Making Contacts, Present and Past


The 33rd annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater New Orleans Chapter took place at the Audubon Tea Room. Packed premises attested to the community’s sense of giving. Particularly thanked were Gold Sponsors the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and UnitedHealthcare, as well as the luncheon Co-Chairwomen Christine Briede (who was joined by husband Otto) and Whitney Armentor.

Champagne was sipped by patrons at 11:30 a.m. during a short reception, prior to the noon luncheon. To open the formalities, the Rev. Cory Sparks, the chapter’s board president and pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, issued the welcome. President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation Andy Kopplin garnered rapt attention as the keynote speaker.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of awards. Take a bow, Mignon Blanc, Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy; The Helis Foundation (represented by David Kerstein), Board of Directors Award; Feil Family Foundation (Jeffery Feil), Outstanding Foundation; UnitedHealthcare (Allison Young), Outstanding Leader in Corporate Philanthropy; Karen Saunders DeBlieux, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Joy and Boysie Bollinger, Outstanding Philanthropist(s); and Roselle M. Ungar, Outstanding Professional Fundraiser. Presenting the awards, in turn, were Armentor, Donna Paramore, Geneva Longlois-Marney, Caitlin Scanlan, Josephine Everly (incoming fundraising professionals chapter president), Lani McWilliams and Susan Mancuso.

Among the many applauding them were Melissa (Mrs. Cory) Sparks, Phyllis Taylor, Charlotte Bollinger, Ron and Sally Forman, Dickie Brennan, Patty Riddlebarger, Saundra Levy, Susan Hess, Michael Williamson, Ralph Cox, Susan Taylor, Lisa Romano, and Robin Borne.

All admired the autumn-inspired centerpieces by the YMCA and St. Michael Special School and relished the luncheon fare of a leaf spinach salad, roasted chicken and chocolate pot de crème. Of course, in this day of philanthropic recognition, deserts were abundant.

Black and White and Dominican All Over!

The characteristic chromatics of black and white predominated in elegant fashion at the recent Southern Dominican Gala, held in Messina’s at The Terminal New Orleans. Tables were draped in those colors, while the floral arrangements featured large white roses with black and white accents. They were arranged by Michelle Midkiff with the support of Convention Plant Designs Inc.

As for the taste treats, various generous restaurants catered their specialties and, in a separate dessert room, chef Kevin Belton offered his famous bread pudding, along with Odi’s cookies, Haydel’s pastries and River Road Coffees. All sorts of enticements, 110 in all, attracted guests to the silent auction.

As people entered, the Dominican friars greeted them wearing their traditional white habits. The Tom Fischer and Friends jazz trio provided both the musical welcome and the after-awards scintillation. The program commenced with the official welcome by New Orleans Advisory Board President Michie Bissell and the invocation by the Very Rev. Thomas M. Condon, O.P., prior provincial of the Southern Dominican Province. He, along with Michie Bissell and the Rev. Juan M. Torres, next presented awards to Mrs. Yvonne Alciatore Blount and Brother Roger A. Shondel, both O.P., in recognition of “their lifetime of recognizing the spiritual needs of the New Orleans community.” She is a descendant of Antoine Alciatore, founder of Antoine’s restaurant (the oldest family-run restaurant in the U.S.) and has been an active volunteer. Brother Shondel, a tailor (who made his habit), has been an educator for 50 years and a professional counselor.

Making their rounds were board Vice President Dr. Stephen J. Derbes with wife Keith, the Jack Bryants, Drs. Nicolas and Haydee Bazan, Carey Bond and Henry Lambert, Janet Clinton, Dr. Ollie and Karen Edmunds, Frances and Rodney Smith, Cynthia A. Thomas, Ashley Lynn Seatter, Joaquin Wong, O.P., Jo Ann Cotterman, O.P., and the Revs., all O.P., Scott O’Brien, Charles K. Johnson, Jorge Rativa, John Restrepo, John Dominic Sims, Roberto Merced, Thomas Schaefgen, Martin J. Gleeson, Philip Neri Powell, Michael Burke, Justin Kauchak, Mariano Veliz, Peter Damian Harris and Brother Herman Johnson. Also, and each O.P., Sisters Noel Toomey, Dorothy Gisclair and Dominic Savio Estorge.

To cap the bash, which Sandy Sanchez, O.P. described as “a joy filled evening,” The Big Easy Boys provided jaunty nostalgia for dancing.

Historical Hobnobbing

The Aztec Club of 1847, Military Society of the Mexican War and Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the U.S. held the annual dinner in Galatoire’s Wine Room. Club members are descendants of officers in the U.S. Army, who formed the club in Mexico City at the conclusion of the Mexican War. It is the second oldest continuous hereditary society in the U.S. Members of the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne descend from Charles the Great (742-814), King of the Franks.

Bertram Hayes-Davis, of Gulfport, Mississippi, a direct descendant of Jefferson Davis, a hero of the Mexican War, was the guest speaker. He spoke about the marriage between Davis and Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of Aztec Club member Gen. Zachary Taylor, 12th president of the U.S. To thank Hayes-Davis (with Carol), Club Treasurer Max Maxwell (with Margaret) presented him with a historic medallion struck in 1922 commemorating the club’s 75th anniversary.

Among the guests enjoying menu choices for both the first and second courses (and many praising the excellent pork chop marchand de vin) were Aztec Club President Carlo Capomazza di Campolattaro and spouse Rosemonde (thanked for the Steve Baker-designed floral centerpieces), Vice President Lawrence King Casey Jr. (Beaumont, Texas), Lydia Ozenberger, Craig Ripley and Louise, Ed Bush and Cindy, Ann Middleton, David Gooch and Julia Nuzum, Howard Gaines and Sara, Elizabeth Sewell, George A. Coiron III and Mara, Moye Sanders, Bonnie Thomas and Dr. Howard Russell, and Patti Millan.

The Bounty of a Bicentennial

The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, was the site for the recent Mass for the Opening of the Bicentennial of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769-1852), who came to the U. S. from her native France as a religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart. She and four companions arrived in New Orleans on May 29, 1818, and were welcomed by the Ursuline sisters. The subsequent Sacred Heart schools in Louisiana are in Grand Coteau and New Orleans, the Academy of the Sacred Heart (the Rosary), which has Sister Melanie Guste, RSCJ, as headmistress.

The principal celebrant of the Mass, which was preceded and concluded by a glorious procession, was Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who socialized with many of the attendees at the later reception in the Old Ursuline Convent. There, one of the joys was seeing young ASH student Lucy Rhodes sing with the Joe Simon music makers. Heading the 16-member Bicentennial Committee, which includes Kay Favrot, are Sisters Guste and Jan Dunn, RSCJ, chairwoman. Sister Sheila Hammond, RSCJ, answers to provincial of the U.S.-Canada Province.