Some family history.
Mark was raised in Covington, attending Covington Elementary, River Forest Academy and graduating from St. Paul’s School.
His father, Roy Johnson, was the General Manager of Zetz-7Up/ RC on Claiborne Hill (across from Tony Pedone’s). From the work-ethic generation, Roy could tell you “what to do, how to do it and how you did it wrong” … all in one sentence.
Mark’s mother, Irene Johnson, retired from St. Tammany Parish School System after teaching 5th grade at Lee Road, Covington Elementary and Covington Middle School.
Mark did his pre-pharmacy studies at LSU, then graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans in 1982 with an Honors B.S. in Pharmacy.
While attending Pharmacy School, Mark operated a video game / pool table / juke box route throughout New Orleans, collecting the coins, rotating inventory and repairing equipment between classes … from Pac Man to Pharmacology, from Defender to Dextromethorphan.
During his sophomore year at St. Paul’s, Mark went to a track-meet for the express purpose of meeting girls. He met one, they dated through high school, through LSU, and married during their last semester at LSU. In April 2019, Karen Kramer and Mark will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Mark and Karen have 4 sons.
Karen’s father, Al, is also from the work-ethic generation. A self-made man from the 9th Ward and Chalmette, he was successful in many business ventures over the years. Karen’s mother, Diane, has anchored the family for decades and traces her ancestors in Covington to pre-Civil War. Diane’s great-uncle, Paul J. LaCroix, served as Mayor of Covington during WWI, and the flood of 1916. Through the Al and Diane Kramer Foundation and Change for Community, the Kramers have contributed significantly to many community causes.
Karen graduated from SSA in 1977 and attended LSU. After a successful career at New Era Tubulars, the first woman-owned pipe and supply company in Louisiana, Karen started a new career in 1983 raising their family. In 1986, she, her mother and sister-in-law started Paradise Travel Agency. The agency was sold in 1992, but Karen continues to guide clients, specializing in European cruising.
While volunteering at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore on Columbia Street, Karen conceived the idea for “Change for Community,” placing and maintaining coin collection canisters at restaurants across south Louisiana, with 100% of the collections going to local Food Banks. To date, $174,000 has been donated with $45,000 going to the Northshore Food Bank.
Mark Jr. attended St. Paul’s, graduated from the Louisiana School of Math, Science and Arts, then Emory University. He taught for two years at an inner-city high school with Teach for America, then received his law degree from UNC Chapel Hill. In November of 2016 he was elected Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction for the state of North Carolina. He is the second youngest statewide elected official in the nation. Mark Jr. is married with one daughter.
Kramer graduated from St. Paul’s, then from the University of Georgia and works for Chick-fil-A Corporate in Atlanta. As manager of the Digital Marketing experience, he oversaw the construct of Chick-fil-A’s mobile app and was the youngest person to hold a management position at the company. He is married and has two daughters.
Evan graduated from St. Paul’s, then from the Tisch College of Arts at New York University. He is now a documentary film editor. Credits include HBO’s Sinatra: All or Nothing and HBO’s Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge. In October 2017 Evan married his high school sweetheart from St. Scholastica Academy. They reside in Brooklyn, New York and have a dog (Olive).
Nick graduated from St. Paul’s and the University of Georgia. He works for a hotel real estate brokerage firm that often specializes in high end, luxury hotels, packaging the properties and then selling them to Wall Street investors, REITs and / or hedge funds. He is engaged to be married.