December 21, 2006

Committee for a Better New Orleans/Metropolitan Area Committee Announces Successful Completion of 2006 Metropolitan Leadership Forum
New Class of Future Leaders Contributes to Community, Dialogues with Mayor Nagin

The Committee for a Better New Orleans/Metropolitan Area Committee (CBNO/MAC) is pleased to announce the successful completion of the 45th Metropolitan Leadership Forum.  29 future New Orleans leaders graduated in a ceremony in the City Council chambers on December 11.

The final session, covering City Management, included presentations by and frank dialogue between the Forum participants and Mayor C. Ray Nagin and his executive staff.  Additional session topics this year included Human Relations, Housing, Education, Public Safety, Economic and Workforce Development, Regionalism, Transportation, and Health Care.  As always, the Forum began with a bus tour of the city, which this year was a sobering and thought-provoking experience.

Sponsors of the 2006 Metropolitan Leadership Forum included Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, the Reily Foundation, the Fair Grounds Race Course, the New Orleans Literacy Alliance, McGlinchey Stafford, Jones Walker, the Heymann Fund, and the Zemurray Foundation.

A new element of this year’s Forum was a class project.  In fact, there were two class projects:  participants were given the option of choosing Education or Housing, and then asked to develop their own projects.  About half the group spent a weekend volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, while the other half spent a Friday afternoon reading to young children and then gave their Saturday to working on repairs and improvements to John McDonough High School.  Participants were both moved and energized by their volunteer efforts, and most indicated a desire to continue volunteering on their respective projects.

First initiated by Mr. Bryan Bell some four decades ago, the Metropolitan Leadership Forum includes among its graduates leaders in every aspect of New Orleans life, including government, education, business, faith, and the nonprofit sector.  This year’s class joins approximately two thousand fellow alumni in serving as a tremendous resource to the community.

The 2006 graduates include:  Sarah McMillan Bleichner, McGlinchey Stafford; David G. Bocage, Xavier University; Erin Alexander Bolles, Isidore Newman School; Keesha S. Broussard, KSB Solutions; Brian Castanza, Johnstone Supply; JeanGuy Celestin, Omni Bank; Angela Shiloh Cryer, Goodwill Industries; Ina Weber Davis; Capt. Mechelle Delahoussaye, Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office; Capt. Carl A. Haydel, Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office; Susan E. Krantz, University of New Orleans; Arleen Federico Landry, Catholic Charities; Lance LeTellier; Maria A. Newman, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino; Trina Parker, Tribune Television; Laura Walker Plunkett, Stone Pigman Walther Wittman; Kendra Reade, United Way of Greater New Orleans; Donna J. Rompf; Tyrone Rousell, Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Scott U. Schlegel, McGlinchey Stafford; Dennis N. Sigur, Jr., Xavier University; Karla Z. Sikaffy, Hispanic Business Resources and Technology Center; Tosha Skipper, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino; Craig M. Stewart, Creative Motivational Services; Shedrick Sublett, U. S. Department of Agriculture; Rica A. Trigs, New Orleans Public Library; Constance Charles Willems, McGlinchey Stafford; Maggie Woodruff, Louis Armstrong N. O. International Airport; Charline K. Wright, Phelps Dunbar.