October 7, 2017 – Nell Nolan
For decades, St. Elizabeth’s Guild has laureled Orleanians as Volunteer Activists. The first were in 1971. Flip the last two numbers and we come up with’17, as in 2017, and this year’s Constance Albert, Dianne Breaux, P. Kevin Colomb, Sr., Carol V. Hall, Russ M. Herman, Nora Nolan Lambert, Joyce W. Laporte, Paula Peterson Pizzaloto, Linda D. Sunseri and Cindy Schule Wooderson. During this 47th annual presentation, they were recognized for outstanding charitable, cultural and civic volunteer services to the community. Named to the Hall of Fame 2017 were Cheryl S. Cabes and Peter R. Quirk. Applause, applause!
The site for the Volunteer Activists Award Luncheon was the Empire Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The doors opened at 10:45 a.m. and the awards and luncheon followed at 11:30 a.m. But before that, the silent auction bidding commenced. The auction was put together by Suzette Herpich (joined by husband Rudy) and Kathy Mitchell and consisted of 148 coveted items. Additional features were the Parade of Prizes, chaired by Gaynell Pervel and Colleen Cloninger; raffles, with Margaret Diaz winning Southwest Airlines tickets; the fashion show by Dillard’s, narrated by Joan Ingram; and entertainment by the Victory Belles, compliments of the National World War II Museum. (According to TripAdvisor, the museum is the city’s number one attraction and the number two museum in the US and the world.)
To launch the program, Mark Romig strode forward as the master of ceremonies. The next one up was Kathi Zimmerman, president of St. Elizabeth’s Guild, which supports the many needs and well-being of various children’s programs serviced by Catholic Charities. The guild’s logo features an archway and a crown atop that symbolizes the royal life of St. Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, who cared for the poor at the city gates. Archbishop Gregory Aymond gave remarks and the invocation and then luncheon Chairwomen Lisa Baynham (with husband Pat) and Anne Favret addressed the 580 attendees.
Among the notables were family and friends of the two Hall of Fame initiates and the 10 Volunteer Activists, such as Nancy (Mrs. Kevin) Colomb, who represented the J. Edgar Monroe Foundation, and Sandra Herman, who with honoree Russ figured in the Hope category of donors; Steve and Donna Stumpf, representing the Salutare Deum Foundation; and Cindy Paulin, representing Angel Wings Foundation. Also, Frank and Paulette Stewart, Julie Vanderbrook, Kathleen V. Robert, Cheryl Quirk Landrieu, Sally Duplantier, and Judge Jay and Joy Zainey.
Lunch beckoned with a Creole tomato and red beet salad, barbecue glazed chicken, and a peach clafoutis with dark chocolate sauce. The centerpieces were boxes arranged tower-style and wrapped with St. Elizabeth’s Guild specially designed paper. They were topped with white hydrangeas. Silver star balloons decorated the stage along with arrangements of white flowers and delphinium. All the while, the Victory Belles enchanted with their singing of such spunky numbers as “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” and patriotic ones, namely “God Bless America.”
The Dillard’s fashion show highlighted 40-plus pieces with 15 celebrity models catching the eye and ovation. Closing remarks capped the event which, along with providing chockablock entertainment and activity, made children the concern.