Zoo director Lee Ann Whitt discusses decision to retire after 32 years

Whitt has been involved with the Alexandria Zoo in some capacity for a total of 46 years
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 4:10 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On September 1, longtime zoo director Lee Ann Whitt will retire from the Alexandria Zoo. Whitt has dedicated 46 years of her life to the zoo, serving as a zoo employee for the last 32 years. Whitt was first a volunteer and secretary when her late husband Les Whitt was zoo director, then she later became the director. “I feel it’s the right time for me and for the zoo,” says Whitt. “It’s been my second home for a long time.”

Whitt says at the beginning of this year she had made the difficult decision to make 2020 her last year at the zoo, and then COVID came along. “COVID happening made me doubt leaving more than anything because I didn’t want to leave the zoo in a bad situation but I had made this decision and it had been very difficult to make so I had just decided to stick with it.”

In retirement, Whitt says she plans to relax, do some traveling, and return to the zoo as a volunteer. “I’m looking forward to that day but with mixed emotions of course.” Whitt says Cenla has a lot to look forward to with the zoo even after she’s no longer director. She says that soon the zoo plans to add an interactive aviary, a new tiger exhibit, and a playground. “You know I really want to believe that the best years are yet to come because there are a lot of things on the drawing board.”

According to the City of Alexandria there is no timeline on making the announcment for Whitt’s replacement. COA says they are looking for the most qualified person for the job.

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