Salutes of the Season
Just around midday on a recent Friday, board Chairman Hardy B. Fowler garnered attention as he welcomed 600 supporters of the Bureau of Governmental Research at the annual luncheon in the New Orleans Marriott, the host. Hancock Whitney and Latter & Blum Companies were the sponsors and among those thanked for promotional support were The Advocate (Baton Rouge|New Orleans|Acadiana) and Gambit.
After the welcome, Fowler recognized Anne Milling with special thanks for getting the guest speaker, Michael E. Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. His title was “Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity: National Security Challenges for the Present and Future.” Leiter delivered wit and wisdom to community and business leaders and periodically called out some local luminaries in the audience, such as Walter Isaacson, James Carville and Mary Matalin.
Another sort of nourishment came from the lunch fare of Caesar salad, tasty chicken and a pre-set Mississippi mud pie for the sweet finale.
Joining their above spouses were Ellie Fowler and King Milling. Additional notables were BGR President and CEO Amy Glovinsky, BGR Vice Chairman Ludovico and Stephanie Feoli, past Chairman Mark Mayer and Mindy, Hancock Whitney Bank President Joseph “Joe” Exnicios, Latter & Blum CEO Robert “Bob” Merrick, The Advocate Publisher Dan Shea, and from the BGR board of directors, Merritt Lane, Nathalie Simon, Hunter Hill and Dennis Woltering, who was joined by Carol. David Kerstein, president of The Helis Foundation, was present, as were other board members and those from the honorary board.
'Awakening to the Dawn of a New Day'
History always comes into play when The Studs Club recalls its origins. “In 1946, as college students and graduates from New Orleans schools returned from World War II, a civic, social and pleasure club group was established: The Studs (short for students).” Since its inception and incorporation in 1948, the group has promoted higher education, fellowships and social activities, as well as civic engagement.
At the most recent Pre-Holiday Scholarship Social, which unfolded over four hours in the Crystal Palace, Studs Club President Raymond C. Brown extended the welcome to launch the 30-minute program. James C. Smith then recognized the nine officers and 18 members — there are also five honorary members; Horace C. Bynum Jr. introduced the 2018 Hall of Fame members, Reginald Thomas and Joseph W. Marion Jr.; and Wesley T. Bishop presented scholarships to Dillard University, Grambling State University, Southern University and A&M College, Southern University at New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana, all historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). A “first” also occurred: the Stud Club’s initial Presidential Award to Joseph Patin Jr.
Among the special aspects of the evening were the centerpieces of second-line umbrellas, gold and a green glittery top hats, and confetti, which were placed atop white, silk embroidered tablecloths; the venue’s sparkling crystal chandeliers; and music by BlackCat Productions LLC.
Figuring in the Scholarship Award Celebration as guests and members were DeYonko Brown with husband Raymond, Esther Pepp and daughter Mercedes, Leontyne Mark, Mr. and Mrs. Shakor White, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Allen Colon, Judge Terri and Ellria Love, Michael and Michelle Crossley, Fred and Janet Roberts, Dr. and Mrs. Donald Ganier, Robert Cannon and guest Acquanetta Reiss, Anthony and Marion Maheia, James M. Singleton and guest Naomi Casteel, Yvonne Clark with Joseph Patin, Darren and Chantell Patin, Walter and Dr. Persharon Dixon, Manuel and Beverly Llorens and H. Kenneth and Bettye Johnston. From them, and others, congratulations flowed.
Each year, a natal day rounds up members of The Churchill Society of New Orleans. It is no wonder that the “birthday boy” in question is the society’s namesake: Sir Winston. Most recently, the annual Birthday Celebration took place in conjunction with the final dinner of the National WWII Museum’s International Conference. Combined, there were an estimated 550 attendees. Prior to the dinner, TCSONO held a reception in the American Sector Restaurant, where the distinguished historian, keynote speaker Andrew Roberts, mingled briefly. His book, “Churchill, Walking with Destiny,” was published in early December and was the subject of his Raymond E. Mason Jr. Distinguished Lecture on the war. Hors d’oeuvres, along with wine and cocktails, enticed.
In a second location, the drama of the Freedom Pavilion and its display of WWII aircraft hanging above was balanced with posy perfection. The tables were centered with arrangements of white roses and white hydrangeas. Further pleasures of the table were those of the menu. A cranberry pecan salad started the dinner, which continued with grilled shrimp and free range chicken and concluded with Bourbon pecan tart.
Turning attentive eyes and ears were TCSONO board President J. Gregg Collins with spouse Joan Malter-Collins, Vice President Christopher Tidmore with bride Barkley (née Rafferty), Edward F. “Ted” Martin and daughter and son-in-law Ouida and Ferdie Laudumiey, Herschel and Anne Abbott, Hill Riddle Jr., Walter Wolf, Michael and Gissela Zsembik, Tom and Jayne Willingham, Hilton Bell, Jackie Gamble, Dr. Phil and Sherry Schaeffer, Catherine Tremaine and Shirley Corey (whose late husband, Orlin Corey, has a donation “circle” named after him), Barbara Rigby, Lucille Whitley, Dr. Rand Voorhies, Dr. Ken and Bebe Adatto and Kris and Ben Capshaw. Also, Bob and Connie Holden, whose daughter, Elizabeth, won one of the first TCSONO high school essay contests.
All that Jazz Museum!
“Improvisations” titled the inaugural New Orleans Jazz Museum Gala that commenced with an hour-long patron party in the Jazz Museum Performance Center and moved on for two hours to the gala in the Jazz Museum. During the elegant round of cocktails, the attractions were cuisine by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Curtis Knapp photographic portraits and private performances by Jon Batiste, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and the Trombone Shorty Academy (Troy Andrews). For the gala, Sazerac Company libations, gourmet local cuisine from 20-plus restaurants, a silent auction, “live” painting by Emilie Rhys, and entertainment by clarinetist Evan Christopher with Don Vappie and Paul Longstreth, the Stanton Moore Trio (James Singleton and David Torkanowsky), Wendell Brunious and The Soul Rebels were set within the Luna Fest Celebration.
Further aspects were neutral furniture donated by Doerr Furniture, low lighting and a black-and-white palette; arrangements by Mitch’s Flowers; the “Entourer” installation by Jesse Thomas and Alison Norlen; and social improvisations by Derek Breuckner.
Randy Fertel was the event chairman, and a gala “star,” along with museum director Greg Lambousy, NOCCA President Kyle Wedberg, Bill Taylor, LeBron “LBJ” Joseph, a host of patrons, and gala committee members Detroit Brooks, Vickie Catsulis, Edgar Chase IV, Harry Hawks, Donna Horowitz, John Snyder Jr., Suzanne Terrell, A.P. Tureaud, Dr. Michael White and curator emeritus Donald M. Marquis after whom the Jazz Museum’s Reading Room is now named, thanks to a generous gift of The Jay Pritzker Foundation.