New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for September/October, 2007

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


by Anne Osteen Stringer

Two years have passed since Katrina, and New Orleans seems to be staggering toward recovery. I see signs of progress at any rate. New Orleans Mensa membership has rebounded and we now have about 2/3 of the members we had pre K. That’s not official–I’m judging by the number of newsletters we mail. Some of our members will eventually return, but some have relocated permanently. (At least one was spotted at the Birmingham AG.) We miss them and wish them well. Those members who have returned (or never left) are in various stages of recovery, but are a convivial group and we have lots of activities on our calendar. New Orleans Mensa is thriving.

Our new RVC, Ralph Rudolph, is determined to expand our group of active members to include more active members and more younger members. With that in mind, our LocSec recently surveyed our Gen-X and younger members and the results of that survey are in this issue. We also have poetry by Joe Hopkins and Rene Petersen reports on Mensa’s National Testing Day. Cover art by H. is entitled “Harvest Bounty–Genetically Modified?”

Notes from the LocSec’s Desk

by Gerry Ward

We had a good time at the AG in Birmingham. NOMs who attended were Bart Geraci and his family, Patti Armatis, Jim Dean, and David Dillard. I also saw Joe Hopkins and Dwayne Bright briefly. Also our former members, Neville Mayfield and Clarence Smith (Smitty) were there. Neville is now in Memphis and Smitty is in San Antonio.

Did you know that Mobile had the first Mardi Gras in America? The kids learned that in Alabama history. One of our members made the National bulletin on page 26 in the lower left corner on a stage being used as a Mardi Gras float by the kid’s program. If you want to know the identity of the wild masker on the right in the picture, you have to come to the September NOM night where all will be revealed.

Ralph Rudolph, our new RVC. asked us to survey our younger members about why they do not come to activities and the results were interesting. Now, I can’t get anyone a raise or shorten your work day, and I won’t babysit or take the kids to after school activities, but other than that, I am trying to address your concerns.

One member wants us to have a literary SIG such as a poetry of book club I can’t take on any new SIGs myself, but the floor is open to all of you. Anyone care to start a literary SIG?

Another member said that she lives in Gramercy and the drive into New Orleans is too far and would we meet her at a closer location, such as LaPlace.

Several said that they do not like to go to meetings where they do not know anyone and need something to do. So it was proposed at the August NOM Night that we combine these two reasons and visit Destrehan Plantation as a group. This provides something to do and is fairly close to LaPlace.

Another said that she would prefer to meet members online. Our Asst. LocSec, Sharon Kirkpatrick, has set up a Yahoo group for us and she will moderate it. Email Sharon at for more information. Baton Rouge Mensa has a Yahoo group, and invites all Louisiana Mensans to join the fun.

One member suggested activities across the river and uptown. Suggestions?

Henry Bertrand, our North shore Coordinator reports that he works hard to have activities at both ends of the lake, and is disappointed that no one shows up. If he needs to have different types of activities, please let him know at

On a lighter note, one college student wrote that she doesn’t attend Gen-X activities because “they’re too old” for her. So all of you “Gen-Xers and older people get out there and find us some young college student members so this student will have some young people her age and will become an active member.

RVC6 Column

by Ralph Rudolph

I’d like to remind everyone that we do have a yahoo groups forum for anyone who wishes to suggest ideas, note problems or just chat. To join, as the list is moderated, please first send a blank e-mail to To receive and post messages, then go to: and click on “join this group”. Better communication within our Region would be helpful.

There will be an AMC meeting at the Arlington (TX) Hilton on Saturday, Sept. 8th. There are several items of interest that I will be voting on. I’d like to share my thoughts for your comments.

  1. I am being appointed Chairman of the NOM Com Review Committee to complete work of the prior committee. The result will be that there will no longer be any “approved” NomCom candidates”. Strictly petition.
  2. A new local group charter review committee will be appointed to examine the relationship between local groups and AML. I helped shoot down their prior recommendations which would have given AMC rather than the RVC the right to disband local groups for bylaws or other violations. I will watch this one.
  3. A Planning Committee (imagine that!) Will be established to track whether we are actually doing what we promised to do. Hooray!
  4. The ASIE that grants the Executive Committee the power to run Mensa between AMC Meetings will become more restrictive and will require AMC consultation on some items. Two versions of the revisions will be debated.
  5. The Finance Committee has filed a motion that ALL local groups must submit a report of all cash balances owed/controlled by the group as of March 31st. This is because IRS requires this information from any group that uses Mensa’s Employer Identification Number (which few groups use). I will strongly oppose this as an unnecessary burden on small groups. The motion should be restricted ONLY to groups that use the EIN.
  6. During the past two years, AMC has been filling vacant AMC positions through appointment by the EXCom. This may be against our bylaws and other rules. We will debate what the best legal ways to fill these positions is. We may have to hold special elections but that might leave regions without an RVC for several months and would add extra expense.

I’d like to congratulate Jeff Dommenge for his willingness to take over the leadership of the Gen-S SIG. Jeff tells me that not only will this NOT interfere with his duties as Asst. RVC6 but will actually help them as the two mesh together. That’s positive thinking!

TJ Lundeen is putting together a new Region 6 event called “Sixcess”. Stay tuned for details. Hint: it’s a Region 6 Trivia contest.

There’s a 90% probability that I’ll be at the Austin RG. My remaining RVC funds are very limited and I have to pick and choose.

Mensa Testing Day

We all have smart friends, right? Even some of our family member amaze us sometimes. Well, be sure and tell them about Mensa Testing Day. It is scheduled for Saturday, Oct 20. This is the day when local groups from coast to coast will host more than 200 test sessions. Over the years, thousands of candidates have challenged themselves by taking the Mensa Admission Test as part of this event. Oct. 21, 2006 was the ninth annual Testing Day and more than 1400 candidates sat for the test that day.

NOM Proctor, Rene Petersen, reports that New Orleans Mensa will participate in Testing Day. We will administer the test on Oct. 20 at the Canal Street Presbyterian Church Office located at 4302 Canal Street (at Canal and S. Hennessey). 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. Achieving a score at or above the 98th percentile on wither test will meet Mensa’s membership requirement. The entire session lasts around two hours. There is a fee of $40 for testing. Candidates for testing should bring a check or money order made out to American Mensa, Ltd. and a photo ID.

Rene asks that those planning to take the test contact him, although walk-ins will be welcome too. Those under 18 should contact him about parental permission. Rene can be contacted at his e-mail address of or cell phone (504) 376-3091 or and (504) 697-5529 at work.

Many people have taken a standardized intelligence test during their academic career and may decide to have the results sent to National Mensa for evaluation. There is a onetime, non-refundable evaluation fee of $40 for this service. Visit for a list of tests and the procedures for submitting prior evidence as qualification for membership.

Love Song

by Joe Hopkins

Someone who’s never known you
can’t know the joy he’s missed
The lips that haven’t tasted yours
have never really kissed

The eyes that haven’t seen you
are blind to beauty’s light
For the beauty that is yours alone
outshines the stars at night

The more that I see of you
the more I want to see
The longer I am with you
the more I long to be

Until my life is over
I want you by my side
If that could only happen
I’d be satisfied

Whenever we’re together
we always have a ball
I’m so glad I found your number
written on that bathroom wall

Points to Ponder

The pen is mightier than the sword–if the sword is very small and the pen is really sharp.

Money isn’t everything, but it encourages your children to keep in touch.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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