Tocqueville Tribute

“I’ve been all over the world… and have found such great people in New Orleans,” said John Hollowell, executive vice president, Deep Water Shell Energy Resources Co. in the Americas, and the honoree at the recent Alexis de Tocqueville Award Ceremony of The Tocqueville Society of United Way of Southeast Louisiana at the Hyatt Regency. He continued saying, he was “humbled, blessed and fortunate.” Applauding him, among the hundreds, were spouse Paula and daughter Whitney.

The event began with a reception and then moved on to dinner. “Cocktail or Western chic attire” was the dress code and a contest for the “Baddest Boots” produced a lot of smiles. Gal Holiday and The Honky Tonk Revue were the music makers. In four different sponsorial categories, the top sponsors were Entergy (presenting sponsor), Peoples Health, Shell Oil Co., and Supreme Service & Specialty Inc.

Mastheading “Award Celebration” were UWSELA President and CEO Michael Williamson, and, as chairmen, Joe Exnicios, board; Alexis Hocevar, Tocqueville Cabinet; Florence Schornstein, Tocqueville Society; and Charles Rice Jr., campaign. Cabinet members, in addition to Alexis and Flo, listed Elwood Cahill, Dan Casey, C. Allen Favrot (founder, in 1985, of the Tocqueville Society chapter, to which members contribute an annual minimum gift of $10,000), Rick Haase, John Roberts, Frank Stewart, the above Michael Williamson, Barbara Turner Windhorst, Carol Wise, and Catherine McRae, who teamed with Alexis to emcee the event.

During the course of the three-course dinner, which was decorated with Fortuny pleated platinum table cloths and centerpieces of Tropicana, yellow and gold flowers in clear round vases, were video presentations on honoree John. Attention was duly paid by the likes of Susan and Dave Conway, Azza Fawzi, Don Sabatini, Judge Alexis Tucker, Mandy Brown, Tammy and Kent Abadie, Mary Grace and Brian Kuehne, and United Way’s Terry Westerfield. Post formalities, the party tempo quickened with the band’s playing of “You Are My Sunshine.”

BGR Rally

The annual Bureau of Governmental Research Luncheon amassed a crowd of 800-plus at the New Orleans Marriott to hear guest speaker Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education (who got a big applause when he said, “I think education should have nothing to do with politics”), and to recognize new BGR officers and directors. J. Kelly Duncan was the outgoing board chairman and Mark A. Mayer, his successor. The new officers are Mayer, Hardy B. Fowler, Ludovico Feoli, and J. Storey Charbonnet. Dr. Nicolas Bazan, the above Joseph Exnicios, and Denise Thornton were re-elected to the board for three years. New directors, seven in all, counted Robert W. Brown, Kelly R. Brown, Maureen Clary, Hunter G. Hill, H. Merritt Lane III, James M. Williams, and Dennis Woltering, retired WWL-TV anchor/reporter, who spearheaded the questions and answers session. Further program principals were nominating committee Chairman Sterling Scott Willis, and Jefferson Parish Public School System Superintendent Dr. James Meza, who introduced Arne Duncan. Whitney Bank was the luncheon sponsor.

Luminaries included BGR President and CEO Janet Howard, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Jefferson Parish President John Young, state Sen. Conrad Appel, Scott Howard, Anne and King Milling, Edgar and Alva Chase, John Georges, Dr. Norman Francis, Mary Matalin, Sarah Usdin, Bob Reily, Charles Beasley, Liz and Poco Sloss, Mark Sheridan, Gray and Mary Kay Parker and countless others, who enjoyed the three-course luncheon (and its pre-set salad and dessert) and applauded with gusto Arne Duncan’s, “Every child must receive a quality education.”

Art Against AIDS

A new venue, Club XLIV on Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, was the setting for the 28th annual Chevron Art Against AIDS Gala and Auction of NO/AIDS Task Force with presenting sponsors John Burton Harter Charitable Trust and Avita Pharmacy. Thanks also tapped the Goldring Family Foundation. The 650 attendees supported the Task Force, a division of CrescentCare Health and Wellness Center, while admiring and purchasing holiday ornaments produced by students in more than 15 local school art programs; shopping in the Christmas-tree embellished Holiday Boutique; and relishing fine food from a slew of eateries. Special guests included honorary Chairman/master of ceremonies Christian Jules LeBlanc (actor on TV’s, “The Young & The Restless”), culinary Chairwoman Poppy Tooker (radio show “Louisiana Eats”) with spouse Nicky Mouledoux, and actors Jessica Collins (“The Young & The Restless”) and Billy Miller (“General Hospital”), who were secured through entertainment manager Marnie Sparer (Coronel Group, Los Angeles).

Then there were CCHWC CEO Noel Twilbeck and husband Glen Kahrman, event Advisory Committee Chairwoman Carey Hammett, William “Bill” Fagaly, Preston Marx Jr., Ph.D., and Center board co-Chairmen Helen Siegel and Edward “Eddie” Bonin, attending with Rene Fransen. Also, Dr. Mitt Seiler and Marshall Lee, Teresa Guzzetta, Juli Miller Hart and mom Jeri Cullinan, Lucille McDonnell, John J. Sullivan,, Edmund Emerson Adams, Nathalie Dubois and Pierre Walker Kimberly Robinson and Colleen Keogh, Carlos Lopez and Gregory Vogel, and burlesque producer/performer Roxie LeRouge.

Further highlights included the silent auction of more than 200 pieces of donated art (including works by David Harouni), vacation packages, tickets, restaurant gift certificates, and a photo of Anne Rice by Steven Forster; the awarding of “Partner for Life” to 25-year volunteer Larry Mercier; and entertainment by The Yisrael Trio, Anais St. John, Varla Jean Merman, Rachel Fleetwood and Vieux Carre, and The Sirens of New Orleans, who performed a set of holiday and Christmas songs and danced the night away.

Scholarship Social

Recognizing the importance of education, the STUDS Club Inc. held its STUDS Scholarship Social at La Belle Place in LaPlace. The organization’s name is a shortened form of the word, student, and was the form of address used by collegians (now club members) in their academic days. Party Chairman James C. Smith introduced the members and club Vice President Horace Bynum presented scholarships to Dillard University, Southern University of New Orleans, Southern University Baton Rouge, Xavier University, and Grambling University. Respective representatives were Dr. Walter Kimbrough, Wesley Bishop, Harry Doughty, Ralph Johnson, and Michael Bruno. The latter four are STUDS members. Special awards for service tapped members Terrel Broussard, John Penny and Joe Marion.

The sophistication of black in table cloths and chair covering was paired with antique gold in the tiebacks. Chandeliers cast lovely luminosity for the 275 attendees, who enjoyed the buffet and its choice of lamb, duck, roast beef, and turkey breast.

Mingling were STUD President Joseph Patin Jr. and guest Yvonne Clark, STUD (as are a number of the following men) Anthony Maheia and Marion, the Rev. and Mrs. David M. Patin Sr., Dwight and Debbie Jarrett, Henry and Elvira Sterling, Gail DeGruy, the H. Kenneth Johnstons, Claudette Smith, the Dennis Renears, the above Michael Bruno and Paulette, David and Marsha Williams, Sheila Thomas, Carl and Geri Broussard Baloney, the senior Thomas J. Hutchersons, awardee Terrel and Hattie Broussard, Tamara Marshall, and Brenda Shepherd, who praised the event, saying she “enjoyed everything about the Scholarship Social.”