Two events affiliated with Tulane University assembled guests to the National WWII Museum for the university’s Alumni Awards Gala and, a few days later, to The Historic New Orleans Collection. In conjunction with the Preservation Resource Center, the Tulane School of Architecture presented a symposium, Preservation Matters III — The Economics of Authenticity. Yet another gathering was for the Spring Poetry Festival of the Louisiana State Poetry Society and Messina’s in Kenner was the location. In each case, line items blended with levity.

Alumni Ado

The U.S. Freedom Pavilion of the National WWII Museum was the site for the citing when exemplary Tulane alumni reaped praise. Take a bow, Hans A.B. Jonassen, Alumni Professional Achievement Award; Essam M. AlZamel (of Saudi Arabia), International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement; David J. Goodman (of Paramus, New Jersey), The Scott Cowen Alumni Service Award; and Elliott J. Wiener, Young Alumnus Volunteer of the Year. They were hailed during the program that started at 8 p.m. after a 7 p.m. reception.

A field greens salad was pre-set, following a trend used at a number of functions to facilitate service and sate the immediate and collective appetite. Braised ribs and crispy flounder followed as the next dishes and cheesecake concluded the dinner. The musical menu was purveyed by the John Doheny Jazz Trio, along with Dr. Michael White and his jazz quartet.

Within the appreciative and applauding assembly were Jonassen family members, such as spouse Pierce and their adult children, Hans C. Jonassen and Pierce Young with husband Dr. Tom Young; Andal AlSuhaimi AlZamel, wife of awardee Essam AlZamel — they flew in from Saudi Arabia; Goodman family, including awardee David’s wife, Dr. Hope Schlolssberg, and his parents, Lawrence and Rosalyn Goodman; and, with Elliott Wiener (of New York), his fiancée, Nicole Kotler, and his mom, Nancy.

They rated congratulations from Tulane Alumni Association Board of Directors President Rusty Pickering with Kimberly, TAA President-Elect Carol Showley, and from the university, Freeman School of Business Dean Ira Solomon with Susan, School of Science and Engineering Dean Nicholas Altierro with Amy, and Executive Vice President for University Relations and Development Yvette Jones with Rick.

Still others were a mother-daughter twosome in Carol B. Wise and Ginny, Louis Fishman with Carla (who’ve just moved into new digs –and will have Hans and Pierce Jonassen as neighbors within the complex), Reuben and Marlene Friedman, James Stofan and Ron Roth, John and Laura Williams, and for added spirit, the Tulane Navy ROTC Color Guard. Adding university “color,” the Green Wave Brass Band provided its note-worthiness.

Symposium Set

Marking its 40th anniversary, the Preservation Resource Center partnered with the Tulane Architecture School to produce Preservation Matters III, a symposium titled “The Economics of Authenticity.” An at-capacity crowd of 180 people attended the Wedneaday night symposium, which was held on Chartres Street at the Williams Research Center of the above THNOC, to hear keynote speaker Charles Birnbaum explore the concept of “authenticity.” He’s the founder and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

After Birnbaum’s much-applauded address, attendees walked over to Royal Street and the Collection’s Merieult House, which provided the setting for talk-related photographs and socializing. The exhibits, paintings and Furniture at THNOC enriched the subject matter, eliciting expressions of appreciation. Meanwhile, folks enjoyed catering by Martin Wine Cellar and lively, on-target conversation, mostly about preservation and revitalization.

Noted headliners were Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks; Anthony Tung, urbanist, author, and former New York City Landmarks Preservation Commissioner; Eduardo Rojas, formerly of the Inter-American Development Bank, and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania; and Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics in Washington, D.C.

They garnered limelight at the next-day symposium activity that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He made remarks about New Orleans’ rich historic fabric and the necessity to safeguard our unique architecture and culture. The mayor then introduced Thomas Menino, former mayor of Boston, who spoke on that city’s Main Street program.

Milling about on Wednesday evening during the reception were Tulane Architecture School Dean Kenneth Schwartz; John Stubbs, director of the TAS Preservation Studies Program; and, with George Schmidt, PRC executive director Patty Gay, who praised the symposium for promoting awareness that the Crescent City’s historic “built” environment “is a rich economic resource for attracting business investment and new residents and visitors.”

Still others, and all answering to a title or two, were Clyde Jacob, Danielle Del Sol, Richard Campanella, Bill Gilchrist, Maurice Cox, Nicole Hobson-Morris, Jack Davis, Roberta Gratz, Shaun Duncan, Alkis Tsolakis, Susan Montgomery, and Julie McCollam.

Poetry in Place

Mary Emma Dutrieux Pierson spearheads much of the activity for the LSPS Poetry Spring Festival as chairwoman. The names to know for the 2014 fest, which attracted individuals from the Greater New Orleans area and farther afield, were winning poets Jessica Gonsoulin and Tommy Little, John Travis, Robert Allen, Kaylon Allen, Margaret Overstreet, Lola Jolly, Lois Krulisky, Linden Morgan, Luberta Boeke-Farrell, Danielle Hall, E.J. Nagel, Nancy Harris, Kathryn Fortenberry, Linda McCullough, LSPS state President Mary Galvin, Debbie Little, and Susan Larson, the guest speaker. Susan, who hosts WWNO’s “The Reading Life,” spoke about her muse, the late Kate Barnes, Maine’s first woman poet laureate. “Kate’s images are especially lyrical,” said speaker Susan, who quoted from Barnes, “My mother’s face is a feast of light.”

Sunset-pink and peach-colored roses embellished the premises at Messina’s. Those very roses went home with the poet guests, who also left with souvenirs of pens and notebooks, and, according to Emma Pierson, “their own poetic feast of light provided by the afternoon’s celestial blue sky.”

Follow this link to the photos.