Georgetown project topic for Audubon DAR

Judy Riffel, lead genealogist for the Georgetown Memory Project, spoke about the project March 20 to the John James Audubon Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

Riffel explained the connection between Georgetown and several area plantations. With more than 35 years of experience, she is a professional genealogist who focuses on Louisiana records, including translations of French and Spanish documents.

American History co-chairwomen Glenda Carlile and Georgia LaCour introduced the winner of the Christopher Columbus essay contest. Lauren Michelli, a junior at East Ascension High School, read her essay describing how modern technology would have helped Columbus.

Gloria Wilbert received the Women in History Award. LaCour read Wilbert’s biography and told stories of her life in the service as a World War II Navy veteran. At Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Wilbert was secretary to the commanding officer of the Emergency and Repair Division. She was honorably discharged in Charleston, South Carolina, after two years, and is a 32-year DAR member. Holley Talley presented the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal to Wilbert.

Meeting hostesses were Yvonne Lewis Day, Karen White, Ann Shore and Carlile.

Chapter members attending the 108th annual State Conference March 16-18 in Metairie were Stella Tanoos, Sue Badeaux, Carole Gloger, Margaret Tyler, associate Charlotte White, Carlile, LaCour and Talley. Chapter awards included Chapter Achievement Award Level 1; Public Relations and Media, Best Newsletter; Women’s Issues, Most Activities and Programs; American History, Best American History Report; Junior American Citizens, first place certificates for Stamp Contest; DAR Service to Veterans Award; American Indian, Certificate of Appreciation for American Indian Minutes; National Defense Committee Certificate of Recognition; Flag of the U.S., second place for Outstanding Flag Event; Historian, first place Category C Scrapbook; Classroom Community, Outstanding Participation in Local Schools in 2016 through Projects; Women's Issues, Best Documented Report; Conservation, presenting seedlings to chapter members for Arbor Day celebration; American Indian, Most Newsletters; Literacy Promotion, Outstanding Service of a Chapter; and DAR Service to Veterans, Most Veteran Projects.

DAR membership is open to women 18 and older who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence. She must provide documentation for each statement of birth, marriage and death. For information, contact

Polk receives SLYN scholarship

Terry Polk, a junior at Madison Preparatory Academy, is this year’s Southern Law Youth Network first-place essay recipient. He received his award and $1,000 scholarship during Southern University Law Center’s 2017 Barristers’ Ball on March 24.

SULC Chancellor John K. Pierre and SLYN Program Director Alvarez Hertzock III presented the award, which is the largest scholarship given by SLYN thus far.

Polk read an excerpt from his winning essay. “Overall, I’m aware that careers in the legal profession are serious and competitive, so sticking to my goals and remaining focused are my main priorities right now," he said. "I am proud to say that next year, I will be reaching the end of my high school journey. However, just like in elementary school, I still do believe that I can be anything I want to be, and I’m glad that programs like SLYN are reaching out to students like me to inform us of our many possibilities.” Polk aspires to become a criminal justice attorney.

SLYN is a student-organized, scholarship-based outreach program created at SULC in 2015. The organization has visited more than a dozen schools in the Baton Rouge area, mentored about 500 students and logged over 450 volunteer hours.

Civil War group hears about CSS Arkansas 

Civil War historian Ed Bearss spoke about the Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas at the battle of Vicksburg to the Civil War Round Table on April 3.

Bearss said by June 1862, the Confederates had lost all strongholds on the Mississippi River except Port Hudson and Vicksburg, Mississippi, and most of the South’s brown-water ships had been destroyed. A victory was needed to keep alive Confederate hopes of controlling at least part of river.

At this time, the Arkansas was built in Memphis and towed down the Mississippi and about 60 miles up the Yazoo River, where it was armed and completed. Bearss pointed out that during this period, two Union fleets of gunboats under Commodore Farragut were positioned just north of Vicksburg.

Farragut sent three boats up the Yazoo to find and destroy the Arkansas, but they were unsuccessful. The Arkansas gave chase down the Yazoo to the Mississippi where it ran the gauntlet of Union ships lining both sides of the river. The Union ships were surprised and did not have their “steam up” and therefore could not give chase but fired their guns relentlessly at the passing Arkansas as it fired back.

The last shots fired by the Arkansas were at Farragut’s flagship before passing Vicksburg on its way down river toward Baton Rouge. The Arkansas’ performance against the Union fleets at Vicksburg gave the Confederates great hope for support during the coming battle of Baton Rouge.

SLU students volunteer for The Big Event

Southeastern Louisiana University students put in a day of community service in Hammond and nearby communities April 8 as part of SLU’s The Big Event.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association, The Big Event gives students the opportunity to help the communities and organizations that support Southeastern in many ways, said senior Myranda Triche, of LaPlace, student coordinator for the project.

This is the seventh year the SGA has sponsored The Big Event.

The students included individual volunteers and representatives of several student organizations, fraternities and sororities. They worked at sites such as the Iowa Neighborhood Association, several Hammond fire stations, St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store and Holy Ghost Catholic School.

Jobs included beautification and landscaping projects, clean-up efforts in downtown Hammond, cleaning and polishing the city’s fire engines, and sorting materials and conducting inventory for nonprofit organizations.

The Big Event was originally scheduled for March but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Preceptor Beta Epsilon learns about vacation locations 

Travel agent Leslie Steele gave a program about vacation areas around the world when Preceptor Beta Epsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi met April 7 at City Café.

Rick Steele spoke about home air purifier technology.

President Maxine Muller reminded members of the Beta Sigma Phi Founders Day Banquet April 27 at Mike Anderson's Seafood Restaurant in Gonzales and the Beta Sigma Phi Convention Oct. 20-22 at Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge.

Service Committee Chairman Marilyn Mayeux collected $55 and food for the Denham Springs Animal Shelter.

Also attending were Anna Marie Burns, Donna Hoglen, Sandy Linder, Ruth Mannen, Anne Smith, Ethel Taylor, Bonnie Wolfe and Carol Hughes.

Four receive TAF Teaching Awards at LSU

Four Tiger Athletic Foundation Teaching Awards were presented during LSU University College’s annual “Celebration of Excellence” Spring Awards program. 

Award recipients are Chantel D. Chauvin, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department of Sociology; Belinda C. Davis, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department of Political Science; Kandace T. Hurst, LSU College of Science, Department of Chemistry; and James V. Moroney, LSU College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences.

The Tiger Athletic Foundation provides University College with support to award up to eight Teaching Awards. LSU students nominate their best professors and instructors. All nominated faculty are presented to a Teaching Awards Selection Committee.

“University College is pleased to have generous donors that allow us to acknowledge some of LSU’s outstanding undergraduate faculty with teaching awards,” said R. Paul Ivey, executive director of LSU University College. “Our ‘Celebration of Excellence’ ceremony allows us the opportunity to publicly recognize these deserving faculty.”

Miller completes Boy Scout Eagle requirements

Boy Scout Garrett Miller, of Troop 203, recently completed the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouting. 

Miller's Eagle project was building four sturdy outdoor benches for Runnels High School, where he is a junior. He created a budget, presented it before a board, shopped for materials and organized a work day for 20 people, including fellow scouts Jonathan Harper, Daniel Harris, Michal Gawronski, Sam Ellsworth, Ricky Harrison, Robby Harrison, Rossie Harrison, Chris Yura and Nick D'Gerolamo, all students at Runnels. The benches were installed on the school’s main campus the week of April 3.

He is the son of Reneé and Ron Miller, who is also his Scoutmaster.

Lee High Class of '67 reunion Saturday

The Robert E. Lee High School Class of 1967 will celebrate its 50-year reunion on Saturday, April 22, at Juban's Restaurant. Contact

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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