Well, we’ve about caught up with all the events rescheduled from Hurricane Isaac’s visit. And, that’s a good thing because the closer to October we get, the more jam-packed our social calendar gets.
A few teams had to bow out of this year’s CANstruction competition because of scheduling conflicts when the original date fell victim to Isaac. The annual event is a project of the American Institute of Architects Baton Rouge, Louisiana Art & Science Museum and the Society of Design Administration to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. This year’s theme, “Green Eggs & Can!,” paid homage to that rhyming wordsmith Dr. Seuss.
And the winners were:
Jurors Favorite -- “Lessons Learned from ‘The Lorax,’ Coleman Partners Architects, team captain Brandon Burr, Brent Guilbeau, Buddy Ragland, Jennifer Romero and Jon Heltz with assistance from Allison Canal, Andrea Deshotels, Chris Haslitt, Jeff Larosa, Jenny Roussel, Joe Saffiotti, Kiwana McClung, Sondra Rodriguez, Steven Romero and Will Thibaut.
Peoples Choice & Best Use of Labels – “The Fish,” Jacobs Engineering, team captain Eddie Price, Wayne Berlin, Jacob Boudreaux, Michael Carter and Catherine Naquin with assistance from Jere Ducote, Mark Bullock, Michael Authement, Millie Goutreaux, Shelly Henry, Jackie Davis, Kimberly Ryes and Evon Bond.
Structural Integrity – “Cat in the Hat?”, ITT Tech, team captain Akheil Shah, Forrest Bergman, Jack Pope and Jared Otts with assistance from Daniel Sant, Anthony Forkner, Kensley Paul, Juan Torralbas and Mark Frison.
Best Meal – “One CAN, two CAN, red CAN, blue CAN,” Post Architects, team captain Lisa Nice, Ray Brown III, David Gordon and Doug Pourciau with assistance from Brian Falcon, Melony Fields and Rachel Riley.
Now, I have to confess, my favorite was the “Cat in the Hat?” which was actually that big cool cat Mike the Tiger, but they were all amazing. For instance, 540 cans of hominy, 720 cans of French green beans, 500 boxes of orange Jell-O and 168 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix were used to create “The Fish.” That explains why they won the label award.
You can check them all out, as well as photos from the rest of my party hopping at http://theadvocate.com/columnists/pambordelon.
From the formation of the Mid City Merchants Association to White Light Night and Hot Art, Cool Nights, Caffery Gallery owner Mary Ann Caffery has been in the thick of things. For her efforts in helping to tout all that is good about Mid City, she received the Rev. Mary E. Moody Lifetime Achievement Medal at the ninth annual Legacy Luncheon hosted by the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance Sept. 13 at Boudreaux’s. On hand to help present Caffery with this honor was Moody herself.
Also recognized was the Mid City Merchants Association.
Fortunately, I just had to run next door to the Renaissance Hotel for the first of two events that evening. It was a pleasant surprise to see former Mayor Tom Ed McHugh and lovely wife Betty at the Heritage Gala benefiting Heritage Ranch Christian children’s home.
The J Gray Jazz Trio had the place hopping as guests cruised the silent auction and checked out items coming up for bids later in live auction. Emcee for the evening was “2une-In” co-anchor Whitney Vann.
Carol Ann Nadeau was in charge of the event. Assisting her were committee members Amy Moore, Cheryl Cinger, Kiimely Pitre, Kristen Green, Lindsey Roussel, Mary McNeal, Mimi Plauché and Sarah Munson.
Next I headed downtown to the Old State Capitol where Dreams Come True was celebrating its 30th anniversary with a VIP Thank-You Gala. Dr. Jason Swartz, who is currently in the second year of his pediatric residency at Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville, flew home to Baton Rouge to personally thank those who granted his dream, when at age 13 he was battling acute lymphocytic leukemia.
“It changed my life and directed it 100 percent,” said Swartz, who got a shopping spree.
He went on to explain that the entire process is important — from deciding what you want that dream to be to interacting with those who fulfill the dream to the actual realization of the dream. “It’s not just a day … and the memory of it lasts forever.”
Adding his thanks for all that Dreams Come True does for Louisiana children was LSU Baseball coach Paul Mainieri. “It kind of tugs at your heartstrings what these families go through. Not just the children but the families. I just can’t imagine. I’m captivated by their courage … Dreams Come True is just another example of the generosity and character of the people of this area. When people are in need, they don’t have to go far to find help.”
Another example of what coach was saying is the announcement by Cinderella Project co-founders Shelton Jones and Sarah Dupree of a Leadership Academy in conjunction with the LSU Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach. These young women made the announcement at a luncheon hosted by Fidelity Bank at Juban’s Restaurant Sept. 12.
“You learn a lot when you’re helping girls try on prom dresses,” said Jones in how the academy evolved. “It’s just an expansion of what we’re already doing.”
What they’re doing is helping high school girls who might not otherwise be able to attend their prom. In the past five years, the Cinderella Project has dressed 36,000 girls. Aside from Baton Rouge, there are now chapters in Livingston Parish, Lafayette, Monroe and Shreveport.
To date, $30,000 has been raised to send 20 high school seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and sophomores and juniors with a minimum GPA of 2.6 to the Leadership Academy at LSU Oct. 25 – 27. They will be housed at the Lod Cook Hotel and will receive an $80 stipend to offset costs of taking the ACT. After graduation from the program, participants receive a $500 scholarship. Funds will be held in reserve for junior and sophomore graduates at Fidelity Bank.
And this is where help is still needed. Jones and Dupree are trying to raise $10,000 to fund the Cinderella Project scholarship program.
“We always wanted to be education-based,” said Dupree. “Education never goes out of style; it’s the dress that always fits.”
Later that evening, I trekked downtown to the Shaw Center for the Arts where the Baton Rouge Bar Association was hosting a reception for sponsors and vendors at its 2012 Law Expo, which had taken place earlier that day at the River Center. A congenial crowd of about 100 was mingling about in the Jones Walker Gallery, visiting and getting a peek at the art on display as they noshed on hors d’oeuvres and sipped libations.
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