As his first official act, Bob Emmert, the new chairman of the Friends of LPB board, presented the Chairman’s Award to his predecessor Rae Vasquez, who oversaw the launch of the group’s “Be a Friend" membership campaign. The goal of the campaign is to expand membership to 20,000 members by the end of 2020.

A large gathering of supporters and champions of Louisiana Public Broadcasting filled the studios for the Friends annual meeting Sept. 5, where several other awards were also handed out. Lee Kantrow and state Sen. Eric LaFleur were both presented the LPB President’s Award. Kantrow was recognized for his legal guidance for the past 35 years, in particular in the establishment of the Louisiana Educational Television Authority, Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Friends of LPB. LaFleur was honored for championing public broadcasting in Louisiana, especially for LPB’s French immersion programs and educational outreach

The Willis-Knighton Health System, which has been a major supporter of LPB programming since 2013, in particular the Louisiana Legends Gala and Masterpiece, was recognized with as LPB’s Underwriter of the Year.

Also getting a round of thanks for their service to LPB were outgoing LPB board members Bill Blackwood and Laura Lindsay.

After a festive reception and annual awards ceremony, attendees were treated to a sneak peek of the upcoming slate of programs coming to LPB and PBS.

Kiwanis turns 100

During its 100 years in the Capital City, the Kiwanis Club of Baton Rouge has amassed quite a legacy. More than a dozen of its members have received the Golden Deeds Award, the city’s highest honor for community service. Another member gets his name added to that list in November. Gerard Ruth, who was recognized for 60 years of service to Kiwanis at its 100th Anniversary Gala at Drusilla Place in mid-August, will be the man of the hour at this year’s Golden Deeds dinner Nov. 12.

Producing Golden Deeds winners isn’t the club’s only claim to fame. It’s Pancake Day Celebration marks its 70th anniversary this year, and this past June the event was recognized by Kiwanis International at the International Convention with the Bronze Award for Signature Projects out of 150,000 from around the world.

Now the club is undertaking a new service project, the “Kiwanis Family House,” which will provide temporary housing for families with children in extended treatment at one of the Baton Rouge area hospitals.

Email Pam Bordelon at