New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for January/February 2008

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


by Anne Osteen Stringer

2008 promises to be an exciting year. Whether it pleases you or not, we will see the end of the Bush administration and new leadership for our country. NOM leadership is not exactly new–we have only one new face on our EXCOM–congratulations, Anne Hatfield! But our officers are filled with enthusiasm to make New Orleans Mensa even more interesting and enjoyable in the new year. We seem to be emerging from the post Katrina landscape determined to make our city and our group better than ever. We need ALL of our members to be involved. If you haven’t been active in the past, I urge you to make a resolution to get involved this year. Host an event, make a suggestion, write an article for La Plume, or just get out and attend an activity–there’s so much to do.

Hooray for Mike Cahill! This talented NOM has a new book in print, Just Who Is Stocker Fontelieu, Anyway?–a biography of the New Orleans theater icon.

In this issue Gerry outlines her plans for the new year for NOM. We have poetry by Nick Gebhardt and Henry Bertrand has a somewhat strange reading list. Cover art is by Gerry Ward.

Loc Sec’s Lucubrations

by Gerry Ward

Thank you for returning me to office. I will continue to work to increase attendance at our activities by giving you the type of activities you want. I always welcome suggestions for new activities or suggestions to make the existing ones more enjoyable.
Would you be interested in attending some plays and musicals this year? The Jefferson Performing Arts Society has quite a full schedule. I am looking at Fiddler on the Roof either Jan. 20 or 27. Let me know if you are interested as soon as possible. Their website is and their phone number is 504-885-2000 if you want to check the schedule for the year.
Anyone interested in going to a plantation this spring? Destrahan has been suggested. If there is enough interest, I will make plans. Possibly the Greater New Orleans area members could meet at a mall parking lot and carpool. The North Shore members could make plans with their coordinator.
Strangely the North Shore members are divided between us and Baton Rouge Mensa. We have the Slidell area, and they have the rest. Most members on the North Shore preference in to New Orleans Mensa. Before I was aware of this, I appointed Henry Bertrand coordinator for activities for the North Shore. He still has his job, but now I think it would be a good time to petition National to redraw the boundaries and include them in New Orleans Mensa. It will only happen if our North Shore NOMs want it to. So please get with Henry Bertrand at and let him know how you feel on this subject.
I would still like to see a group in our western area coming together. A Laplace area group would be good. Anyone interested in coordinating an activity once in a while.
To update your membership information or to change your directory privacy releases, please visit Or you can call 817-607-0060 ext. 199 to update your information with a member services representative. If you don’t have your web login, contact

By the time you read this, it will be 2008. Have a very happy new year!

North Shore Report

by Henry Bertrand

I’ve received several telephone calls and emails recently from new members and people considering membership. The topics of most interest were the demographics of membership on this side of the lake and the Mensan activities here. It is rather embarrassing to report that nothing much is going on in the St. Tammany branch of New Orleans Mensa. My attempts to generate interest in SIGS with coffee shop and restaurant meetings here have come to nil.
As for our current stats, reported as of September 30, 2007, by National, of the total 205 listings for New Orleans Mensa, 30 reside north of the lake, Zip-Code 704–. (31 are named, but I know of one who has moved to Lafayette.) There are 24 males, 6 females. 14 males and 2 females have given email addresses. 19 males and 2 females gave telephone numbers. A breakout by town show Bogalusa 1, Bush 1, Covington 1, Franklinton 1, Madisonville 1, Mandeville 5, Pearl River 2, and Slidell 18.
If you live over here, please consider hosting a meeting at your home or some public facility. Call or email me if you come up with a plan, and I will do my best to help make it happen, if it is practicable. I can be reached at 985-674-9229 or Also, your wishes are certainly to be honored when it comes to unlisted phone numbers and email addresses, but meeting other Mensans and communicating with them is usually one of the major motivations in joining this society. I hope to hear from you.

Every day one ought to see a fine picture, read a good poem, hear a little song, and if it were possible, speak a few reasonable words.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1740-1832)


by Henry Bertrand

Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers: A Theory of Relativity
(Family Secrets of Dr. E) by Albert Einstein

The Greatest Hoax Ever...Whitehouse Gases & Global Warming
(Confessions of a Closet-Environmentalist) by George Bush

Solar-System Warming: A Convenient Lie
(Human Actions Don’t Affect Martian Climate) by Al Gore

The Demise of Species
(A Scientist Responds to Intelligent Design) by Charles Darwin

The DaVinci Area-Code
(From the Italian Yellow Pages) by AT&T

I’m OK, You’re F*!&#ing Not
(Personality Checks) by Dick Cheney

The Moon Also Sets
(Novelist Discovers a New Cosmology) by Ernest Hemingway

Terror-fied of Flying
(Feminist Does Post 9-11 Sequel) by Erica Jong

Peace and War
(Russian Reverses Ideology) by Leo Tolstoy

A Long History of Time
(Watchmaking From the Pre-Cambrian to Now) by Stephen Hawking

God Help Us!
(Atheist Laments Religious Wars) by Richard Dawkins

Trillions & Trillions, Maybe Quadrillions
(U.S. Deficit Dwarfs Star Count) by Carl Sagan

2001 BC: A Space Pre-Odyssey
(UFO Parachutes int Roswell, NM) by Arthur C. Clarke

(Add to the list. Send Suggestions to the Editor)

The Mensans’ Lament

by Nick Gebhardt

I dream of flights of fancy,
Of romance long and true.
I dream of feats of valor,
And skies of lasting blue.
I watch the magic kingdoms,
Or the battles in the air.
Daring rides and rolling hills,
The hero’s always there.
I read the dashing stories,
And how the villains plot.
I know about the vampires,
And how the knave is caught.
I’ve even played fantastic games,
And traveled to many lands.
I’ve even flown above them,
From seas to boiling sands.
I play my games and watch tv.
And read books from my shelf.
While I’ve lived the lives of others,
Did I ever truly live myself?

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