Debutantes, sports greats and a dedicated group of individuals who help make our dining experiences something to remember are in the party spotlight.

Delta debs

Chelsea Dinah Wilson, daughter of Charlene and Alphonzo Wilson, was crowned queen of the 49th annual Delta Sigma Theta’s Debutante Cotilllion Aug. 1 at the Renaissance Hotel. The cotillion was co-hosted by the Baton Rouge Delta Development Corp. and Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter.

Crowning the queen were last year’s queen, Chelsea Brianna Brown, and 2013 Miss Congeniality Tyra Jené Flowers.

Introduced as maids were Aryiel Johnayé Pounds, daughter of Deborah B. and John W. Pounds III, 2014 Miss Congeniality; Jessica Josette Patrick, daughter of Carmen and Joseph Patrick; and Amber Listach Henderson, daughter of Angeliea Y. Favorite, of Baton Rouge, and Nora Listach Henderson, of Missouri City, Texas.

Rounding out the debutante coterie were Rebeka Janét Gonzales, daughter of Sheila Terrell Metoyer, of Baton Rouge, and Nelson Gonzales Jr., of Marksville; Alicia LeArra Johnson, daughter of Felicia D. Hawkins and Leonard D. Johnson; Whitney Arnelle Robertson, daughter of Arnold C. Enizs Robertson; Tylor Moneé Row, daughter of DeLisa and Aaron Row; Braelyn Monique Smith, daughter of LaTarsha Monique Smith and Durell J. Collins; Morgan Ann Swain, daughter of Lori A. Swain; D’Asia Nekiya-Shovan Thomas, daughter of Lamolia M. Thomas; and Kami Marie Williams, daughter of Gearry Tavis and Toohsdi Washington Williams.

The debutantes were introduced by Alma Cherry, who served as mistress of ceremonies. Rita Parham, chairwoman of the Baton Rouge Delta Development Corp., offered official greetings.

LSU Museum

The night before, the LSU Museum of Art hosted a VIP reception to offer its members the first glimpse of its “LeRoy Neiman: Action!” exhibit. This exhibit has something for everyone from the art lover to the sports fan. For LSU fans in particular there are Neiman’s paintings of greats the late “Pistol Pete” Maravich and Shaquille O’Neal.

The exhibit, which is visiting our fair city thanks in part to the Neiman Foundation, runs through Jan. 17 so be sure and stop by the museum, located in the Shaw Center for the Arts, and check it out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Industry honors

The week started off with a very special luncheon honoring a group that possesses more than 240 years of restaurant experience. They are being honored by the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society with the debut Service Industry Awards and will be recognized at BRES’ Grace “Mama” Marino Lifetime Achievement Dinner honoring Jay Campbell Aug. 21. If you frequent some of the city’s more popular dining establishments, chances are you’ve crossed paths with one or more of these honorees. For sure, your dining experience wouldn’t have been the same without their dedication to service.

This impressive group includes Alvin “Butch” Smith, who has been working at Gino’s Restaurant since 1976; Dennis Dodge, who currently works at the Little Village assuring that the “red sauce is consistently produced with love and the highest quality ingredients”; Dee Satterlee, who started out managing Steak & Ale until it closed and she joined the staff of Mansurs on the Boulevard 17 years ago; David Leroy Kent, who started out as a bricklayer when Village Square was under construction and “came with the building” when Mansurs took over Poets 25 years ago; George Brown, who started out in the dish room at Ruth’s Chris in the early 1970s and worked his way up to handle all of the inventory, butchered all the beef, cared for the equipment, ordered the food and taught the crews the proper way to care and clean the restaurant; and the late Lela LaFleur, who worked at Ruth’s Chris for 32 years before joining the staff at Juban’s, where she worked for almost six years before her death this past May. Her famous Mrs. Lela’s Southern Fried Chicken on Juban’s lunch special was acknowledged by Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine as one of the best friend chicken dishes in the state.

Mrs. Lela was represented by her husband and son, Leo LaFleur Jr. and Leo III, who has followed his mom into the kitchen. It was so much fun to just sit back and listen to this amazing group tell tales from days gone by, many of them involving the BRES board members back when they were novices in the industry. As Vice President Kevin Kimball told them, “Without you, there would be no us. We couldn’t do what we do and be successful.”


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