Thanksgiving Tributes

A Tocqueville Tout

Mary Keller Zervigon was the honored name and person at the recent Alexis de Tocqueville Award Celebration given by United Way of Southeast Louisiana at The Ritz-Carlton. Entergy presented the event.

During the formalities, UWSELA Tocqueville Cabinet Chairwoman Cathy McRae extended the welcome. Next up were board chairman and master of ceremonies Robert Kimbro (joined by wife Debbie) and President and CEO Michael Williamson. Along with McRae (with Mark), Tocqueville Society Chairwoman and past awardee Florence Schornstein (with Richard) made the presentation to Mary Zervigon.

Honoree Mary then strode forward for her remarks. She was honored for her philanthropy (Keller Family Foundation and the RosaMary Foundation), her volunteerism and her commitment to the ideals of United Way and to making New Orleans a better place. Her father, Charles Keller, was the first Alexis de Tocqueville honoree. Joining Mary at the event were sons Luis, Andres and Carlos Zervigon and daughters Alicia Zervigon and Rosa Landry. Then came dinner and entertainment with a poached pear and goat cheese salad, braised short rib main course and chocolate vanilla mousse as the menu, and music by the Loyola University Jazz Quartet and an opera aria by soprano Kayla Lewis with Albinas Prizgintas as the accompanist. The musicians represented Mary’s connections to Loyola and Xavier universities.

Closing the program were Williamson, UWSELA Public Policy Chairwoman and past awardee Kim Sport (with Mike) and Charmaine Caccioppi (with Rod), who answers to executive vice president and chief operating officer of UWSELA. Congratulatory videos featured Mary’s family and Gov. John Bel and Donna Edwards, among others.

Within the high-profile pack were former Mayor Moon and Verna Landrieu; UWSELA Million-Dollar Roundtable members Paulette and Frank Stewart and spouses David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez; past awardee Carol Wise; and former UWSELA President and CEO Gary and Mary Ann Ostroske, both award recipients. And, Dan and Lisa Casey, Elwood and Sandra Cahill, John and Carol Ann Roberts and Adrienne Slack. The Legislative Champions were Erin Monroe Wesley, accepting on behalf of the governor and first lady; state Senators Regina Barrow, Wesley Bishop, Troy Carter, Ryan Gatti and Danny Martiny (with Nina); and state Reps. Beryl Amedee, Joseph Bouie (with Leslie), Stephen Carter, Joe Marino, Pat Smith, Julie Stokes, Kirk Talbot (with Julie), Polly Thomas (with Bob) and Malinda White (with Daniel).

All noticed the décor of traditional Tocqueville Society blue and gold and admired The Plant Gallery’s floral presentation. In Mary Keller Zervigon’s corsage were white roses and a red feather as a nod to United Way’s past Red Feather Campaigns.

Art and Heart

“One Evening Only” draws the crowds and such was the case at the 24th annual Poydras Home Art Exhibition. Stated on the art-featured invitation was “Poydras presents Billy Solitario, a solo exhibition of his newest paintings, and guest artisan Evelyn Jordan, featuring select pottery.” Continued was, “Exhibit & Show is One Evening Only.” Top sponsors were Hancock Whitney, Reily Food Company and Standard Mortgage, while Margo Moss, Kay Livaudais, Dolores Hall, Delia Hardie, Margie Scheuermann and Terry Salassi headed the Art Exhibition Committee. Poydras Home’s mission is to enrich the lives of seniors and their families thorough care in a compassionate community.

Mastheaders included Nici (Billy’s wife), Poydras President Wendy Beron, CEO Robert Prehn, Ph.D., Patron Party Committee Chairwoman Margo Moss with mom Andree Keil Moss, Keil and Margaret Moss, Peter and Mary Ann Moss, a mother-daughter duo in Suzanne and Elise Thomas, Manny Bright and daughter-in-law Susan, Donna Flower, Andy Burka (Ph.D.) and Cathy, Dr. Michael Carey, Peggy Scott Laborde, Nina Friend, Bobby and Bridget Bories, Dr. Charles and Lynn Smith, Harry and Claire Stahel, Jane Dupuy and Jim and Gayle Evans.

As guests, numbering about 200, milled about, they eyed the fabulous paintings by Solitario and pottery by Jordan; appreciated the Perfect Presentations centerpieces that complemented the bold hues of the art; relished the cuisine and beverages donated by a dozen fine purveyors; and tapped a toe to the lively sounds of Deacon John.

MS Warriors for a Cause

To benefit the Ochsner Multiple Sclerosis Center, MS Warriors for a Cause held a reception at Blue Crab Restaurant and highlighted Dr. Bridget Bagert, who addressed the crowd. The similarly-named Brigette Bruno provided the music, along with guitarist Wesley Johnson.

Gathered to support Dr. Bagert, the Multiple Sclerosis Center director, were physician assistant Kelly Kropog, event planner Desi Roth Harrison and husband Marshall Harrison, Marcia and Gothard Reck (the home hosts for the last event), Dr. Narinder and Saman Gupta, Dr. Wynne and Toni Russo, Patrick Schoen, Frank and Roxie Bruno, Lou Ann and Peter Cho, Crystal and Steve Smith, Randy Roth Jr. and Lacee, Patrick and Lydia Roth, Rhonda and Randy Roth, Cathy and John Cashman, Heidi Angelle and Andre Laborde, Kim and Nanette Hery, Diane Mohr, Toni Almerico and Omaria Reason. To mention a few.

Desserts came from Maurice’s French Pastries Bakery and added a sweet cap to the fine food and drink from Blue Crab. As for the decorative touch, it was Saint-ly and done in a black and gold football theme. Prizes were awarded to eight participants who knew the most about Drew Brees trivia.

Mayflower Merriment

The Louisiana Society of Mayflower Descendants held the Mayflower Compact Day Luncheon at the New Orleans Country Club with, as appropriate decorative accents, replicas of the Mayflower, ship lanterns and Pilgrim figurines, as well as a traditional Thanksgiving meal of salad roast turkey, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Honored Mayflower guests were Lt. Gov. Kevin Sellew of the Gulf Coast Colony in the state of Alabama, and his son Jeremy; and speaker Michael Collins, the Louisiana Society’s incoming historian. He related his story, “Mayflower Society — My Journey.” A particular news item concerned the National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse in Plymouth, Massachusetts. With incoming money for building repairs, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants will become the Meetinghouse owner and begin the restoration of the building.

Assembled to break bread at the New Orleans Country Club were society governor David E. Green and officers Heather Green Matrana, Mara Coiron, Collins, Lydia Ozenberger, Dr. Naomi Mann, Allen Green and David Gooch.

They are all anticipating the 75th anniversary of the LSMD in 2020, which has a pink doubloon, the mayflower color, as a commemoration. Subsequent doubloons will be related to Mardi Gras colors. More plans in 2020 will be a booklet, a cotillion and a celebration at Antoine’s.