The Committee for a Better New Orleans is seeking nominations through July 11 for the fifth annual Diana Lewis Citizen Participation Award. The committee will announce the winner at its awards luncheon ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 20 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 601 Loyola Ave. The featured speaker will be Coleman Ridley, executive director of Forward New Orleans and the Business Council of New Orleans.

The award will be presented to an individual and/or organization that has made a significant contribution to the empowerment of New Orleans citizens to be agents of change.

This civic engagement award is open to all organizations and residents of Orleans Parish. Candidates for the award are individuals or groups who have demonstrated leadership in mobilizing groups of citizens and harnessing energies to help make New Orleans a better place to live. Nominees cannot be elected officials or representatives of political organizations.

Previous winners include the Neighborhoods Partnership Network, the Orleans Public Education Network, Beth Shapiro Lavin, St. John No. 5 Baptist Church, VAYLA, Joel Myers and Diana Lewis, for whom the award was named in 2011.

“Awareness of the many forms of citizen participation, and the need to create structures to support it, is really blossoming in New Orleans right now,” said Julie Grantz, co-chair of CBNO and director of IPA Operations at Peoples Health Network. “The Diana Lewis Citizen Participation Awards recognize achievements in this important arena and help to keep the momentum going.”

The nomination form may be found on the CBNO website, Nominations may be submitted by email to; or by mail to CBNO, 4902 Canal St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA 70119.

“Citizen participation has been a major factor in the ongoing revitalization of New Orleans,” said Joe Friend, CBNO co-chair. “We want both to honor outstanding achievement in this field and to encourage and sustain it far into the future.”

CBNO works to create equity and opportunity for all New Orleanians by developing community leaders, fostering civic engagement and advocating for open, effective and accountable government.

For information about the Citizen Participation Awards, the Citizen Participation Program or the Committee for a Better New Orleans, contact Keith Twitchell at (504) 430-2258.

Brothers of the Sacred Heart alumni relive good times

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart Alumni Association of New Orleans held its annual Plus Fifty Gala on June 7 on the campus of Brother Martin High School in Gentilly. The gala is a gathering of men who graduated from St. Aloysius High School or Cor Jesu High School at least 50 years ago, before the two boys’ schools merged to become Brother Martin High.

The gala began with Mass in the James B. Branton Chapel. Some grads relied on canes to get there. Most sported gray, white or thinning hair. But after Mass, when they made their way to Benson Mall for socializing and dinner, it didn’t take long for a rousing transformation, as high school memories brought forth the sounds of youthful spirit.

Some grads relived their glory days on the football field; others replayed track meets and wrestling holds. All of the grads remembered how their years of study with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart made them better human beings.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at