GFWC Lagniappe Woman's Club of Baton Rouge won the award for Outstanding Club in Louisiana at the General Federation of Women's Clubs state convention on April 26-27 in Opelousas.

Lagniappe member Lana Merliss was chosen Outstanding Member. The club's other awards included best yearbook and awards for volunteer work in six community service areas: conservation, leadership, legislation and public policy, membership, advocates for children and ESO (a reading program).

Club President Cathie Ryan won first place in the writing contest, and three members, Marge Schroth, Ryan and Merliss, won photography awards.

Whitney receives volunteer award

Tanya R. Whitney was named Capital Area Champion when Volunteer Louisiana and the Volunteer Louisiana Foundation recognized nine Champions of Service Award winners at the Champions of Service Awards Gala on April 9.

After retiring from almost 28 years of military service, Whitney volunteers with veterans, especially women veterans, high school athletes as a volunteer coach, helps with events that honor local veterans and gives speeches on how women in the military helped shape our society.

Volunteer Louisiana Executive Director Judd Jeansonne gave opening remarks and welcomed the gala attendees, along with East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. Michael Tipton, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation president, gave the keynote address.

Also receiving the award were Mary Jean Lewis, Northwest Champion; Emily Leitzinger, Greater New Orleans Champion; Mike Shields, Northeast Champion; Ruben D. Henderson III, Southwest Champion; Barbara McKaskle, Southeast/North Shore Champion; Jimmie Bryant, AmeriCorps Champion; Ron Griggs, Senior Corps Champion; and Shell Exploration and Production, Corporate Volunteer Champion.

Chronologically Gifted hear news anchor

Jeanne Burns, veteran news anchor for Channel 33, spoke April 17 to the Chronologically Gifted and Talented of Broadmoor Presbyterian Church.

Burns said she has worked at stations across the state for close to three decades. She recalled early in her career covering a flood in Monroe when a co-worker yelled, “Don’t move!” There was a copperhead snake at her feet, which the coworker killed, she said.

As a news anchor, Burns said she spends more time in the newsroom than in the field.

Von Raybon catered the monthly luncheon. The Rev. Barrett Ingram said the invocation. Mary Golden, of New York City, was a guest. Annabelle Armstrong presided, assisted by Marion Forbes, Pat Robertson, Virginia Holloway and E.J. McCune.

Stirling DAR hears Stenzel

Rebecca Stenzel spoke to the April 17 meeting of the Alexander Stirling Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at Jan Pourciau's home.

Stenzel, state curator for the Louisiana DAR, spoke on a memoir documenting the challenges and changes her family faced during wars, eventually settling in Homer, and the women who held the family together while their men were away. She related these women to the bulbs that they carried with them and planted at each new home — strong, resilient, beautiful and tough. 

Chapter member Lauren Durr recently was installed as the senior state president of the Children of the American Revolution. Guests at the meeting were Florence Crowder and Marie Porche. Co-hostesses were Lauren Durr, Mary Ellen Daniel and Mary Anne Stevens.

Beta Sigma Phi has Founders Day dinner

The Beta Sigma Phi City Council celebrated its 88th Founders Day with a dinner at the Clarion Hotel in Gonzales on April 25.

Preceptor Alpha Eta member Beth Scardina welcomed the 11 chapters present. Beta Sigma Phi recognized those with 60, 50 and 25 years of membership. City Council President Anne Roberts, of Laureate Alpha Alpha, announced 2019-20 officers: Karen Kimball, president; Jodi Solito, vice president; Lois Folse, recording secretary; and Vikki Hebert, treasurer.

Verlyne Leblanc, a 60-year member, received the Award of Distinction, Beta Sigma Phi's highest award, from Torchbearer Beta President Jean Leyda. Leyda was honored as the Woman of the Year for the third time by her chapter. She was previously elected Woman of the Year by Laureate Sigma Chapter. She was presented with a crystal vase by her members.

Charlene Montelaro, senior vice president of the Baton Rouge Food Bank, thanked the chapters for their donations of $1,061 and canned foods. The monetary donations represent 3,183 meals, Montelaro said.

Slaughter students win national DAR awards

Nine Slaughter Community Charter School students received DAR Junior American Citizens national awards on April 30.

The theme was “The 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing — America’s Great Move Forward in Exploration and Technology.”

Ayanami Taylor, an 11th grader, won first place in the nation for her stamp artwork. Earning second-place awards were Madelyn Babineaux, Haydn Hurst and McKenna Chaney for their teamwork on a banner; Mikaela Payne, 10th grade, for her poster; and Jillian Templet, ninth grade, for her poem. 

Winning third place were Emilee Graham, ninth grade, for her short story, and Karlie Fleming, eighth grade, for her poster. Tenth grader Jordan Whitfield won honorable mention for his poster.

Glennis Kent and LaShae Fletcher are their teachers and sponsors. 

Plaquemine club tours BR Botanic Gardens

The Baton Rouge Botanic Gardens was the topic when the Plaquemine Garden Club held its Founders Day program on April 9 at the Independence Boulevard site.

Each member received a brochure with maps of the garden so they could tour at their own pace. John Hough, Baton Rouge Botanic Garden Foundation president, spoke on how the gardens were formed and sustained. Sarah Liberta spoke about how different organizations volunteer to plant and maintain the gardens and spoke on how to cook with different types of chocolate.

Literary and Civic Club makes Easter baskets

The Literary and Civic Study Club of Baton Rouge, a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, assembled Easter baskets for the residents of Youth Oasis, a shelter for homeless children, on March 20 at Della Sinclair's home.

Eighteen baskets were filled with candy, plastic eggs, stuffed rabbits and bubbles donated by the club members. The excess candy and toys were donated to the St. Elizabeth foundation, a local adoption agency. 

Alpha Psi holds crawfish boil

The Southeastern Louisiana Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Phi held its second annual crawfish boil on April 19 at the home of alumna Nancy Thiesen Bennett and her husband, Bob, at The Bluffs in St. Francisville.

While most chapter alumnae attended LSU and were members of the Delta Tau chapter there, members represent 24 other Alpha Phi chapters in 15 other states and the District of Columbia. Vice President of Programming Shawn Depierri Miller welcomed guests, who relaxed on the back porch or played bocce.


Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate eatplaylive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821, or emailed to people@theadvocate.com. Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.


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