April 2021 Alumnae Chapter of the Month: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

This month, we travel south to Louisiana to hear from the Baton Rouge Alumnae Chapter of Phi Mu Fraternity. This outstanding alumnae chapter was founded in 1934 and has 100 members representing nearly 20 collegiate chapters. They a truly an example of our steadfast sisterhood!

Toy drop off to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital for the Santa’s Workshop for the patients and their siblings. Baton Rouge alumnae members are pictured on the left and the Alpha Eta Philanthropy Chair and two of her committee members are pictured on the right.

Chapter Philanthropy Event/Monies Raised for CMN Hospitals

The members of the Baton Rouge Chapter consider themselves lucky. With a Children’s Miracle Network hospital within the city borders, they’re always motivated to lend a hand and provide the hospital and patients with a little extra love. Under normal circumstances, members usually volunteer to work at Santa’s Workshop during the winter holiday season in addition to collecting toys for the patients. One of the local CMN events the chapter always looks forward to is the Lexus car giveaway phone drive. Several Phi Mu alumnae always volunteer to work the phone bank for this annual community-wide event.

This year, the chapter has had to get creative with philanthropic events due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. To stay connected and provide some relief during these uncertain times, members held a food drive in the fall with to benefit the Baton Rouge Food Bank.

In addition to the time and volunteerism provided, the Baton Rouge chapter also donates monies each year to CMN. The chapter hosts several events where proceeds are donated directly to CMN: Painting & Pinot, Glass Etching Party, Pumpkin/Floral Arranging Class and Harvest Wreath Making.

In Fall of 2020, chapter members made harvest wreaths. A portion of the fee was donated to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, our local CMN Hospital.

Fun Chapter Facts

The chapter has members from between 18 and 20 collegiate chapters with sisters hailing from all across the U.S. From William and Mary in Virginia to Florida State, from Mercer in Georgia, to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, members are from all over but are united in enduring love for Phi Mu.

In order to cast a wide net and appeal to alumnae members of all ages, the chapter hosts a variety of events so that all will be included. From Happy Hours and Phi Mu Nights Out to Summer Luncheons and Yoga Sessions, to Educational Tours – like one taken at the LSU Food Incubators for Entrepreneurs or the one taken at the Water Institute for the Study of Water Management and Erosion – and hands on crafting lessons, the chapter likes to provide members of all ages with the opportunity to gather and remain connected to Phi Mu. Each year, the biggest event remains the Holiday Party and Ornament Exchange which usually boasts over 35 members in attendance.

Chapter members were able to gather outdoors for a happy hour in March 2021. They look forward to more events in the upcoming months, like their annual ornament exchange which was cancelled in 2020.

Interesting Facts About Our Members

Our members remain active both on the local university, Louisiana State University, campus as well as within the Baton Rouge community. Some of the clubs and organizations that sisters volunteer for include the Campus Club, Quota Club, DAR, Junior League, Baton Rouge Eye Bank, Blue Star Mothers, Catholic Charities, Delta Kappa Gamma (a Teachers’ organization) and many other professional organizations. Many members serve on church committees as well as hold church leadership roles. They also have many Phi Mu Alpha Eta Advisers in the chapter as well as house corporation members. National officers and Foundation volunteers are also in the chapter.

Members also include a Grief Share facilitator, a Lighthouse Student Assault Advocate, company Presidents, Vice Presidents, and CEOs, Physicians, Dentists, as well as academics holding Ph.Ds.

One notable alumna is Dr. Ashley Saucier. As an Alpha Eta graduate, Dr. Saucier specializes as a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. She is involved with the Baton Rouge Emergency Aid Coalition, a non-profit whose mission is to provide aid for individuals and groups in times of crisis. This organization formed following the Baton Rouge 2016 floods and helps provide medical care and essential supplies following hurricanes and local weather events.

Dr. Therese Landry Demony is a graduate of Nichols University and the LSU Medical School. She is the Program Coordinator for the Neurotology Fellowship at the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. Additionally, she is the Chair of the Phi Mu Foundation Dinah Armstrong Kukes Fund. This Fund gives a biennial grant of $5,000 to $10,000 to an oncology fellow.

Dr. Ann Coulter graduated from LSU with a B.S. in chemical engineering. With the spark of engineering ignited in her, she followed this passion through and obtained a Ph.D. in Neurochemistry from UNC Chapel Hill to a Postdoctoral Fellowship at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. Currently, Dr. Coulter is the Director of Greenway Preclinical Laboratory Studies of Botanical Compounds at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. She is studying the compounds that have led to the discovery of safe therapeutics to convert white fat into fat-burning tissue and increase energy expenditure without exercising or dieting. These compounds are even more potent in combinations and can reverse some of the effects of aging that lead to weight gain. Two of her patents have been granted, one submitted, and two more are underway.

Collegiate Chapter Support

With Louisiana State University nearly in the alumnae chapter’s backyard, alumnae remain committed to staying connected with the collegiate chapter as well as providing the collegiate women with the support they need to succeed. Below is a list of the various activities alumnae have helped facilitate for the Alpha Eta chapter as well as the events put on by the collegiate chapter for alumnae members.

  • Assist with Initiation and Ritual events
  • Host a pop-up shopping bazaar of local businesses where the collegiate members can browse and shop
  • Host a joint collegiate and alumnae Founders’ Day event
  • Alpha Eta chooses an outstanding alumna for recognition at the Greek Gala hosted by Greek Life at LSU
  • Attend the Alumnae Easter Egg hunt hosted by the collegiate chapter
  • Provide dinner for the newly-minted alumnae after the collegiate chapter’s Third Dimension Ceremony
  • Serve dinner during one night of recruitment each fall as well as supply snacks and refreshments through recruitment
  • Host a Phi Reception for the new Phis and their families each fall
  • Provide Exam Bags and goodies to members with snacks and supplies to help with their studies
  • Support and provide donations for the collegiate chapter’s fall and spring philanthropy events
The 2021 Founders’ Day ceremony by Zoom took place at the LSU Phi Mu house and was conducted by the Alpha Eta President, Ritual Chairwoman and musical members along with the Alumnae President. We honored the milestone anniversary members including our 75-Year Honoree, Regina Walker.

Staying Connected During COVID-19 Pandemic

Although members’ lives were changed in an instant with the emergence of the novel coronavirus, the Baton Rouge Alumnae Chapter remained dedicated to keeping in touch and staying connected. Initially, members remained connected via email communications and newsletters but soon ventured into virtual meetings via Zoom. The chapter hosted Zoom Demonstration Meetings, providing attendees with the opportunity to learn how to prepare party appetizers and sweets as individual servings for healthier options as well as how to bake a king cake, make hot chocolate bombs and whip up flavored coffee drinks. The chapter hosted a wreath-arranging class outdoors and spaced appropriately apart to maintain proper social distancing as well as an outdoor happy hour on the patio of a local restaurant.

This year the chapter hosted a virtual Founders’ Day celebration with collegiate and alumnae members joining via a virtual medium to honor milestone anniversary alumnae. Even the chapter’s 75-year member, Regina Allen Walker, was able to attend online!

Finally, the chapter’s commitment to regularly sending get-well cards, birthday cards and sympathy cards remained in place and became only that much more meaningful during this past year when women felt so disconnected. The cards were yet another reminder of the strong sisterhood so loved by the Baton Rouge Alumnae Chapter.