Southern U. professor receives scientific award

Yadong Qi, interim department chair and director of the Urban Forestry Graduate Program at Southern University, received the Morrison-Evans Outstanding Scientist Award for 2017 from the Association of 1890 Research Directors at its biennial symposium April 1-4 in Atlanta.

She is the second Southern University scientist to receive the award.

The ARD biennial symposium honors one outstanding scientist from the 19 intuitions based on established criteria. The theme of this year’s symposium was “1890 Research: Meeting the 21st Century Challenges Through Innovation.”

“I feel extremely honored to receive this prestigious award. It is like a dream coming true,” said Qi. “This honor belonging to not only me but the entire Southern University System and the land-grant campus.”

Undergraduate and graduate student oral and poster presentation competitions were also held during the symposium. Southern students Brittany Benjamin, Patrice Lazard and Asia Rubin placed in the oral competition. Benjamin, an urban forestry graduate student from New Orleans, won third in the graduate student category of Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Lazard, an agricultural economics undergraduate student from Lawtell, won first place in the undergraduate student category of Family, Youth, Community and Economic Development; and Rubin, an animal science undergraduate student from Lafayette, won third place in the undergraduate student category of Animal Health and Production and Animal Products.

Human trafficking topic for LSU Retirees

Federal law clerk Katherine Green spoke about human trafficking of young women as sex slaves to the LSU Faculty & Staff Retirees Club April 3.

Green is co-founder of Eden House in New Orleans, whose mission is to “end human and sex trafficking one woman at a time.” The two-year program is a recovery home for adult female victims of human trafficking, drug and alcohol addiction and prostitution.

“We provide a safe home, recovery services and education,” Green said. Eden House has assisted more than 120 women since its first client in 2011.

From 2010 to 2013, Green served as chair of the Human Trafficking Task Force for the Middle District of Louisiana while working at the state’s Attorney General’s Office. In 2010, she received the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Crystal Gavel Award for her work in human trafficking.

Joy Bagur, Donna Day, Mary Feduccia, Barbara Franke, Denver Loupe and Rose Ann Martin provided refreshments. Retirees hold meetings, tours and social events through the academic year. The club is open to all LSU retirees and their spouses. For details, contact

Curtis, Landry headline LSU Alumni honors

Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, Louisiana adjutant general, and Brandon P. Landry, founder, co-owner and CEO of Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, highlighted the alumni inducted into the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction. Curtis, Alumnus of the Year, and Landry, Young Alumnus of the Year, along with four other LSU graduates, were inducted at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on April 7.

Also inducted were former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, policy adviser with Van Ness Feldman, Washington, D.C.; William Shelby McKenzie, of counsel with Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, Baton Rouge; Jake L. Netterville, chairman of the board emeritus of Postlethwaite & Netterville, Baton Rouge; and Dr. Charles M. Smith, retired family medicine practitioner, Sulphur.

Curtis has commanded the 11,500-member Louisiana National Guard since 2011 through numerous natural disasters, most recently the 2016 floods. Curtis was commissioned in 1984 through the LNG Officer Candidate School after serving as an enlisted member of the guard since 1982. Recognized with numerous awards and decorations during his career, he was inducted into the LSU Military Hall of Honor in 2009, received the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Award in 1989, was named Battalion Commander of the Year in 1999 and received a Business & Industry Top 40 Under Forty award in 2002. Curtis graduated from LSU in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Landry opened the first Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar in 2003. Today, the business has expanded to 13 restaurants in Louisiana and Texas, with 50 more locations across the South on the drawing board. In 2015, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees signed on as Landry’s partner, and annual revenues are estimated to exceed $70 million in 2017. He was named LRA Restaurateur of the Year, Baton Rouge Young Businessperson of the Year and Louisiana Marketer of the Year and received a Baton Rouge Business Report 40 Under 40 award.

Phi Beta Sigma honors high school scholars

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity held its annual Scholars Day on April 9 at Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Thirty-four graduating seniors from 18 high schools in six area parishes were honored for having grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher. Five scholarships, three special recognition awards and three book awards were given.

The scholarships recipients were Brinkley O. Robinson, Madison Preparatory Academy, $1,200, Dr. G. Leon Netterville Scholarship; Trevon Vinson, Tara High, $750, Attorney Arthur Thomas Scholarship; Terrell C. Jingles, Tara High, $500, Dr. Harold Brown Scholarship; Charles J. Davis III, Dutchtown High, $500, Judge Luke LaVergne Scholarship; and Jordan J. Johnson, East Feliciana High, $500, Dr. Shirl Gilbert Scholarship.

Receiving $250 special recognition awards were: Kaleb Robertson, Baton Rouge Magnet High; Walter Hayes Jr., Broadmoor High; and Vaylen Le'Roy Clark, Central High. Receiving $100 book awards were: Timothy T. Terrell, Belaire High; Trajan T. Butler, Plaquemine High; and Tyrell J. Vaughn, Broadmoor High.

Music Club Chorus performs show tunes

The Baton Rouge Music Club Chorus presented “A Love Letter to Lerner and Loewe” for the Music Club of Baton Rouge on April 11.

The chorus performed selections from "My Fair Lady," "Paint Your Wagon," "Brigadoon" and "Camelot." Terry Byars designed the program, which was directed by Marjorie Blocker and accompanied by Louis Wendt, piano, and Kim Sands, cello. Narrators were Charlotte Paulsen and Katy Bynum.

Rita Lovett chaired the program. Jessie Mulkey and Jo Zganjar co-chaired the Hospitality Committee, consisting of Beryl Browning, Nola Labat, Judy LaBauve, Eunice Landolt, Jackie Lewis, Lois Michelli, Goldie O’Bannon and Merlyn Stratman.

Homeowners associations learn how to reduce solicitations

Maimuna Magee, EBR special assistant parish attorney, spoke about how homeowners associations can create “no soliciting” subdivisions when the Federation of Greater Baton Rouge Civic Associations met April 13.

Magee noted that parish ordinances exempt religious, political or charitable solicitation from no-solicitation restrictions. House-to-house is allowed between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. except when a “no solicitation" sign has been posted at a residence or posted at each entrance to a recognized single family residential subdivision.

She said residents should not open the door if they feel uncomfortable or wary.

The federation meets the second Thursday of each month at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library auditorium. The next meeting will be on May 11. Single-family homeowner associations are invited to join. Contact President Nancy Curry, (225) 925-1674.

Pocahontas topic for Genealogical and Historical Society

Researcher Yvonne Lewis Day presented a historical and genealogical account of Pocahontas at the April 15 meeting of the Baton Rouge Genealogical and Historical Society at Bluebonnet Library.

Day debunked myths about Pocahontas, who bridged two worlds, crossed an ocean to dine with the British king and started a colonial dynasty that included one notable descendant with connections to Baton Rouge.

Among the myths discounted was the story of how she saved the life of English Capt. John Smith. The only source for this story is Smith, who historians say exaggerated many of his exploits and did not mention his rescue by Pocahontas until 17 years after it allegedly happened in 1609, when, in Jamestown journals, she was described as a child. Day said their alleged romance is a myth.

Day said one descendant was Thomas Bolling Robertson, a Virginia lawyer and close friend of Thomas Jefferson, who appointed him attorney general and then secretary of the Territory of Orleans. In 1812, Robertson became the new state’s first congressman. He later served as state attorney general and was the third governor of Louisiana. 

In 1821, he married Lelia Skipwith of Baton Rouge, daughter of Fulwar Skipwith, the former governor of the West Florida Republic. The Skipwith plantation at Monte Sano extended north along the high bluff of the Mississippi River. As a wedding present, Skipwith gave the young couple 1,200 acres on the north side of his plantation. The couple resided there full time after Robertson was appointed U.S. district judge.

Judy Riffel will speak about the Georgetown Memory Project at the May 20 meeting at the Bluebonnet Library. The program is free and open to the public. For details, contact

LSU students named Science Foundation fellows

Five current students or recent LSU graduates were recognized by the National Science Foundation as 2017 Graduate Research Fellows, and six others received honorable mention.

This year’s fellows from LSU include: Daniel Christopher Bourgeois, of Baton Rouge, who graduated in December from LSU with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics; Simon Gabriel Lorenzo, of Baton Rouge, who will graduate in May from LSU with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in physics; Andrew Paul Olivier, of Houma, who graduated in May 2016 from LSU with a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in mathematics; Christopher Lee Sumner, of Rome, Georgia, who graduated from Shorter University in May 2012 and is attending LSU for graduate school; and Randee Elizabeth Young, of Prairieville, who graduated from LSU in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

The following students received honorable mention: Charles Ethan Byrne, of Walker, who will graduate in May from LSU with a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering; Amanda Cooper, of Bogalusa, who graduated in December 2014 from LSU with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and biology; Davis Houston Cowles, of Atlanta, who graduated in December from LSU with a bachelor’s degree in coastal and environmental science with a minor in Spanish; Allison Snider, of Novi, Michigan, who graduated in May 2015 from Central Michigan University and is attending LSU for graduate school in life sciences; Avery St. Dizier, of Baton Rouge, who graduated from LSU in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics; and Jessie Frances Salter, of Los Angeles, California, who received a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College in May 2014 and attends LSU for graduate school.

NSF named 2,000 individuals as this year’s recipients of the graduate fellow awards, which provide three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period — a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution. That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in STEM fields, STEM education and social sciences.

LSU announces 10 Dutton Scholarship winners

LSU Campus Life, a department within the Office of the Dean of Students, awarded the 2017 Tom W. Dutton Scholarship for participation and leadership in campus and community service to 10 female students April 19 at the LSU Love Purple, Live Gold Awards.

The award also carries a $250 to $500 stipend that was credited to the recipient’s spring semester fee bill. Recipients are: Jillian Davis, a senior majoring in communication disorders from Bellaire, Texas; Florencia Scaglia Drusini, a junior majoring in biochemistry from Broussard; Amanda Fontenot, a junior majoring in coastal environmental science from Houston; Danielle Kelley, a 2016 master’s graduate in mass communication from Baton Rouge; Lillian LaGrange, a sophomore majoring in economics from Baton Rouge; Samantha Lanjewar, a junior majoring in animal/dairy/poultry science from Valhalla, New York; Camille Prejean, a senior majoring in biological sciences from Lafayette; Chloe Riviere, a junior majoring in political science and international studies from New Orleans; Victoria Smorodinova, a sophomore majoring in finance from Lake Arthur; and Latrissia Torres, a junior majoring in mass communication with a concentration in public relations from Slidell.

The award is presented annually to female undergraduate or graduate students for outstanding service to the university community through participation and leadership in community service activities while attending LSU.

Eaglin completes Air Force basic training

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Isiah T. Eaglin graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. He is the son of Barbara Eaglin, of Opelousas; brother of James Eaglin, of Baton Rouge; and nephew of Dianne Eaglin, of Opelousas, and Debbie Lewis and David Lewis Sr., of Westwego. He graduated in 2011 from Opelousas High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 2016 from Southern University.

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 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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