“Hi!” Times

Gala Royale

Billed as “The voice of the Saints meets the voice of business!”, the recent Jefferson Chamber Gala Royale honored Jim Henderson at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on the turf of the Saints Training Field. For the past three decades, Henderson, who announced his retirement in February, has brought to life play after play during radio broadcasts of the Saints games. Ochsner Health System was the gala’s presenter and the Saints and the Pelicans, hosting forces.

Another lure for the levity was the theme: a party in Las Vegas-style featuring an open bar, the 70-items silent auction (sponsored by Zito Companies) and performance by the Bag of Donuts. Galagoers were encouraged to “bring out your boldest, Casino Royale attire.” Lots did.

The Chamber transformed the Saints Practice Facility into a casino-themed venue, using black, gold, white and red colors; gold sequined tablecloths for the VIP area; upscale sofas, chairs and end tables from Cort Furniture in the lounge section; and blackjack tables and other games in the casino area. A photo booth included thematic props, while a red carpet led to the Lombardi Trophy and a Super Bowl XLIV ring, where pictures popped.

Fueling the fun was Pigeon Catering with multiple food offerings. Sucre did the suite of sweets. All the while, Chamber notables bid at the auction and hoped for success with the Parade of Prizes. Noted were Jefferson Parish Councilman Dominick Impastato, JEDCO executive director Jerry Bologna, Postlethwaite & Netterville director Lynne Burkart, Peoples Health President and CEO Warren Murrell, Millie Baudier, of Cox Louisiana, and scores more. A surprise guest was Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., who made an on-stage appearance with the Bag of Donuts for some rollicking night music.

Desire, Madness, Resilience

Those provocative nouns, along with an art deco design, graced the cover of the printed program for the 32nd Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, which had among its 10 Vieux Carre sites, The Historic New Orleans Collection. During the five literary-charged days, contemporary literature, culture, theater and, of course, the works of Williams, who called New Orleans his “spiritual home,” were to the fore. Diverse speakers and performers made it happen, as did Fest honchos, such as executive director Paul Willis, who, earlier, remarked on the role of the arts in the city’s 300 years. He continued with, "We’re excited to celebrate this history with remembrances of the past and exciting looks to the future.”

On the Friday evening of the Fest, David H. Pons and Laure Sica and The Historic New Orleans Collection teamed to host “A VIP Party” honoring the 2018 speakers and donors. Champagne, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were enticements and special thanks tapped The Collection’s Priscilla Lawrence, who was joined by husband John (also of THNOC), and Kathy Slimp. Milling about were actors Brenda Currin, Beth Bartley, Joel Vig and Jeremy Lawrence, Scholars Conference Chairman Dr. Robert Bray; Terry and Lynette DuFrene; and novelists Jami Attenberg, C. Morgan Babst and Bev Marshal with spouse Butch.

Others were Fest President Mamie Gasperecz, Mark Cave and Patricia Murphy, Megan Holt, Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, Ruby and Jerry Tremont, Sara and Allan Woodard, Donna Horowitz, Helen and George Ingram and Richard and Doris Louth.  Tracy Cunningham answers to TW/NOLF director of communications and special events.

Chez Nous catered the affair, tempting with mushroom sandwiches, cheese puffs, baked brie and a decadent spread of desserts.


In partnership with alumni associations from Tulane Medical and Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the 45th Tulane University Alumni Awards Gala took place at the invitation of Tulane University and the Tulane Alumni Association. The venue was The National WWII Museum’s US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

Hailed as the 2018 honorees were Mignon Faget, Distinguished Alumni (Alumna) Award; Michael G. White, Ph.D., Professional Achievement Award; Maria L. Gutierrez, Ph.D., International Award for Exceptional Achievement; John E. Hevron Jr., M.D., Scott Cowen Service Award; and Robert V. Tessaro, Young Alumni Volunteer Award. E. Wesley Ely Jr., M.D., and Bernard H. Eichold, M.D., Ph.D., were respective awardees from the alum associations of Tulane Medical and Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Dignitaries included TU President Mike Fitts with spouse Renee Sobel, as well as Robin Forman and Ann Owens, Carolyn Eichold, Pierre and Alejandra Buekens, Patrick Bordnick and Allison Stock, David Edwards, Marcella Villareal de Panetta and Bernie Panetta, Jenny and Bob Kottler, John Williams, Richardson K. Powell, Tobias Smith, Erica Washington, Laurence Connelley III and Melissa Sweeney.

Features of the gala were numerous (as were the attendees: 250), and included music by the Harry Hardin Quintet, clarinetist Dr. Michael White, centerpieces by Giverny Designs in Tulane colors of green and white and blue, a tasty dinner catered by The American Sector, and party favors by Piety and Desire Chocolate shaped like the Tulane shield.

After the cocktail reception and before the awards as presented to the above, President Fitts acknowledged the passing of Tom Benson. He and spouse Gayle, a TU board member, were the recipients of the Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award. To acknowledge the deceased Tom, Dr. Michael White performed “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Golf Stars

The 26th Volunteers of America GolfStar Classic marked more than two decades of essential fundraising for VOA’s adoption and maternity program. “Grab your clubs to help children find their forever families” beckoned 130 dutiful duffers (and many others), who headed to LPC Louisiana to play. Jay Trusheim, Prudential Financial Professional, offering P&C through Liberty Mutual, was the presenting sponsor.

In addition to the lure of the greens, there was food and dinner from a slew of generous sources; a fabulous silent auction (with jewelry, get-aways and a Cypress Suites Skybox package for one day of the 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Golf Tournament); a Liberty Mutual goodie bag; and the raffle opportunity for a 2018 Honda Pilot EX-L. Congratulations galore tapped winner David Dallimore.

More congrats went to Closest to the Pin winners Chep Morison, Ryan Gaubert, Mike Caillet and Jim Barrouquere; David Frady for the longest drive; and first place foursome Mike Caillet, David Perry, Scott Pellegrin and Ryan May. The second place winners were Chuck Viator, Paul McGoey, Jim MacPhaille and Becket Becknell; and the third, David Vicknair, Steven Gros, Ryan McCann and Aaron Guidry.

VOA’s President and CEO James LeBlanc and Adoption and Maternity Service Program manager Lori Arceneaux made social rounds with Chanel Lagarde, Fred Myers, David Konur, spouses Lynn E. Swanson and Joseph Barras, Scott Mouledous Jr., Vince Giardina and a number of adoptive parents, including the above Lynn and Joseph "Joe." All “Fore!” one.