Four Loyola University donor groups honored, Raintree Children ‘Paint theTown Green’


Susan Couvillon and Alden Laborde at a Loyola University dinner honoring Tom Benson.

Loyola, leprechauns, laurels! All made festivity the format with an abundance of thanks.

Loyola University President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., and the board of trustees requested the pleasure of one’s company at a dinner honoring and recognizing members of four donor groups: University Founders of the Society of St. Ignatius, Society of St. Ignatius, Loyola Society President’s Circle and Loyola Society Benefactors.

During the course of the dinner, the 2009-10 Integritas Vitae Award was presented to Tom Benson, businessman and owner of the Saints. He was joined by spouse Gayle and granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc.

Held in the Roosevelt Hotel, the Benefactors’ Dinner was themed “The World In Our Blackboard” and focused on Loyola’s national and international role in education. Daniel Castro, a student from Colombia, played guitar music during the cocktail hour. During the dinner in the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom, which featured lighted crystal world globes as centerpieces, guests were serenaded by an ensemble of students from Haiti, Mexico and Costa Rica. At the award time, board chairwoman Suzanne T. Mestayer made the presentation to “our friend Mr. Tom Benson.” With a reference to the Super Bowl-win of the Saints, he said “It’s just been wonderful. What a great thing for all of us!” He issued his sincere thanks for the award, closing with “We’ve got to keep this momentum going.”

After the chairwoman’s acknowledgement of new Society of St. Ignatius inductees Mr. and Mrs. Derby A. Gisclair, Wildes introduced student pianist Erin Demastes , who played “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Get Crunk” as a student tribute to Tom Benson and the Super Bowl champions. In turn, Mr. Benson treated attendees to a brief second-line boogie.

A dessert reception and jazz cabaret with vocalist Cristina Perez closed out the evening that included such notables as Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu and parents former Mayor Moon and Verna, Loyola President Emeritus the Rev. James C. Carter, S.J. (and a longtime buddy of Tom Benson, whose award was decided on well before the Super Bowl), Betsy Nalty, Dennis Lauscha (Business Alumnus of the Year) and Jennifer, board chairwoman emeritus Donna Fraiche and Dr. John, Jow Tatum and Dr. Virginia Angelico-Tatum, Tom and Kitty Kloor, Chip and Michele Forstall, Paul and Gail Jock, Ed Mathes and Ann Schmuelling, John and Sylvia Laborde, Bob and Maryann Bruno, Bill and Sue Finegan, Mike and Stacy Stanfield, Dr. Donald and Mary Katherine Faust, the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., Mike Mestayer, and Sally Duplantier with son and daughter-in-law David and Melanie.

Loyola has just announced the names of three individuals who will receive honorary doctorate degrees during the commencement in the Louisiana Superdome. They are Drew Brees, R. King Milling and Clyde Kerr Jr.

Now from the Black and Gold to “Paint the Town Green.” As a fundraiser for Raintree Children and Family Service and co-chaired by Lana Duke and Joan Ingram, the St. Patrick’s-themed bash started at the 528 Room of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where they were greeted by Lana’s son, David (who sported an Irish plaid kilt and was joined by a trio of Saintsations), and then moved on — via a shuttle bus — to The Theatre at Harrah’s. Thanks targeted Pete Montecino, Drago’s, Tamia Wade (a foster mom), decorations chairwoman Carolyn Landwerlin, mistress of ceremonies Liz Reyes, auction donors, Beverly Matheney, a slew of restaurants, Whitney Leger, Christine Bondio and Leonard and Qi Wiggins. Notables included Christine and Price LeBlanc, Rufus and Yvette Cresson, John and Virginia Eckholdt, Charles and Cammie Mayer, Sandra Chaisson, Jacquee and Bill Carvin, Debbie and Jerry Alciatore, Fred and Carolyn Escher, Mitch Maynard, Scott and Janet Howard, Chanel Joly, Pat and Judy Booker, Jan and Dave Sanderson, Marcel and Linda Jumonville, Kathy Singleton and daughter Councilwoman Stacy Head, LaMarr Ingram, and Lee Couret and Kerry Ranson. Eugene Priestley and Henry Shane answered to board president and auctioneer, and, for more chromatics, Burgundy to the dance band. ¬† ¬†continue reading…