Both football and bowling balls were causes for excitement when Tulane University “proudly” invited supporters and friends to the Yulman Stadium Kick-Off Party, which was hosted by the namesake Yulman family at Mardi Gras World. Days before, Seasons Grief and Loss Center teamed up with the Louisiana Chapter of the NFL Players Association for a bowling benefit and general bonhomie.
m You’ll Love Yulman
As guests approached the entrance to Mardi Gras World, they were wowed by the exterior display of alternating blue and green lighting effects in Tulane University’s colors. Once inside, the party premises continued the “Wow!” factor, thanks to the pigskin-transformed area of Mardi Gras World. Executive producer Integra Productions (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) contracted with other groups, such as Solomon, for the Event. Rob Kodadek was the production designer.
The decorative celebration was “Tulane Football — Past, Present and Future.” In the bash’s History Room, vintage games, photos and memorabilia abounded. From there, guests moved to the Player Experience locker room, through the green-lighted Tunnel Walk and arrived onto the Open-Air Field Room complete with floor decks and LED ticker and scoreboard (with IMAG) visuals.
The aural excitement came from the Tulane Marching Band and its playing several times of the “Roll, Green Wave” fight song and “When the Saints Come Marching In.” The band’s “Olive Green and Blue! We Love Thee!” anthem even had folks singing along. More TU spirit came from the cheerleaders, who greeted arriving guests, and the dance team with coach Ashley Iserman standing nearby, along with color guard coach Nikki Kelly. In the near distance outside was the Tulane float, which would lead the next-day parade.
For the evening’s colossal sounds in the above-mentioned Open-Air Field Room, James Andrews came in as the opening act, followed by the headlining Midnight Ramble Band with special guests Allen Toussaint, Joan Osborne, William Bell, Catherine Russell and the Pinstripe Brass Band.
Punctuating the musical scintillation were the robust welcoming words of Tulane University Board Chairman Darryl Berger, who was joined at the event by spouse Louellen. Said Darryl, “This party for all of us New Orleanians is so fantastic. We can’t tell you (the Yulmans) how much we appreciate it. The best way to express appreciation will be when 30,000 full-throated fans fill the stadium. Everyone will love Yulman.” He then asked for applause and a recognition of Richard Yulman. The response was given by son-in-law Greg Williamson, who’s married to Katy.
Among the luminaries were members of the Richard Yulman family, for whom the new on-campus stadium is named, along with big donors Avie and Jill Glazer (the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club) and their daughters, Kendall and Libby. Additional major donors to the stadium was the in absentia Tom Benson, for whom the field is named, and John and Dathel Georges, owners of The Advocate and sponsors of a fan deck at Yulman.
Shaking hands in early meeting-greeting stages was new Tulane President Mike Fitts, who was accompanied by his wife, Renee Sobel. More notables included President Emeritus Scott Cowen (who helped champion the building of the stadium) and Marjorie, Yvette and Rick Jones, Anne and Luis Banos, a Wilson trio in Jim and Will and Wynona, Kate and Bob Devlin, Bill Goldring, Barbara and Jerry Greenbaum, Mary and Bill Hines, Sally and Jay Lapeyre, Jane and Conrad Meyer, Justine and Mike Mullen, Cathy and Hunter Pierson, and stadium neighbors Ann (“I love our location now for the games”) and Tony Fuselier.
From representative banks came Daryl Bird, Steve Hemperley, and Ashton Ryan Jr.
Noted, too, were Patricia and Vernon Brinson, Angus Cooper with brother David, Jack Laborde (who played football in the old on-campus stadium) and Peggy, John and Ann Koerner, Catherine and David Edwards, Gary Solomon Jr., Maria and Andy Wisdom, Suzy and Brian Faucheux, Charles and Linda Teamer, Robbert and Germaine Vorhoff, the Sam Scelfos, Linda and Ted Kennedy, Barry and Tina Kern, Pixie and Jimmy Reiss, and hundreds more, many of whom were at the earlier-in-the day dedication of Yulman Stadium, which had Mayor Mitch Landrieu as a speaker.
Fueling all the Mardi Gras World merriment was Calcasieu, Private Dining by Donald Link. The bash brigade queued up for mac ’n’ cheese, fried chicken, salads, oysters on the half shell, shrimp, and a dessert display. Then it was back to partying.
One VIP who walked the green carpet with his wife, Brenda, and family members was Rick Dickson, director of athletics. Joining his group was baby grandson, Colin Fitzgerald, who will no doubt grow up attending football games in the new Yulman.
m Bowling ’em Over
Together with the Louisiana Chapter of the NFL Players Association, Seasons Grief Center hosted Bowl A Rama 2014 at Colonial Bowling Lanes in Harahan on a recent Sunday. During the three-hour activity, NFL players were paired with sponsored teams to bowl together. All the while, players signed autographs, often on the kids’ shirts and hats.
More excitement came from the silent auction and the raffle, but the biggest thrill for attendees was being able to take a free prize off the Strike Table whenever a strike was made.
Joining in were Jefferson Parish President John Young, Harahan Mayor Provino “Vinny” Mosca, Harahan Sheriff Tim Walker, Shawn Normand, Denise Nagim, Ron Krajewski, Neil and Mindy Keller, Anne Troutman, Leslie Bird, Mimi Fornaris, Normand Hodgins, Bernard Robertson, Nancy Smith, Darlene Schwartz, the Darrell Goudreaus, and others, who enjoyed donated food and drinks.
To cap it all off, and the end of the day, the NFL players in attendance accepted the ice bucket challenge in honor of Steve Gleason.