Brennan Award going to Audubon Nature CEO _lowres

Ron Forman

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has announced that Ron Forman, president and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute, will receive the 2015 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award.

The award will be presented Nov. 12. Tickets to the event are $150 and available at nowfe.com. Proceeds benefit nonprofit organizations that NOWFE supports.

The celebration recognizes one person each year who has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community. The award is named for restaurateur legend Ella Brennan.

The past recipients include chef Paul Prudhomme, philanthropist Bill Goldring, chef Leah Chase, and Drago and Klara Cvitanovich.

“Mr. Forman’s tireless civic work has impacted dozens of organizations in our region where he stands at the forefront of cultural development,” Cameron Perry, NOWFE board member and event chairwoman says in a news release. “He is the epitome of what this award represents: selfless dedication to our city and its preservation.”

A New Orleans native, Forman has led the development of the Audubon Zoo since 1973, and, over the past 43 years, has turned it into one of New Orleans’ leading visitor attractions.

His work in expanding the range of properties, including Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, has made the institute a leader in attractions, education and research.

As chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, Forman led the renovations of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Smoothie King Center and has been instrumental in the state negotiations that put the two major sports facilities and their associated franchises in stable long-term contracts with New Orleans.

Forman also has led and chaired economic hospitality and cultural organizations, such as the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.