Saluting Safety and Service
The dubbing is one of special distinction: C. Allen Favrot Humanitarian of the Year. And each person who has received that accolade from the YMCA of Greater New Orleans at its annual meeting and socializing has worn the title with pride while expressing humility. The award honors those who give and serve above ordinary volunteer service and stewardship.
This year, there was a different tact. Pool Corporation, “an exceptional community partner and advocate for safety around water,” was hailed, the second time in the award’s 40-year-old history for a corporation. In coordination with the YMCA of GNO, Pool Corporation has awarded more than $2.1 million to support Safety Around Water programs and provide lifeguard trainings at 16 YMCAs across the country. In this area, recent funding certified 200 lifeguards and provided 2,500 children with SAW classes. Jennifer “Jenn” Neil, Pool Corp.’s vice president, secretary and chief legal officer, accepted the award on the team’s behalf and with the desire to save lives through the Y’s SAW program.
The event took place at philanthropist Henry Shane’s Cars of Yesteryears, a private museum of 165 meticulously maintained antique cars. “Wow! I’ve heard of this place, but actually seeing it is incredible,” said YMCA board member Matt Faust.
Further highlights were the presentation of the Mildred Wild Volunteer of the Year award to Dominique “Dom” Thomas, an active duty ME3 Petty Officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, who volunteers at the Belle Chase YMCA, a hosting Y along with New Orleans, West St. Tammany and East Jefferson; the emceeing of YMCA of Greater New Orleans Board Chair Rachel Cox Rodi — husband Dr. Jake Rodi was at home helping their three daughters with homework; and new YMCA GNO board members Ethan Olsen, Nicole Kritikos Provosty (wife of former board chair Pratt) and James C. Thomas. Lisa Tanet’s ETC Catering provided such treats as crabcakes and tuna tataki.
Mingling, as well, were vice chair Julie Brent Nosser, treasurer W. Neel Fallis with Debbie, past chair H. Elder Gwin, Anna Thomas with Dom, secretary Shanna Patrick Felker with Josh, and YMCA GNO President and CEO Gordon Wadge.
A feted foursome smiled at the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana 2023 Annual Event, which unfolded inside and out at the Audubon Tea Room. The awardees and their presenters were Leslie Fischman, Helen A. Mervis Jewish Community Professional, Jonathan Friedman; Carole C. Neff, JFNA Endowment Achievement, Lawrence Lehmann; and Melinda and Morris Mintz, Tzedakah, Jay Tanenbaum. Each was duly applauded.
Annual Event Chairs Mara and Joshua Force both opened and closed the program that included participation from Rabbi Todd Silverman, JEF executive director R. Justin “Bobby” Garon (joined by spouse Robin Levy), current and immediate past JEF presidents Alan Franco and Morton H. Katz (with Diane and Carole), Jewish Federation of GNO Board Chair Brian D. Katz (with Lisa), Rabbi Scott Hoffman, and the honorees. Kin and kith were present to support the latter.
Noted, too, were Federation CEO Robert French, Ana and Juan Gershanik, Judge Robin Giarrusso, Cathy and Charles Glaser, Susan Hess, Joyce and Sidney Pulitzer, Ellie and Bruce Wainer, Barbara Kaplinsky, Beverly Katz, and many others, who first gathered for drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres in the tea room’s courtyard. Once inside, they admired the pretty arrangements by Harkins the Florist, as they dined on a spring mix salad, seared salmon and chocolate cake.
Good Bets for Daughters
A Day at the Races, New Orleans Fairgrounds, attracted a merry throng, Daughters of the British Empire. Beautiful hats or fascinators were de rigueur. Headlining the hobnobbing were DBE Louisiana President Elizabeth Arnold, third vice president Hazel Turlington, corresponding secretary Fiona Boyd with husband Dave and his mom Nelda, treasurer Beth Goddard, recording secretary Mattie Patterson, new member Katelyn Badger, Liz Beauregard, and Debra Dalme with five guests in tow. From respective chapters Strawberry Fields and Turing came regents Tracy Hudnall with Danny, and Diane Yorsch with spouse Mark Larson.
Salad was the first course, followed by a menu choice of chicken Nantua or corned beef and cabbage, and carrot cake for dessert. Mint juleps and Champagne wet the whistle. Yet another attraction was the six-furloughs DBE Race, the sixth one. The DBE State Board had the honor of presenting the award to the winner, filly Kyle Beauty, “daughter” of sire California Chrome and mare Heart of Mine.
Amici, the volunteer organization for the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition Gulf Coast Region, held a post-audition reception on the premises of Loyola University’s Roussel Hall, the competition’s site. As a rarity, there were two first-place winners: soprano Lucila Zavala (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) and tenor Joseph Tancredi (Bayville, New York). Additional contestants were Dorothy Gal, Kady Evanyshyn, Laura Miah, Cristina Nakad, Audrey Welsh, Frank Espinosa, Valeria Socorro Vazquez, Amber Norelai, Hayden Smith, Janine Dworin and Imani Francis. More than 1,000 singers audition annually for the National Council Auditions with high hopes of advancing their careers in opera. Lucila and Joseph will go to New York to compete in the semifinal round at the Met on April 17.
Notables included Metropolitan Opera Judge Myra Huang and associate judges Alex Fletcher (Fletcher Artist Management) and Yvette Loynaz (Opera Theatre of St. Louis). Representing the Gulf Coast Region were chairman Diane Dupin with Charles, co-chairman Melissa Gordon with Bruce, and directors Dwayne Littauer and Susan Garic Mitchell with Judson. Claire Stahel is the Amici president. Still others were New Orleans District Director Rebeccka Coe, hospitality chaircouple Devie and A.J. Friedman, Michelle and Kimball Schlafly, Phil and Eleanor Straub, Linda Ibert, Nora Wetzel, Judy and Elroy Eckhardt, Paul Mauffray, Jackie Gamble, Elizabeth Landis, Astra Thibodaux and Bette Marks.
Floral arrangements by Federico’s Family Florist were placed on the stage of Roussel Hall, as well as throughout the foyer, where people socialized. All savored the Loyola Catering that included shrimp skewers, chicken tandoori skewers, and a cheese and charcuterie display. For a day when vocal effervescence was to the fore, Champagne added liquid delights.