The Memorial Day holiday made for a compact social calendar last week. It began with the 14th annual Women in Media Awards of Excellence at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel.

Women in Media

Ten women were recognized for their outstanding work in media at the May 25 luncheon while one WIM member was honored for her dedication to the organization. The awards were presented by WIM President Kristi Howard and emcee Lauren Westbrook, of WAFB-TV.

They included Becky Sadler, Emprint Moran Printing, Media Sales Professional; Nancy Malone, American Red Cross, Marketing or Communications Professional; Kristen Hogan, YMCA of the Capital Area, Nonprofit Organization Professional; Christina Persaud, MESH, Advertising Agency Professional; Jennifer Tormo, 225 Magazine, Editorial Professional; Laura Maggi, The Advocate, News Director/Managing Editor; Libby Davis Murrell, iHeart Media, On-Air Talent; Brandi Simmons, Louisiana Business Inc., Website/Social Media Manager; chef Celeste Gill, Chef Celeste Creations, Small Business Owner/Marketer; and Alexandra DeLee, Acadiana House Kitchen+Bath Design, Industry Newcomer.

This year’s Women in Media Member of the Year award went to Amy Andrews, daughter of longtime member Holly Andrews, who was beaming with pride as her daughter accepted this honor.

Nominees for the Awards of Excellence included Teiko Fox and Kay Taylor, Cumulus Media; Courtney Haindel, Parkview Baptist School; Elizabeth Hamberlin, The Advocate; Ca thy Juarez, Visit Baton Rouge; Melanie Magee, Addiction Boutique; Andrea Randall and Susan Shoptaugh, AlwaysCare Benefits, Dr. Ai mée Russo-Mounger, The Smile Spa; Sadler Ward, Country Roads Magazine; Maranda White, Octagon Media; and Kaci Yoder, 225 Magazine.

Assembly tea

My second stop on Wednesday was the Baton Rouge Country Club for the Baton Rouge Assembly’s debutante tea introducing this year’s coterie to the members’ wives and guests. Welcoming guests were Kyler Selser, wife of Assembly Chairman John Selser; and Cathy Hall, wife of Assistant Chairman Chris Hall.

The club was awash in some of the most beautiful hydrangeas and peonies I’ve seen in quite some time, and the debs looked very pretty as they posed for photos with their moms, sisters, grandmothers and aunts before the actual event got underway.

The 2016 debutantes are Elizabeth Margaret Armstrong, daughter of Mary and Keith Armstrong; An n Marie Barfield, daughter of Nan and Thomas Barfield Jr.; Elizabeth Gibbens Braymer, daughter of Lorilin and John Braymer; Carolyn Elizabeth Coulter, daughter of Ann Coulter and John Coulter II; Jeanne Adelle Daniel, daughter of Dr. Chaillie and Jeanne Daniel, of St. Francisville; Lauren Kate Field, daughter of Lauren and Robert Field Jr., of St. Francisville; Victoria Chiles Hearin, daughter of Charyl Hearin and the late Dick H. Hearin Jr.; and Anna Lemoine Keller, daughter of Dee and Steve Keller Sr.

Also, Autumn Mathile McCowan, daughter of Autumn and Trey McCowan; Allison Elizabeth Meador, daughter of Eleanor and Randy Meador; Bailey Reynold Minsky, daughter of Yvonne Rousset, of Oscar, and Louis Minsky; Elissa Nicole Nunnally, daughter of Dr. Donna and James Nunnally; Margaret St. Denis Ortego, daughter of Dana Oatley Brown and Blane Ortego; Mary Frances Pugh, daughter of Elizabeth McCurdy and Spraque Pugh II; Madeline Savoie Richard, daughter of Virginia and Ragan Richard; Eleanor Anne Seiter, daughter of Dr. Liz and Patrick Seiter; and Mary Josephine Surek, daughter of Katherine Bahlinger Surek and Dr. Christopher Surek, of Deerfield, Illinois.

The debs will be formally presented at The Assembly Ball on Nov. 25 at the Baton Rouge River Center. The tea was chaired Debbie Landry, Kim Powell, Manette Sammons and Tara Weinstein.

General thanks

The last stop of the day was the inviting oasis that is the recently re-landscaped backyard of Dr. Evelyn Hayes and Helen Pope for a lovely reception thanking donors to the Baton Rouge General Foundation’s Experience the Difference Luncheon the first week of May. Thanks to the matching grants of David Manship and Keith O’Neill with HHS (Hospital Housekeeping Systems) a Baton Rouge General provider, more than $300,000 was raised at the event.

In addition to getting to catch up with David, I enjoyed visiting with Paula de la Bretonne, Executive Director Beth Veazey, foundation board President Phyllis McLaurin, Whitney Vann and Robert Schneckenburger, Lowry Griffon, Margaret and Butch Hart and Baton Rouge Symphony concertmaster Borislava Iltcheva, who with husband and fellow symphony violinist Aaron Farrell, provided the evening’s entertainment.


The following day started off joining the dedicated ladies of Trianon for a delightful lunch at the Bocage Racquet Club. The day’s agenda included the installation of new officers and announcement of the date of Trianon’s annual Holiday Luncheon, which is set for Nov. 11 at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel.

Taking the oath of office from outgoing President Ann Suire, who presented each with a white rose, were President Lynn Robins, Vice President Yvonne Crew, Corresponding Secretary Sandra Fox and Treasurer Joey Boudreax. Chris Enright stood in for an absent Amy Drago to take the oath for recording secretary. Suire also presented roses to outgoing Treasurer Tammy Duos and outgoing Vice President Sharon Richard.

Arts Council

My last stop was the law offices of Taylor Porter Brooks for the annual meeting and reception of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

Outgoing Chairman Brian Haymon happily turned over the gavel to his successor, Scott Hensgens, who was joined by his fellow 2016-2017 officers, Vice Chairwoman Nancy Stich, Secretary Randy Roussel, Treasurer George Bell and Executive Committee members-at-large Rose Hudson, Scott Ritter and Bryan Fontenot. Haymon continues to serve as immediate past chairman.

Elected as new members to the board were Suzanne Marquette, Robyn Merrick, Derek Fitch, Melissa Cresson, Monique Scott Spalding, Cary Koch and Mikki Matthews. Thanked for their service were outgoing board members Yolanda Dixon, Emelie Alton and Dede Ferrara. They were given paintings by artist Hannah Lemoine.

As one of his first official acts, Hensgens asked for a moment of silence for four members of the Arts Council family who passed away since the last meeting. They included Rita Dufour, Cheney Joseph, Arthur Rush Newman and Mary Frey Eaton. In fact, Eaton’s visitation was going on at the exact same time as the meeting, and more than a few of us went from one to the other.

The Arts Council was very special to “Mother Mary,” as she was affectionately called by so many of whom she mentored. It was at a Community Fund for the Arts Gala that I first crossed paths with her more than 20 years ago. For that encounter, I will always be grateful. We will you miss you, Mother Mary. Thank you for all you did for our community.

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