Bogalusa native named ‘Afro Ball’ queen

Published 4:33 am Friday, February 23, 2018

Bogalusa native Robin Ekechukwu, and her husband Gabriel, were crowned the Royal King and Queen of the annual Afro Carnival Ball on Feb. 3 at Southern University of New Orleans.

The Ekechukwus, who live in Slidell, are both graduates of Southern University in Baton Rouge. They are business owners and active community volunteers in the New Orleans area.

The coronation was part of the African Music and Heritage Festival, which brings together Africans and African-Americans living throughout the metropolitan area to celebrate their culture. Held at the SUNO Conference Center, the event featured a variety of African foods and music and many guests wore the traditional attire of their native countries.

Gabriel Ekechukwu, a native of Nigeria, and Robin, a nurse who was born and raised in Bogalusa, have been owners of Ekems Health Care, Inc., an outpatient rehabilitation center, since 2006. In 2015, they opened Untapped Potential Community Center, a non-profit organization. They are new members of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, and they have volunteered at various health events, sponsored by Living the Word International Ministries in Slidell, Greater St. Stephen FGBC, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, Dillard University, and the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). They also were guest speakers at Delta College’s Mental Health Orientation Week.

“Our vision is to reach people at their level and help them reach their optimal potential in life by giving them hope, trust, and well-being,” Robin Ekechukwu said.

The couple has two sons — Gabriel, a junior studying biology/pre-medicine at Xavier University, and Joshua, a senior at Brother Martin High School. They attend Living the Word International Ministries of Slidell, under Pastors Lawrence and Chiquita Weathersby. The couple said they live by the motto: “If we can help somebody along the way, our living shall not be in vain, knowing that God is our provider.”