speaking to her from time to time to request certain situations was a pleasure. When she could and when it was possible, she always helped us out in so many ways.
At LAAPA we track our advertising heavily. Over the years, we started very small and added size to our advertising and extra months as we saw response happen! Eventually we got to the point of always running a full page ad in each and every month and 2 page spreads in 2-3 of those months. There are not many advertisers that will work with customers this way, but Toni had faith in her magazine and knew that if she worked with us, eventually we would be happy, long time customers! And we are!
Without a doubt, Kids and Family New Orleans has outstanding service! We have reminders as we truly need them. When we need graphic design help, it is readily available. Suggestions are given and welcomed. If we have a question, want a different situation in placement, if at all possible, it happens! Value is over the top as there is not a month that goes by that we don’t have new students registering for Music and/or Dance with LAAPA via Kids and Family New Orleans.
A heartfelt and warm THANK YOU to TONI and her crew! WE love advertising with you. You are our family! ( I also wish to add that Elizabeth has been amazing as well with Kids and Family Northshore! Thanks to KIDS AND FAMILY! WE LOVE YOU!!)