Classy, captivating and confident all describe the fabulous and remarkably fashionable ladies who attended the Fall Sustainer’s Social. On September 26, 2019, Sustainers received a warm welcome and were cheerfully greeted by active members of the Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) as they entered the luxurious residence of Sustainer Stephanie Spencer. Elegant refreshments and sparkling conversation made for an entertaining evening. Camaraderie was evident among the attendees as they shared their sentiments about their past experiences and their memories of their beloved organization, the Junior League.
Stephanie, the hostess of this lovely soiree, considers membership in the prestigious organization an honor and credits the League for her leadership experience. She initially joined the Junior League of Houston, where she created mentoring and literacy programs in the public-school systems. During her years there, she brought theater and puppeteering to the hospital to cheer up the tiniest patients in the pediatric ward. As a Sustainer, Stephanie currently dedicates most of her spare time to assist her husband with his two companies. Her daughter, Virginia Spencer LaCour, is also a member of JLNO.
Sustainers Charlotte Spooner, Cynthia Coleman, Sara Swigart and Nancy Jane Carson were present at the exquisite gathering. They all acknowledge the League as the glue that binds them together in friendship and in service. Together, they have served on a variety of committees and boards. They are currently members of a Sustainers-only group, the Fun Fête Dinner Club, which was created by Charlotte, a League member of 49 years and counting. “We leave our husbands behind to have a night out with our League sisters!” Cynthia says. The ladies are ready to make new friends and welcome sustainers of all ages to join in on the excitement. “If you are a Sustainer, you are invited to attend the activities and dinners we plan,” states Charlotte. “We look forward to more ladies joining us.”
Ann Swayze was also on the scene for the lavish affair. “The journey to membership in the League became apparent to me at a very young age,” Ann says. “I began accompanying my mother and aunts on their volunteer shifts at local schools in Galveston, Texas when I was only two years old. My mother and aunts would dress in jumpers, make puppets and perform for the students in the district. I knew then that Junior League was my legacy, so I followed suit and joined. I have been grateful for my experiences and the opportunities afforded me ever since.”
Ann mentions how she’s met some of the most amazing people during her tenure as an active through the boards and committees on which she served. She is currently enjoying her status as a Sustainer. “I am now on the boards of The Orléans Club and the Ruth McEnery Stuart Clan Literacy Group.”
Partygoers Carlette Williams, Liz Broekman, Monica Roberts and LaVerne Saulny Toombs all recalled how their love of volunteerism grew at the Bloomin’ Deals Thrift Store. They fondly remembered sporting their green smocks as they sorted and hung clothing in the store. “Ms. Stella treated us like family,” recalls Carlette and Monica. “It was a pleasant place to complete our volunteer requirements,” added LaVerne and Liz. These ladies also attribute their friendship, the cultivation of their philanthropic efforts and their rewarding careers to JLNO. LaVerne currently serves on the boards of Dress for Success and NOCCA. Liz is a Trustee for New Orleans Opera Association and is the director of P.O.W.E.R, Potential of Women Entrepreneurship Realized at Fidelity Bank. Carlette is the Parent Board President of De La Salle High School, and Monica is the mastermind behind Sibshop, a support group for siblings of kids with disabilities.
One could argue the Junior League is just another women’s organization; however, from these ladies’ standpoint, it is evident that belonging to the Junior League is a meaningful experience! Whether one pursued membership in the League to make friends, expand one’s network or seek training for career advancement, involvement will fulfill those desires and more. In their eyes, it is a sisterhood, a support system, a heritage and a way of life. It truly is an honor to give of oneself in service.