A tribute to a life and legacy underscored the recent Bash given by Southern University at New Orleans in the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Honored in memoriam was alumnus Ronald E. Gardner, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation founder, who was described by Bobby and Karen Major as “a life member of the Alumni Association, community servant and role model.” Also, “beloved friend.”
Mr. Gardner, who died in September after an illness, was an adviser to U.S. presidents and mayors; vice chancellor for Administrative, Community & Security at the LSU Health Center New Orleans for 30 years; U.S. Army Vietnam veteran; member of numerous committees and boards; and, as a family man, husband to Cynthia Wilson Gardner, father to four, grandfather to two, and great-grandfather to one.
Michael B. Bruno (joined by spouse Paulette) and Dr. Louvinia G. Wallace teamed to chair The Bash, which had Patrick Dobard and Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. (with Zinnia) as honorary chairmen. The latter is the superintendent of the Orleans Parish School Board. Further notables were SUNO Foundation Chairman Frank Williams Jr. and Shelly, SUNO Chancellor Dr. Victor Ukpolo, and GNOSF President and CEO Jay Cicero and member Dave Sherman. And, Cynthia Scott of LSUHSC, Dr. Charlie and Linda Teamer, and from The Bash committee of a dozen, Betty B. Stewart, Hazel Pitts, Josephine Okoronkwo and Barbara L. Keller. Sybil Morial reaped praise for her book, a memoir, titled “Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment.”
From the family of the honoree were Corey Wilson, Julie Billips, Lindsey Billips, Kay and Sadie Wilson, Don and Yolanda Johnson and Dwayne, Shawn and Dominique London.
In addition to many of the above, Tammy Barney, Harold Ellis Clark, Marc Morial (video presentation), Gloria Bartley Moultrie (wearing a gown of SUNO’s signature blue), and entertainer Kayla Jasmine were slated as program principals.
All enjoyed the extensive auction and its attractions, as well as the multifaceted menu, which concluded so sweetly with mini desserts.
Home is Where the Art Is
Cocktails for KID smArt unfolded in the art-filled home of Caroline and Andre Robert. A champagne reception for sponsors and patrons launched the levity that moved into a cocktail buffet format with “deliciousness” by Joel Catering and Event Planning – that’s Joel Dondis, who was joined by Gretchen – and artwork, “Torregano” by featured artist George Dunbar, who currently has a show at Callan Contemporary. He was a top event sponsor along with Louisette Brown. Jill McKay Pipes and Suzanne Dumez were the chairing duo.
Additional features were Sweets by Sucre, stunning floral arrangements by hostess Caroline, music by Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses and John Lisi, and the presence of three teaching artists: Suzanna Ritz, Renee Anderson and Veronica Giraldo.
Headliners included board Chairman Scott P. Howard and Janet, Secretary/Treasurer Campbell Hutchinson and Allison Stewart, executive director Echo Olander, immediate past Chairwoman Celeste Coco-Ewing and Tom Ewing, Glynn Stephens and Vincent Saia, David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez, George Demmas and Raine Bedsole, John Chrestia, Troy Scroggins, Bill Hines, Jackie Sullivan, Lisa Sinders, Joanie Quinlan, Randy Fertel and Kimberly Corbett, Nancy Moss, Robin Benton Crutcher, Cheryl Manley, and Nancy and Stephen Hales. About 180 others, as well, who savored all aspects of the party palette.
All hailed Roy Glapion, the 2015 University of New Orleans Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumnus, at the UNO Distinguished Alumni Celebration at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport Atrium. Among his many titles is vice president of The Beta Group, an engineering and construction firm that specializes in materials testing. Further laureates were Miranda Restovic, Chris Maurer, Merlyna M. Valentine, Margot C. LaPointe and Theo Von.
Mastheaders included UNO President Peter Fos, UNO Alumni Association President Al Herrera and Louise Williams Arnolie, a member of UNO’s first graduating class. Also, event Chairman Barbara Johnson and Ben, past Distinguished Alumni Bobby Savoie and Jim Tucker with wives Lori and Marisol, Andy Kopplin, Alumni Association President-Elect Todd Tournillon, Treasurer Alyssa Rambeau and Jeff, Rod and Toya Barnes Teamer, Maggie and Roy Woodruff, event sponsorship Chairman Todd Matherne, Julie and Larry Stokes, Paul Dastugue, Cleveland Spears, Susan and John Seip and Derrick Floyd.
Messina’s at The Terminal catered, Poppy & Mint Floral Company did the centerpieces, and UNO master’s music students, Eric Merchant and Stuart Coles, provided the jazzy noteworthiness.
All Fit at La Fête
More than 350 attendees gathered for Ursuline Academy’s La Fête 289 that limelighted Chaircouple Lori and Brian Knight and Co-Chaircouple Paige and Jason Brown, along with Academy President Karen McNay, 2015 Distingished Alumna Deb Elam, board Chairman Eric Jarrell, Ursuline Prioress Sister Mary Anne Holmes, OSU, master of ceremonies/auctioneer Chris McLellan and Becky, Michael and Norma Kimble, Christine and Michael Maristany and Alise and Douglas Durand.
They started their socializing at the Champagne Patron Party in the newly renovated Legacy Dining Hall before moving to the Marjory Barbier Ourso Athletic Center for the Whitney Bank Gala, where uplighting and white leather lounge areas created an attractive ambiance.
Names to credit for the patron partying were guest bartender Lucinda Weed of Tujague’s, the Dads’ Club (president Jonathan Walsh with Cathryn), and jazz pianist Darrell Lavigne.
Silent auction items, 125 total, included Pelicans tickets (purchased by Mark and Carol Avery), while “live” ones included an Alex Harvie painting of Ursuline bought by Sharon Grilletta. Fifteen generous restaurants fed the flock that included Kevin Avin, Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson and sister Aziza Landrum, Parents’ Club Co-President Rhonda Musso with Joe, respective auction and decorations Chairwomen Michelle Janusa (with Gabriel) and Windy Boudreaux, Terri and Jim Stuckey and Alumnae Association Board President Michelle Linton. When it was time to dance, folks flocked to the floor for the high-energy music of the six-piece group, Band Camp.