New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for May 2016

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


By Bart Geraci

By the time this comes out, JazzFest will be over. We have a great number of national (and international) acts come to town to perform. When I go I like to move from stage to stage and sample all the acts that I don’t know about. I still remember enjoying a performance from Regis Gizavo, an accordion player from Madagascar. Even though there are famous national acts (this year they include Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Taj Mahal, Snoop Dogg, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), a lot of the performers are local musicians.

This year at JazzFest, they had a photo exhibition about the Americana Music Triangle (also called the “Mojo Triangle”), which links the cities New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville. The area has given birth to country, rock, jazz, and blues music. Another exhibit JazzFest does every year is a spotlight on a different country. Last year was Brazil, this year it’s Belize. From pao de queijo to cassava bread.

This month marks Memorial Day weekend and the Greek Festival. New Orleans has the oldest Greek Orthodox community in all of the Americas. Since it’s down the street from my house, I’ve been going for well over 20 years now. But people come all over the region and there’s an area and a long line just dedicated to Greek pastries that people tend to leave the festival with boxes of goodies stacked high to take home. One year I won a raffle drawing for a basket filled with Greek foods.

The Pelicans basketball season is over. The Zephyrs baseball team are in full swing, pun intended. Speaking of which, the Zephyrs is holding a contest for fans to rename the team to something more local. They kept the name Zephyrs moving from Denver. Oddly enough, the old Pontchartrain Beach amusement park, which closed in the 80s, was most iconically represented by the large wooden roller coaster named the Zephyr. So New Orleans liked the name and thought it was a nice local tie-in.

We are in the one of the prime seasons for conventions in town - later on it’ll get too hot and by the time August starts, we’ll all see temperatures and humidities rise into the 90s and above.

Our group is having a testing session this month. We’ve been having Star Wars movie gettogethers.

Let’s go Zephyrs!

May...I remind you to renew your membership?

Did you remember to renew your membership? If forgetting to renew happens every year, maybe you can consider a Multi-year or a Lifetime Membership.

Brains on Bourbon Aim for Another High Finish

On Sunday, May 1, your New Orleans Mensa team, Brains on Bourbon, entered the Culture Quest fray once again, striving to bring home fame, glory, and a monetary prize for our chapter. Mensa’s annual 90-minute, closed-book trivia contest involves teams from across the U.S. and Canada responding to a quiz of over 200 questions, covering a great variety of topics. Brains on Bourbon have often achieved a Top 20 finish among the nearly 100 participating teams. This year’s roster includes Phil Wilking, Anne Stringer, Summer McKnight, Bart Geraci, and Kevin Chesnut.

So The Story Goes Like This

By Bart Geraci

So I spent one summer in West Texas helping out a contractor renovating a kitchen. We had removed the old appliances and cabinetry, rerouted some electrical fixtures, and rerouted the existing vent system. This was the easy part.

The couple who owned the house had many differences of opinions on the details of what the new kitchen would look like. Just picking the cabinet colors took a week. The background paint color took another week. The background tile splash took a week. The appliances took another week, and so on.

I had just finished painting a wall when the lead contractor told me to not bother coming back until next week. I asked what was the holdup. He said that they were having a heated argument on whether to use marble, quartz, wood, or stainless steel for their countertops.

I said “So it sounds like ...”

“... they’re having a counter argument.”

NORGY 2016 !!!

New Orleans Mensa is having a Regional Gathering in 2016 !

Dates: December 9 - 11, 2016

Taz Talks

By Taz Criss, Region 6 Vice Chair

Welcome to your new member year! We are very excited about the fact that we are starting off the year with more significantly more renewing members than we have in recent memory. Over the last 18 years, we have averaged about 44,000 members to start the year. This year, our membership count on April 1 was 46,658. That’s a retention rate of 17%, which is the best ever in the last 18 years. At the time that I write this (mid-April), we have already had over 1,000 lapsed members rejoin us. If you have not yet renewed your membership, this is the last local newsletter you will be receiving. I hope you will consider renewing and helping us to make this organization fantastic.

Once you’ve renewed, why not spend a weekend enjoying the company of your fellow Mensans? Gulf Coast Mensa’s annual SynRG will be held over Memorial Day weekend. This RG had around 150 people in attendance last year, and it’s a fantastic time. This year’s space theme has allowed the committee to build a fantastic lineup of speakers. You can get more information and register online at .

I do want to take a moment to thank South Texas Mensa as a whole, and Andrea Metcalf and Bob Bevard in particular, for being absolutely wonderful hosts to the American Mensa Committee during the quarterly meeting held in March. The AMC was able to mingle with local members in a Hospitality suite and attended a fantastic speaker meeting that featured two Sea World Animal Ambassadors. Everyone in attendance enjoyed meeting the animals who came along, and the speakers were extremely knowledgeable. They were quite capable of answering all of the questions our curious members threw at them. Weekends like this are such a benefit, allowing members and the AMC to mingle and talk about things Mensan and not. If you and your local group are interested in hosting the AMC for one of the quarterly meetings, please get in touch with me.

As for the meeting itself, the mini-minutes and video recording are available for viewing by all members on the national website at . I encourage all members to take the time to review these items. This is a membership organization, and in order to best serve you, all the members of the AMC need your feedback to help us make decisions for our future.

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

BrainFork taking off for the Summer.

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These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2016 by New Orleans Mensa, all rights reserved. Mensa® and the Mensa logo (as depicted for example in U.S. TM Reg. No. 1,405,381) are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by American Mensa, Ltd., and are registered in other countries by Mensa International Limited and/or affiliated national Mensa organizations. Mensa does not hold any opinion or have, or express, any political or religious views.
Last edited: 30-June-2016. Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at