Activists Of The Year 2014St. Charles Avenue magazine is proud to present its Activists of the Year 2014:
• Kay Kerrigan
• Nancy Marsiglia,
• Sally-Ann Roberts
• Dr. Troy Scroggins,
• Gen Trimble
• Tommy Westervelt.
By celebrating these six locals, we’re honoring the gifts of their time, their efforts, their energies, their specialties – themselves – that they have given to our city.
Keeping Louisiana beautiful has been the lifeblood of Gen Trimble, who enjoys tending to her gardens just as much as the community they bring together.
Over 40 years ago, Gen seized an opportunity to restore a historic gem when she and her husband, Bud, purchased the burned-down Afton Villa in St. Francisville. A true visionary, Trimble worked fervently to clear out the rubble and plant flowers in the ruins to restore 40 acres of gardens and open them for public leisure. Trimble kept detailed charts of every flower planted and catalogued her experience of restoring the garden’s magnificence in journals, which are now bound and kept in the archives of Tulane and Louisiana State universities, as well as the Smithsonian.
“It is such an achievement to preserve the best of our past,” reminisces Trimble. Since the Afton Villa Gardens’ reopening more than 100,000 daffodils have been planted, and more than 13,000 pansies and 8,000 tulips are planted each year – each meticulously charted and watched over by Trimble.
Seeing Afton Villa blossom into a lush Louisiana sanctuary planted the seed for what led Trimble to bring her green thumb to New Orleans. As Founder and President of the Botanical Garden in City Park for over 25 years, Trimble spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to save the garden and diligently fundraised to build the Pavilion of the Two Sisters.
Trimble feels a great sense of pride to see the fruits of her labor become a part of what is a symbol of the community camaraderie of New Orleans; “it is truly a city park,” in her words. “It is marvelous to see people bring their families and picnics and sit by the lake” close to the azaleas, camellias and live oak trees her mother taught her to adore from an early age. Trimble continues to be actively involved in City Park and recently co-founded the Thursdays At Twilight Concert Series, where the community can come together in the Pavilion to enjoy live music and mint juleps every Thursday from January until November.
Currently, Trimble is working on publishing a book about the preservation and regrowth of the Afton Villa Gardens. She enjoys reading and writing fiction in her spare time, as well as reminiscing in City Park.
• National Placekeeper Award, Foundation for Landscape Studies
• National Achievement Award for Horticulture, Garden Club of America
• Inaugural Edith Stern Legacy Award for Exceptional Commitment to the Horticultural Arts, Longue Vue House and Gardens
• Preservationist of the Year, State of Louisiana
SELECTED PAST AND PRESENT ORGANIZATIONS
• Founder and President, New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation
• Chairman, Garden at Longue Vue House and Gardens
• Active Member, New Orleans Garden Study Club, Garden Club of America
• Active Participant, Southern Garden Symposium
• Active Participant, Audubon Pilgrimage
• Owner, Afton Villa Gardens
DR. TROY SCROGGINS
As the Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Ochsner Health System, Dr. Troy Scroggins doesn’t take it personally when people say they hope they never see him in his clinic. However, he’s humbled when folks remind him that he is among the most respected and sought after doctors in New Orleans.
Scroggins knows all too well that a cancer diagnosis affects much more than just the patient, as the disease has struck his immediate family twice. To him, it’s satisfying to be able to offer patients treatment and hope during a critical time and important to educate the community on prevention, screening and treatment options.
It is Scroggins’ commitment to healing New Orleans outside the clinic that sets him apart. He is currently on the board for KID smART, an organization committed to developing creative and critical thinking in children through arts integration in the classroom. “We owe children in New Orleans every chance to be successful in school,” Scroggins says. His greatest pride is being a board member of Project Lazarus, which provides shelter and healing for those with HIV and AIDS. Scroggins acknowledges, “it has been wonderful to see the organization grow and develop from providing hospice care to one of respite care and empowerment.” While serving as Chair of the Board of Advisors, he developed the “Bon Appétit” fundraiser for the project, which consists of dinner parties held at participants’ homes, then brings everyone together at the end of the evening for champagne and desserts. It is now the second largest fundraising event for the organization and “combines [Scroggins’] love of cooking while helping to support the mission of [Project Lazarus].”
Growing up, Scroggins’ family fostered a strong sense of volunteerism and stressed the importance of acknowledging your good fortunes while recognizing those less fortunate. “For me, ‘giving back’ has helped increase my engagement in New Orleans and further develop a sense of pride and ownership in the community” he says.
Although Scroggins grew up in the Midwest and formerly lived on the East Coast, he quickly found a home and a “small town” community in New Orleans, and he loves being here.
• Guardian Angel Award, Project Lazarus
• Top Doctor, New Orleans Magazine
• Spirit Award, American Cancer Society
• Day of Honor, City of New Orleans
• Innovator of the Year, New Orleans CityBusiness
• Acclaim Award, Forum for Equality
SELECTED PAST AND PRESENT ORGANIZATIONS
• Board of Directors, KID smART
• Host Committee, “Light Up the Night,” Lighthouse Louisiana
• Chairman, 30th Anniversary Dinner Committee, NO/AIDS Task Force
• Host Committee, “Moonlight and Miracles,” Ochsner Health System
• Vice Chairman, Board of Advisors, NO/AIDS Task Force
• Commissioner, Historic District Landmarks Commission, City of New Orleans
• Chairman, Cancer Committee, Ochsner Health System
• Board of Directors, American Cancer Society, Mid-South Division
• Chairman, Board of Advisors, Project Lazarus
• Secretary, Board of Advisors, Forum for Equality
• Board of Directors, New Orleans Botanical Gardens
• Chairman, Oncology Section, Southern Medical Association
The honor and responsibility of anchoring the highest-rated morning news station in Louisiana, Channel 4 Eyewitness Morning News, is never something Sally-Ann Roberts takes for granted. “I enjoy my work … because it’s an outlet for both information and entertainment,” and provides a platform on which Roberts can deliver “a message [I] hope will be of encouragement.”
As a young reporter in New Orleans, Roberts grew frustrated with the cycle of poverty and violence she witnessed in the city. Her mother, Lucimarian, who had grown up with very little, made it to college and changed the future of her family. Lucimarian told Sally-Ann that if she could change the world, she would create a program called Each One Save One, because it takes just one person to change the direction of a generation.
Her mother’s dream became a reality in 1994 when Roberts co-founded Each One Save One, a mentorship organization that will celebrate its 20th anniversary in January and honor several other New Orleans mentorship organizations and quiet heroes who are in the trenches every day serving our children.
Roberts relishes the opportunity to inspire and join listeners in prayer in 44 countries through her Your Power Is On! show, which has been broadcasting on Let’s Live Radio for nearly 25 years. She further considers it a privilege to have worked with WWL-TV for the past 37 years, which has become part of the fabric of the city she loves so dearly.
Despite all her large-scale achievements, Roberts’ greatest sources of pride come from helping her family. Though she takes no credit for being her sister’s perfect genetic match, she didn’t hesitate to donate stem cells to help her sister, Robin, survive Myelodysplastic Syndrome and feels fortunate to have been able to do so. Both Sally-Ann and Robin passionately support Be the Match, an organization that recruits volunteers for the National Marrow Donor Registry. Ultimately, Roberts considers her greatest achievement to be rearing three children who are compassionate and strong productive citizens.
She is the author of three books, Going Live: An Anchorwoman Reports Good News, Angelvision and Your Power Is On: A Little Book of Hope.
Roberts is committed to making a positive impact on the community. “We are all just passing through life. Our forefathers and foremothers left this world better than they found it. And I believe that we should try to do the same.”
• Lifetime Achievement Award, Louisiana Broadcasting
• The Jill Leadership and Community Award
• Women of Power Award, National Urban League
• Unsung Hero Award, NAACP
• Sports Hall of Fame Special, Allstate Sugar Bowl New Orleans Recognition with sister Robin Roberts for promoting the National Marrow Donor Registry
• Honorary Doctorate, Holy Cross College
• Broadcasters Pioneers Award, Mississippi Associated Press
• Hall of Fame, University of Southern Mississippi Mass Communication & Journalism
• 2006 Women of the Year in Greater New Orleans, City Business
• Blue Ribbon Award, with co-anchor Eric Paulsen, Louisiana Center for Women
• National Association of University Women
• Excellence in Service Award, Mary Church Terrell
• Also honored over the years by the YLC, Toastmasters Int’l, Kiwanis Int’l, The N.O. Conference for Community and Justice, Junior League, New Orleans Press Club, Louisiana Associated Press, Radio and Television News Directors Association, and in 1998 was part of the reporting team that earned WWL-TV Edward R. Murrow Award for late breaking news.
Coming from a family that always stressed that giving back is essential if you’re able, Nancy Marsiglia learned early on that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
She was inspired by her grandparents, who immigrated to the United States with nothing and spoke no English but through their hard work created a successful national company while never forgetting their own roots and their civic responsibility to better the lives of others. Though she was raised in Richmond, Virginia, Marsiglia is delighted to call New Orleans her home. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina she says she saw the true spirit of New Orleanians: “Resilient, determined people who love their city and will fight to the death for it.”
Continuing her family legacy, Marsiglia has been a trailblazer for significant local developments, such as being the Chairman of the Audubon Institute at the time they opened the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. “I am not only proud of this magnificent addition to our city,” she shares, “but it was so much fun being a part of this amazing project … There is a passion for work and play and a creativity [in this city] that inspires all who come in contact with [it].”
Women of the Storm, with its sense of urgency and camaraderie, has provided Marsiglia with great joy and numerous city and statewide accomplishments. The Louisiana Children’s Museum is also close to her heart, and as a founding board member, Marsiglia has had the joy of watching it grow from an idea into a fabulous downtown family attraction. She is now a part of planning its future in City Park where children and their families can learn and play together in a beautiful environment, both inside and outside, and hopes it will be transformational in early childhood education.
Currently, Marsiglia is taking on the challenge of starting a new nonprofit, The Policy Institute for Children, whose mission is to advance policies to ensure that Louisiana’s young children are ready for success in school and in life.
In spite of all of these endeavors, Marsiglia considers her most important job is as a wife, mother and grandmother. Her proudest accomplishment to date is raising two incredible sons, with which she jokes her husband Mike may have contributed to, a little.
• Hannah G. Solomon Award, National Council of Jewish Women
• Role Model, Young Women’s Christian Association
• Role Model, Young Leadership Council
• Volunteer Activist, St. Elizabeth’s Guild
• Juvenile Diabetes Living and Giving Award, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
• Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year, National Society of Fundraising Executives
SELECTED PAST AND PRESENT ORGANIZATIONS
• President, Policy Institute for Children
• Chairman, Agenda for Children
• Chairman, Audubon Institute
• Executive Committee, Women of the Storm
• Chairman, “Zoo-To-Do for Kids”
• Board Member, Greater New Orleans Foundation
• Board Member, United Way Women’s Leadership Council
• Board Member, Metairie Park Country Day School
• Board Member, New Orleans Council for Young Children
• Board Member, Tulane University Health Sciences Center
• Board Member, Temple Sinai
From generation to generation, Tommy Westervelt has been a trusted financial adviser to New Orleanians for more than 40 years. He recognizes the importance of keeping treasures and tradition in the family, and has demonstrated this in his commitment to activism in the city of New Orleans.
Westervelt’s family has a long legacy of civil service to Louisiana; his great-grandfather and inspiration, Governor John M. Parker, was tireless in giving to New Orleans, and Westervelt aims to continue that tradition. “Seeing the things that we love not only staying in the city but having a rebirth” is what keeps Westervelt engaged.
Westervelt played a big hand in the re-acquisition of the Windsor Court Hotel to a local entity, and is about to be involved with a similar situation in local ownership: the purchase and renovation of the Pontchartrain Hotel. “I know it will be a very rewarding experience,” says Westervelt, because it’s such a “dear hotel to the city of New Orleans and its natives.”
Illuminating the rich history and resources of New Orleans on an international level is of great importance to Westervelt. As a board member of the Arts Council of New Orleans, Westervelt is proud to welcome the first-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness “LUNA Fete,” a spectacular 3-D video mapping installation projected onto Gallier Hall from November 30 until December 6. He is further gratified for his part in financing The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, a renowned breast cancer facility that brings clientele to New Orleans from all over the world. Over the last 10 years Westervelt has worked relentlessly for the New Orleans streetcar line, the oldest in the United States, to obtain the recognition it deserves as a national historic landmark.
Among the other locations, Westervelt has reimagined is his place of work, IberiaBank’s location at Louisiana and St. Charles avenues, with which he was responsible for the interior design and reconstruction. A board room at that location has been named in his honor. “I have been very fortunate in both my career and nonprofit work that allow me to stay in the city that has been my family’s home for many generations and enjoy all the functions the city has to offer. This community has given me a great life. Every citizen that can possibly [give back] needs to do it.”
SELECTED PAST AND PRESENT ORGANIZATIONS
• Past President, Executive Committee, Louisiana Museum Foundation Board
• Vice Chair, Executive Committee, Past Treasurer, Ogden Museum Board and Arts Council of New Orleans Board
• Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Board
• St. Charles Avenue Association Board
• Past President, Preservation Resource Center Board
• Member, Louisiana Landmarks Society Board
• Member, New Orleans Museum of Art
• Louisiana SPCA
• Advisory Board, Newcomb Art Gallery
“Everything I do – it’s all about children,” says long-time activist Kay Kerrigan with bright eyes. “To me it’s just so exhilarating, because the greatest thrill of all is to see a huge smile on a child’s face because they’re successful and happy.”
Kerrigan currently funnels her energy into two major projects: “Just Say YAYA” and the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School. “It is so fun to be involved with these young minds, to see them react … It gives me so much faith that education can change people’s lives.”
She is a fierce advocate that every child is able to learn, and that in a nurturing environment like Sci High they take off like rockets.
Kerrigan glows when talking about YAYA, for which she’s currently a board member and actively fundraising in order to build a new art and community center; her dream is for the facility to become a safe haven for all ages, with art and outreach programs that empower the future artists of New Orleans. YAYA is currently an after school program that instills lifestyle skills for children, teaching them how to take their art passion and turn it into a business they can operate, manage and promote. Last year, YAYA helped more than 4,000 local kids, and its story has inspired other cities to model programs in the same vein. “Each YAYA student gives back to the community – and to me, that’s of the utmost importance,” she says.
When Kerrigan has a goal in mind, she’s a force to be reckoned with. She is a founding member of Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, and fought diligently for years to pass legislation to restore levee safety after Hurricane Katrina.
She served as President of the Audubon Institute when the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas was under construction, chaired “Zoo-To-Do” and was on the Audubon Park Commission for more than six years. While on the board for the Louisiana Branch of the International Dyslexic Association, she worked tirelessly to raise awareness, all while co-owning a women’s clothing line, Carlisle Collection, NYC, Ltd., and being a wife and parent of two boys.
Kerrigan admits that she isn’t a hot weather flower, but stays in New Orleans for the people – plain and simple. In her spare time, she relishes the opportunity to paint, to go on skiing trips and to gush about her “too cool” grandchildren.
SELECTED PAST AND PRESENT ORGANIZATIONS
• Co-Owner of Entre Nous, Member of Editing Board, Carlisle Collections, NYC, Ltd.
• Foundation Board Member, Fundraising Committee and Chair of 20th Reunion, New Orleans Charter Science & Math High School Foundation
• Board Member, Fundraising Committee Co-Chair, “Just Say YaYa”
• Carnival Committee, Co-Chair Friends of Crime Stoppers, Crime Stoppers New Orleans
• Member, Audubon Park Commission
• Founding Member, Vice President, Executive and Education Committee Member, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans
• President of Board of Directors, Audubon Institute
• Chair, Audubon Institute’s “Zoo-To-Do”
• Fundraising Chair, St. Martin’s Episcopal School
• Member of School Board and Member of Headmaster Search Committee, St. George’s Episcopal School
• Co-Chair, Jambalaya Cookbook, Junior League of New Orleans