Dr. Kelly Chapman When I was a little boy in first grade, my animal career involved feeding orphan fledglings, trying to trap and tame various wild animals, and kid-chores on our small farm. Our family milk cow came down with “milk fever,” her calcium levels so low she didn’t have the muscle strength to stand or even hold her head up. Momma was crying, the children were crying, the calf was crying. April looked like a goner! Daddy called for Dr. Heloin. He came and placed a large needle into her jugular and ran an IV of calcium gluconate solution. That little limp black cow jumped up perfectly healthy before the bottle was empty! That made a major impression me.
The state of Louisiana opened its veterinary school in 1974 and I was lucky to be in the first class. We were a group of 35 and had almost as many professors as students. Since graduation, I've been fortunate to work with a variety of animals and people. My real education started with a rural, small town, mixed-animal practice. I worked with dairy cows, hog farmers, packs of hounds, stray cats, animal hoarders, family pets, wildlife and racehorses. Moving to the big city, I practiced at a high-volume, multi-doctor, small animal hospital and saw pleasure horses and thoroughbreds in my off time. I’ve spent a lot of time at the racetrack, but in a good way. In the early 80’s my wife Julie and I built River Road Veterinary Hospital for the hospitalization and surgery of small and large animals. It has been a continuous and rewarding education. DVM Dr. Katherine R. Dunn I grew up in many different countries overseas (my parents were in the Foreign Service), and we often didn’t have television, so we did quite a bit of reading for entertainment. One of those books was written by Dr. James Herriot, the WWII-era British veterinarian who wrote stories recounting his years in rural practice. I was hooked. His unabashed love for “all creatures great and small” and the people attached to them was my inspiration to become a veterinarian. My family settled in coastal Alabama, where I graduated valedictorian of my high school class. I then graduated cum laude from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. It was during my senior year in vet school that I realized that I have an affinity for cats, and decided to pursue that love by joining an all-cat veterinary practice in New Orleans after graduation in 1995.
I spent the next 18 years at that hospital, learning and honing my feline skills. Eventually, I wanted to experience more of the “creatures great and small,” and I joined the River Road team in early 2014. In addition to feline medicine, my interests include nutrition, geriatrics, and dentistry for both dogs and cats. I strongly believe that nutrition plays a vital role in health and healing, and good dental care will prolong our pets’ lives, and compassionate care during their older years makes our bond with them so much sweeter. My husband JR is a physical therapist, and we live with our four fabulous cats in Uptown, New Orleans. DVM Dr. Courtney Wheeler Dr. Courtney Wheeler was born and raised in New Orleans, LA and has always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. When she was little, Courtney loved following her uncle, Dr. Kelly Chapman, around and helping him around the old River Road Veterinary Hospital. Courtney is very passionate about preventative medicine and has special interest in small animal ophthalmology and surgery. She is certified in Medical Acupuncture and Fear Free medicine. She graduated in May 2019 from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine with High Honors, and completed one year of clinical rotations at Colorado State University. In her free time Courtney loves riding her horse, and relaxing with her husband, labrador retriever, and two cats. DVM, cVMA Dr. Ben Brignac Dr. Courtney Wheeler was born and raised in New Orleans, LA and has always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. When she was little, Courtney loved following her uncle, Dr. Kelly Chapman, around and helping him around the old River Road Veterinary Hospital. Courtney is very passionate about preventative medicine and has special interest in small animal ophthalmology and surgery. She is certified in Medical Acupuncture and Fear Free medicine. She graduated in May 2019 from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine with High Honors, and completed one year of clinical rotations at Colorado State University. In her free time Courtney loves riding her horse, and relaxing with her husband, labrador retriever, and two cats. Dr. Ben Brignac is a graduate of Ross University and completed his clinical year at Colorado State University. He knew he wanted to be a veterinarian ever since he spent his summers volunteering at Animal Rescue New Orleans and working as veterinary assistant years before starting vet school. Living in St. Kitts and Colorado over the past 4 years, the decision to return to his hometown was easy. Dr. Brignac enjoys all aspects of general practice but has a keen interest in Small Animal Surgery and Internal Medicine. Outside of veterinary medicine his interests include traveling, Saints football, and live music. DVM Dr. Jennifer Mains As a born and raised New Orleanian, Dr. Jennifer Mains is excited to be back and working as a Veterinarian in the Greater New Orleans area. After attending Benjamin Frankin HS, she majored in Psychology at Boston University, then ventured to Ross University in St. Kitts for Veterinary School, where she graduated in May 2020.
Dr. Mains has always loved all types of animals, and puts great value in the human - animal bond. Her professional experience with animals started at the Audubon Zoo, where she worked as a Junior Keeper and Keeper Aid during Junior High and High School. She has also worked as a Veterinary Assistant in Small Animal, Shelter, and Exotic settings. In total, she has rescued and fostered around 15 animals - including dogs, cats, rabbits and birds, but she currently lives with her 2 rescue dogs, Annie and Daisy. In her free time, Dr. Mains enjoys traveling: she has traveled throughout Europe and lived in the Philippines for a year. She enjoys all aspects of small animal veterinary medicine and is excited to be a part of the River Road Veterinary Hospital team. DVM