New Orleans Chapter

Asian Heritage Festival

The annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival sponsored by the local Asian Pacific American Society and the French Market District was held in New Orleans’ French Quarter on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Several Asian and Pacific ethnicities presented their cultural heritage in song and dance as well as served traditional dishes. OCAW members were among those participating, by performing many traditional Chinese dances and in singing. They also performed in a Chinese Qipao fashion show presentation. The ladies were very lovely in their many colorful and beautiful costumes while displaying their art forms. This is not only a time of celebration of our heritage but it is also an opportunity to educate the general public more about our language, art, and culture.

All of Us Research Program: DNA testing

This month our chapter was especially busy starting our participation in a national health research study called “All of Us Research Program.” It is sponsored locally by the Louisiana State University Health Department and is a large research program whose goal is to help researchers understand more about why people get sick or stay heathy. This is an outreach program whose aim is to get everyone, especially Asians and other people of color, to participate so that the whole spectrum of the American population is included.  A personal DNA genetic profile will be sent to each participant upon completion that will reveal many genetic traits, especially in the areas of potential serious diseases.  There were 33 OCAW members and members of our local community who participated in this study on Friday, May 10, 2024. The LSU staff told us that we hold the record for the most participants at one time in our area. Good job, everyone!

Chinese New Year Lunch Meeting

(from Patricia Ellzey, President)

The OCAW New Orleans Chapter held a lunch meeting at the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Kenner, LA, on Saturday, March 2, 2024, when we celebrated the Chinese New Year. There were 17 members attending. Although we lost a few members, this year our membership increased to 23 members of which 11 became lifetime members.
Our celebratory meal included Beef Chow Fun, Chicken with Garlic Green Beans, Salt/Pepper Fish, Shrimp with Eggplant, Roast Duck, and steamed rice. Our members enjoyed the meal so much that there were no leftovers!
Our Secretary, Nellie Underwood, reported that the Asian Pacific American Society (APAS), which our chapter supports via local Chinese community participation, will sponsor their annual Asian Heritage Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2024 in the French Market in the New Orleans French Quarter. APAS invited our chapter to again participate via cultural performances, and to set up our OCAW Chapter table to publicize our association. Some of our members have formed a popular music and classical music singing group, a Chinese cultural dance group, and a Chinese Fashion group who perform at fundraisers and celebrations such as this Asian Heritage Festival.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and other health news reported that a research study verified that Tai Chi was better than more vigorous aerobic exercises in lowering blood pressure, especially for more sedentary people. Since Tai Chi is also a Chinese cultural tradition, President Pat Ellzey suggested that our future meetings include at least 5 minutes of Tai Chi to begin the meeting. The meetings will be held at the church where we can use the large TV screen to follow a Tai Chi session via YouTube.

Asian Pacific American Society Gala

Our chapter is a corporate member of the Asian Pacific American Society (APAS), and together with other local Asian Ethnic individuals and associations, we help our local Asian American community celebrate our Asian American heritage and assist in connecting our various communities through mutual and individual events.
APAS is self-funded via individual and corporate dues and an annual fundraising event called the Gala, where funds are raised through ticket sales, a raffle, a silent auction, and a fundraising competition by each Ethnic group’s Ambassador. Attendees dress in ethnic costumes and enjoy a dinner during which each Asian Ethnic group recognizes its most outstanding community service-minded person for the year, and all the Asian Ethnic Ambassadors who serve as the major fundraiser for their Ethnic group. The winners of student scholarships are named, and Asian Ethnic entertainment is performed.
The OCAW New Orleans Chapter participated in the most recent Gala which was held on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at the Chateau Golf and Country Club in Kenner, LA. One of our new chapter members was named our Chinese Ambassador – Dr. Lily Qingli Wu, M.D.

Our chapter participated in this APAS Children’s event which was held at the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Kenner, LA, on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Children 12 and under are invited to come and play games, do individual fun activities, hear Christmas stories, listen to a local band play seasonal music, have lunch and meet with Santa Claus, and take a photo with him. Secretary Nellie Underwood’s husband David played Santa Claus at the party.

NO chapter Annual Christmas Dinner Party

Our annual Christmas dinner party was held on Saturday, December 9, 2023 in the private party room of the internationally famous Trey Yuen Restaurant in Mandeville, LA. Frank Wong along with his four brothers own this beautiful Chinese mansion restaurant.
Frank created our delicious menu and personally researched our local markets to find the best and freshest seafood, meats, vegetables, etc. for our special celebratory dinner. The menu included a choice of soup: their Super Bowl award-winning Gumbo, Hot and Sour Soup, or War Won Ton soup. The dishes included their famous smoked tea duck, Steak Kew with vegetables, Chicken and pork chow mien, and their own famous seafood-created dishes – Honey Pecan shrimp, Crawfish in lobster sauce, Alligator and vegetables, steamed fresh drum fish, Shrimp and lump crab in a cloud, and Soft shell crab in their own created sauce. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed the delicious dinner!

During the dinner, President Pat Ellzey introduced the award-winning book, Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels. One of the authors, Claire Chao, is an OCAW Hawaii member.  About a first-person flight for survival by a young, rich girl from a privileged family fleeing from Shanghai at the start of the war in the 1930s. This could provide a basis for a meaningful discussion as well. We intend to prioritize selling the rest of the books.  Please contact us if interested.

Celebration of Women Luncheon

(from Patricia Ellzey, President)

The OCAW New Orleans Chapter held a special luncheon meeting to Celebrate Women and recruit new members on Saturday, August 5, 2023 at Young’s Garden Chinese Restaurant in Kenner, LA. The event took place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nine members and ten guests attended.
I opened up the meeting with a description of OCAW and its mission, and our chapter and activities, including interacting with and supporting other local Chinese and Asian organizations and their activities.

I explained why we were seeking new members, and then why we were celebrating “Women,” which was supported by the national office. I discussed how all OCAW chapters were connected, and talked about our fun national conferences (Yuling had such a good time last fall that she’s ready to go back!). I also mentioned our fun and interesting newsletter, which attendees were looking forward to receiving and reading.
I then started the brief self introductions. I talked about who I was – where I was born and raised, and my family, education, career, hobbies, etc. It was a lot of information but summarized fairly succinctly, and then everyone followed suit with a similar introduction of herself. I termed it a “Getting to Know You” (from The King and I) time. All enjoyed listening to everyone’s short but interesting stories. During our meal, the ladies enjoyed a lot of chatting and getting to know each other better.
A few of our talented guests were going to be performing a classical concert for the benefit of autistic children in a couple of weeks, so they sang some special selections a cappella to entertain us and publicize their fundraising event. The singers perform arias from operas in French, Latin, German, and Italian – and also in Mandarin.
Past President Dr. Lihua Zhang was later able to join the event after working with her patients, and she gave a Health Tips lecture along with her exercise demonstrations and question-and-answer session.
In the end, seven guests joined our chapter, three signing up for life memberships! We were pleased that we have not only new members, but also younger ones.

Community Assistance

On Saturday, August 19, 2023, some of our talented new members performed at an event to raise funds for autistic children. These new members just joined OCAW at our luncheon on August 5.
Several of our chapter members attended this benefit to support our new members.

Asian Pacific American Society Award
(Editor’s Note: The OCAW New Orleans Chapter works collaboratively with the Asian Pacific American Society (APAS) on many events throughout the year.)
APAS was chosen to receive the monthly charity award from the New Orleans Boomtown Casino.

Anti-Asian Hate Rally

An Anti-Asian Hate Rally sponsored by the New Orleans Chinese Association was held on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021 at the main entrance of the New Orleans Museum of Art in the New Orleans City Park.
Many local civic leaders and lawmakers as well as the Presidents of several local Asian associations were invited to speak to support solidarity with all citizens and to speak out against racism. OCAW New Orleans Chapter President Patricia Hew Ellzey was asked to make remarks as a 4th-generation Chinese American and in her capacity as President of the OCAW New Orleans Chapter to support this vital and important effort.
This rally was certainly a “First” for New Orleans!!

The theme of the rally was “Stop Asian Hate: We’re All In This Together: Call for Action!” 
Guest speakers included: Cynthia Lee Sheng, Jefferson Parish President; Abigail Hu, Benjamin Franklin High School Senior and member of Asian Youth for Civic Engagement; Dr. Wendy Jung, Tulane University Professor and Chair of the Asian Pacific American Society; Patricia Hew Ellzey, President of the Organization of Chinese American Women New Orleans Chapter; Lauren Owen, local Asian businesswoman and community organizer; Chrissy Changho Bruneau, Chair of the Asian Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Susheng Wang, Associate Professor, Tulane University; Edgar Chase, former Vice President, Dillard University, and former Chair, Metropolitan Crime Commission; Dr. Tony Hu, Interim Professor, Tulane University Association of Chinese Professors; and Dr. Hongbing Lu, President of the New Orleans Chinese Association.

The Masters of Ceremony were:
Dr. Jeffrey Kuo, M.D.
Dr. David Chen, M.D.
A large group of Asian Americans along with many of all ethnicities came and witnessed this very orderly and well-planned public protest.
The following is a link to a CBS TV video news report on the rally:

Patricia Hew Ellzey
The guest speakers and Masters of Ceremony Pat is the 3rd person from the left, seated, wearing a blue sweater.

Asian Heritage Festivals

The OCAW New Orleans Chapter participates in the annual Asian Heritage Festival, organized by the Asian Pacific American Society. It is held in the spring at the Audubon Park Zoo in New Orleans. The festival provides opportunities for local Asian American communities to work together to showcase aspects of their culture and customs for all to share.
The OCAW booth traditionally sponsors educational activities for young people. Examples have included making and playing the Chinese tangram puzzle game, and translating and writing names in Chinese calligraphy on Asian bookmarks. The projects aim to teach children about their Asian heritage, and encourage a sense of pride in their roots. Fortune cookies are given away.
The Festival also provides entertainment, and New Orleans Chapter members have performed Chinese and Mongolian dances to the delight of the audience.

Senior Citizen Community Support

Silver Liners

Members of the OCAW New Orleans Chapter, in conjunction with other individuals in the community, participate in a dance troupe called the “Silver Liners.” They are a group of line dancers who perform at New Orleans area senior living centers, nursing homes, and healthcare centers to bring some fun and joy into elderly residents’ lives. They adapt their dances to the music that was popular when the patients were young. Some residents will sing along. As the program progresses, the Silver Liners ask the staff and caretakers to join them in the dancing, and they encourage patients to do hand motions with them. For holidays, they adapt some of their songs to seasonal music, and they dress in holiday themes. They also spend time visiting with the residents.
The Silver Liners have been credited in the media with providing enjoyable times to the city’s senior population.