Merit and the Million Dollar Man

David Fennelly, who has made strong strides in the community as a philanthropist, was honored recently with the prestigious Alexis de Tocqueville Award of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana. Chairman of Associated Terminals & Turn Services, he champions the area’s business world, and numerous civic and charitable affiliations.

In the spirit of those who get, give, he made a gift to the society for $1 million. Under the names of David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez, it was to La Table Ronde de Millions de Dollars of the society, joining the name of the 2004 recipient, Robert W. “Bob” Merrick.

The 2015 laurels unfolded in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, starting with a cocktail reception, followed by a seated dinner and tributes. Centerpieces of hydrangeas and roses bedecked the tables. The event’s top sponsors were Entergy, Peoples Health, Latter & Blum Inc., David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez, Associated Terminals & Turn Services, Shell, First NBC Bank and State Machinery. Julie Broussard and Walter Schneckenburger Elementary School got program recognition.

Among the notables — several as sponsorial representatives — were — Jennifer Quezergue and John Voorhorst, Donna and Russel Klein, UWSELA board Chairman Todd Slack with Adrienne, United Way President and CEO Michael Williamson with Kim, Tocqueville Society Chairwoman Flo Schornstein with Richard, Sheryl Merrick with the above Bob, Campaign Cabinet Chairman Rick and Mary Ann Haase, UWSELA Tocquevillle founder C. Allen Favrot, Joe and Debbie Exnicios, Tocqueville Cabinet Chairman Alexis Hocevar, Robyn and Rich Howe, Dan Casey, Bob and Debbie Kimbro, Kim and Michael Sport, John and Carol Foley, Carol Wise, Lacey Conway, Elizabeth and Rudy Revuelta, Norma Grace and Bob Sternhell, Gary Lorio, Cathy and Mark McRae, John and Carol Ann Roberts and Kathy and Robert Zetzmann. Hundreds more filled the Empire Ballroom. After a dinner of frisee and arugula salad, braised short ribs and a berries tart, Fennelly addressed the assembly. Applause for him was thunderous.

Military Order of Foreign Wars

The New Orleans Country Club was the setting for the annual dinner of the Military Order of Foreign Wars, a society composed of “persons who served as officers in our nation’s Armed Forces in time of war.” In keeping with military tradition, colors were presented by the Cadet Color Guard of New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy. Additional features were the invocation by Dr. Jim Jeter (joined by spouse Jan), the general singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and a remembrance of the order’s late Commander Peter Labouisse by Acting Commander Hugh Straub (with Mary Ann). New Commander of the Louisiana Commandery, retired Col. Larry L. Merington (with Jan) USAF gave a gripping presentation of his father’s role in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa.

Among those breaking bread and enjoying a meal of turtle soup, salad, filet and bread pudding at tables centered with arrangements of salmon-colored roses and white hydrangeas, were Scholarship Chairman retired Col. Frank Arnemann Jr., USAF, with Eileen, Commander-elect Frank Barry with Jan, Program Chairman Bill Foreman with Olive, Treasurer James Reiss III, Secretary Clay Spencer with Courtney, Emanuel “Manny” Blessey, Dr. George Schneider and Cherie, John Laborde and Sylvia, Hilton Bell with Claudia Kelleher, Dr. Francis LeJeune with Kay, David Gooch, Frank Stewart with Paulette, John Roy with Sylvia and Billy Sewell with Elizabeth.

Bar Plaudits

The New Orleans Bar Association held its annual Dinner Meeting at the Audubon tea Room, mixing bar business with pleasure. Leading the list of notables were association President Judy Barrasso with husband Brent Barriere, President-Elect Chris Ralston with Kelsey Meeks, past President Walter Leger Jr. with Kathie, past President Mark Surprenant with Monica, New Orleans Bar Foundation President Darryl Phillips and Tulane Law School Dean David Meyer.

Always a highlight of the event, the recognition of 50-year honorees tapped C.B. Johnson, Louis Keifer and Tommy Lind, past NOBA president. Congratulations abounded.

All enjoyed the al fresco cocktails in the garden of the Tea Room, before heading to their tables for a dinner of crab salad wrapped in a cucumber accordion, filet mignon and a chocolate menagerie. As a special guest, noted jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael White gave a musical invocation. A standing ovation responded to his talent.

Purple Partying

Several years ago, Jane Morgan and daughter Eliana Thompson remembered the death of their respective husband and father by creating the I.G. Thompson Foundation to raise awareness and funds for a cure of pancreatic cancer. The Purple Pants Party became the social outlet.

The 2015 gallivanting headed to the People’s Health New Orleans Jazz Market on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard with Leaff Environmental, LLC, as the presenting partner, as well as six corporate sponsors, two private donors, and the family of the late Denny Hall, who selected the foundation to receive donations in Hall’s memory.

Funds from the recent Saturday afternoon festivities will go to the Shirley P. and James Wray Bush Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation, which is part of the Ochsner Cancer Center. Research efforts are led by Dr. Charles Conway.

Within the crowd of approximately 200, most all dressed in signature purple, who enjoyed the good food and silent auction, were the above Bushes, Patty Willhite, Claire Renault and Jim Blazek, Charles Perret, Ryan Becnel, David Holtman, Ann Teague Landis, Jim and Marguerite Lewis, Ian and Barbara Prosser, Dr. Conway, and Louisa Post. Live jazz music was a fun fillip.