All Hail Anne and Jack!

Hundreds of individuals head to the New Orleans Hilton Riverside each fall for the annual dinner of the Catholic Foundation, Archdiocese of New Orleans. Tapped for the most recent tribute, the Saint John Paul II Award, were Anne and Jack Dardis. In the history of bestowing the award, which started in 1996 (and was received that year by the late Joseph A. Childress), only two couple before the Dardises have been recognized: Dr. Norman and the late Blanche Francis and Mary Jane and John Becker. The 2014 recipient was Judge Jay C. Zainey.

As she has done for years (up until recently with Mary Ann Valentino), Patricia T. “Patsy” Hotard chaired the gala dinner. Joining her was spouse Jimmy Hotard.

Mastheaders were Catholic Foundation board Chairman Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, President M. Gordon Stevens III (with Ann), Vice President Steve Hubbell (with Kathy), and executive director Charles W. “Charlie” Heim Jr. (with Barbara). Leon K. Poche Jr. and Ralph C. Cox Jr. answer in turn to board secretary and treasurer.

Noted, too, were Marla Garvey, the Rev. Anthony McGinn, SJ, Don and Marge Garvey, Sister Carla Dolce, O.S.U., Jack and Cindy Jensen, Alan and Bette Arnold, and Monsignor Christopher Nalty and his mother, Jane. During a trip to Rome recently, the Naltys were thrilled to have had a charming chat with Pope Francis during an audience.

To embellish the capacious ballroom where the dinner was set, Federico’s Family Florist created lovely fall centerpieces of roses and mums. On the stage, flowers in large arrangements furthered the fall-hued colors. The menu pleasures were manifold, starting with a spinach and mushroom ravioli. Then came a mixed garden greens salad, braised beef short ribs, and a lemon bar and flourless chocolate cake.

The just deserts were for the Dardises, who figured prominently on the dinner’s program along with Charlie Heim for the welcome, the Rev. Edwin L. Gros, SJ, for the invocation, the Tulane Naval ROTC Color Guard, Gordon Stevens, Archbishop Aymond, the Rev. Stephen Dardis, L.C., and Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans the Most Rev. Fernand J. Cheri III, O.F.M., the keynote speaker.

Archbishop Aymond’s special tribute to the Dardises particularly recognized faith and family. They are the parents of 10 children and 29 grandchildren. In addition, they have both served many aspects of the Catholic Church and the New Orleans community.

When it was their time to address the attentive crowd, Anne (nee Charbonnet) and Jack Dardis expressed their humility at receiving the prestigious award and their gratitude, emphasizing “We have been blessed with so many gifts.”

SOUPer Bowl

Happy 150th birthday! In celebration and recognizing that many years of service around the world, the Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans arranged a SOUPer supper. Held at the National WWII Museum, the fundraiser started with a one-hour patron party before the “Bowl” bash. A slew of entertainers, Kermit Ruffins & The Barbecue Swingers, The Nayo Jones Experience, and Neshia Ruffins & The Young Franchise, added the excitement of performance. Command Construction (with thanks to Kelly Commander and spouse Derek) was the top sponsor; C. Allen Favrot, John Key and Dick Piner were the honorary chairmen; Emanuel Blessey and Frank Stewart, the Life Member inductees; and students from four local schools donated handmade souvenir bowls.

Edward Bush chairs the Salvation Army advisory board that has Bris Campbell and Julie Breitmeyer as the vice chairman and treasurer. Along with the above Ed and Bris, Adriane Spencer, Susan Glennon, Bill Hornsby, E. Carol Rogers, Skye S. Fantaci, Patrick Cresson, Christian Blessey, Edward Spooner, Michael Todd, Brian Johnson, and Mary McConnell figure on the 2015 SOUPer Bowl committee. Most attended, joined by their spouses.

To launch the program, Major David Worthy stepped forward for the welcome and induction. He’s the Salvation Army’s Greater New Orleans Area commander; the associate commander is Dawn Worthy. Then came the featured entertainment, the excitement of the auction (and tables A and B), and the 150th Anniversary Cake Celebration.

Philanthropy and Plaudits

One of the area’s leading visionaries and businessmen, David Fennelly was hailed as New Orleans’ Outstanding Philanthropist at the annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon at the Audubon Tea Room. He’s the chairman of Associated Terminals and Turn Services and is locally recognized for his many achievements and generosity.

After a champagne reception for patrons, the luncheon kicked off at noon with a welcome by AFP Greater New Orleans Chapter board President Amy Boyle Collins and the invocation by the Rev. Dr. Cory Sparks. The presentation of the awards riveted the assembly. The awardees and their presenters were Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy — Victoria King (Rebecca Williams); Board of Directors Award — Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (Josephine Everly); Outstanding Foundation — Methodist Hospital Foundation (Charlie W. Heim Jr.); Outstanding Leader in Corporate Philanthropy — Chevron Gulf Business Unit (Laurie Conkerton); Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser — Fred H. Myers (Caitlin Scanlan, luncheon chairwoman); and Outstanding Professional Fundraiser — Marc A. Barnes (Juli Smith Pattison). Incoming chapter President Roselle Ungar made the presentation to David Fennelly, who was joined by Glenda and Gene Bach and Susan and Michael Bopp.

More notables were Joe Exnicios, Vince Giardina, John Cornwell, Sue (Mrs. Fred) Myers and son and daughter Ryan Myers and Rachelle Albright, Ray Greenwell, Frances Roemer, Fred Young, Lisa and David King (with daughter Victoria), Mike Ilane, Leah Brown, Michael Williamson, Charlie Young, Jaimee S.H. Carreras, and NPD keynote speaker Paul Varisco with his guest, Sue Cox, both from Team Gleason.

About 280 attendees made philanthropy their thrust as they enjoyed the niceties of the Tea Room’s salad, chicken with asparagus and roasted potatoes, and crème brulee. The centerpieces were pumpkins hand painted by children at the YMCA.

  • Hospitality and Hobnobbing

His “tireless civic work” was cited as one of the reasons Ron Forman, president and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute, was chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award. The gala unfolded in the Ritz-Carlton with nine participating restaurants. Past awardees have been the late Paul Prudhomme, Bill Goldring, Leah Chase, and Drago and Klara Cvitanovich.

Proud to announce Ron Forman (joined by Sally) as the laureate was the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, which has Ted Selogie as 2016 president, Susan Hislop as the 2015 president, Traci Beninate as vice president, Jamie Peckenpaugh as executive director, and Cameron Perry as a board member and event chairwoman. Her husband, Stephen Perry, as well as Errol Laborde, spoke to the gathering about Forman’s role in the community and leadership.

Further luminaries were Sharon Sibley, Jim Oliver, Ritz Carlton chef Thierry Connault, Joe McManus, Chris Ycaza, Darryl and Louellen Berger, Tod Smith, master of ceremonies Eric Paulsen, Irvin Mayfield, Fred Holley, Ti Martin, Dickie Brennan and countless others, who applauded Ron. Thay also lifted their voices to sing “Happy Birthday” to award namesake Ella Brennan, who became a nonagenarian on Friday.