In The News › TP Loving Cup awarded to Louis Freeman

Jun 12, 2006

Source: Times-Picayune

TP Loving Cup awarded to Louis Freeman

TP Loving Cup awarded to Louis Freeman
Local philanthropist honored for service
Monday, June 12, 2006
By John Pope
Staff writer

In a Sunday afternoon ceremony where he heard himself praised as an exemplary philanthropist who asks hard questions and makes things happen for a broad array of organizations and causes, Louis Freeman received The Times-Picayune Loving Cup for 2005 at the National World War II Museum.

“Judy, do you know that man?” he quipped to his wife after several salvos of praise from speakers on the platform.

Freeman, the former chairman of the Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Co., was honored for four decades of public service, including leadership positions on more than three dozen boards, foundations and institutions, ranging from the Bureau of Governmental Research to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The award has been presented since 1901 to people who have worked selflessly for the community without seeking public recognition or material reward.

“At no time has there been more of a need for people who give unselfishly without expectation of material reward,” said Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss, the master of ceremonies.

Calling the silver trophy “the greatest honor of my life,” Freeman credited mentors, some of whom were among the 150 spectators in the museum’s high-ceilinged Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, for getting him involved in activities that fill three single-spaced pages of his résumé.

“The lessons I’ve learned from each of them have led me to be an active believer in the city,” he said, standing on a stage flanked by Higgins landing craft.

Crediting others is typical of Freeman, Times-Picayune Publisher Ashton Phelps Jr. said, “for Louis’ leadership is quiet, the model of servant leadership. But what a display of public generosity it is.”

Freeman, who reigned as Rex in 1999, has four children and nine grandchildren.

He is the fifth member of his family to receive the Loving Cup, a fact that led Phelps to observe that “public service is now encoded in the DNA of this remarkable family.”

Each recipient gets to choose where the presentation will occur. Freeman said he picked the museum, which he described as “one of my newest interests,” because he is leading a drive to raise $200 million in private money for its expansion from the existing building to the blocks across Andrew Higgins Drive, an area easily visible through the museum’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

About $25 million has been raised so far, Freeman said, and ground is expected to be broken next year for the first part of the project, which will include an innovative theater.

His willingness to embrace a new, big project is something people should have come to expect, Phelps said.

“For all his experience, he remains open,” Phelps said. “He is a risk-taker.”

And, he said, Freeman isn’t one who simply writes checks and shows up at meetings.

“His membership is not ceremonial,” Phelps said. “He asks tough questions. He brings his vast business and philanthropic experience. He makes things happen.”

In post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, these are desperately needed attributes, retired Archbishop Philip M. Hannan said in his invocation.

“At this time of crisis, we treasure especially his candor and his wisdom,” Hannan said.

. . . . . . .

John Pope can be reached at jpope@timespicayune.com or at (504) 826-3317.

Jun 12, 2006

Source: Times-Picayune

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