Spotting Hollywood actors around town happens all the time now that Louisiana has become “Hollywood South.” Having them take part in activities in our community, though, is still a rarity.

Meet & greet

So, it was quite the to-do when Denzel Washington stepped up to co-host a meet and greet for the Boys & Girls Club of Baton Rouge at Ruffino’s De La Ronde Hall on Aug. 2. With genuine affability, the Academy Award-winning actor met with a group of club members to discuss how the club in his hometown of Mount Vernon, New York, changed his life and their plans for the future. He then went on to challenge Baton Rouge citizens and leaders to create a stand-alone Boys & Girls Club. The club currently operates in 10 school sites.

“This is the largest city in the United States without a (free-standing) Boys & Girls Club,” said Washington, who is in the area filming a remake of “The Magnificent Seven.” “We want these kids to believe in themselves. We have to encourage them; they need us. I’m the result of that and I see the results of that.

“We’ve got to do the work now. I know you can do it,” he continued. “Everyday I pass Dixon Correctional — you can build prisons. If you don’t invest now, you’re going to pay later.”

Executive Director Pat Van Burkleo later explained that a capital campaign committee has just recently been assembled and that groundbreaking on a free-standing club is a good two to three years away. That said, club staffers were ready to accept donations that day.

Crystal Carnac

A group of avid LSU fans known as the Crystal Carnac Society got together Aug. 1 at the home of Elise and Dr. Charlie Kaufman for their annual prediction party. This is when members pick a winner for each of LSU’s games and who they think will make it to the SEC Championship. The winner traditionally hosts the next year’s get-together.

While most of the gang was sporting purple and gold, I just had to show up in my Auburn orange and blue to add a little spice to the gathering. As buddy Phillip Cancilleri pointed out, “We’re all Tigers.” I also reminded them that I pull for LSU just as hard as I do my Tigers except for that one game.

Rose Awards

The Baton Rouge chapter of the American Institute of Architects held its annual Rose Awards Gala on the Shaw Center’s River View Terrace July 31. It was the perfect setting considering this year’s chief juror was Warren Schwartz with the Boston firm Schwartz/Silver Architects, designers of the award-winning Shaw Center. He and his fellow judges had the arduous task of selecting the winning designs from among the 24 entries.

“We looked at all the projects again and again and again,” said Schwartz, adding that the projects were “a little unexpected.”

The Hammond firm of Holly & Smith Architects took home two Gold Rose Awards — one for the Florida Parishes Agriculture Events Center and the other for the Pond House at Ten Oaks, home of principal Michael Holly and wife Denise. A third Gold Rose Award went to Tipton Associates for the Creative Block at 804 Main St.

This year’s Silver Rose Award went to the DNA Workshop for the pool house Dyke Nelson created for his venture partner David Weinstein and wife Tara.

Taking home Rose Awards were: Crump Wilson Architects, the St. George Fire Training & Administrative Comples; Remson Haley Herpin Architects, Alliance Safety Council; and Pistorius Associates, Galloway residence.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, designed by a cooperative of local architecture firms including Tipton Associates and Cockfield Jackson, took home this year’s Members’ Choice Award.

In recognition of jobs well done, Mayor Kip Holden proclaimed it AIA Baton Rouge Day throughout East Baton Rouge Parish.

“This evening shows the creative talent we have in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area,” said Holden. “It’s virtually second to none.”

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