“Highest Honor” is attributed to the Alexis de Tocqueville Award, which is given by United Way of Southeast Louisiana to a person who has shown exemplary philanthropic leadership. The 2017 laurels befell former Entergy Corp. Chairman and CEO J. Wayne Leonard, who was joined by wife Jackie, during a dinner and reception at the Hyatt Regency. Upon hearing that he was to be honored, Leonard said he reflected on what is important in life, “on the legacy you want to leave.” In recent years, he has battled noncurable cancer and its related health issues.
Society Chairwoman (and past awardee) Florence “Flo” Schornstein presented the award. She was joined by her husband, Richard.
More recognition tapped society founder C. Allen Favrot, who received the UWSELA Lifetime Achievement Award.
To open the program of the dinner presented by Entergy, UWSELA board of trustees Chairman Richard Haase (with Mary Ann) stepped forward as master of ceremonies. Other program notables, along with the aforementioned, were UWSELA President and CEO Michael Williamson (with Kim), Tocqueville Society Cabinet Chairman Robert Kimbro, Entergy Corp. President and CEO Charles Rice Jr. (with Vonda), and Entergy Corp. Chairman and CEO Leo Denault (with Nancy).
More notables were UWSELA board member and Campaign Cabinet Chairman Gary Lorio (with Carolyn) and past Tocqueville Award recipients David Fennelly (with Carlos Sanchez), Bob Merrick (with Sheryl), Carol Wise, Kim Sport (with Michael) and Alexis Hocevar, 2016. Noted, too, in a gathering of 400-plus were Marcus and Judge Nannette Brown, Dan and Lisa Casey, Toya Barnes-Teamer and Rod Teamer, Elwood and Sandra Cahill, Jeff and Sandra Platt, John and Carol Ann Roberts, Todd and Adrienne Slack, Robert and Debbie Kimbro, Cathy and Mark McRae, former UWSELA President and CEO Gary Ostroske and Mary Ann, Linda and Charles Teamer, and Patty and Phillip Riddlebarger.
Old Hollywood themed the Award Celebration with such glamorous touches as golden award statues, white florals and film elements woven throughout. The flowers by Perfect Presentations were white roses and alstromeria, along with alternating 12-inch Oscar trophies and director clapper boards. A tasty dinner of mixed green salad, Abita Beer-braised short ribs and an assortment of dessert “minis” were the table pleasures. For the musical tribute, the Nayo Jones Experience rendered “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
When he received his honor, Wayne Leonard talked about how privileged he was to be recognized and how “United Way’s work around poverty is close to my heart.” He concluded with “I am honored beyond belief.”
Those who get, give. He and Entergy, in separate surprise donations, gave $1 million in gifts to United Way in support of its mission to eradicate poverty and to the new J. Wayne Leonard Prosperity Center, which is slated to be a one-stop financial literacy center opening in the next number of months. Others in that select group of donors ($1 million) have been Fennelly and Sanchez, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Georges, Merrick, “Anonymous,” and Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Stewart. The 2017 Tocqueville honoree, J. Wayne Leonard, now joins that roster.
Over a two-day period, more than $143,000 was raised for Bastion at the Wine, Dine and Design Preview Party and the next-day luncheon. Both were held at the Audubon Tea Room, which was embellished by 25 elaborately decorated tables created by area designers. Both events were presented by Bryan Subaru and IberiaBank. Gratitude galore targeted the anonymous donor, who matched the money raised. Bastion, a nonprofit organization, “is an intentionally designed neighborhood in New Orleans for returning warriors and their families.”
Teamed to chair the event were Lauren and Bryan Fitzpatrick and Celeste and Curtis Eustis. More luminaries were event spearheader Bev Church and Johnny, Bastion founder and CEO Dylan Tete and Annie, Donna and Paul Flower, Dee and Ernie Eustis, Pam and Jay Bryan, Peyton and Liz Bush, Hunter and Kaylea Hill, Cleland and Claudia Powell, Lamar and Michelle Villere, Peggy Laborde, Betsy Laborde, Brent and Marion Butcher, Linda Bjork, Marianne Mumford, Dana Hansel, Janie Charbonnet, and from presenter Renaissance Publishing, CEO Todd Matherne and Morgan Packard Griffith (St. Charles Avenue Magazine editor), who served as auctioneer.
At the previewing, wine, hearty hors d’oeuvres, a live auction and musical entertainment were relished. Of course, perusing the fabulous Tablescapes was the ultimate delight. Champagne was one of the treats at the sold-out luncheon, where all guests received party gifts courtesy of the table hosts.
A Rising Hero
The movie “Marshall” stars Chadwick Boseman as civil rights legend Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, whose early career is depicted on the screen.
Along with a private prescreening of “Marshall,” the Amistad Research Center honored founders of Louis A. Martinet Legal Society at “Celebration of Legal Giants,” hailing legal giants in the New Orleans community. The event celebrated “African-American Lawyers who have shaped American democracy and civil rights.” Founding members of the Martinet Society included Dr. Norman Francis (who attended), and the late A.P. Tureaud, Justice Revius Ortique and Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial.
Guests gathered first at Morton’s The Steakhouse for tomato bruschetta crostini, shrimp cocktails, filet mignon on soft rolls and lamb chops before heading to the nearby Theaters at Canal Place for the prescreening.
Some of the event’s “stars” were Sybil Morial, A.P. Tureaud Jr., Alden J. McDonald Jr., Theon A. Wilson (Law offices of Theon A. Wilson, a major sponsor), Amistad Research Center Chairwoman Kim Boyle, Bill Rouselle, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, Dr. Lance Query, Councilman-at-Large Jason Williams, former Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy Jr., Public Service Commissioner Lambert C. Boissiere III, Amistad board member Ronald Wilson, Pres Kabacoff, Deborah Elam, Rene and Judy Perry Martinez, and Tania Tetlow, chief of staff of the Tulane University President’s Office.
Located on the Tulane campus, Amistad Research Center collects, preserves and provides open access to original materials on the social and cultural importance of black ethnic and racial history. A good cause, tributes and a significant film combined for a special evening.