Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Louisiana Legends Honorees »»»

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, the first and only woman to serve as Governor of Louisiana, was elected to four different offices during her 24 trailblazing years in public service and never lost an election. She was the first woman from Lafayette elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, first woman elected to the Public Service Commission, where she was named chairman, and she was elected Lieutenant Governor for two terms. In the 2003 campaign for Governor, she beat 16 men, many of them prominent political figures.

Governor Blanco served during the rough period after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated coastal Louisiana. She secured over $29 Billion in Washington DC for Louisiana’s recovery effort, over-coming extraordinary early resistance. The investment strengthened levees, rebuilt public infrastructure and awarded housing grants to more than 128,000 families to rebuild their homes.

Despite the intense recovery work, Governor Blanco prioritized education funding and oversaw important education improvements. She won national recognition for successes in economic development and left office having built a solid foundation for recovery, leaving nearly $2 billion in surplus funds.

This daughter of Acadiana is a graduate of the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, home of the Ragin’ Cajuns. She’s married to Raymond Blanco, a retired UL vice president and former football coach. They are the parents of six children: Karmen, Monique, Nicole, Raymond, Jr., Pilar and Benedict (1977-1997), and they have thirteen grandchildren. Since leaving office, Governor Blanco speaks nationally and internationally, does consulting and is writing her memoires. Kathleen and Raymond Blanco celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August 8, 2014.

Robert Crais Robert Crais

Robert Crais is a #1 New York Times best-selling author of nineteen novels, most of them featuring his iconic American detective, Elvis Cole. A native of Louisiana, Crais grew up in Baton Rouge, where he attended Baton Rouge High School and LSU. A voracious reader, Crais was raised a few hundred feet behind a drive-in theater, which inspired his love of movies. He began writing and making short films as a child. At the age of fifteen, he discovered a secondhand copy of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister in a local bookshop, which led to his lifelong love of crime fiction.

After years of amateur film-making and writing short fiction, Crais journeyed to Hollywood in 1976, and quickly found work as a scriptwriter. He became the youngest story editor at Universal Studios when hired by the producers of Quincy, M.E., in 1978. Scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice followed, as well as numerous series pilots and Movies of the Week. His work on Hill Street Blues received an Emmy nomination, a commendation from American Women in Radio and Television, and a Humanitas Certificate, but Crais is most proud of his 4-hour NBC miniseries, Cross of Fire, which the New York Times declared: "A searing and powerful documentation of the Ku Klux Klan’s rise to national prominence in the 20s."

Upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create his signature character, L.A. detective Elvis Cole, using elements of his life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, won the Anthony Award from the World Mystery Convention, and was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America. It has since been selected as one of the “100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century” by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

The novels of Robert Crais are currently published in 62 countries, and are bestsellers around the world with more than forty million copies in print. His titles consistently appear on 'Top Ten' and 'Best of the Year' lists. Hostage, his tenth novel, was selected as a Notable Book by the New York Times, the Top Thriller of the Year by Amazon, and was made into a film starring Bruce Willis. Robert Crais received the Ross Macdonald Literary Award in 2006, and was the American Guest of Honor at the 2011 World Mystery Convention. The Mystery Writers of America presented Crais with their Grand Master Award in 2014, which represents the pinnacle of achievement in the field of American mystery fiction.

Robert Crais and his wife, Patricia, live in Los Angeles. They have three children, three grandchildren, and many books.

Joe Dumars Joe Dumars

One of the top shooting guards of his era, Joe Dumars was a consistent all-around player throughout his 14-year NBA career. He played his entire career with the Detroit Pistons and was a six-time All-Star, the owner of two NBA Championship rings, a defensive standout and a clutch shooter. Dumars quickly earned the reputation of being a defensive stalwart and a serious offensive threat but it was cemented with his 1989 NBA Finals MVP performance. Dumars was also well-respected for his sportsmanship that belied his intensity and toughness and for being a true leader in the NBA.

Accolades began to pour in for Dumars in his fourth NBA season. After three years as a sidekick to Thomas, Laimbeer and the rest of the physically intimidating Pistons dubbed the 'Bad Boys," he began to cast his own shadow. However, Dumars was not yet done with receiving awards. Following the 1995-96 season, he was presented with the league's first Sportsmanship Award. The award was created to honor the player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court -- ethical behavior, fair play and integrity. Dumars so epitomized the award that the NBA eventually named the trophy given to the recipient, the Joe Dumars Trophy.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame also recognized his contributions as he was elected to be a member of the 2006 class. One of Dumars' building blocks to Pistons success, Chauncey Billups, in a interview with the Detroit Free Press captured the sentiment of many.

"What he meant to this game, not just to this city but to the entire league, with his sportsmanship and his class and his character, it doesn't come around often," Billups said. "Just the things that he did outside of this court, I think it's long overdue. He's definitely deserving." -- Chauncey Billups

The quiet warrior played four more years with the Pistons at a very productive level, but would also become a mentor to the future great Grant Hill who was drafted with third overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. Eventually, Dumars moved into the front office where he would restore the glory of a proud franchise.

On April 14, 2014, the Detroit Pistons announced that Dumars would step down as President of Basketball Operations, yet remain as an advisor to the organization and its ownership team. During his 14 years as President, Dumars guided the organization to a 595–536 (.527) regular-season record, 73 playoff wins, six Eastern Conference Finals appearances (2003–08), six Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference Championships (2004, 2005), and the 2004 NBA Championship

Rolland Golden Rolland Golden

Rolland Golden is a renowned Southern artist who is also nationally recognized. Born in New Orleans, he moved to Mississippi and Alabama before returning to the city of his birth. He went to high school in New Orleans and then spent one year at what was then known as Southwest Louisiana Institute in Lafayette (USL). He enlisted in the Navy and served four years during the Korean Conflict.

After his military service, Golden returned to New Orleans to study art under the well-known Southern artist, John McCrady, graduating in 1957. He opened his first studio at 624 Royal Street.

Golden’s credits are many, including Who’s Who in American Art and countless awards from New York to California. He has had over one hundred one-man shows in galleries, cultural centers and museums in the US, as well as one-man touring exhibitions and, notably, in the (former) USSR, touring Moscow, Kiev, Leningrad and Odessa, and France. His works are in countless private and corporate collections in the US and abroad and also many museums including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Pushkin Museum, Moscow and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Golden’s work is published in numerous art books and magazines, including The World of Rolland Golden (1970) by Don Lee Keith, American Artist and their Watercolor magazine; Art in the American South, as well as Splash, America’s Best Contemporary Watercolorists and many more. He has also juried many prestigious exhibitions.

Rolland and his wife, Stella, currently live in Folsom, north of New Orleans, where he continues to paint.

Roger Ogden Roger Ogden

Roger Ogden is a real estate developer, civic leader, and philanthropist. He has been a leader in the development and acquisition of more than $1 billion in commercial real estate including shopping centers, hotels, office properties, and public pro bono projects.

Mr. Ogden has been extraordinarily active in many civic organizations, including past Chairman of the LSU Board of Supervisors, past President of the Audubon Park Commission, and chairman of the boards of many other public and non-profit organizations including the International House of Blues Foundation Board and the LSU Stan Scott Cancer Center Board of Advisors and Co-Chairman of the LSU/Tulane Cancer Consortium Board of Advisors.

Committed to the arts, Mr. Ogden donated over 1,000 pieces of art from his personal collection to form the initial holdings for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The project has led to a renaissance of this historically important area of the city and is nationally recognized as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art.

Mr. Ogden has received numerous professional, business and civic awards which include the Metropolitan Area Committee’s Special Achievement Award for Metro New Orleans, New Orleanian of the Year by Gambit Magazine, the Mayor’s Arts Award - Arts Council of New Orleans, “Community Hero” Torchbearer in the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay, elected to LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Humanitarian Award from National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Family Service of Greater New Orleans Ten Outstanding Persons Award, the John G. Tower Award by Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the LSU Business School Hall of Distinction, Anti-Defamation League’s A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award for Humanitarian Service, Business Higher Education Council – First Citizen of the Learning Society Award, Committee on Urban Agenda Urban Hero Award, the New Orleans Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement, and the Greater New Orleans Philanthropist of the Year in 2009.

Mr. Ogden is an honors graduate of Louisiana State University where he graduated second in the College of Business and served as Student Body President. He holds a Juris Doctorate Degree and is an Order of the Coif graduate of Tulane Law School where he was elected to The Law Review. He has been a resident of New Orleans for over 30 years.

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