New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for May/June, 2008

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


by Anne Osteen Stringer

Our indefatigable Loc Sec, Gerry Ward, has volunteered to serve as out SIGHT coordinator. In case you are wondering, SIGHT is an acronym for Service for Information, Guidance, and Hospitality to Travelers. SIGHT is a wonderful program that attempts to brings traveling Mensans together with other Mensans in the cities they visit. There are SIGHT programs in all major US cities and in forty countries around the world. Traveling Mensans can contact the SIGHT coordinator in their destination city and the host city will in some cases provide accommodation or at least put them in contact with Mensans in the area they visit. We have met Mensans from around the US and from many countries who are visiting New Orleans. It’s been a lot of fun and interesting friendships have been formed. (One New Zealander that I had met through SIGHT actually called and offered me accommodation in New Zealand after Katrina.) If you would like to volunteer to host or entertain SIGHT visitors to New Orleans, contact Gerry to volunteer.

Cover art is by Patricia DiGeorge. Sadly it will be the last one.

In Memoriam: Patricia Miller DiGeorge

New Orleans Mensa mourns the loss of Patricia DiGeorge, who passed away March 30. Pat was a member of New Orleans Mensa for many years. She was a talented artist and her intricate pen and ink drawings and delicate water color paintings adorned the covers of La Plume for many years. In 1998, she received an Individual Achievement Award from National Mensa for her artistic contributions to Mensa. Over the years she worked on several RGs and gave of her time and talent generously. Pat hadn’t felt well in recent years, but she kept on drawing and painting and giving to others. Long time Mensans remember her as a beautiful woman with a big heart. It’s hard to imagine New Orleans Mensa without her.

If you want to see more of Pat’s art, go to the New Orleans Mensa website where several years of back covers are displayed.

Loc Sec’s Lucubrations

by Gerry Ward

We congratulate our two members graduating from universities. Elyse will be receiving her Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University Law School on May 17, 2008. Laura will receive her Bachelor of Science from Loyola on May 10, 2008. I am hosting a Graduation Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Court Hotel for them on Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 2:00pm. The cutoff date for reservations is May 2, 2008. I emailed in April those on the email list in the event that La Plume did not reach them before the deadline.

Several members asked for theatre evenings, and our members Yvette and Mike responded by telling me of their forthcoming appearances in local productions. Mike will appear in The Sunshine Boys at the Actor’s Theatre of New Orleans from May 8-24. For info call 504-486-4111. Yvette is appearing at LeChat Noir in The Renew Revue in May , and in The Ball and All in June. I had already selected dates for our calendar for both of Yvette’s shows before Mike wrote to me. If I had known closer in time, I would have chosen one of each. If you want to see The Sunshine boys email or phone me and I will see what I can do.

Phil Wilking our treasurer reports that we were in the red last year, and need to have some fund raisers this year. Think about it and send me your suggestions.

In line with that, we need to give more tests. In May the region with the most improved percentage of tests given over May of Last year, will receive money to be distributed at the discretion of the RVC. Last May Region 6 only had 5 groups testing. We were in the middle with the third highest number. We want to win this year, so tell all your friends and family members to come. Anyone who buys a home test in May will receive $5 off. Then if they return the completed home test before June 30, they’ll receive a coupon worth $5 off the Mensa Admission test. The test will be held on May 17, 2008 . Our Head Proctor, Renè Petersen has the details ( ).

We need hosts for NOM nights in July and August. We will not have business meetings during the social gatherings. In an effort to encourage more volunteers to host our monthly meetings, the Executive Committee unanimously voted to change the NOM night host/hostess fees as follows: The December NOM meeting - $120.00; the other eleven monthly meetings - $60.00 each to help defray the cost of refreshments.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to New Orleans Mensa’s Yahoo Email Group, please consider doing so today. To subscribe, send a blank email to . Yahoo will send you an email asking you to confirm your request to join the group. All you have to do is reply to that email. It’s so simple even a Mensan can do it.

And sadly, we announce the passing of Patti Di George, who was active for many years. She was an artist who contributed many of the covers for La Plume and won awards for it. She was a member of our Dinner Club SIG with her husband, Ignatius before Katrina took it’s toll. We miss both of them.

RVC6 Report

by Ralph Rudolph

The AMC meeting in San Francisco appeared more productive than most, at least in terms of ideas and enthusiasm. The highlights were:
1. American Mensa membership should surpass 55,000 members as of March 31. Naturally, it will fall back after that because of non-renewals.
2. There will be a strong emphasis this year on increased testing. Groups should realize that on the average, 10% of their income comes from testing, and this can make a big difference for groups who are struggling financially. Please make sure that your testing coordinator's contact information is both listed and correct. It often isn't. (I'll note that some groups don't even list me as RVC!). This effort should tie into a large increase in targeted marketing of Mensa.
3. The Hearings Process Review Committee is nearing conclusions on how to vastly restructure the Hearings Committee so the process appears more fair to members. The use of outside arbitration was rejected. This will require a Bylaws change.
4. Two different methods of replacing RVCs were passed to a membership referendum. The one with the most votes will be selected. One involves votes by a Region's LocSecs, the other a full Regional Membership vote (far more expensive and slow).
5. A nonvoting "Regional Representative" may be appointed to temporarily fill the position of Regions with no RVC.
6. AMC will hire an outside firm to analyze how to best restructure Mensa's governance and interactions. This was narrowly passed after much debate.
7. This fiscal year, Mensa will run a significant deficit. Many costs such as printing and mailing have skyrocketed. We will have to increase dues. The questions is by how much and how often.
8. Starting now, Interloc will be published less frequently and as part of the Bulletin.
9. The corporate subscription program will be reduced. Editors, LocSecs, RVCs et al will receive fewer copies of other group's newsletters. Any questions, feel free to e-mail me. I'll be out of town until April 25th.


by Rebecca Pharr

Operation Eggshell spurred some very lively discussion at the March NOM Night. The hostess, Rebecca Pharr, introduced this game for the evening’s entertainment. Each member was given a plastic Easter egg containing one of fifteen assignments and received instructions reminiscent of “Mission Impossible”.

We only had time to discuss two of the topics during the course of the evening, “Homelessness” and “Economic Depression”. Phil Wilking, the treasurer of NOM, contributed the most to the discussion with his extensive recall of history. Gerry, Rebecca, and Maggie contributed their observations from personal experience, and members Henry, Pat and Loretta also provided some interesting insights. The solutions ranged from the compassionate to the controversial.

The discussion on “Homelessness” resulted in several suggested courses of action, ranging from the adoption of a homeless person by each household, to shelter in return for community service. As the observation was made that many of the homeless suffered from untreated mental illness, the related issue of Louisiana’s post-Katrina mental health crisis was also addressed. Also, the shortage of affordable housing was brought up However, it was concluded that the problem was too complex to be solved in a single evening.

The second topic of discussion was “Economic Depression.” Phil gave all of us a very informative review of American and world history highlighting solutions that have been tried in the past, both the successful solutions and the failures. A national isolationist economic policy was proposed by Maggie, which Rebecca noted would be similar to China’s “closed door” policy during the early years of communism in that country. Also, the fact that the currency is no longer backed up by precious metals was cited. Sadly, the game had to be ended before any conclusive proposal could be made.

It was decided that the game could continue as a SIG through emails and correspondence. As such a SIG has been on my heart for a long time, I agreed to coordinate its activities. We welcome suggestions for topics of discussion, as well as proposals to solve the problem chosen to be discussed in the next issue of the Plume de NOM. For starters, the problem to be solved in the next issue is a continuation of the discussion on “Economic Depression.” Please have your contributions to this discussion in by the next NOM night. You can send them to me at And Phil, since you asked, “Is this going to be anything more than an intellectual exercise?”, my reply is “Yes, for starters, but it remains to be seen what can develop from here ”

Eggshell Topics:

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