Two lunchtime events honored a deserving set, thanks to the World Trade Center’s presentation of the C. Alvin Bertel Award to David Fennelly at the Sheraton New Orleans, and for distaff laurels, those hailed by the Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. during its Focus on Women Luncheon at the Crystal Palace East. Moving into nighttime ado, the Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority marked its 30th anniversary at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside with due recognition and revelry.
The C. Alvin Bertel Award
Established in 1967, the Bertel Award is presented annually on behalf of 11 international trade, transportation, and economic development organizations in the Crescent City area, and is named after C. Alvin Bertel, who in the early 1940s helped bring about a state constitutional amendment providing for the non-political selection of New Orleans Port Commissioners. Accordingly, and as a result, “the ‘Dock Board’ instituted administrative reforms that endure to this day.”
In attendance to witness the award given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the Greater New Orleans port area was Mr. Bertel’s grandson, John “Jack” Bertel.
Prior to taking their seats at the sold-out luncheon held in the Sheraton’s Armstrong Ballroom, guests mingled and networked. Included were some past award recipients, such as David Schulingkamp and Bernard L. Charbonnet Jr., who were acknowledged in 2004 and 2005. Since then, the names to know were Capt. Michael R. Lorino Jr., Capt. Frank Paskewich, USCG, Danny Hughes, William S. App Jr., the late Eugene J. Schreiber, Capt. Allen J. Gibbs, Gary P. LaGrange, and in 2013, Joel T. Chaisson, who made the award presentation to his successor, David Fennelly, director of Associated Terminals LLC and Turn Services LLC. A number of sponsors — including at the Platinum Level, Associated Terminals, Turn Services, and the Port of South Louisiana — reaped particular thanks.
When it was time for the formalities, and as guests ate especially good luncheon fare, World Trade Center of New Orleans Chairman David Kearney stepped forward with welcoming remarks, which were followed by the invocation of the Rev. Jose Lavastida, S.T.D., and the Pledge of Allegiance delivered by Paul Aucoin, executive director of the Port of South Louisiana. Then came remarks by WTCNO CEO Dominik Knoll and Fennelly career and philanthropic high points given by Gary Poirier of Associated Terminals LLC and Turn Services LLC.
He related how awardee David, a symbolic “giant” (in reference to his not-so-tall stature), epitomized the American Dream as a newcomer to this country from Ireland, who had not gone to college, but who, in his “tireless energy” and friendly manner became co-founder of Associated Terminals in 1991. Turn Services was acquired in 2004 and he became the company’s chairman. Under Fennelly’s watch, the two entities have grown into one of the premier providers of marine services in the Gulf South Region, employing in excess of 650 individuals.
The highlight of the format was the acceptance speech by David Fennelly, during which he recognized those nearest and dearest to him, along with his colleagues, and expressed profound gratitude for the award. The “luck of the Irish” and also a lot of hard work were to the fore.
Pink and green, the signature colors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, appeared in the colors of the plumes placed in sparkling vases at the anniversary gala put on by the Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter. Reflections on the past 30 years were given by chapter charter member Brenda Brock Williams, while Chelle Luper Wilson, South Central Regional Director of AKA, brought greetings on behalf of the international board of directors.
They, in turn, were applauded by the 260 guests, whose ranks included chapter President Lanette E. Rousseve attending with husband Dan Rousseve Jr.; immediate past President Neshelle Nogess; charter members Sandra Harringon, Kathleen McKinney-Franks (a former president) with husband Barron Franks, Shelia Mason Bailey, Veronica Downs-Dorsey, and the above Brenda Brock Williams with Ozzie; and chapter officers Micaela Bowers, Yolonda Prevost, Mia Mosby with Bruce, Angelique Davillier and Drs. Wanda and Terrence Augillard.
Rhonda Goode-Douglas, joined by spouse Terry Douglas, chaired the event with Brittany Reed as her “co.” Noted, too, were Judges Terri Love and Tracey Flemings-Davillier with husbands Ellria Love and John Davillier, Isaka Williams and scores more, who dined on a choice of New York strip or grilled redfish. Dessert was a chocolate cup filled with chocolate mousse with pink and green straws.
The musical menu was equally exciting. It was provided by Black Cat Entertaiment featuring Renetta Maze and Gina Brown.
Accompanied by members of the Mohawk Hunters and Zulu Tramps, the One Mind Brass Band ended the scintillating “sounds of the night.”
Hosted by the Sigma Gamma Rho’s Epsilon Sigma Chapter, the 30th annual Focus on Women Luncheon had “Celebrating Women of Courage and Determination in All Areas of Life” as its theme. Proceeds of the luncheon support Project Reassurance, the teen pregnancy prevention program, and the funding of the sorority’s Top Achievers scholarships.
During the course of the gathering, which was chaired by Mary Joseph, special recognition tapped Dolores Bergquist-Coye, chapter president, for her 50-plus years of membership and her contributions to the community as a foreign language educator. In addition to educators, the luncheon honored women in the arts, public service, medicine, religion, business, and youth development for their professional and volunteer work.
Hats off to Lt. Danielle Bullock and Melvina Keller, military service; Dr. Darlonda Reynaud, medicine; Mary Bailey and Melissa Robinson, religion; Debra Robertson and Susan Mayo Theus, education; Laverne Saulny and Cynthia Hedge Morell, public service; Roz Irvin Kay, Elisia Broussard-Sheridan, Tahariana Williams and Dr. Shanae Harness, business; Stephanie Dillion, Deborah Edwards and Enchante Franklin, youth development; Helen Bougere, community revitalization; Dr. Ruby Broadway, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics); and Alice Kennedy, Brenda Hatfield and Barbara Starks, sorority legacy. Plaudits were pervasive.
n Around and About
Devotees and performers of the erstwhile Le Chat Noir gathered recently in the cabaret-turned-restaurant, Marcello’s. Spearheading a good bit of the togetherness that included voting for a favorite cocktail (out of several offered), an “open mic” for spontaneous entertainment, and an array of appetizers, was LCN former proprietor Barbara Motley, who was joined by husband Biff. A number of the attendees then made reservations to dine in the hosting restaurant and wine bar. And the delights of the evening continued.
Sighted were Gene Todaro, owner of Marcello’s New Orleans, along with performers Amy Alvarez with husband Stuart Lob, Harry Mayronne, Jessie Thompson with Nick, Rich Look with wife Cassandra Sharpe, Leslie Castay, Anais St. John with Marco, Jefferson Turner, Dorian Rush and Chris Wecklein. To mention a few LCN alums.
Noted, as well, were Su Gonczy (with husband Joel Havnen) and Victoria Hoffman, former and respective Le Chat stage and bar mavens, along with Lisa and Bennett Davis, Barbara and Thomas “Tom” Sands, Betsy and Patrick Dowling, spouses Susan Talley and Jay Gulotta with niece singer Elizabeth Pierce, Dr. Nia Terezakis, Jan and Bob Carr, Cecile and Martin Covert, Bryan Block and Jeff Keller, and Carol Stone and Patrick McNamara with fellow AKT (All Kinds of Theatre) producer Jacquee Carvin.
Miles away, beaming smiles were sported by former Saints running back Reggie Bush, who now holds that position with the Detroit Lions. On July 12, he added another title to his name: bridegroom. In a ceremony in San Diego, he wed Lilit Avagyan.