Legacy and Levity
He held a plethora of prestigious titles: Ambassador to Finland (1989-1991), White House Chief of Protocol (1991-1993), chairman of Tulane’s Board of Administrators, Tulane’s Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient (2002), and Rex, King of Carnival (1996). Student achievements and professional ones were myriad. Add to that profile, husband, father and grandfather to 16.
On a recent Tuesday evening, “Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Ambassador John Giffen Weinmann,” an invitation extended by the Tulane University School of Law, took place in the building that bears his name, Weinmann Hall. The late John Weinmann, known as Jack, was hailed as “a man of extraordinary accomplishment and vision whose legacy will shape Tulane Law School for generations to come.”
Tulane University Law School Dean David D. Meyer, who also answers to Franklin Professor of Law, was the first of the program speakers, calling the late honoree “a doer,” a respected leader, and one who “would unfailingly engage students.” Meyer also added “That twinkle in his eye and delight in helping students was very much who he was.”
The next two speakers were James H. Roussel (L '4), senior counsel, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; and Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts, who is also the Judge Rene H. Himel Professor of Law at the law school. President Fitts praised Weinmann’s leadership at Tulane, his fiscal support, and his vision. “If Tulane had its own Mount Rushmore…Jack would be one of the first faces chosen….”
Concluding words came from Guiguo Wang, who holds the Eason-Weinmann Chair of International and Comparative Law; and Virginia Eason Weinmann, wife of Jack Weinmann. In attendance were their sons Winston (with wife Brooke), Robert, Giffen (with CiCi) and George, as well as daughter Mary Virginia Coffman and husband Peter.
Michael’s Catering fed the 100 or so attendees, whose ranks included friends, colleagues, administrators, faculty, alumni and current students. As guests quaffed beer or wine at the reception, they noticed decorations in Tulane colors of green and blue and the attractive floral centerpiece.
Amy Gajda, who holds the Class of 1937 Professor of Law title, made rounds both as a professor and as spouse of Dean Meyer. Others noted were Tulane University School of Law alums King Milling with Anne, Julie Livaudais George and Edward “Ted” George, Wayne Lee, Jimmy Nieset and Christopher Ralston. Also with degrees (but not law ones) from the university were Yvette Jones, as well as Robert “Bob” and Katherine Boh. Dozens more gathered to pay posthumous homage to Weinmann, whom President Fitts called “a model student, husband, father (and) a Tulanian we should all strive to emulate.”
Suppose 1,200 lovers of culture (with a capital “C”) assembled for promotion and performances, what would we have? Easy answer: Culture Collision!
In a new venue, the Contemporary Arts Center, Culture Collision, a one-of-a-kind Big Easy celebration, partnered with the CAC and WWNO for the ninth annual event that hypes nonprofit visual and performing arts organizations. The free-to-the-public event serves as a kickoff to the cultural season and introduces potential audience members, volunteers, patrons and artists to a diverse mix of the city’s arts groups. All are located under one roof, necessitating a huge space for the participating organizations. There were 69 in 2016 and 88 this year. Four cash bars served the crowd and four performing groups entertained them. The National WWII Museum’s Victory Belles did vocal stylings of ageless classics; the Disco Amigos made fine moves, and when they invited guests to join in, several 610 Stompers strutted their stuff; Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre showcased a musical number from “Once on This Island,” which just opened at the French Quarter theater on Friday; and Mélange Dance Company presented contemporary dance.
Headliners were Jess Brown Civello (attending with her “new hubby” Bryan Civello) and Janet Wilson, who are the event co-founders and co-directors; multi-year volunteer Kacey Edwards of The Bead Shop, Jess’s dear friend of 17 years: Debbie Shatz, a good buddy of the founding duo, and proprietor of the Uptown bar, 45 Tchoup; Paul Maassen, general manager of WWNO, CC’s official host; the radio station’s membership manager, Hallie Sheck; and The New Movement’s Maggie Ritchie, mistress of ceremonies.
And, A.J. Allegra, The NOLA Project; Alan Raphael, The National WWII Museum; Denise Davila (DEVENEY) and husband Jeff Powell; Ray Wiltshire and Heather Patterson; Marilyn LaForce, Friends of Culture; Sean Snyder, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; Charles Lucia, New Orleans Horror Film Fest; Lauren Ruello, The New Orleans Advocate; Wanda Fulton and Jasmine Forest, New Orleans Ballet Association; Geretta Giancarlo, The Write Room; Richard Read, NOCCA; Bart Folse, New Orleans Opera Association; Charlotte Piotrowski; Jenny Windstrup, Southern Rep; and Bruce Owen, Musica.
The De La Salle Summer Alumni Party amassed 350 alums, spouses, parents and friends of De La Salle, who thanked alums/honorary chairmen Mark and Mike. That’s Messrs. Castillon and Turner. The party’s committee included Alumni Association President Johnny Altobello Jr., board Chairman Herb Anderson, event Chairman Matt Barousse, Neil Anderson, Mat Baer, Jimmy Baldwin, Larry Buccola, Mo Crane, Lawson Gomila, Caroline Laurent Huber, John Humphreys, Ferd Lorio, Cassie Schwartzmann and Mia Gonzales Washington. All alums.
Alumni representation figured in the two dozen purveyors of delicious chomps, along with those of libations. Eleven door prizes had such covetables as luxury hotel stays, spa packages and home accessories, while the Wine Pull featured selections from Martin Wine Cellar and The Wine Seller. During a special moment, alumni veterans were called on stage to be recognized. Further thanks tapped a slew of people and businesses.
Within the party pack were spouses of some of the above — Carolyn Altobello, Jane Anderson, Karen Baldwin, Mary Pat Barousse, Keith Huber — and De La Salle President Michael and Donnamaria Giambelluca, Tony and Michelle Bonura, Oliver and Susie Delery, Paul and Jill Kelly, Gary and Carolyn Lorio, Judge Jim and Marie McKay, Dr. Myles Seghers and Linda, Dr. Wynn and Toni Russo, and Dr. Rod and Carlette Williams.
Led by Christina Towell, De La Salle’s Strings Orchestra played patron party music. Decibels were ratcheted up when the Boogie Men appeared as the headlining act. Music then became the momentum.