Every spring, the What’s Good in Baton Rouge luncheon celebrates our city. Some 350 men gathered in the banquet room at Drusilla Place on March 25 for the 29th annual celebration, including LSU football coach Ed Orgeron and Southern University football coach Dawson Odums, who talked about their upcoming seasons; East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, who talked about local law enforcement; East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore; former LSU All-American, head coach and NFL star Jerry Stovall; and recently installed Bishop Michael Duca, who opened the festivities with a prayer.
Recently retired Constable Reginald Brown led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Rev. Cleo Milano led a rousing rendition of “God Bless America.” That was followed by a moment of silence for former luncheon honorees Billy Cannon, Jimmy Taylor, Isaiah “Butch” Robertson and Buddy Amoroso, all of whom died since last year’s gathering. Sammy Rispone handled emcee duties for the 20th year, with assistance from son Kirk.
Among the honors handed out at the mens-only event were plaques from the Mayor-President's Office presented by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's husband, Marvin Broome, to state high school football champion coaches David Brewerton, of Zachary High, and Chad Mahaffey, of University High. Various categories of fave "lucky" beans, each blessed by Milano, also were presented.
Brewerton, Mahaffey, Milano and Orgeron received gold-painted beans. Silver-painted beans went to former LSU football player and coach Don “Scooter” Purvis, former Southern pass-catching star Allen “Jubilee” Dunbar and Brown & Root President Andy Dupuy.
A lone “stainless-steel bean” was presented to Odums for his ability to take staff and players through two seasons and the 2018 SWAC championship game without spring practices. A black-painted bean was sent to New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton for the incredible bad luck in the NFC championship game, and a special Voodoo Bean was sent to that game’s referees. When the Rispones announced that new bean category, it got the afternoon’s loudest applause and laughter.
Unpainted beans were presented to new LSU passing-game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady and Southern’s first-year defensive coordinator Lionel Washington. The unpainted beans mean the recipients have a chance to paint their own way in their new jobs. Brady took a bit of ribbing from 3rd Circuit Judge Jonathan Perry, a Cajun humorist who dubbed him “T-Joe” during his post-lunch spiel.