For more than 50 years, the St. Bernard Business and Professional Women’s Club has honored a local man and woman for their contributions to the parish and for their professional accomplishments.
This year, the club has chosen Barry Lemoine and Nora Egan as its 54th man and woman of the year. The honorees’ accomplishments will be highlighted during the club’s annual banquet on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with a cash bar.
Tickets are $55 and must be purchased in advance by calling Wanda Alcon at (504) 451-3694. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
Lemoine, a Chalmette High School teacher, said he is proud to have been named man of the year.
“I was honestly surprised and touched to be recognized by the BPW in this way,” Lemoine said.
Playfully regarded as the “Bard of St. Bernard,” Lemoine has spent most of his adult life as a teacher, actor, writer and producer of theater and educational television for PENN-TV.
“I’ve been lucky that my work and my life have been so intertwined. Teaching, producing, performing and writing are all things I do because I love them but also because they allow for creative collaboration, and knowing that community leaders appreciate my work in the parish really means a lot to me,” Lemoine said.
“I’ve always felt like an ambassador for the parish, especially post-storm, and now I have an even better moniker. I mean, ‘Bard of St. Bernard’ is great, but ‘Man of the Year’ is even better. Hearing my name in that sentence is still hard to believe, but it’s a good feeling.”
Lemoine is president of Shine Productions LLC, St. Bernard’s only professional theater company. Since 2001, Shine has brought entertainment and education to venues throughout the parish and across the metro area. Lemoine has penned several plays, including “An Evening with Betsy, Voices from the Storm,” which garnered two Big Easy nominations, the only time a St. Bernard production has ever been recognized, and “Voices of Louisiana,” which conveyed the history and heartache of his hometown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Another one of his original works, “The Somewhat True History of St. Bernard Abridged: A Love Story,” has had a sold-out run.
Just months after Hurricane Katrina, Lemoine started the Voices Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to preserve the history and culture of St. Bernard. Under his leadership, the Voices Foundation has hosted art workshops and senior citizen performances, and has awarded more than $10,000 in scholarships to aspiring actors and artists.
“I am really looking forward to the gala next month and hope all of the special people in Nora Egan’s life and mine will come together for an unforgettable evening,” Lemoine said. “And, as guest of honor, I won’t have to sit at the kids’ table this year.”
Lemoine lives in Old Arabi with his wife, Katherine Karcher Lemoine.
Egan, of Arabi, a community philanthropist, said she is flattered by her recognition.
“I’m overwhelmed by all these honors at one time,” Egan said. “I feel that I was born to volunteer. It gives me a high to know that what I do helps our community and people. I love St. Bernard and want to help wherever I can. I love the people of St. Bernard and the challenge of helping to make it even better.”
Egan has demonstrated her commitment to St. Bernard through her involvement in a number of civic and charitable organizations.
Egan is most noted for her work with the Stitch in Time Club, a part of St. Bernard Volunteers for Family and Community, which is sponsored by the LSU AgCenter. She has been a member for 42 years and serves as president.
Egan coordinates bingo parties for senior citizens at nursing homes; volunteers at area schools; and participates in the annual St. Bernard Special Olympics, where the group raises money by selling sweets.
She’s a driving force behind St. Bernard’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Under Egan’s leadership, the organization has raised more than $250,000 for various charities since its inception 20 years ago. She helped form St. Bernard Gives Back, a disaster relief organization that raises money for victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
A former flight attendant and airline reservations agent, Egan also is an accomplished seamstress who has sewn costumes for many Carnival organizations, as well as dresses for bridal parties.
Egan and her husband of 47 years, William “Bill” Egan, have two children and one grandchild.
The Chalmette National Cemetery of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is seeking volunteers of all ages to participate in observance of the 21st annual National Public Lands Day.
Volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, to help with cleaning and trimming around headstones at Chalmette National Cemetery. Volunteers are advised to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes to protect against irritants such as poison ivy. Other necessary items to bring include work gloves, eye protection, insect repellent and sunscreen. The park will provide water and snacks.
This year’s theme is “Helping Hands for America’s Lands,” which is designed to encourage individuals to “give something back” to America’s millions of acres of public lands.
To register, call (504) 689-3690, ext. 10. Thursday, Sept. 25 is the deadline.
Drug take-back day
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office will host a prescription medication take-back day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, in the parking lot of Walgreens, 100 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette.
Sponsored nationally by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, drug take-back days have helped keep prescription drugs off the street, which Sheriff James Pohlmann said is important because studies show young people often first abuse prescription drugs after stealing them from medicine chests at the homes of relatives or parents of friends.
The two previous drug take-back days at Walgreens were successful, with more than 100 pounds of medications turned in by the public, Pohlmann said.
“Don’t let young people get hooked on pills they find while visiting you,’’ Pohlmann said. “Don’t throw medication in the garbage where it can be found or down the toilet where it can end up affecting wildlife or seafood in marshes.’’
AARP to meet
AARP Pakenham Chapter 3926 will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Council on Aging, 8201-A W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette.
For information, call George Virga at (504) 278-1367.
Kim Gritter writes about people, places and events in St. Bernard Parish. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.