Irvin Mayfield's Blog

Weekly Guests

March 26th: Alex Beard, Artist

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Born in 1970, Alex Beard is a painter and author who has emerged as one of his generation’s most creative and successful artists.

Influenced to think creatively from a young age by his uncle, noted photographer, Peter Beard, and his mother, author and editor, Patricia Beard, Alex grew up in the NYC of the 1970’s among some of the world’s most interesting and influential people – Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and their Pop World cohorts were familiar faces in the Beard household.

Alex studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and participated in the New York Studio School’s Drawing Marathon.  His first solo exhibition was in SoHo during his early twenties.  Since then, he has had significant one-man shows in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and in cities as far afield as Hong Kong.  He is the creator of a unique style of painting called “Abstract Naturalism,” and is considered by many as a successor to the school of visual mathematicians championed by M.C. Escher.  Alex’s artwork hangs in public and private collections around the world.

Alex is also an adventurer. His extensive travels, and his desire to visit the world’s most untouched and often remote wildernesses have brought him on extended journeys through Africa, India, Australia, the Americas, and Asia.

Alex’s New Orleans studio, like his New York studio before it, has become the hub of an art career that has blossomed into more than just a creative endeavor; but also a successful enterprise.  Alex’s studio is open to the public in a way that encourages and fosters interaction between the artist and his audience.  Vanity Fair magazine singled Alex out as “… an accomplished artist, an adventurer and an accidental entrepreneur.”

Alex’s critically-acclaimed, best-selling Tales From the Watering Hole collection of illustrated children’s picture books, and his series of Impossible Puzzles for adults have become the inspiration for a unique body of products created to extend the dialogue between artist and consumer.  In addition to his books and puzzles, Alex’s original artwork has been transformed into an impressive line of successful products at the national retail level, including, journals, sketchbooks, art and activity kits, and games for both the children’s and adult markets.

A firm believer that art is a medium that should be accessible to everyone, Alex uses uncommon avenues to share the creative experience with people of all ages.

In addition to his exhibition and book tour schedule, Alex brings his Kids’ Day events to schools, libraries, museums, bookstores and zoos throughout the country.  Through his unique combination of story telling and art activities, Alex has had the opportunity to draw, paint, and talk about art with tens of thousands of children.

Alex and his family live in his adopted home of New Orleans, where he has opened the Alex Beard Studio, in the French Quarter, on the corner of Royal Street and Pirate’s Alley.

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March 19th: Rod West, Chief Administrative Officer/Executive Vice President of Entergy

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Mr. Roderick K. West, also known as Rod, has been Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President at Entergy Corporation since June 7, 2010. Mr. West served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Entergy New Orleans Inc. from 2007 to 2010. He joined Entergy in April 1999, as Senior Regulatory Counsel, where he served as Manager of Regulatory Affairs for Entergy New Orleans in September 1999. Since August 2000, he served as Senior Regulatory Counsel to the Entergy/FPL Merger Team. He served as Director of Regulatory Affairs of Entergy New Orleans from April 2001 to January 2004. He began his professional career in 1993 with the New Orleans-based law firm of Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre, LLP., where he spent five years. He served as Senior Attorney of Vial, Hamilton, Koch & Knox, LLP.

He served as an Adjunct Professor at Tulane University from 1993 to 2001, where he taught “Business & Legal Aspects of Sport” in the Department of Exercise & Sports Science and amateur sports law courses in the Tulane University School of Law. He served as a Region Manager for Distribution Operations of Entergy Services, Inc. from 2003 to 2005. He served as the Chairman of Entergy New Orleans Inc. from 2007 to March 2, 2011. Mr. West has been Trustee at University of Notre Dame since June, 2009. He serves as a Director of First Bank & Trust (New Orleans, LA). Mr. West serves as a Director of Greater New Orleans, Inc.

He served as Director for Metro Distribution Operations of Entergy Services, Inc., from 2005 to 2006. He served as a Director of Entergy New Orleans Inc., a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation from September 22, 2005 to March 2, 2011. He was a Director of the New Orleans Bar Association. He serves as a Member of the State Bar of Louisiana and the American Bar Association. He serves as Chairman of the Louisiana State University System Board of Supervisors. Mr. West was Vice President for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a Commissioner of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, and a Director of both the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He served as Chairman of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute and Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. He graduated from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans in 1986. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame. He holds Juris Doctor from the Tulane University School of Law in 1993 and Masters in Business Administration from Tulane University in 2005.

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March 12th: Barbara Major, Community Organizer

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

BARBARA MAJOR is a community organizer with over forty years of experience in local, national, and international community development efforts. In the 1970s, she worked with the Institute for Juvenile Justice and assisted in the development of a Juvenile Justice Code for the State of Louisiana. With the Louisiana Hunger Coalition, she petitioned the Federal government to ensure the availability of nutritious school breakfasts for low-income children, and advocated for the rights of food stamp recipients to a safe and sanitary place to apply for aid.  At this time she also began working as a Core Trainer for the People’s Institute, conducting undoing-racism workshops both nationally and internationally.

In the early 1980s, Ms. Major became assistant director for Bread for the World in Washington DC, where she helped to craft international food policy before returning to New Orleans to organize tenant unions against rent and utility spikes with the Southern Organizing Committee for Economic and Social Justice. She was the founder and lead organizer of the St.Thomas-Irish Channel Consortium, which created a national model for comprehensive, strategic community development that organized and educated citizens on both grass-roots and policy levels. Later, under her tenure as Director of the St. Thomas Community Health Clinic, the clinic became the first in the country to declare racism a healthcare issue. It also became a community center for the people of the former St. Thomas housing development, helping citizens organize for better health, safer living conditions, and against violence.

After Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Major was made the Co-Chair of the Bring Back New Orleans Commission assembled by both, the Mayor, C. Ray Nagin and The Then President of the United States George W. Bush Jr., to lead the process of rebuilding the City of New Orleans. Ms Major was the founder of Citizens United for Economic Equity (CUEE), a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) created to help storm affected businesses recover. Under her leadership, CUEE received a grant from the State of Louisiana for 5 million Dollars to both loan and/or grant to small businesses.  She continues to work as an organizing consultant and an anti-racism trainer. She continues to serve on boards and committees, holding positions on the Regional Transit Authority ( RTA) Board (where, as Chair, she created and oversaw the development of small and disadvantaged business program and policies that is a model for the region). she has also served on the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors and a host of other boards and commissions both locally and nationally.  Ms. Major was the named defendant in Major v. Treen, the 1983 federal class-action lawsuit that created Louisiana’s first black majority congressional district. In addition, she is a nationally recognized speaker on issues of race, health, and economic equity, and has received numerous awards, including Women and Business’s ‘Woman of the Year’ in 2001.

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February 26th: Kara Van De Carr, Executive Director of Eden House

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Kara Van de Carr is an attorney and former US Diplomat charged with writing the Trafficking in Persons Report for the country of Jamaica.  She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Eden House.  Recognizing that human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States, as well as internationally, Ms. Van de Carr worked with Representative Neal Abramson to draft legislation for Louisiana that would better protect children who are trafficked into the sex trade.  While strengthening the laws regarding human trafficking in Louisiana is a vital step in the fight against this modern-day slavery, Ms. Van de Carr and the Board of Directors of Eden House understand that our society must offer solutions that bring healing to those who have been victimized. She travels extensively, speaking on the issues of human trafficking and recovery, and assisting organizations that hope to establish similar residences throughout the country. Ms. Van de Carr received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, her J.D. from Tulane Law, and LL.M. from Georgetown Law School in International Law.
Eden House is a groundbreaking non-profit facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, offering long-term housing and services to survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. We are the first of our kind in the state of Louisiana. Our two-year residential program offers a holistic approach to recovery including outreach, housing, food, mental and physical healthcare, job training, education, and spiritual support. Eden House offers survivors a safe place to dream and overcome their pasts, while developing substantive skills to move forward in their lives and become self-sufficient, flourishing members of society.
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February 19th: David Schulingkamp, Vice-President of International Freight Forwarding, U.S.A

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Mr. David P. Schulingkamp serves as Vice-President of International Freight Forwarding, U.S.A at Livingston International Income Fund and Livingston Group. Mr. Schulingkamp oversees all aspects of Livingston’s international freight forwarding business in the United States, transforming the operation to add significant value, drive competitive advantage and grow strategically. He joined Livingston in 2012 with the acquisition of New Orleans-based M.G. He served as the President at M.G. Maher & Company, Inc. since 1975. He served as the President of MCLX, Inc. and MBLX, Inc. He also served as a Major in the U.S. army reserve, spending four years on active service in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corp and two years in the JAG Office, Pentagon Litigation Division. He has over 35 years of experience in international freight, customs brokerage and logistics, he is a well-respected captain of industry in this sector in the United States. He was a Commissioner of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and Honorary Consul to Brazil for Louisiana. He served as the Chairman and Board Member of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. He served as the President of the New Orleans Board of Trade and a Board Member of the World Trade Center. Mr. Schulingkamp has an Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration as well as a Law Degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He holds a Masters in Taxation from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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February 12th: Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

She arrived at NOMA in September 2010 from New Jersey, where she was director of the Princeton University Art Museum. She also is the former director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, where she oversaw the construction of an award-winning museum facility designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. She holds art history degrees from Vassar College and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

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February 5th: “A Love Letter to New Orleans”

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Please post your thoughts on three of the short stories in “A Love Letter to New Orleans.”

“Latin Tinge”


“I’ll Fly Away”

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January 22nd: Trixie Minx, Burlesque Performer

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Trixie Minx is New Orleans’ own burlesque beauty & comedic cutie. Best known for her playful approach to the art of tease, Trixie has traveled the world showcasing her unique style of strip. In addition to being a performer she also produces three New Orleans based burlesque shows, and is a leader in the burlesque revival.

Trixie was born & raised in Miami, FL where she began her dance training. With a focus in ballet Trixie was a scholarship student with many notable organizations including American Ballet Theater & the Kennedy Center among others. Her brief career in ballet ended after an unfortunate ankle injury. Not able to dance for awhile she went to visit a friend in New Orleans and fell in love with the city which became her new home. While still active in the dance community it wasn’t until 2006 that Trixie actually took her first step on stage as a burlesque performer. Hurricane Katrina was a pivotal force in the evolution of Trixie’s career, it was at this point she decided she did not just want to enjoy New Orleans culture but be an active member in the living history of the city.

Having performed with live orchestras in a traditional theater settings as a ballerina she quickly adapted to working with jazz musicians on less formal stages. Trading her toe shoes for tassels she quickly became one of the most recognized performers in town. With a desire to perform as part of a larger production Trixie created the now illustrious Fleur de Tease Burlesque Revue, which still runs today. In 2010 she was given the opportunity to work with Irvin Mayfield where she developed the Burlesque Ballroom. Burlesque Ballroom was not merely a show but a huge historic achievement in that it was first time burlesque with live music was brought back to Bourbon Street full time since the 1960s.

A creative powerhouse, Trixie continues to develop new projects and artistic collaborations. For additional information please

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December 4: Susan M. Taylor

by KatieDeBruhl on Aug.16, 2013, under Weekly Guests

Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director, The New Orleans Museum of Art

She arrived at NOMA in September 2010 from New Jersey, where she was director of the Princeton University Art Museum. She also is the former director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, where she oversaw the construction of an award-winning museum facility designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. She holds art history degrees from Vassar College and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

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