LSU Women’s Center Announces 2013 Esprit de Femme Award Recipients

02/21/2013 03:21 PM

BATON ROUGE – Every March, LSU celebrates Women’s History Month to honor and celebrate women from all walks of life. This year, the LSU Women’s Center will present the annual Esprit de Femme and Men Who Champion Women awards during the first ever sunrise celebration on Thursday, March 14, at the L’Auberge Casino and Hotel Baton Rouge. WAFB’s Michelle McCalope will emcee the event.


In 2013, the Esprit de Femme award will be presented to eight deserving recipients. These recipients are Jeanette Alcon, Lindy Boggs, Sherri Brock, Mary-Brent Brown, Laurinda Calongne, Lolo Jones, Amy Mitchell-Smith and Jacqui Vines. In addition, the Men Who Champion Women award will be presented to Hillar Moore III.


Established in 2009, the Esprit de Femme award is an annual acknowledgement of a person who has made exceptional efforts toward the advancement of women. This award honors individuals who elevate the status of women in the community through their contributions to the arts, education, healthcare, business and industry, charity and civic engagement.


The executive director for the Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic, Alcon was the founding executive director of the Inter-Tribal Council of Louisiana, which she directed for 18 years, and was instrumental in setting up the Institute of Indian Development. The Lafayette resident also worked with then-governor Edwin Edwards when he created the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs.


The first woman elected to Congress from Louisiana, Boggs was the permanent chairwoman of the 1976 Democratic National Convention, making her the first female to preside over a major party convention. The co-founder of the Congressional Woman’s Caucus, New Orleans resident was also an ambassador to the Vatican.


A graduate of LSU, Brock is currently the principal at Westdale Middle School in Baton Rouge, where she has recruited more than 3,000 volunteers to help make improvements to the school and has been instrumental in getting and growing gifted and talented and immersion education programs at the school. The 2005-06 Louisiana Principal of the Year, she was also a finalist for the 2006-07 National Association of Secondary School Principals’ National Principal of the Year award.


Having founded Kids Wanna Help in 2007 at the age of 12, Brown is currently a senior at St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, La. Along with her younger sister, Brown’s Kids Wanna Help organization has raised more than $115,000 for non-profit organizations since its inception through its Lemonade Brigade and annual fashion show. A National Merit Semifinalist, Brown was a 2012 Angel Award winner as presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.


The chief academic officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Calongne was appointed to the Council on Graduate Medical Education by president George W. Bush in 2001. A year later, Gov. Mike Foster appointed her to the Louisiana Health Works Commission. Prior to taking the position at Our Lady of the Lake, Calongne was the president of Robert Rose Consulting in Baton Rouge.


A two-time Olympian in the 100-meter hurdles, Jones won two World Indoor Championship titles in the 60-meter hurdles and was a three NCAA titles and was an 11-time All-American while at LSU. Training with the USA women’s bobsled team this past winter, Jones earned a gold medal in the mixed team event at the 2013 World Championships in Switzerland. Jones has also started a foundation, the Lolo Jones Foundation, which hopes to help those with socio-economic hardships to realize their potential.


The former director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission who was instrumental in developing Baton Rouge’s burgeoning film industry, Mitchell-Smith is now set to produce her first feature film, a depression-era movie, “Posheen,” which is directed by LSU Professional-in-Residence Zachary Godshall.


The senior vice president for Cox Communications’ Southeast Regional, Vines oversees a $65 million payroll with 1,600 local employees. Having worked her way up from a receptionist in her first job in telecommunications, she is now the president of the La Capital Chapter of The Links Inc. and serves on the board of the Louisiana Cable Telecommunications Association. Vines is also a member of the Baton Rouge Rotary, the Committee of 100, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Women in Cable and Telecommunications and the National Association of Minorities in Cable.


Past recipients of the Esprit de Femme award include Catherine “Kitty” Kimball, former chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; Irma Thomas, “the soul queen of New Orleans”; Stephanie Anderson, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Woman’s Hospital; Mary Terrell Joseph, member of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC; Jennifer Eplett Reilly, trustee and co-found of City Year Inc.; and Becky Kondkar, deputy director of the Domestic Violence Clinic.


As the district attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish Moore has focused his resources on improving services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. A graduate of LSU, he has supported the move of the Rape Crisis Center from the district attorney’s office to a non-profit status to better serve the victims of sexual assault in Baton Rouge. The president of the LSU Baseball Coaches’ Committee and past president of the Catholic High Men’s Club, Moore is also on the board of directors for Ecumenical House, Sam’s Helping Hands and Dellucci’s Dream Foundation. Past recipients of the Men Who Champion Women award include former LSU Chancellor Michael Martin and Louisiana Business Inc. CEO Rolfe McCollister Jr.


In addition to the awards presentation to the honorees at the sunrise celebration, an art patron’s auction will take place and attendees can sponsor works of art to be displayed in the new and expanded LSU Women’s Center, which will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May.


Sponsorship opportunities are available for the Esprit de Femme Sunrise Celebration. Packages range from $250 for an awards sponsorship to $5,000 for the title sponsorship. The packages include recognition in LSU’s press release concerning the event, recognition on the LSU Women’s Center website, inclusion in the event’s program and tickets to the event.


In addition to sponsorship packages, those wishing to attend can purchase individual tickets for the event for $45. Individual tickets and tables can be purchased online, and donations can be made in honor of the individual 2013 Esprit de Femme Awards recipients at


Proceeds from the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration will support the mission and goals of the Women’s Center, which will occupy a new 5,000-square-foot facility the spring. The LSU Women’s Center provides support, referral and information to students, faculty and staff on issues and concerns related to women. The center also promotes the advancement of women’s issues and well-being through its services, educational programs and advocacy efforts.


In addition to the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration, the LSU Women’s Center is also involved in several signature programs and initiatives, including the annual Take Back the Night candlelight vigil and march, Women’s History Month programming, the Women’s Transition to Work series and the Healthy Masculinity Initiative.


LSU’s Women’s History Month Celebration is coordinated by the LSU Women’s Center. For information about the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration or the LSU Women’s Center, please contact Summer Steib, director of the LSU Women’s Center, at or 225-578-7563, or visit

Melissa  Foley 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013