Awards and Accolades
Kingsley House, a United Way Community Impact Partner and the oldest Settlement House in the South, dates to its founding in 1896. Using history and present-day activity, Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed a packed gym during the 121st annual Meeting and Awards program. He referred to the longevity of Kingsley House and its role in the community, saying “The campus is phenomenal with everybody coming together, some of the youngest and some of the oldest.” He mentioned the former work of his wife, Donna, as a teacher of children. “Kingsley House is an example of how effective a strong relationship between the nonprofit sector and state government can be,” he said. “I am proud to support them in their mission to educate children, strengthen families and build communities.” In closing, he urged continuity and concluded with “God bless you.”
Prior to his address, several important people appeared before the crowd. The welcome was made by mistress of ceremonies and KH board member Arnel Cosey, Ph.D. Then came a remembrance of Nancy Marsiglia and Rick Henault, followed by the presentation of the awards. The recipients were Taylor Braud, the Eleanor McMain and Bonita Godchaux Book Award; the New Orleans Pelicans, the McMain Citizenship Award; and Katherine Gelderman, the Stern Award. The Rev. Beverley Warner Award, the top one, is named after the Rev. Warner, the 18th rector of Trinity Episcopal Church and founder of Kingsley House. Beaming as the recipients were Sheldon F. “Skip” and Patricia “Patti” Brechtel. They were praised for their teamship and dedication to the children and families of Kingsley House. About Skip, it was said that since his basketball days there, “he never left.”
Kingsley House board President Bill Hammack introduced Gov. Edwards, the guest speaker, and KH CEO Keith Liederman, Ph.D., issued an extensive “thank you” and made closing remarks. He said he was so pleased to have the governor and his wife present and gave them gifts. After calling on the governor’s cabinet members and staff to stand and be recognized, Liederman credited Edwards for doing everything in his power “to assure a successful future for our people.”
As earlier entertainment, the 11- and 12-year-old summer campers showcased their dance and choreography skills with a performance to “Unstoppable” by Sia. Camp, as they are called, also presented a piece of artwork they made to the governor and the First Lady.
Among the hundreds of attentive supporters and listeners were Janice Parmelee with husband Bill Hammack, Tony Gelderman with Katherine, Dr. Taniya de Silva, the Rev. Kit McLean, Richard and Mary Martin Roth, Danielle and state Rep. Walt Leger with daughter Katie, Chimene Grant Saloy, Willie Michael Wilson and wife Danielle, Ryan and Sara Gootee, state Rep. Polly Thomas, Councilwoman Susan Guidry, state Rep. Helena Moreno, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, state Rep. John Bagneris, state Rep. Joseph Bouie Jr., Judge Tiffany Chase, Jim Kelly, Judge Bernadette D’Souza, Sheldon Lykes, Emery Sonnier, Pam and Bill Ryan, Dottie Reese, Dr. Kya Robottom and Peter Waring. To mention a few.
They hovered about the buffet table to enjoy the Aroma Catering. Treats included pecan praline brie, Caprese skewers, and smoked chicken and tasso pasta. Champagne and wine were two of the libations. As for décor, the tables were royal blue with runners, some blue and some red. The flowers, as well, were red and blue.
Founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Line (regular army) and the navy and their French counterparts, who served together in the War for Independence from Britain, the Society of the Cincinnati promotes knowledge and appreciation of American independence and fosters fellowship among members. It is composed of male descendants of the officers of the Continental Line.
The origin of the name goes back to Cincinnatus, a Roman farmer in the fifth century B.C. As a general, he led the Roman army to victory and then returned to be a farmer again. Gen. George Washington did the same as Cincinnatus, hence the name of the Society of the Cincinnati.
In recognition of the role of France, each year the society has as its guest the French Scholar, who travels to certain key cities in the U.S. The Louisiana Association of the Society welcomed Alexandre de Chastenet de Puysegur — a member of the Society of the Cincinnati of France and a descendant of the French admiral, Comte Antoine de Chastenet de Puysegur, who fought for us in the American Revolution — at a cocktail reception in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge Carter Clement Jr. The previous evening, he was entertained by the Standing Committee of the association at the Summer Dinner at the Southern Yacht Club. Following the presentation of gifts, Alexandre gave a few comments, both serious and humorous, thanking the members for their hospitality and kindness. Also, Stephen Shaw (joined by spouse Deborah), an official from the headquarters in Washington, D.C., made remarks about the recent developments at the General Society and how well the Louisiana Association is doing.
The Clement home was beautifully embellished with Alice Coles floral arrangements done in white and blue, the colors of the Society of the Cincinnati. Iris, hibiscus and blue bells were among the flowers chosen. As she has before, Epsie Hennesy catered, serving heavy hors d’oeuvres (which many made their supper). And singing for their supper were the guests, who, cards in hands with the words in French, sang “La Marsellaise,” the French national anthem. It was led with great spirit by Edward Overton Cailleteau and scholar Alexandre.
Among the cocktail reception’s members and guests were Louisiana Association Chairman Rutledge Clement and Edith "Joy," the host couple; Standing Committee members Monroe Kelly with Elinor Bright, Howard Kent Soper with Carroll and Dr. Cooper Woods with Elizabeth; Ginger Cailleteau with Edward; John Beaumont III and Sylvi and their son John Beaumont IV; Will Blanchard; and the Rev. David and Karla duPlantier, the home hosts for Alexandre.
Also, Bill and Olive Forman, Ben Foster, Lawson and Lydia Smith, Henry Spicer III and Ellen Bryan, Edward and Mary Bush, Hill Riddle Jr. with the above Alice Coles, Robert Evans and Lanier Clement, Will and Kelli Reinhardt, and Steve and Betsy Clement.
Hospitality extended to Alexandre came in a number of forms. Will Blanchard took him to the French Quarter, where they enjoyed jazz at Preservation Hall, cuisine at Antoine’s, and libations at the Napoleon House. A swamp visit was great for alligator spotting.
A student at HEC Paris, Grande Ecole Program, Alexandre had impressive prior studies, among them a master of business and tax law. He’s also an accomplished chess player. In 2011, he worked and lived with former homeless people and prisoners. Before that, at the Youth City Council of Paris, he created a summer job fair to help young people.
On his departure from New Orleans, Alexandre, who was found to be affable, bright and highly inquisitive, complimented all the society members for their courtesy and said he was embracing the Deep South not as a tourist, but as a traveler.
A Sunday Musicale drew an appreciative throng to the Tara-inspired home of Mr. and Mrs. John Martin, thanks to the Amici (Friends) organization, which is charged by the Metropolitan Opera Association to conduct their Gulf Coast Region Auditions. Those in 2018 will be in March.
For the Sunday Musicale, event Chairwoman Katherine Determan provided delicious homemade cookies and Ann Babington, the tasty dips and finger sandwiches. Guests admired the lovely white-rose arrangement that graced the dining room table and, on occasional tables and the mantel, travel mementos from Europe and the Far East.
Conductor and pianist Paul Mauffray brought Deveda Karanas (2008 Amici and Met audition winner) and Brindley McWhorter for the program. The selections came from the opera “Tabasco,” which Mauffray is reviving after 100 years to universal delight.
Among those applauding were region Co-Chairmen Diane Dupin and Philip Straub with Charles and Eleanor; region audition directors Melissa Gordon and Michele Schlaffy with Bruce and Kimball; Amici President Claire Stahel; and Secretary Jackie Gamble. Also, Ann Babington, Virginia Dare Rufin, Elizabeth and John Ryan, A.J. and Eileen Capritto, Diane Fee, Ernie Eckstein, Constance Cowart with Harold Young, the A.J. Friedmans, Ann Humphreys and Jo-Ann Adams.