Leadership, Service, Education

The National WWII Museum held its recent American Spirit Awards gala to celebrate “individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during the WWII years and throughout history.” Among the past recipients were Stephen E. Ambrose, Ph.D., former President George H.W. Bush, former Ambassador Corinne “Lindy” Boggs, award-winning news anchor and author Tom Brokaw, and famous award-winning actor Tom Hanks.

Hailed as the 2017 American Spirit Awards recipients were a brace of Davids: David M. Rubenstein and David McCullough. Editor of the Law Review at The University of Chicago Law School, Rubenstein later joined President Jimmy Carter’s administration; co-founded The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms; developed a long-standing interest in history, made evident by his acquisition of such iconic documents as a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta (the only copy in private hands); and has provided funding to repair a number of major U.S. monuments and sites. He chairs the boards of Duke University (his alma mater), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Madison Council of the Library of Congress.

Acclaimed as a “master of the art of the narrative history,” the Pittsburgh-born and Yale-educated David McCullough has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award twice and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. His books include “The Wright Brothers,” “1776,” “John Adams,” “The Path between the Seas” and “Truman,” to mention several. He has received 54 honorary degrees, has a bridge named for him in Pittsburgh, is a devoted painter and, with wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough, has five children and 19 grandchildren.

James L. Barksdale, Capt. James A. Lovell and Phyllis M. Taylor were hailed as the 2017 American Spirit Medallion Honorees, and, as Silver Service Medallion Honorees, John P. Laborde, Catherine Long, USMC retired Sergeant Major Mike “Iron Mike” Mervosh, Dr. Billy Michal, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, David I. Oreck and retired Judge Kaliste J. Saloom Jr.

Whitney Bank presented the American Spirt Awards gala with support from Todd Ricketts and Sylvie Legere. To launch the formal program, The Victory Belles sang the national anthem. Then came the welcome by board Chairman James A. Courter; introductory remarks by Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Ph.D., the museum’s founding president and current CEO; and the opening by master of ceremonies Tom Brokaw. Hancock and Whitney Bank President and CEO John Hairston, who was joined by wife Ann, was tapped for sponsor recognition, and acclaimed author Walter Isaacson joined Brokaw for the American Spirit Award Presentation.

More features were the tasty meal by chef Tory McPhail of a Louisiana heirloom tomato salad, crispy leg of Muscovy duck and spring berries; floral centerpieces by Urban Earth; and entertainment by the Midtown Men, four stars from the original Broadway cast of “The Jersey Boys.” With their beat, another significant note was added to Spirit.

Let There Be Lighthouse Levity!

Soiree de Lumiere benefiting Lighthouse Louisiana was once again held at Arnaud’s Restaurant as a fine-dining experience to raise money to fulfill the mission of empowering “people with disabilities to live independent lives, through employment, services and advocacy.” Passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails set the altruistic plan in motion at 6:30 p.m. as guests chatted enthusiastically. Then, they moved on to the seated gourmet dinner of shrimp Arnaud, artichoke soup, herb-crusted black drum and strawberries Arnaud. A three-piece jazz band entertained, Ambrose Garden did the floral decorations and an auction beckoned.

Whitney Bank was the top sponsor, while Arnaud’s, Huhtamaki, and Otto Candies, LLC figured in the next category.

Notables dining in the Count’s Ballroom were LL board Chairman Paul Masinter with wife Renee, emcee Bryan Batt, Katy Casbarian of Arnaud’s, LL President Renee Vidrine and Larry, Nicki Candies, Susan Periera, Jay and Julie Nosser, Jim Perrier and Jim Ashbee, Stan and Lynn Schoen, Ryan and Sara Gootee, Paul and Marie Pechon, David and Emily Beach, Jack and Donna Little, Chad and Vanessa Berg, Charlie and Tabby Marts, Hilton Bell and Claudia Kelleher and scores more, who made “Soiree” significant.

Angels under the Stars

The Sheraton Hotel in Metairie was the site for the night, when the Archdiocese of New Orleans Hispanic Apostolate held a fundraiser titled “Join the Angels under the Stars.” The dress code was “Wear White to be Angelical.” Bebe Vega designed arrangements in the room that was beautifully decorated with tall glass vases and white feathers. Adding musical coloration was the Sounds of Julio & Cesar Band.

Among the features of the festivity — co-chaired by the Rev. Sergio A. Serrano, OP (who answers to “Friar” and to director of the Hispanic Apostolate) and Marla Donovan — were the three-course meal and an exciting one-item auction. Guests enjoyed the bidding for a stay in a Destin, Florida, condominium that was purchased by Dr. A. Levy.

Within the “Stars” set were the Felix Garcias, the Michael Zsembiks, the Juan Manuel Gutierrezes, the Rev. Thomas Stehlik, Dr. and Mrs. Eduardo Herrera, the Max Morenos, Gustavo Duque and Matilde Alberny, the Rene Gurdians, the Oscar Hernandezes, and the Joe Everlys. They concurred with Marla Donovan’s post-party comment, “We had a great Latin night.”

Around and About

Wedding bells have rung recently for a happy set. Diane Adele Johnston and James Nicholas Breaux swapped vows at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel during a nuptial Mass and then gathered kith and kin to The Orleans Club for a reception. Farther up St. Charles Avenue, and at Holy Name of Jesus Church, Caitlin Manley and Trey Michaelis, whose respective parents are Mr. and Mrs. Daniel A. Manley and Mr. and Mrs. Gunther R. Michaelis Jr., were wed with the Rev. Emile G. Noel III officiating. At the same church, the Rev. Peter Finney III celebrated the nuptial Mass for Elizabeth Loker Hughs and Stephen Bernard Bouanchaud. Their parents are Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jude Semmes Hughs and Mr. and Mrs. James Madison Bouanchaud Jr. At all three celebrations, good wishes and congratulations abounded.

Yet another celebration occurred in the Brent House Atrium of Ochsner Medical Center, when Dr. Brooks Emory was honored. Thanked, too, were “all who contributed in his honor to the Brooks Emory, MD, Lung Transplant Fund.”