Monthly Archives: November 2014

Young alumni return home: Class reunions and Homecoming

Prospective students may not realize it, but this past weekend at Tulane Law was kind of a big deal. Not only did more than 64 years’ worth of alumni come together for their class reunions, but Tulane also held its first Homecoming game on campus for the first time in 40 years, making it a weekend to remember.


Class of 2009 reunion

Homecoming weekend was especially noteworthy for the graduates of Tulane Law’s Class of 2009, who had their first official class reunion. Class of ’09 alumni gathered Nov. 14 at Barrel Proof for their five-year reunion (or, as one alumna suggested, their “8L bar review”).

Five years out, they’re sprinting along partnership tracks at local law firms, launching solo practices, working as state legislative aides, even running one beloved local spot for Creole cuisine. They’re also on the boards of the Young Leadership Council, Louisiana Center for Women in Government & Business, the Urban Conservancy, and all three local bar associations. And that’s only covering the grads in attendance.

Tulane Law Class of 2009

Class of 2009 alumni, family and friends Jacob Young, Erica Washington, Michael Landry, Maria Landry, Kelley Bagayoko, Tim Adams and Jessica Serrano reunited at Barrel Proof.

Tulane Law Class of 2009

Megan Kiefer, Michael Landry, Maria Landry, Erica Washington, Jacob Young, Theresa Anderson, Kelley Bagayoko, Jessica Serrano, Tim Adams and Trevor Haynes at the Class of ’09 reunion.

Tulane Law Class of 2009

Alumnae Marli Want and Molly Wright Sullivan caught up at their five-year reunion. Want is associate general counsel with PosiGen, and Sullivan runs a solo practice specializing in estate planning for parents of special needs kids.

Tulane Law Class of 2009

2009 grads Jacob Young and Megan Kiefer. Young runs a solo law practice in New Orleans and Kiefer runs Kiefer & Kiefer firm in Metairie.

Tulane Law Class of 2009

Alumni Trey Trapani of Sher Garner, Marshall Hevron of Adams & Reese and John Guenard, U.S. Army defense counsel.

Tulane Law Class of 2009

Class of ’09 alumni Jacob Young and Jessica Serrano. Serrano is director of operations for Jacques Imo’s restaurant. Reunion photos by Ali Mansfield.


Homecoming tailgating

Class reunions were only part of the fun. On game day, grads from all classes met at Weinmann Hall for the law school’s tailgating celebration. Students, alumni, family and friends ate, drank and took in the sunny NOLA weather, reminiscing about their law school days before the much-anticipated Homecoming game.

Go Green Wave!

Tulane Law Tailgate

Kyle Satterfield (L ’16) and sister Brooke, a Tulane University student, enjoyed gorgeous fall weather at the law school’s tailgating event.

Tulane Law Tailgate

Melanie Waitzer (LA ’13), Scott Goldin (L ’11), Mark Melasky (L ’11) and Shayra Burgos-Garcia, Tulane Ph.D. candidate, gathered at Weinmann Hall.

Tulane Law Tailgate

Graham Williams (L ’15), Student Bar Association president, visits with friends at the law school’s Homecoming celebration.

Tulane Law Tailgate

Exchange student Yue Qi and LLM students Shu Chen and Jingchen Xu (both LLM ’15) enjoyed Creole fare at the law school’s Homecoming event.

Tulane Law Tailgate

Sarka Cerna-Fagan, assistant dean for career development, chats with Carol McDonald and Ryan O’Connor (both L ’13). Tailgating photos by Geoff Campbell.

A Halloween Dream in New Orleans

There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Halloween in New Orleans. You can parade with Krewe of Boo. Take in frighteningly creative costumes in the French Quarter. Cheer on Tulane football in “Ghoulman” Stadium.

But Tulane Law alumna Kelsey Meeks (L ’10) spent Halloween a little differently. This year, she launched ‘WEEN DREAM, a national nonprofit that makes Halloween accessible to kids in need. The New Orleans-based organization matches new and gently used costumes with children whose families otherwise couldn’t provide them.

'WEEN DREAM founder Kelsey Meeks (L '10) helped costume baby Kanye as a giraffe, allowing him and mom Kiara to celebrate Halloween in style. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Meeks.

‘WEEN DREAM founder Kelsey Meeks (L ’10) helped costume baby Kanye as a giraffe, allowing him and mom, Kierra, to celebrate Halloween in style.
Photo courtesy of Kelsey Meeks.

Meeks, a Wall, Bullington & Cook attorney and lifelong Halloween devotee, said she founded the organization believing that all children should get to participate in Halloween – regardless of the financial, medical or personal difficulties they may face at home.

“Every other day of the year may be out of their control, but Halloween belongs to kids,” she said. “It’s the one special day when they can be whoever or whatever they want.”

In its first year, ‘WEEN DREAM costumed 580 kids across seven states, the majority in Louisiana. The nonprofit made it happen with $1500 in monetary contributions and donated costumes – many from Tulane Law
alumni. Even the Tulane Law Review’s senior
board pitched in to outfit a child.

But there’s more to be done. Even though ‘WEEN DREAM provided hundreds of costumes this season, over 800 kids applied. The group lacked the resources to outfit them all.

Meeks’ game plan? The Louisiana State Bar Association already helped ‘WEEN DREAM set up post-Halloween costume drop locations statewide. The organization is planning pilot programs in other cities to expand donations nationally. The group is also throwing a black-tie costume party/fundraiser on March 28 at the Mortuary Haunted House – where part of the haunted house will be up and running.

Meeks has much work ahead to meet her goal of costuming all of next year’s applicants, but she said she’s proud of what ‘WEEN DREAM accomplished so far.

'WEEN DREAM Board Members Valerie Gernhauser (L '09), Kelsey Meeks (L '10), Alli Scott Craig and Tara Benoit-Rodrigue (a 2014 Tulane Continuing Studies grad) sort donated garb so kids in need can dress up for Halloween. Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano.

‘WEEN DREAM Board Members Valerie Gernhauser (L ’09), Kelsey Meeks (L ’10), Alli Scott Craig and Tara Benoit-Rodrigue (a 2014 Tulane Continuing Studies grad) sort donated garb so kids in need can dress up for Halloween. Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano.

And she credits much of the group’s success to legal skills. The nonprofit’s board members include three other attorneys (Valerie Gernhauser is a 2009 Tulane Law grad) and a paralegal, and they were able to file all their own incorporating and tax exemption documents.

Meeks said her law school experiences — gaining interest in public service, learning to lead others and developing organizational skills on the Tulane Law Review — prepared her to launch ‘WEEN DREAM.

“What I did at Tulane Law gave me the confidence to go out and build this organization instead of waiting and hoping someone else would start it,” she said.