July 3, 1974
Jessica Midkiff Avelis Fontenot was born July 3, 1974, in New Orleans to Michael and Karen Avelis. She was raised in New Orleans and graduated from Archbishop Blenk, pursued Engineering at University of New Orleans and later went on to get her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Northwestern State University. Although many may think that these two majors cannot possibly be pursued by one individual, Jessica’s passion in both fields is a perfect representation of her multifaceted personality.
On Aug. 14, 2010, she married the love of her life, Jeff Fontenot, and Dec. 5, 2013, the Fontenots were blessed with a son, Adrian Dominic. AD could not have asked for more loving and supportive parents. Jessica’s devotion to her son was evident every day of her life. She showed up at any event AD was involved in and often proudly shared pictures and accomplishments of her precious son. As a true teacher’s kid, AD has spent a lot of time in the NCHS English Department and has therefore inherited a group of English teachers who love and cherish him.
After graduating college, Jessica began her teaching career at Natchitoches Central High School. In her 20 years at NCHS, she proved countless times that teaching was not just her profession, but her gift and passion. Jessica impacted both her students and her colleagues, and she mastered the role as English Department head with grace and efficiency. Although Jessica was incredibly knowledgeable in her field, her students were always her focus. Her classroom was known as a safe and inviting space where everyone mattered and felt welcome, and it is not surprising that many students cite Mrs. Fontenot as their favorite teacher.
Jessica was not only passionate about teaching and her students, but enjoyed numerous other interests. She loved trying new recipes with her son, and because of that he has acquired a love of the culinary arts. She was an avid reader and always encouraged her students to try new books. Her wide-ranging interests such as gardening, glass blowing and art are testimony to her open-minded and curious personality. She could keep everyone updated on the latest scientific research but also kept abreast of the latest trends in pop culture because she was an extremely well-rounded person.
Because Jessica was such a loving person, she in turn was loved by a host of friends and family. She created a network of support that included her family in New Orleans, as well as her friends and her husband’s family in Natchitoches. It is impossible to mention everyone she has impacted, and they are all better people for having known her.
Jessica is survived by her loving husband, Jeff Fontenot; her son, Adrian Dominic; mother, Karen Avelis; uncle, William Midkiff; stepsister, Erin Czaplinski; brother, Nicholas Avelis; and niece, Annabelle Avelis.
Services for Jessica will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4 at Trinity Episcopal Church located at 533 2nd Street in Natchitoches. Attendants are encouraged to wear mismatched or wacky socks in memory of Jessica. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to any local animal shelter or your favorite cancer charity.