Dr. Dwight McKenna Among Local Leaders Honored by 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans

100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans held its Black Excellence Awards Gala on Saturday Oct. 5, at the Hyatt Regency, where more than a dozen community leaders were recognized for their commitment to the organization’s Four for the Future Pillars: Education, Health & Wellness, Economic Empowerment and Mentoring.

Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Dwight McKenna was honored with the organization’s Excellence in Health and Wellness Award. Dr. McKenna was one of 14 honored at the event. Among others honored by 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans were: former Orleans Parish Civil Sheriff Paul Valteau (Lifetime Achievement Award); U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond (Excellence in Leadership Award); the co-founders of Each One-Save One, retired WWL news anchor Sally-Ann Roberts and business owner and community leader Cathy Harris (Excellence in Mentoring Awards); Thelma French (Excellence in Economic Empowerment Award); AARP Louisiana’s Associate State Director of Multi-Cultural Outreach Linneda McIver and Executive Director at Nuestra Voz (Our Voice) Mary Moran (Outstanding Community Partner Awards); business woman and tech founder Gabrielle Deculus, founder and executive director of SHARP Men Patrick Young, and artist and founder of Studio B Brandan “BMike” Odums (Excellence in Innovative Influence Awards); and Dillard University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough, Xavier University President Dr. C. Reynold Verrett and Southern University at New Orleans Chancellor Dr. Lisa Mims-Devezin (Excellence in Education Awards).

Joan Mitchell Foundation Names Toccarra A.H. Thomas as Director of Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans

The Joan Mitchell Foundation recently appointed Toccarra A. H. Thomas as director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Thomas has previously served as the inaugural general manager of Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY, and inaugural managing director of SPACE, a contemporary multidisciplinary art organization in Portland, ME. 

In her new role at the Joan Mitchell Center, she will oversee the Center’s artist residency program, develop public programming and special projects to support community engagement with the Center’s artist residents, and manage the day-to-day operations of the Center.

Thomas will begin her position on Oct. 14, taking the helm from Veronique Le Melle, who has served as interim director since January 2019. 

The Joan Mitchell Center is located in the Seventh Ward, and features artist studios, spaces for public programming, and on-site housing for resident artists.

“Joan Mitchell’s vision to help support the generations of artists that have come after her is a powerful legacy to stand in, and I am honored to be a part of it,” said Thomas, who holds a BA in cultural anthropology from Smith College, and an MA in media studies from The New School. “Toccarra brings an incredible range of experience and knowledge to the Center. As a media and performance artist herself, she understands deeply the needs of today’s artist community and the impact that a residency can have on a creative practice,” said Kay Takeda, Senior Director of Artist Programs at the Joan Mitchell Foundation. “At the same time, as an arts administrator, she has the vision and leadership skills needed to ensure that the Joan Mitchell Center residency program continues to thrive as a meaningful resource for artists.” 

New Orleans Judge Piper D. Griffin awarded Thurgood Marshall Honor by the National Bar Association Judicial Council 

Civil District Court Judge Piper D. Griffin is a 2019 Thurgood Marshall Award winner chosen by the Louisiana Judicial Council, state affiliate of the National Bar Association Judicial Council (LJC/NBA).

Judge Griffin, who serves as its current LJC/NBA chair, was also awarded the Sarah J. Harper Humanitarian Award in recognition of her consistent and unselfish commitment to the purpose and goals of the National Bar Association.  

The National Bar Association is the oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges, representing the interest of approximately 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. 

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