New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for March/April 2009

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


Lauren Alsop

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Mardi Gras Season. It’s hard to believe that spring is almost here - seems as if Christmas was just yesterday. This issue features several items that are new with the spring- New Members, interesting new Eclectic SIG events, and a new RVC for Region 6. I’ve included an antecdote, submitted by member Joseph Hopkins, which made me laugh out loud. I hope it does the same for you. Be well and be in touch with news for the next issue!

Loc Sec Report

Gerry Ward

We are saddened by the death of our former member, Loc. Sec., and editor, Clarence “Smitty” Smith. See memorial in this issue.

March is Membership month. Please renew your membership online at, or call 888-294-8035 ext.199, or snail mail it to : P.O. Box 916088 Fort Worth, Texas 76191-6088

Thanks to all those who renewed early.

If you know anyone who would like to join Mensa, please tell them that through June 30, American Mensa has rolled back the fee for prior evidence review from $40 to its 1999 rate of $25. This pricing will apply to anyone who wishes to submit scores from any of more than 200 standardized intelligence tests they may have taken at any point in their lives. See a partial list of accepted test scores at

If you are not receiving email from me, please send me your current email address. Several keep bouncing back. I will not send your address to anyone else, including National. Only you can change any of your personal information with them. It is difficult to plan everything two months in advance, so you are missing reminders and activities that come up after the 15th of the publication month.

I am looking for free or very inexpensive activities. This month we will see the British Car Show on the Delgado campus by City Park , and next month we will attend a fencing exhibition and be able to suit up and participate if you are 12 and over. Members and their families are invited. And there is a special event that is in the works. I will have to email you because it won’t make the deadline for the newsletter this month.

International Board of Directors Election

The International Election Committee has received the following nominations for Mensa International’s 2009 International Board of Directors election. Names for each position are listed in alphabetical order; incumbents are indicated with a capital I preceding their country.

International Chairman:

International Director of Administration:

International Director of Development:

International Treasurer:

Look for your international ballot and voting instructions with your April/May Mensa Bulletin. Your ballot should be returned to its specified address by the date included with those materials. To vote in Mensa’s national or international elections, you must be a current member as of April 1, 2009. To renew your membership, visit before midnight CT, March 31, 2009 or mail your membership renewal to be received by COB on 3/31.

Nominations Sought for Copper Black Award

The Mensa Education and Research Foundation is seeking nominations for its annual Copper Black Award for Creative Achievement. This award is presented to a Mensa member who has made the most outstanding creative achievement. The creative achievement may be an invention, an innovation, or a unique improvement that has actually worked. Artistic accomplishments are not eligible.

Copper Black was a Mensan who valued creativity and left a legacy of a special award for creative achievement, in the amount of $500. You may nominate yourself, or another Mensan. Award applications are available online at the Foundation’s web site. Completed forms must arrive by April 15, 2009.

From the Chairman

Russ Bakke

The AMC received the resignation of RVC 6 Ralph Rudolph on January 27, 2009.

The AMC’s original plans were to appoint a non-voting regional representative to fill the role until July when the new board takes office. However, the Election Committee has now made its formal report of nominees for the upcoming election and the candidates who are uncontested have been declared elected according to our Bylaws. Since the position of RVC for Region 6 is currently vacant for the remainder of the term and the only candidate for RVC , Roger Durham, has been declared elected for the next term, our legal counsel has advised us that while the law does not speak to this specific circumstance, it meets the spirit and intention of the law that Roger Durham be declared the RVC for region 6 beginning immediately.

As Chairman of American Mensa I am pleased to welcome Roger Durham to the AMC.

Logo & Slogan Contest

American Mensa, Ltd., will be 50 years old in 2010! You can help celebrate by designing a logo that incorporates American Mensa’s birthday with other eye-catching elements. Create a slogan that will bring to mind the occasion. Do one or the other or both!

A few guidelines: If you are incorporating the Mensa logo in your design, follow the rules for correct logo display as specified at

Submit your design and/or logo by May 31, 2009, in electronic format (JPG or GIF) to or in hardcopy to: 50th Anniversary Logo and Slogan Contest c/o American Mensa, Ltd. 1229 Corporate Drive West Arlington, TX 76006

Only original work will be considered; if your design has been published elsewhere, it is ineligible. No hardcopy entries will be returned. By entering the contest, you agree that the winning entry becomes the property of American Mensa, Ltd.

The only prize, but the best one, is having your logo and/ or slogan selected. It will be widely displayed at national and anniversary-related events in 2010, especially at the Annual Gathering in Dearborn, Mich., and in the fall of that year when a special event will be held near New York City. So go for the gold(en anniversary)!


Joseph B. Hopkins

Shortly after I transferred to the New Orleans area, the company I worked for was purchased by RCA. There was to be a meeting of the AIUM, I think that stands for Associated Institute of Ultrasound Manufacturers, in the Biloxi coliseum. At these meetings the different manufacturers would show all the latest and greatest developments they had to offer. The day before the opening found everyone involved in setting up the newest equipment for display and demonstration.

Among the people who were there from RCA, I saw a couple of familiar faces. I recognized them as Bob and Jim with whom I had worked in the engineering plant in Moorestown, N.J. They were representing the home office and were there to see how things were going. I re-introduced myself and engaged them in conversation.

Our top ultrasound specialist in New Orleans at the time was a native of the bayou country. He had worked for several years in final test at the factory. He was moving from one system to another as he made sure each was performing properly. Bob and Jim noticed how active he was in getting things ready. They also noticed he was wearing a shirt that had the familiar RCA logo on the front.

“Who is that fellow?” Bob asked of me. “He looks like he is really into getting this project. He’s even wearing a shirt with the RCA logo on it. Must be a real company man. Call him over here, I’d like to meet him.”

“Sure thing”, I replied and called out “Yo! John can you come over here for a minute.

He stopped what he was doing and came walking over to where we stood. When he arrived I said “John, I’d like you to meet Bob and Jim who are down here from the home office to see how things are going. How are they?”

“Nice meeting you, “ he said. “We’ll be ready when those doors open tomorrow, but only if I get back to work.”

“Don’t let us hold you, ” said Jim, “we just wanted to meet the man who showed so much team spirit with the company logo on his shirt.”

“O.K.,” he said and turned to walk away. When he did the back of the shirt became visible to us.

It said, “Registered Coon-Ass and proud of it“. -

Membership Month

René J. Petersen

Share this with a friend!

Thank you for your interest in American MENSA. We will be administering the MENSA Admission Test on Saturday, March 21st at the Canal Street Presbyterian Church Office located at 4302 Canal Street (at Canal and S.Hennessey), New Orleans, Louisiana. There is ample parking available in front of and on the side of the Church.

Registration will begin at 12:30 and the test at 1:00 PM. The test for admission to MENSA actually consists of 2 tests, both of which will be administered during the testing session. The entire session last around two hours. There is a nominal fee of $40.00 for testing. Please bring a pictured ID and a check or money order for $40.00 made out to American MENSA Ltd. Achieving a score at or above the 98th percentile on either test will meet MENSA’s membership requirement.

Many people have taken a standardized intelligence test during their academic career. If you know that you have already taken a standardized intelligence test, you may decide to have the results sent to National.

There is a onetime, nonrefundable evaluation fee of $25 for this service. Prices are reduced through March. Please visit our Web site ( for a list of tests and the procedures for submitting prior evidence as qualification for membership.

Please contact me to let me know if you plan to join us for the test (but walk-ins are welcome.) If you are between the ages of 15 and 18, please contact me reference parental permission.

I can be contacted at my e-mail address of You may also check out our local website at We hope to soon have the pleasure of welcoming you to the society.


Set your calendars and round up your trivia buffs - the 2009 CultureQuest Competition will take place on Sunday, April 19th. Rules and registration forms are available for download at www. Registration and changes can be made until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

We hope you will join us this year! Who knows your local group could make it n the Top 20 and win money for your Local Group! For more information on CultureQuest(r), contact CQ Chair Marilyn Sallee at

Member News

The Red Book (Songs and Dances of the Shrine of Montserrat) is Musica da Camera’s third season production of it’s 43rd season. Featured is music from (and inspired by) the two great medieval music collections: the “Llibre Vermell” and the “Cantigas de Santa Maria”. Both collections of songs devoted to the Blessed Virgin contain music ranging from foot-stomping dances to quiet musical prayers. Performers include Vox Feminae and the instruments of Musica da Camera.

The Monastery of Montserrat, sitting on a cleft mountain near Barcelona, was a center for medieval devotion of the Virgin Mary. The jewel of the monastery library is the late 14th century “Llibre Vermel”, or “Red Book of Montserrat”, so named because of the 19th century red velvet binding of the manuscript.

We hope you can join us for this live performance of this most frequently recorded repertory of early music, codirected by Mensan Thais St. Julien.

Free and open to the public!

In Memoriam

Clarence Sidney Smith, “Smitty”, born in Portland, Oregon on January 22, 1925, moved to San Francisco when he was seventeen years of age to become a Merchant Marine. After World War II while still a Merchant seaman, he traveled to pre-Castro Cuba where he met his wife to be, Marta Margarita Socarras during Carnival in Havana. A year and a half later Marta followed her seaman husband to Houston, where they were to live for several years. Eventually they moved to New Orleans where Clarence “Smitty” joined the New Orleans/ Baton Rouge River Pilots Association and where he had the best job in the world navigating large ships down the Mississippi River for close to thirty years. Eventually they settled in San Antonio close to their son Robin. Clarence was known for his generosity and intelligence as an active member of MENSA. Clarence left this earth peacefully and surrounded by family on February 15. He is survived by his son Robin, his wife Deborah, and daughter Sherry and her husband Allen as well as his sister- in -law Norma. A beloved father, Clarence will be forever missed.

San Antonio Express News, February 18, 2009

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