Pam Bordelon for April 16, 2014

Area businessmen, elected officials, religious leaders, governmental officers and academic and law enforcement leaders were among the 350 guests celebrating all that’s good in the Capital City at the 24th annual Baton Rouge Spring Luncheon March 19 at Drusilla Place. Keynote speakers were LSU football coach Les Miles, Southern University football coach Dawson Odums, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and Mayor Kip Holden. Entertaining the crowd was Cajun humorist Murray Conque.

Emcee Eddie Rispone requested a moment of silence to remember the late Paul Dietzel, coach of the 1958 LSU National Championship football team, and late local businessman Gerry Lane.

The main highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of the annual Fava Bean Awards, “recognizing men who have helped make Baton Rouge the great city it is.” Before they were handed out, the awards were blessed by the Rev. Cleo Milano.

Gold Fava Beans in recognition of exceptional contributions to Baton Rouge pride were presented to Advocate sports columnist Joe Macaluso, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri, Odums, Southeastern football coach Ron Roberts and former Southern football star Aeneas Williams.

Silver Fava Beans were presented to Todd McClure, a former All-SEC First Team LSU lineman who recently retired from the Atlanta Falcons; Elton Blunt, who played “iron-man” football at Southern and then coached at his alma mater Capitol Senior High School for 20 years; former LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson; former All-American LSU running back Kevin Faulk; and former Southern coaches Pete Richardson and Carl “Doc” Williams.

Stainless Steel Beans for “longevity, endurance and toughness” were awarded to Gautreaux and new University of New Orleans baseball coach Ron Maestri, who also received an Unpainted Bean.

Unpainted Beans signifying “new beginnings with great expectations” were presented to LSU Chancellor F. King Alexander, Zachary High School football coach David Brewerton, LSU special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto and new LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. The Black Bean Award, given for “bad luck with wishes for better,” was presented to former Southern Chancellor Jim Llorens.

In a planned moment, Dixie Electric CEO John Vranic presented Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle with a “Sicilian money clip” — a $2 bill with strings attached.

Assisting with emcee duties was event founder Sammy Rispone. Kirk Rispone served as event coordinator. Committee members included Fabian Blache, Kevin Brian, Reginald Brown, Trey DeJohn, Jay Dykes, Paul Gosserand, Joe Macaluso, Dennis McCain, Ken Nolan and assistant Lauren Read.

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