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BayouLife Icons Ball

By Melanie Moffett
In Center Block
Mar 11th, 2015


Combine one of the most iconic works of architecture in Louisiana with twenty one of the region’s most influential and intriguing personalities and you’ll get the 1st Annual Icons Ball, benefiting the Cooley House Foundation. The gala event will be held Thursday, March 26th.

Each year, BayouLife will select a charity to support with the Icons Ball, a black-tie optional gala event that will honor each of the men and women who have been designated Bayou Icons in the magazine. BayouLife publisher Cassie Livingston grew fascinated with architecture at an early age and that made the Cooley House Foundation a natural selection for the premier Icons Ball.

“I remember in junior high school asking for an A. Hayes Town book, which really made it no surprise when I chose to major in architecture in college,” said Livingston. “Cities around the world are identified by notable landmarks—the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, Commerzbank in Frankfurt or the Trans America Pyramid in San Francisco. Monroe should be no different, and the Cooley House is most definitely our most iconic structure.”

Proceeds from the 1st Annual Icons Ball will benefit the Cooley House Foundation’s efforts to restore and protect the G.B. Cooley House, which was designed by world-renowned architect Walter Burley Griffin. (See Page 68.)

Guests of honor at the 1st Annual Icons Ball are each of the 20 individuals who have been designated Bayou Icons in BayouLife. And from high fashion to high finance, the honorees are worthy of the praise. Just consider the following.

No history of the NFL is complete without mention of Ruston natives Dub and Bert Jones, one of the earliest father-son duos to play the sport at its highest level. The history of Major League Baseball would not be the same without the efforts of Dorothy Roark, of the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League.

In Sportsman’s Paradise, every sportsman has a home. And for the Robertson clan, the homemaker is Kay Robertson, known affectionately around the world as Miss Kay. A home of a different sort has been the life’s work of the lady in the castle, Carol Parsons.

In any college town, education plays a significant role in creating culture, as evidenced by Dr. Janet Haedicke, whose work for children has been as defining as her career at ULM. Her long-time colleague, Dr. Richard Chardkoff, more than earned his place in history—by working to preserve the critical histories of the Selman Field Flyboys and local magnate and Holocaust survivor, Sol Rosenberg.

Three husband-wife dynamos also share honors, beginning with Drs. LaTonya and Thomas Williams, who tend their patients in the office and help raise a community on the field of play. Carole and Tex Kilpatrick built the business empire that bears their name, but quiet behind-the-scenes efforts for education and for the disadvantaged are perhaps where they’ve left their biggest mark. And Jean and Fred Huenefeld shared their love of family history and the love of a lifetime.

Strong, independent women leave unique marks on our culture. Before there was Englebert Humperdink, English songstress Mary Simpson knocked on Jerry Dorsey’s door to make sure he paid back the twenty quid he borrowed the night before. Corre Stegall led a life of leadership, rising to prominence both as a national sorority figure and a vice president at Louisiana Tech University. With roses in her garden and a smile on her face, Adele Ransom led flood control efforts in northern Ouachita Parish, eventually serving on the Police Jury. And always, fashion maven Linda Reeves was nearby, ready to impart grace, beauty and wisdom. In no one else will you find a more dynamic, involved, or dedicated woman than our first Bayou Icon, Jorenda Stone, who has worked for decades to advance the arts and culture in our community.

Strong, passionate men leave their mark, too. Just ask Sidney Wilhite, as successful in business as he has been hunting big game. On the air or off, it’s impossible to overstate the influence of network anchor and activist John Denison.

“At this event, we’re raising funds to help with the restoration of an iconic structure in our community while also recognizing twenty of our area’s most notable people, individuals who have helped shape and define our culture, to raise awareness for the arts, to educate, to heal and to establish our economic footing,” Livingston said. “Honoring them with this event makes our support of the Cooley House Foundation that much more special.”


For tickets or more information, contact Johnette Sellar at 318.372.3901 or LaVerne Bodron at 318.557.1731