New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for June 2016

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


By Bart Geraci

“The bats are in the belfry...”

(“Cough” wrong Tom Waits Song “Cough”)

“Never saw the morning til I stayed up all night...”

(Better. Thanks.)

This year, the start of the AG is in June in beautiful San Diego. The last AG in California was in 1999 in Long Beach. I remember visiting San Diego with my wife and kids a few days before the AG. We saw the world famous San Diego zoo and ate at Hob Nob Hill.

Locally in New Orleans, June is the month for the Creole Tomato Festival. I’ve been seeing some great tomatoes at the local farmers market. They’re so good, all one needs is maybe just a little salt on them.

I might as well mention here and now that June 1st is the start of hurricane season. It’s time to prepare your evacuation plans. Let us hope for an uneventful season.

In our group, we’re open for business in terms of accepting registrations for our RG, NORGY 2016, to be held this December 9-11. Another article talks about our Young Mensa members’ stage performances.

For those long time members who remember seeing our two little children at the top of the stairs for the December parties ... they both have graduated from college as of this past May. Time flies when you’re having fun. Unless you’re a frog. Then time’s fun when you’re having flies.

Let’s go Zephyrs!

“...I never heard the melody until I needed the song”
-Tom Waits “San Diego Serenade”-

The latest report shows 24 lapsed members in our group. Are you one of them?

If you have forgotten to renew, why not consider a multi-year or a lifetime Membership.

NORGY 2016 !!!

NORGY 2016: A CONSUMMATION of New Orleans Culture

Friday, December 9 - Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Gathering will feature speakers, activities, and excursions that exemplify a wide variety of New Orleans culture. The general topics to be covered include History, Food, Architecture, Literature, Music, and Lagniappe (that's a little bit extra). All the things that makes our city truly one of a kind.

Our hotel, Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans Convention Center, is located one block from the Convention Center, three blocks from the World War II Museum, and is near many restaurants.

See for more info.

From National Mensa - Reduced Cost Testing Promotion

For the month of July and October, the cost for taking the Mensa test is only $20 instead of the usual $40.

So The Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

So I was visiting a friend who had a nursery, garden-style that is, in West Texas. He knew about the different plants that would grow in the area and could even xeriscape (gardens without water) people’s lawn to cut down on water needed.

He said that people wanted to know about what kind of vegetables could grow in this heat, and he recommended growing plants indoors and he had equipment for all that. He said that for many years, herbs were the easiest to recommend, but that the latest craze was mushrooms.

I said “Really? I might be able to do that, but how much space does it require?”

He said “For a fungus to grow ...”

“... you must give it as mushroom as it needs.”


Still on a Summer Break. Stay cool my friends.

Two of Our Young Members On Stage

By Gerry Ward, NOM Gifted Youth Coordinator

Sophia, a Young Mensan, sang 2 solo parts in the World War ll Museum's joint production with the New Orleans Opera of “Friedl“ followed by “Brundibar“. This was in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Week. Friedl was a teacher who was deported to a “model camp“ by the Nazis. This was the camp where artists, intellectuals, and children were sent. They had to learn to put on a show of “how well the Jews were being treated“ by the Nazis when international inspectors came around. Friedl risked her life teaching the children to draw and paint in secret after the guards made their rounds. When she was put on the list to go to Auschwitz, she gave a friend two suitcases full of 5,000 drawings made by the children to hide. She was sent to Auschwitz. The opera Friedl was written after the war when the drawings were discovered.

The second opera was done for children in the camp from one that Jewish Czech composer Hans Krasa had begun before the war. When the Nazis sent him to the camp, he was told to finish it, and they put it on for international observers whenever they came. It is a fable told in two acts and was used to create a “good“ impression. This version was sung by four adult professionals, and 38 children from local schools.

Our second performer, Parker L., took the stage last month for two performances of the play “The Trials of Alice in Wonderland.” Parker played the sleepy dormouse who served as a witness in the trial where Alice tried to prove her innocence by re-living the events of the adventures we all know and love.

Taz Talks

By Taz Criss, Region 6 Vice Chair

As I write this column, I am sitting in the Midland, TX airport, waiting to board my storm-delayed flight. (For the record, the weather in Midland is lovely today, but back home in Houston? Not so much.) This is the end of another of my travels throughout Region 6. I was able to hit two groups in one trip this weekend, as I was the speaker at the Permian Basin Mensa monthly meeting on Saturday evening and then drove up to Lubbock, TX to have a lunch meeting with their members on Sunday.

I greatly enjoyed meeting with the members of both groups, and I believe that we had some valuable conversations about the successes and challenges that the groups have had, as well as opportunities for growth in each area. However, one thing stuck out to me from both of these groups. Several members brought up the fact that they were uncertain if the challenges they have faced are one-shot problems or things that other groups have dealt with.

The answer is that most of our local groups have faced similar problems, frequently dealing with recruitment, retention, and lack of volunteers. This occurs regardless of location or size of the group. While the scale of the challenge may be changed by these factors, the core issue is generally not. The fantastic thing about our members is that we not only have a great deal of brainpower, we also have some incredibly creative members who get excited to meet those challenges. Creative solutions are often just one email (or phone call) away.

As we all know, Mensa’s position as a primarily social organization is in flux amidst the ever-changing offerings that can be found elsewhere. I truly believe that our members make all the difference in the world. Members are what make my Mensa experience so valuable to me.

As an individual member, you can absolutely make a difference in your local group, whether you are an officer or not. Host an event, get a structured monthly debate going, broadcast a Skype craft hour for members to attend remotely - the possibilities are endless. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to your local officers or myself. If you hear about another local group doing something neat that you want to learn more about – reach out to that group’s officers. (Pro Tip: you can find details on all of the groups in Region 6 on the national website at . You can find officer info for each at . I’m always available to offer suggestions, but I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t have all of the answers. I am happy to defer to others, as different perspectives often help us find the best solutions.

As always, I ask that if you have any questions, concerns, or general comments, please let me know. I have created a simple online form where members can offer feedback on any topic, both by name or anonymously. You can find this form at Of course, if you prefer, you can always contact me via email at

New Orleans Mensa ExCom Meeting

Saturday, May 14, 2016. Home of Bart Geraci.

Mensa ExCom Members present: Bart Geraci, Claudia D'Aquin, Robert Myers, Summer McKnight, Rene’ Petersen, Gerry Ward, Kevin Chesnut

Meeting called to order at 5:15 p.m.

Old Business:

Bart presented the minutes from the February meeting. The minutes were accepted.

New Business:

  1. Summer presented a plan for RG activities schedule. Group discussion about status of speakers. Bob Myers will contact Fred about doing our cemetery tour and will report back.
  2. Next RG planning meeting will be June 11, 5:00 p.m., Bart's house.
  3. Treasurer's report: General Account $XXXXX Summer paid Rene' $XXXXX for one T-shirt. Kevin submitted newsletter expense report to the treasurer.
  4. Bart reported communication from a couple of members. One is asking for transportation help from the north shore in order to attend Mensa functions. We will publish his request in the bulletin. Another member wrote to suggest that we start a Mensa Singles group. Bart will write back that he is welcome to pursue that idea and let the ExCom know if he can organize something.
  5. Bart reported that we have 24 lapsed members. He will contact them.
  6. Two prospective members tested in May. We will schedule our next administration for July.
  7. Gifted Children Coordinator's report: Star Wars activity that had been planned for the north shore was cancelled due to bad weather and is re-scheduled for May 21.

Next ExComm meeting will be August 13, 5:00 p.m., Bart's house.

All business being concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

Submitted by Claudia D'Aquin, Secretary

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Last edited: 30-June-2016. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at