Three long-time friends and a journalist whose work I have always respected were honored by the Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists at its second annual scholarship luncheon April 17 at Boudreaux’s. Honored as Pioneering Journalists were Mayor Kip Holden, presented by former WXOK radio co-worker Kay Taylor; WBRZ news anchor Sylvia Weatherspoon, presented by former co-worker Sailor Jackson; former WAFB photojournalist and current interim director of the Southern University Office of Recruitment & Admissions Bob René, presented by former student Terrance Turner; and former Advocate reporter and former Southern mass communications instructor Yvonne Campbell, presented by Ed Pratt, Advocate columnist and assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern.
Baton Rouge native Isiah Carey, an award-winning Fox 26 Houston reporter, spoke at the luncheon, recalling how when he was in third grade, black reporter Maxine Crump spoke to his class.
“I sent a thank-you letter to Carlton Cremeens (then news director at WAFB), and he invited me down to the newsroom,” said Carey. “I fell in love and asked, ‘Can I come again?’”
It was the first of many trips to the news station and the first step in his career.
The night before, eight young Louisianans, including three from the Greater Baton Rouge area, were honored by the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge and Louisiana Public Broadcasting as Young Heroes at the 19th annual awards banquet at the Renaissance Hotel. Actually, the banquet was the culmination of the day that included a stop at the State Legislature and lunch at the Governor’s Mansion.
This year’s honorees included 14-year-old Morgan Gautreau, of Gonzales, an eighth grader at St. Theresa Middle School; 18-year-old Elizabeth Kasongo, a junior at St. Joseph’s Academy; and 17-year-old Andrew Matthews, a junior at Catholic High School.
Also, 13-year-old Caroline Beard, a seventh grader at Alexandria Country Day School; 18-year-old Joshua Castille, of Ville Platte, a senior at Sacred Heart; 14-year-old Kamryn Chaunc y, a freshman at Benton High School; 16-year-old Cody Crews, of Pineville, a sophomore at CENLA Christian Academy; and 16-year-old Isaac McFarland, of Shreveport, a junior at Caddo Parish Magnet High School.
Serving as their mentors for the day were Rotarians Trey Beall, Tommy Bell, Andy Bush, Beverly Choppin, Jude Barbier, Kenneth Miles, Marty Schmidt and Tom Waguespack.
Amy and Chad David rolled out the welcome mat to co-host a lovely party introducing Baton Rouge couture designer Pedram Taheri, who recently returned from his debut in New York. A congenial group of women and men turned out for the up-close-and-personal look at Pedram’s evening wear collection. I know which one I fell in love with; all of us girls had our favorites. The guys were more about the models. Amy’s son handled DJ duties, and everyone was raving about the food, a scrumptious healthy spread.
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