Philanthropic Fun: Fruits of Good Labor

Louisiana Appleseed celebrated its first decade of exemplary community changemakers.

The 10th anniversary celebration of the “Good Apple Gala” honored the work of Louisiana Appleseed volunteers who embody the organization’s mission.

Social Justice awards were given to individuals whose daily work exceeds expectations in creating access to justice, education and opportunity. Gayle Benson of Benson Enterprises was recognized for her exemplary work in creating access to education and personifying social justice to the Who Dat Nation. Additionally, United States District Court Judge Jay Zainey was presented the honor for his creation of opportunities through a program that restores dignity to the homeless in New Orleans and 37 cities nationwide. Senator JP Morrell received the award for his legacy of justice in the Louisiana Legislature, which will last for many years beyond his terms through the Constitutional Amendment for unanimous juries in criminal court.

Awardees were Alex Baynham and Jeffrey P. Birdsong of Liskow and Lewis for tackling roadblocks to affordable housing; Representative Paula Davis of the Louisiana State House of Representatives for increasing access to opportunity through her wide-ranging advocacy efforts; Etheldreda Smith of Kuchler Polk Weiner LLC and Molly Wells of Fishman Haygood LLP for increasing access to education and increasing the amount of school children being fed in schools throughout Louisiana.

Camille Whitworth was the Master of Ceremonies. A special 10-year Legacy Award was presented by Allison Tiller to former Louisiana Appleseed Executive Director Christy Kane. A video by Christa Rock was shown featuring the work of Louisiana Appleseed. Glass apple awards were created for each honoree.

The event was Co-Chaired by Harry Simms Hardin III of Jones Walker; Chelsea Gaudin Favret of Forman Watkins & Krutz; and Margaret A. Mentz of Baker Donelson.

Live music was provided by student jazz musicians from NOCCA. Catering was provided by the ACE Hotel. The special 10th anniversary apple cake was provided by Pure Cake NOLA.

Louisiana Appleseed Gala Co-Chairs and Board of Directors donated wine and bourbon for the “Everyone’s a Winner” raffles. Door prizes were also donated by friends and board members. The event provided guests with stone coasters commemorating the 10th anniversary of Louisiana Appleseed.


Event at a Glance

What: 10th annual “Good Apple Gala,” benefiting Louisiana Appleseed

When: Thursday, January 24

Where: ACE Hotel


Honorees Etheldreda Smith, Gayle Benson and Molly Wells

Honoree Jeffrey Birdsong, Chapter Founder Phil Wittmann and Honoree Alex Baynham

Marcus Brown, Legacy Award Honoree Christy Kane and David Ellis

Board Members Zaheer Poptani, Allison Tiller and Don Abaunza

Board Member Christina Sautter and Adrienne Wheeler