Orchid Society presents Jeansonne with Diamond Award

At its meeting on May 17, the Baton Rouge Orchid Society presented the Orchid Digest Diamond Award to longtime member and outstanding orchid grower James Jeansonne.

Jeansonne has a collection of over 1,000 orchids, many of which are his own hybrids. He has 35 registered hybrids, and nine of them have won American Orchid Society awards. Jeansonne also has chaired the society's annual show several times and served three terms as its president. For over 30 years, he has been indispensable in setting up out-of-town exhibits. Additionally, Jeansonne has shared his knowledge through numerous programs for the local group and other orchid societies, as well as teaching Master Gardener classes. Although he has given the local society's members many of his plants and hundreds of his seedlings, he is also generous with his time and knowledge.

At its June 21 meeting, which be at 7 p.m. at the Burden Center, 4560 Essen Lane, the group will finalize plans for its annual Show and Sale on July 8-9, which is free and open to the public. Members also will bring their blooming plants for display on the bloom table and discuss cultural methods. All orchid enthusiasts are invited to join.

For more information about growing orchids, visit batonrougeorchidsociety.com

Civic associations federation hears report on best street practices

Nancy Curry, president of the Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Civic Associations, shared information she learned in a three-day class for Complete Streets Committee members and others to learn what are best practices for designs of bicycle lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, signals, lighting, intersection design, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and more. The PowerPoint presentation was the work of Jeremy Chrzan and Peter Lagerwey with Toole Design Group.

The next meeting will be a panel discussion on flooding issues big and small throughout the parish. It will not include what to do about flood recovery/FEMA problems from the August 2016 flood. The meeting will focus on looking forward to prevent more such disasters and smaller flooding issues due to multiple factors such as silting blocking water flow, the apparent lack of enforcement of ordinances that impact flooding, the continual approval of development in low-lying areas that cause older lower neighborhoods to flood, and the use of retention ponds that don’t seem to work in long rain periods.

The panel will include federal, state and parish officials who are involved in the creation and/or enforcement of the laws. They include Paul Sawyer, chief of staff for Congressman Garret Graves; state Sen. Mac "Bodi" White; Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome; and Fred Raiford, director of transportation and drainage for the city-parish.

This meeting is open to the public and will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd.  

ExxonMobile Retiree Club sponsors students for STEM camps

The ExxonMobil Retiree Club, EMYCORA, announced at its May 22 luncheon that it would sponsor 10 students from several elementary and middle schools for summer STEM camp. 

The students are from Ryan, Glen Oaks Park, Merrydale and JK Haynes elementary schools and Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Middle Academy, which is where the STEM camp will be from June 12-29.

Excalibur Club honors volunteer Tori Hargiss

At its June 9 meeting, the Excalibur Club recognized Tori Hargiss, an outstanding volunteer for Louisiana Family Forum.

LFF Director Kristie Cross said the organization provides a voice for Louisiana families to help guide government officials to enact laws that advocate for traditional family values. It also informs families about government and lawmaker actions that directly impact life in the state. 

Walker gets Beta Sigma Phi scholarship

At the June 12 meeting of Preceptor Beta Epsilon chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, President Maxine Muller announced that Sarah Ann Walker is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the Dorothy and Walter W. Ross Memorial/Exemplar Scholarship Fund. Beta Sigma Phi is the world’s largest women’s organization of its kind with 130,000 members in more than 10 countries around the world.

Walker, who was sponsored for the scholarship by the local chapter, is the granddaughter of member Ethel Taylor. The White Hall, Maryland, resident also has earned a scholarship to Tulane University in New Orleans. She was one of 30 chosen to receive the Beta Sigma Phi scholarships, which are given to the children and grandchildren of members. Recipients are chosen based on scholastic standing, community involvement, letters of recommendation and personal essays. 

Vice President Anne Smith announced the chapter will induct six Legacy members into Beta Sigma Phi at a tea on July 23 at the EBR Jones Creek Regional Branch Library. Legacy members to be honored are Autumn Smith, Taylor Smith, Peyton Smith, Maddie Rohman, Aubry Gaudin and Ashlyn Mannen.

Leyda shows off napkin rings at Torchbearer meeting

The Torchbearer Beta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi held its June 6 meeting at the Piccadilly on Sherwood Forest, where Jean Leyda used her napkin ring collection and cloth napkins at dinner.

Leyda also presented a program on “The History of Napkin Rings,” which she said were used in European homes in the early 19th century as a practical way to promote hygiene. Because napkins were washed only once a week, each individual had their personal napkin and napkin ring, sometimes engraved with their name or initials. Napkin rings were used when European nobility set their tables with an elaborate silver vessel, often shaped like a ship, that held their personal table linen, salt, wine and even poison-testing chemicals. They were brought along when wealthy people traveled in the Middle Ages. Napkin rings shrunk in size and grew in popularity during the Victorian period, when most members of the upper class had their own rings, which were elaborately embellished with birds, flowers and decorative borders.

Napkin rings first appeared in France about 1800 and soon spread to all countries in the western world. However, by the mid-20th century, napkin rings waned when paper napkins were introduced. With tablescaping and television shows such as "Downton Abbey," napkin rings have been rediscovered as a table accessory. Leyda's collection includes Christmas trees, candy canes, gingerbread men, flowers, ducks, rabbits, pumpkins, cornucopia, fleur de lei, silver and gold rings, and many more. Kelly Coreil, a former member of Theta Rho, was a guest at the meeting. 

The club's new officers will be installed at the July meeting at the home of Virginia Huffman, where secret sisters will also be revealed. Torchbearer Beta is chairing the Baton Rouge City Council Beta Sigma Phi service project, which will be a raffle to benefit the International Beta Sigma Phi Disaster Fund. Each sorority member that was a victim of the 2016 Louisiana flood received a $1,000 grant. The raffle will help to replenish the Disaster Fund in order to enable other sorority members receive a grant during future disasters. The chapter will also chair and serve on various committees at the October Louisiana State Beta Sigma Phi convention, which will be at the Crowne Plaza. Over 100 sorority sisters in Louisiana and surrounding states have already registered.

SLU students awarded SCOAR scholarships

Four students in Southeastern Louisiana University's Occupational Safety, Health and Environment program received the 2017 Southeastern Construction Owners and Associates Roundtable Safety Professional scholarships.

Preston Chaney, of Walker; Emily Cothern, of Covington; Alan Williamson, of Hammond; and Daniel Cuevas, of Ponchatoula, each received $2,500. The scholarships were presented at the recent SCOAR meeting in Florida.

Lu Yuan, interim head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology, said seniors Chaney and Cothern were nominated by faculty as the top two candidates for the 2017 Outstanding Graduating Senior Award. Juniors Williamson and Cuevas were nominated because of their high GPAs.

SCOAR fosters innovative and breakthrough thinking on issues related to industrial construction to improve business performance. Membership is comprised of industrial owners, EPC companies, engineers, general and specialty contractors, labor and material suppliers, as well as service suppliers, educators and consultants.


Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate EatPlayLive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to people@theadvocate.com. Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.