DrumRoll features Baranco, Gordon, Major, and Simmons

Juanita Baranco

Juanita Powell Baranco, of Shreveport, was recently inducted as a Georgia Trustee by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia Historical Society on June 5. This recognition acknowledges Georgians whose accomplishments and community service reflect the highest ideals of the founding body. This is the highest honor the State of Georgia can confer. Baranco is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Baranco Automotive Group, which she founded with her husband Gregory in 1978. They own several car dealerships in Georgia and Louisiana including Mercedes-Benz of Covington. She is a former assistant attorney General for the state of Georgia and was the first Black woman to chair the Georgia Board of Regents.

The Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus announced its officers for 2021-2022. Senate President Pro Tempore Beth Mizell, District 12-Franklinton, has been reelected as chairwoman to lead the 27-member group of women legislators. Other Women’s Caucus officers are: Senate Vice Chair Sen. Sharon Hewitt, Slidell; House Vice Chair Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, Baton Rouge; Immediate Past Chair Sen. Regina Ashford Barrow, Baton Rouge; Secretary Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman, New Orleans; Treasurer Rep. Barbara Carpenter, Baton Rouge; Parliamentarian Rep. Malinda White, Bogalusa; Member at Large Rep. Mary DuBuisson, Slidell; and Chaplain Rep. Valarie Hodges, Denham Springs

Kelsey Major

Kelsey Major of St. Mary’s Dominican High School has been named the 2020-21 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Major is the third Gatorade Louisiana Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from St. Mary’s Dominican High School. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Major as Louisiana’s best high school girls soccer player. The 5-foot-5 junior forward scored 26 goals and passed for 19 assists this past season, leading St. Mary’s Dominican (22-1-1) to the Division 1 state final. She was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year winner in girls cross country this past fall, a First Team All-State honoree, the Division 1 Offensive Player of the Year, and a United Soccer Coaches All-Region selection.

In recognition of Juneteenth, Raising Cane’s and founder Todd Graves contributed $100,000 to The 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, Inc. The 100 is recognized as the nation’s top African American-led mentoring organization.


Entertainment executive, educator, and entrepreneur Regina Showers-Gordon, of Hammond, was recently presented The Annie Award. Showers-Gordon established Gospel record label AP Records, Faith Star Radio, Gloss Enterprise, and Petra College. Since Petra College’s inception, more than 300 students have graduated as medical assistants, certified nursing assistants, and phlebotomists. The award was established in 1998 in honor of the late Southeastern Louisiana University administrator Anne Ferguson. It recognizes Tangipahoa Parish women who work in excellence and have a true servant’s heart for the community.

Brian Simmons

Texas Southern University has named Brian Simmons as the new director of The Ocean of Soul Marching Band and an instructor in the Music Department. He will step into this new role on July 5, 2021. A native of New Orleans, Simmons earned a bachelor of music and master of educational leadership from Southern University. He also serves as an adjudicator and clinician to middle and high school bands nationwide.

John Stewart MD

Shreveport native John H. Stewart IV, MD, has been named center director of the LSU Health New Orleans/LCMC Health Cancer Center. He will set the overall mission, vision, and direction for multidisciplinary cancer care and cancer clinical research programs for LSU Health New Orleans and LCMC Health. He and his team will develop a cancer clinical trials program, leverage resources to build an innovative targeted cancer research enterprise, and create a comprehensive community outreach and engagement program to reduce cancer risk behaviors and cancer incidence. He will also be a professor of surgery at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. He is a graduate of Louisiana Tech and Howard University School of Medicine.

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