Council and Collision

The Laureled Lot

“Young Leadership Council Welcomes You to the YLC Role Model Awards Gala” was scripted in white against a purple background on the cover of the program for the important event that closes out some of the summer socializing. And salutes. Formatted as cocktails, dinner, presentations, dancing and an after-party, the gala unfolded in The Orpheum Theater.

Names to know were numerous, headlined by Kevin Ferguson and Caroline Hayes, who co-chaired the awards-dinner; committee cohorts David T. Baker, Charlie Fenton, Jessica Foreman, Danielle Martin, Gordon McLeod, Stephen Sewell and Brittany Whitsell; and, from the YLC board, President Jack Wiles and executive director Stephanie Powell. More members of the executive committee are President-elect Aimee McCarron, past President Jermaine L. Smith, Secretary and general counsel Joseph Wilson, Treasurer Amanda Menniti, and Vice Presidents Danielle Boveland, Margaux Krane and the above Charlie Fenton and Brittany Whitsell. Alexis Wiles was one of the spouses or guests who joined the above brass.

In his program-scripted greeting, Jack Wiles thanked people for their attendance at the 32nd gala, saying, “We have much to celebrate.” He continued with the recognition of YLC as “the region’s standard-bearer for developing young professional leaders through community service.”

Turning to the roster to be recognized at the event, he said, “Our inspiration is drawn from the distinguished individuals we honor tonight, whose leadership cuts across causes, neighborhoods, and industries.”

Laureled as the 2018 Role Models were Patrick L. Anderson, 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans; Dottie Belletto, New Orleans Convention Company, Inc.; Simone Crouere, Demo Diva; Matt Schwartz, The Domain Companies; and Steve Gleason, Team Gleason. And, Scott Hutcheson, Hutcheson Ventures; Yvette M. Jones, The Jones Group of New Orleans; Leroy Prout, HRI Properties; Christopher Reade, LookFar; and Shelby Russ, AOS Interior Environments.

Also, Stephen Stumpf, Durr Heavy Construction, LLC; Suzanne C. Thomas, Hancock Whitney Bank; Erica J. Washington, Louisiana Department of Health; Edward Womac Jr., Womac Law Firm; and Paris Woods, College Beyond. The top sponsors, Gold Level, were 2016 Role Model Lynne Burkart, Goldring Family Foundation and Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. The New Orleans Advocate — along with Cumulus Media and WWNO 89.9 FM — was a media sponsor.

The chairing duo of Ferguson and Hayes launched the program’s formalities. Then came opening remarks by master of ceremonies Mark Romig and executive director Stephanie Powell (who was joined by Karl Hartdegen), Wiles’s presidential remarks, and the awards presentation to the 15 honorees. Music by Deacon John Moore followed, as did the After-Party in The Orpheum Theater’s “Ice Pit” lounge with DJ Fayard Lindsey spinning the sounds.

As for the noshes, there were 10 restaurant stations, situated on the dance floor, in two locations of the theater, in the lobby, and also, two locations on the mezzanine. Blue Oak BBQ & Bud’s Broiler catered the late night bites. Food, glorious, food!

Making their YLC connections were 2017 RM Wesley Palmisano (Palmisano) and Anne, Chris Papamichael (Domain), Duke Williams (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana) and former Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu. Also, Frank and Paulette Stewart, Jeff and Jennifer Teague, Fred and Soheila Holley, 2017 RM Bivian “Sonny” Lee, Dr. Ross McCarron with the above President-elect Aimee, Betsie Gambel, YLC past President T. Semmes Walmsley, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Pilie, Tom and Stephanie Capella, Paul Varisco, Vincent Keeler, Frank and Coya Levy, Mark and Connie Uddo, Suzanne and Steve Dumez and countless others.

More features were the patron party entertainment by saxophonist Clarence Johnson III, a recording and performing artist and educator, and Alex Harvie, a live painting artist. Before the end of the evening, Alex’s painting was raffled off with 100 percent of the raffle proceeds slated to support YLC’s leadership development programs and community service projects. From such funding, future YLC Role Models will emerge.

A Cultural Cornucopia

The Contemporary Arts Center housed more than 1,000 hobnobbers, who made tracks to the annual Cultural Collision and its 84 participating organizations. Each of their booths sported brand colors, swags, banners and table-top displays.

Cultural Collision was founded in 2008 by like-minded arts lovers Jess Brown (now Civello) and Janet Wilson to provide the Crescent City’s arts and culture organizations with a collective voice, as well as a platform for collaboration and promotion. Now celebrating a decade, Cultural Collision remains dedicated to fostering all of the nonprofit performing and visual arts organizations in the metro area.

Performances during the course of the evening — as the crowd purchased cocktails, wine and beer — were Dancing Grounds’ Youth Ensemble, performing examples of their programs from the year; Caribbean Carnival/Friends of Culture’s own Trini Cindy and a demonstration of the popular Caribbean workout, Soca Fit; Mélange Dance Company and an excerpt from their new production, “La Resistance”; and New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s NOJO 7, a small ensemble of brass musicians, with a selection of contemporary compositions and progressive, cross-genre music.

Founders Janet Wilson with partner Monty Ramos and Jess (formerly Brown) Civello with husband Bryan Civello led the CC pack. Included around and about were Tony Norman, Andy Kutcher, Carrie DeVries and fiancé Richard Pavlick, John Deveney, Alan Raphael, Hallie Sheck, Don-Scott Cooper, Joe Snowden, Laura Gurievsky, Kacey Edwards, Maxwell Williams, Bart Folse, Wanda Fulton, Erica Normand, Heather Patterson and Ray Wiltshire, Jerry Lenaz, and Gabi Lilienfeld.

Commented Diane Mack, of WWNO’s Inside the Arts, “Culture Collision is one of my favorite events. It grows each year as new organizations answer the call of thirsty arts enthusiasts in our unique community. Awesome!”