Leadership and Laurels

Add levity, and about 550 people, and that was the picture on a recent Saturday evening when the 29th annual Role Model Awards Gala of the Young Leadership Council took place at the Hyatt Regency. When the formalities commenced, master of ceremonies Mark Romig stepped forward. Pastor Shawn Moses Anglim of First Grace Methodist Church gave the invocation, and gala Chairwoman Joy Okoro extended opening remarks, which were followed by remarks from Matthew A. Treuting and T. Semmes Walmsley, respective past and current YLC presidents. Curry W. Smith, who spoke after a dinner of quinoa salad, braised beef short ribs, and praline cake and macaroons, answers to YLC executive director. Staff members include Larissa Muetzel, Jonnie L. Honse and Candace Weber, while the board limelights Calais Waring as president-elect, Michael A. Harowski, Vicki Bristol, Stephen Parker Pate, Todd C. James, Jennifer Jeandron, and the above Joy and Matthew.

Of course, the highlight of the gala, which boasted lots of stellar aspects (such as the patron party sponsored by Gambel Communications, a purple-themed décor, stunning centerpieces by Mardi Gras Productions, an extensive silent auction, and dancing and entertainment with Flow Tribe) was the presentation of the Role Models. Two dozen claimed huzzahs.

They were E. Tiffany Adler, vice president of Adler’s; Hardy B. Fowler, managing partner of the KPMG New Orleans office for 35 years until his 2009 retirement; Timothy B. Francis, an attorney with Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert LLC; Will “Bill” Hornsby, retired managing partner of Northwestern Mutual; David A. Kerstein, president and CEO of The Helis Interests in New Orleans; Erika McConduit-Diggs, a lawyer and president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans; Brenda Braun Moffitt, former director of economic development for the City of New Orleans and a dedicated volunteer; Kristin Gisleson Palmer, a social entrepreneur and community activist with an emphasis on housing and transportation; Sonia Perez, president of AT&T Louisiana; J. Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau; Laura Fox Politz, a nurse by training, and a volunteer with extensive experience; and Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond, Ph.D., a civil engineer and committed volunteer.

The latter two are former presidents of the Junior League of New Orleans.

The next dozen included Charles L. Rice Jr., president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans; Lisa N. Sibal, a lawyer by training, a development and strategic planning consultant, and former YLC president (as is her husband, John); Michael J. Siegel, president and director of Office Leasing at Corporate Realty; Claire Ferrier Stahel, a community activist and distinguished volunteer; Hasting Stewart Jr., senior communications manager for Deep Water Americas at the Royal Dutch Shell Company; Jose S. Suquet, board chairman, president and CEO of Pan-American Life Insurance Group; Vera Triplett, Ph.D., who recently launched a therapeutic school called the Noble Minds Institute for Whole Child Learning; Mark Uddo, Metairie Park Country Day School staff member and award-winning chef; Steven W. Usdin of Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver LLC, who has received numerous distinctions during his law career; Kay W. Wilkins, CEO of the American Red Cross in the South Louisiana Region; Ellen S. Yellin, of Bourgeois Bennett, CPAs & Consultants; and Judge Jay C. Zainey, a co-founder of St. Andrew’s Village that serves adults with developmental disabilities.

Almost all have advanced degrees, are married and spend numerous hours as volunteers. During the award ceremony, applause for each thundered.

Good Neighbors

Now that autumn is officially here, we turn our sights to seasonal delights. But, and getting a jump on the calendar, the Garden District Association held its 29th annual Fall Affair at Commander’s Palace. Chairing the ado that combines benefactor and cocktail receptions and a dinner, were Yancey and Lonnie Bewley and Loftin and Matt Brooks. Special thanks tapped a Brennan threesome — Ella, Dottie, Lally — and Ti Martin, as well as Ives Business Forms.

More headliners were Lorin and Andre Gaudin. He’s the president of the Garden District Association, a 501(c)(3) organization. The area, which is renowned for its live oaks, stately mansions and renovated cottages, is home to more than 2,000 families and attracts at least 150,000 visitors each year. Cinematic sweetheart Sandra Bullock has a home very close to Commander’s, following in the footsteps of actors, musicians and writers, who’ve lived there or have had — many still do — second homes. Shelley Landrieu is the GDA executive director. “It was one of the best ever,” said Shelley about the 2015 fundraiser, “thanks to the weather and delicious food.”

Shelley and photographer husband David Spielman, who has just opened a gallery cater-cornered to Commander’s, were among the 200 or so attendees at Fall Affair. “We were so pleased with the turnout,” said Co-Chairwoman Loftin. Many guests sipped The Lady Ella signature drink and admired the flower arrangements by Urban Earth Design Studios. The centerpieces were made of white hydrangeas with clusters of hypericum berries and lily loops.

Noted as well were Janet and Scott Howard, Louise and Craig Ripley, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Holly and Guy Perrier, Dale LeBlanc and Hal Williamson (of the “Cornstalk Fence” mansion), Jennifer and John Steck, Sally and Larry O’Meallie, Susan Peters, Bobbi and Bill Trufant, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Nancy and Cocie Rathborne, Sweet and Ben Dupuy, Vaughan Fitzpatrick, Barbara and Edwin Beckman, Bee Fitzpatrick, and Ted Martin and Louise, the most recent recipient of the Terry Parkerson Award from the GDA.

On Tuesday evening, the Martins and the above Howards were noted at another Garden District landmark, the official residence of the Consul General of France. Current — and very active — Consul General Gregor Trumel and spouse Ingrid hosted a reception that was given by the French American Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast. It was titled Business Networking & Arts Reception and honored the New Orleans Opera Association cast of “La traviata.” The opera opens on Oct. 9. Café Degas, Chateau du Lac and Maurice French Pastries purveyed.

For the GDA assemblage, guests relished a menu of late summer squash soup, butternut roasted veal and pear cobbler. The tuneful deserts came from the Joe Simon Jazz Band.


The Goldring Family Foundation Offices were the venue for a recent reception with Jeffrey and Walton Goldring and Jennifer Holmes as hosts. Mitch’s Flowers did the impressive arrangements and Larkin Selman Catering provided the passed hors d’oeuvres that were followed by Gracious Bakery desserts.

Greg Williams, the featured guest, is the filmmaker of “The Anonymous People,” an award-winning documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The movie was screened the previous evening at Temple Sinai.

Williams, co-founder of Facing Addiction, was present to announce UNITE to Face Addiction, a march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which will occur on Oct. 4. “The march is the first of its kind to nationally represent people living in recovery, their loved ones and all those who support their recovery.” Among UNITE’s mission purposes are to give the affected a voice, “rebrand” addiction, increase access to prevention and recovery programs, and advocate for governments to implement policies. According to Williams, addiction is “a health problem that impacts 1 in 3 households” and over 85 million lives.

Listening attentively, and then enjoying the reception’s offerings, were Etienne and Dr. Elizabeth Lapeyre, Erin Romney, the Jefferey Hardins, Bonnie Wilson, George and Nell Wilson, Ron Forman, Dan Forman, the Skye Durants, Edmund and Anne Redd, and countless others. Financial pledges to the cause, Facing Addiction Inc., were readily extended.