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Recap: Local talent highlighted at 2015 ‘Millennial Awards’

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This year’s Millennial Awards celebration of a generation was second to none. With so many deserving finalists, this year’s awards took the celebration to the next level and affirmed the respect the event deserves. Having garnered significant attention this year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu himself made a guest appearance to address all of the Millennials as well as all those who came to witness their celebration.
The night kicked off with the restaurant competition that was nothing short of incredible. Everybody brought their A+ game, including Katie’s Restaurant, The Munch Factory, American Sector, Dat Dog, La Casita, and Blue Line Sandwich Co. The Munch Factory returned with their winning “Millennial Munch Bowl” of braised short rib over smoked gouda grits. If you wanna talk about creativity, Blue Line Sandwich Co. showed us just how fantastic a turkey sandwich can be with grilled, organic turkey breast, double cream brie, homemade apple butter, and arugula on wildflower seven-grain bread served with cinnamon topped sweet potato chips. For all the pork-atarians out there, American Sector hit the spot with their crispy oyster BLT. Yes! It was love at first bite with Parmesan crusted oysters, heirloom tomato jam, pork belly, and arugula.

But it was Katie’s Restaurant who brought the heat and wowed the crowd with their winning recipe of Louisiana redfish over mirliton seafood stuffing and stone ground grits finished with a spicy jalapeño aioli. Attendees were able to sample all of this and much more in the fantastic World War II Museum with trumpeter Mario Abney setting a jazzy mood.
The awards ceremony kicked off with hosts, Natalie Shepherd (WWL-TV) and Nicole Collins (Q93 radio and New Orleans Pelicans emcee), who kept everything running smoothly. All the night’s winners, including IntheNOLA's Jeff Gonzales, took the stage to accept their award, many of them left us with words of wisdom to ponder. “When you see boundaries as opportunities, the possibilities are limitless. Think about that,” said artist Brandan Odums, winner of the “Innovation” award.
In a show of fun that millennials love to have, WWL-TV’s Katie Moore, winner of the “Media/Journalism” award, elicited plenty of laughter with her initial acceptance speech of, “Boom! Drops mic. Walks off stage.” She quickly explained that that was merely a $50 bet from her husband (of which the $50 went to one of the three non-profits featured at the ceremony).
With all the talent and brilliance in the room, we were humbled and excited about what all this means for New Orleans.
Take a look at what some of the winners had to say about their awards:
Jeff Gonzales of  Digital Media Award
I'm so honored and humbled to be recognized in such a special group of individuals. New Orleans is my passion. The work that we've been privileged to do for this city could not have been accomplished without my awesome team and the beautiful people that make New Orleans the most wonderful place in the world to live.

Tonya Boyd-Cannon – Music Award
This award recognizes the work that I have done as a vocalist/musician, instructor, and leader in the community. This award also motivates me to continue pursuing my dream/career as well as inspiring future artists to never give up on their dreams. 

Becker Hall, Hogs for the Cause – Changemaker Award
We tend to still view ourselves and Hogs for the Cause as a little event created by a couple of friends barbecuing on the Fly one day. Although the growth of Hogs for the Cause has been exceptional, you don’t really view it that way when you’re in it and you don’t realize how many other people are taking notice. Being recognized for it is quite an honor and it does make you realize that people are paying attention. Even when the event is over and the focus starts to fade away, you have these kinds of nominations that show you’re still in the game. And it makes you feel even more driven to do what you’re doing.
Arkebia Matthews, Director of Office Supplier Diversity for the City of New Orleans – Economic Development Award
President Obama has said: “It’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in America’s story.” Receiving a Millennial Award for my work in equity and inclusion reaffirms my belief that these two concepts are important and integral parts of our city’s economic growth and development. As a city, we are better when the sum of our citizens can contribute and participate. I’m inspired and determined to continue engaging the community and developing ways to ensure everyone is included in our city’s economic growth.
Allen Nguyen – Culinary Arts Award
There’s one quote that really resides with me by Gary Zukav: “When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of the soul, that is authentic power.” I was really excited when I found out that I was a finalist that I told everyone about it! An award for young people who aren’t just making an impact, but the fact that they’re making an impact in New Orleans means even more. I am a first generation New Orleanian, born and raised. For everything that this city has given me, I can’t pay it back enough. To be recognized with this group of talented and ambitious millennials is truly an honor. At the end of the day, I can say with absolute certainty that I’m in alignment with my passions!
Kristine Pichon of K’Pich Designs – Fashion Award
When I heard my name called, I was shocked, but excited. All I could think was God is good and now is the time to be happy for myself and proud of the work I have done so far. I really feel so honored that several people took the time out to nominate me for this award. It’s also ironic because this year my cousin, Jeff Gonzales, and friend, Arkebia Matthews, were also finalists. When Jeff first created fives years ago, I was one of the first features on the site. And Arkebia has inspired me to really look at the big picture in my goals. It’s just a good feeling knowing that there are some really awesome people striving to make a difference as much as me.
Derrick Tabb of Roots of Music – Culture Ambassador Award
It was truly an honor and pleasure to have been nominated and winning the Cultural Ambassador award. I take Roots of Music and what I do for the kids and the city very seriously. To be recognized for hard work, although not sought, is always a good feeling. I honestly can't recall exactly what was going through my mind! I was happy scared and nervous all at the same time!

Last modified on Monday, 10 August 2015
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