Three important events occurred within a several-days’ circle, thanks to the on-campus launch and reception of Loyola University’s Faith in the Future campaign, the biggest such campaign in the university’s history; the 15th Spirit of Charity Award dinner at the JW Marriott given by the Medical Center of Louisiana Foundation with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Tulane, Internal Medicine, as the award recipient; and, for the sounds that the Crescent City savors, the St. Peter Claver Jazz Extravaganza in the SPC Music Hall. Preceding the musical momentum was the social one with dozens milling during the VIP reception hosted by the Rev. J. Asare-Dankwah, the pastor, at his residence.
The St. Charles Room of the Danna Student Center was the site for the Loyola University’s kickoff of the historic $100 million effort. So far, $45 million has been raised in its “leadership phase.” Faculty, staff, students and local donors joined in via a giant video “wall” from such global locations as China and Panama, as well as national ones. Loyola musicians played in the background.
Among the additional features of the event were the emceeing of alums Kim Holden, (WVUE-TV news anchor) and Tod Smith (WWL-TV general manager); and, occurring in the video, a special message from Saints/Pelicans owner Tom Benson, and stories by alumnus Ansel Augustine, biology professor Rosalie Anderson, and Loyola trustee Anne Gauthier. All three took to the stage afterward to add remarks on Loyola’s future.
At the request of honorary campaign co-Chairmen Lt. Col. Russel Honore and Anne Milling, University President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, SJ and Ph.D., came forward to approve the launch of “Faith in the Future: The Campaign for Loyola University in New Orleans.” Father Wildes then expressed gratitude to the leadership donors (who have already committed) and volunteers. President Emeritus the Rev. James Carter (also SJ and Ph.D.) closed the event with a prayer before leading everyone in a second-line played by brass band-students.
Notables, and there were many, included alum Derby Gisclair and the above Anne Gauthier, who are chairing the campaign; Edgar Chase III, who holds undergraduate and law degrees from Loyola; Paul Pastorek, who, similarly, has those two degrees; emeritus trustee John B. Levert Jr. with wife Anne; Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Chairwoman and President Phyllis Taylor; Schleider Foundation President Betsy Nalty; Frank B. Stewart Jr.; Maedell Braud; and alumna Verna Landrieu. (Several of the above and below have honorary degrees from Loyola.)
Also, trustee emerita Rita Odenheimer, former board President Suzanne Mestayer, Jim McBride, Rita Benson LeBlanc of the Saints (and a board of trustees member, as are a number of the others), and Alumni Board President Allison Plaisance.
Post “launch,” they and scores more enjoyed a light luncheon featuring Cuban sandwich sliders (recalling the made-famous sandwich in the movie, “Chef”), other types of sandwiches, fruit and vegetables served creatively, and for dessert, Faith in the Future-logo cookies. The ultimate accent was musical as the brass band led the way to classes and afternoon assignments, as well as a note-worthy au revoir for those who were giving a foundation to “Faith.”
Spirit of Charity
Held in the JW Marriott Hotel, and with black tie as the optional attire, the Spirit of Charity Award Dinner unfolded with five sponsors: Capital One, Peoples Health, LSUHSC Foundation, Orleans Parish Medical Society and Avita Pharmacy. Proceeds were designated for medical research.
Cocktails initiated the socializing and dinner followed, appropriately “at eight” with MCLF President Dr. Frank Incaprera cast for the invocation. Guests then relished a menu of harvest salad, filet of beef and panna cotta with a berry compote.
Headliners included Dr. Peter DeBlieux, MCLF executive director and master of ceremonies, with spouse Karen; New Orleans East Hospital Chairman Ronald V. Burns with Sheila; Tulane University School of Medicine Dean Dr. L. Lee Hamm; and LSUHSC School of Medicine Dean Dr. Steve Nelson with Julie. Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke on behalf of the honored Dr. Karen DeSalvo and Drs. Hamm and Nelson presented her with “The Spirit of Charity” healing hands crystal award and a framed print of Charity Hospital.
In her remarks, Dr. DeSalvo pledged to carry the spirit of Charity Hospital in her heart and her work. The MCLF is dedicated to supporting the mission and continuing the legacy of Charity Hospital, and, to do so, created “The Spirit of Charity Award” in 1998. Dr. Jack Andonie was the 2013 recipient.
Now with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. DeSalvo was formerly the health commissioner for the city of New Orleans and Mayor Landrieu’s senior health policy adviser. Said Dr. Hamm about her, “Dr. DeSalvo pours her heart and soul into what she wants to do and that’s helping the most deserving and underserved in New Orleans and now the nation.”
Joining the laureled Karen DeSalvo was her husband, Dr. Jay DeSalvo. Others were past award recipients, Drs. Gerald Berenson with Joan, Incaprera, Isidore Cohn Jr. with Marianne, Charles “Bo” Sanders, and Andonie. Several are MCLF board members, as are attendees Dr. Juzar Ali, Warren Bell Jr., Dr. Joseph Biundo with Mary, Sally Duplantier with daughter Jeanne, Dr. Paul Friedlander with Jessica, Neal Kling with Suzanne, Evangeline Vavrick (secretary/treasurer) with daughter Eve, Kristine Muntan with Dr. Chad Muntan, Gene Sausse Jr., Malcolm Schwarzenbach III with Gina, and Harold Weis with Leah.
Still others within the assembly of 235 were Norman Francis, Charlotte and Charles Parent, Greg and Sarah Feirn, Cindy Nuesslein, Dr. Corey Hebert with Alanah, Dr. Denise Roubion-Johnson, Judge Steve and Lynn Plotkin, and foundation coordinator/event committee Chairwoman Stacy Gerhold-Marvin.
Another tribute occurred and that was the recognition of Jerry Romig as the MCLF and Spirit of Charity Award founding father.
Villere’s Florist designed the lovely fall floral arrangements and the Dr. Michael White Quartet made music an integral part of the “Spirit” scenario.
Catching up on one another’s activities at the VIP gathering before the St. Peter Claver Jazz Extravaganza were approximately 200 people, who enjoyed the hospitality of Father Asare. Originally from Ghana on the West Coast of Africa, “he is an Ashanti and from the royal clan of the Oyoko.”
In 1989, he became a student at Xavier University, and then, after years at Notre Dame Seminary, he was ordained a priest. He follows in the pastoral footsteps of the late Very Rev. Michael P. Jacques, SSE, who was depicted in the program along with the deceased James “Bo” Davis, Bruce Brice, Bob French, Lionel Ferbos, Warren “Porgy” Jones, Cosima Matassa, and Larry McKinley as “Gone Too Soon.” All were important to St. Peter Claver.
During the VIP Reception, guests enjoyed catering by Dooky Chase Restaurant and Byrd House, wine tasting compliments of Second Vine Wine, and Theron Lewis’s background pianism.
At the Jazz Extravaganza in the cleverly decorated SPC Music Hall, the luminaries were master of ceremonies Warren A. Bell Jr.; celebrity bartenders Councilman Jared C. Brossett, Lt. Otha Sandifer of the New Orleans Police Department, and Andrew “Pete” Sanchez Jr., King Zulu Elect 2015; supervising producer Mary Elizabeth Delatte Andry; and corporate coordinator Paul T. West. Of course, there were the thrilling music makers, along with the Washitaw National Indians, Sophisticated Ladies Social & Pleasure Club, Zulu Tramps, and Jazz Extravaganza Secondliners Lois Andrews, Joyce Carter and Karen Legolm.
A champagne toast to Alvin “Carnival Time” Johnson, creator of the 50-year-old Mardi Gras anthem that is now part of his name, was yet another highlight.
About 500 concertgoers munched on delicacies from K.C.C.A. Catering. Among those ranks were the above Warren Bell and Mrs. Bell, the junior Alvin Richards, the junior Charles Rices, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, state Rep. Karen Carter Peterson, Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, the Louis Charbonnets III, state Sen. Edwin Murray, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Tony and Dixie Faciane, Judge Veronica Henry, the Mark Boucrees, the junior Lambert Boissieres, and Joe and Cindy Molyneux.
Further festivity came from Visit the Piano Bistro, where “There’ll Be Dancing in the Street.”
A jumbo screen streamed Main Stage performers, Devi Boucree provided piano pleasures, a fresh cigar bar had stogies made and cut on the spot, an oyster bar thanked chef Andrew LeDuff, and a bazaar table offered take-home souvenirs of an evening that merited the name “Extravaganza.”