Joseph Musacchia receives the SLI Distinguished Merit Award 2022 alsoJoseph (Joe) Musacchia has served the Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI) in many ways over the past decades. He has served on the Board of Directors, as Vice President and as President of the Society. Joe attended many hours of instruction to become a judge with the American Iris Society (AIS). He obtained Master Judge status many years ago and has devoted long hours in judging irises, judging exhibitions and training new judges. Joe has hybridized many irises and has always been willing to contribute hours of labor for the Society and for the Greater New Orleans Iris Society. He always donates many of his latest hybrid Louisiana irises to the live auction. He has organized iris exhibitions and worked in each of these events at every annual convention of the Society. He collected the necessary registration information from AIS and each year produced the valuable SLI checklist DVD. Joe was often one of the bus captains during the convention tours and his jocularity and knowledge of the area always kept the members on his bus laughing and informed. Whenever any job needs doing, Joe jumps right in and sees that the job is done and done well.

It is with the heartfelt appreciation of the Officers, Board Members, and members of the Society, that we present Joseph Musacchia with the highest award given by the Society, the Distinguished Merit Award.


The results of the American Iris Society Official Ballot voting for 2021 pertaining only to Louisiana Irises:

Louisiana irises
(Total votes cast = 208)
52 WHEN PIGS FLY (Patrick O'Connor)
39 ROOSTER (Ron Betzer)
Runners Up:
37 WATERMELON WIZARD (Hooker Nichols)
36 MELODY WILHOIT (Hooker Nichols)
13 GRIS GRIS (Patrick O'Connor)
11 BLUE SPLATTER (Wayland Rudkin)
10 SEMINOLE MOON (Harry Wolford)
10 SOUTHERN STAR (Heather Pryor)

(Total votes cast = 165)
22 EYES WIDE OPEN (Heather Pryor)
16 KATRINA RISING (Patrick O’Connor)
Runners Up:
15 MEMORIES OF MELODY (Jill Copeland)
13 HEARTBREAK WARFARE (Hooker Nichols)
12 REVERCHON SNOWFALL (Hooker Nichols)
12 ROUGAROUX (Joseph Musacchia)
11 WHO'S YA MAMA (Joseph Musacchia)

(Total votes cast = 501)
38 ACADIAN SKY (Joseph Musacchia)
17 ANNETTE BROWN (Harry Wolford)
16 QUEEN OF SOUL (Hooker Nichols)
14 BRAZOS MOON (Hooker Nichols)
13 BLUE MOON RISING (Hooker Nichols)
13 MICHIGAN IN DALLAS (James Copeland, Sr.)
13 NORAH JANE (Patrick O'Connor)
12 MARY JO (Joseph Musacchia)
11 IKO IKO (Joseph Musacchia)
10 BOSSIER CITY BLUES (Hooker Nichols)
10 CLAIRE FONTENOT (Patrick O’Connor)
Runners Up:
9 GORGEOUS GEORGE (Joseph Musacchia)
9 HIATUS (Hooker Nichols)
9 MARDI GRAS MAMBO (Joseph Musacchia)
8 BIRDLAND (Joseph Musacchia)
8 DALLAS MOONLIGHT (Hooker Nichols)
8 FLAMING HOT (Ron Betzer)
8 ODDBALL CURIOSITY (Hooker Nichols)
7 BLUEBERRY MOUSSE (Peter Jackson)
7 FALLEN SOCIALITE (Hooker Nichols)
7 GULF MOON GLOW (Albert Faggard)
7 HOUSE OF BLUES (Patrick O’Connor)
7 IMPROBABLE PLOT (Hooker Nichols)
7 MISTY BAYOU (Joseph Musacchia)
7 WHY FIE (Jill Copeland

Robert Treadway Jr Awarded the Distinguished Merit Award (2020)

Robert Treadway reduced

Robert Treadway Jr was awarded the hightest honor given by the Society for Louisiana Irises on April 3, 2021 in New Orleans.  Robert was selected for this award in 2020 but presentation of the award was delayed.

Robert served two terms as the President of the Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI) and two terms as President of the newly formed Society for Louisiana Irises International (SLII).

Robert represented SLI several times at the American Iris Society conventions. He has served as Regional VP for the American Iris Society and held other positions within many iris groups. He has always been a big supporter of the live and silent auctions held each year and has contributed irises to every project within the society. He often donated needed funds to keep the society financially able to produce the “Fleur de Lis.”

Robert is a man of high integrity. He is always a calm voice in a storm as well as a well-organized leader. He is simply an all-around great man.

Robert is the first person to serve such a long term as President of the society. He served his normal two terms as president of SLI and then agreed to serve two terms as the president of SLII.

Robert provided the leadership necessary to move SLI into the newly formed SLII. He organized the writing of the constitution and by-laws of the new corporation and led the membership through a detailed general membership meeting, in which the new constitution and by-laws were approved, and agreement was reached that all members of SLI would be transferred to membership in SLII.

The SLII Officers, the Board Members and the general membership join in congratulating you on a job well done!

The Distinguished Merit Award for 2019 was awarded to Bobbie Ann Hutchins and Stanley Schikowitz as a joint award.

Bobbie and Stan have worked hard within the society for more than 20 years, serving on various committees.  Bobbie Ann served terms on the board of governors, as Vice President, and two terms as President of the Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI).  She has served as convention chair for four conventions in Shreveport.  Stanley has served as the auctioneer for many live auctions at the conventions.

Stanley and Bobbie Ann have contributed thousands of Louisiana irises to the restoration of areas in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, hundreds of irises to the local Master Gardener organizations, have donated irises to various plantings in and around Shreveport, LA, and have been very generous with cash contributions to the society.

Bobbie and Stan established a commercial nursery many years ago and started by digging up and transplanting thousands of irises from the defunct Lone Star Nursery near Dallas, TX.  They also helped Marie Caillet dig and replant her famous pond one year and took several thousand irises from her pond back to the nursery in Mooringsport, LA.

They recently donated hundreds of irises to the park project in Lafayette.

This award was presented during the annual convention in Lafayette, LA, on April 6th, 2019.

The award presented had previously been awarded to Aline Arceneaux of Lafayette, LA, in 1990.  Aline returned the award to the society in 2019 and requested it be used again as she had moved into a nursing home and no longer had the proper place to display the award.  Search this web site to find the citation for Aline's award in 1990.

The annual iris show was held as part of the 2019 convention in Lafayette On April 6th, 2019.  The results are reported below:

Katherine & Ray Cornay Award (Outstanding Seedlings as voted by the membership)

     Tall - Seedling 17-B76-9 by Keith Pendergraf

     Medium - Seedling 17-29-1 by Ron Betzer

     Short - Seedling 17-01-3 by Patrick O'Connor

     Best Overall - Seedling 17-B76-9 by Keith Pendergraf

MacMillan Award (Oldest cultivar in show with blue ribbon)

     The Kahn (Dormon 1949) by Gordon Rabalais

Patrick O'Connor of Metairie, Louisiana, was awarded the Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI) Distinguished Merit Award at its recent convention in Dallas, Texas. O'Connor, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, is Director of Research and Development at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Health Care Services Division. He has a doctorate in political science.


Pat joined the Society for Louisiana Irises in 1975, and he began hybridizing LA irises shortly thereafter. His first named variety, 'Southdowns,' was registered in 1980.

Having served SLI as a vice president and on the board of directors, Pat extended his service in 1999 by becoming editor of the SLI Newsletter. During his five years as editor, Pat took the official SLI journal to new heights of recognition for design, good editing, and in-depth, well written articles. He continues as an Assistant Editor, and he is still a prolific contributor to the journal. The Distinguished Merit Award was presented in recognition of all these many contributions to SLI. This is the highest award sponsored by the Society for Louisiana Irises.

The Marie Caillet Cup was created in 2000 to honor Marie Caillet (1915-2010). It was first awarded at the annual banquet in April 2001.

Since she had devoted over 60 years to Louisiana irises, it was thought fitting that recognition should be continuing as well. The MarieCailletportratCaillet Cup, was designed to be similar to the Walter Cup at the American Iris Society conventions, and it is equivalent of the American Iris Society’s “President Cup”. The award will be given to the hybridizer of the best iris seen in garden tours, as voted by members present.

In circumstances made to order for the occasion, Marie Caillet was present for the inaugural of the Cup, and the award was presented by Marie herself. The 2001 Marie Cup went to Patrick O’Connor for ‘Feliciana Hills’, which was in bloom at the Baton Rouge Botanic Garden. ‘Feliciana Hills’, registered in 1992, is one of the too-few really pink Louisianas and a good grower.

Distinguished Merit AwardIt was not a hard decision for the Board to select Ron Killingsworth to receive the Society's Distinguished Merit Award.  There was no need to make a list of his jobs and accomplishments to tally them up.  When Ron's name was suggested, it was more or less met with, "Of course.  Obviously.  About time," and the like.

In all likelihood, more members of SLI interact with Ron than any of our other leaders.  That's mainly because he has long been Membership Chair, which, in combination with his job as Treasurer, makes him the most frequent point of contact for many.  When your "Fleur de Lis" arrives it is because Ron (and Sue, of course!) mailed it, and if it includes a reminder that your membership will expire soon, pay attention!  That's Ron doing one of his many jobs, and he takes it seriously.


The Charles W. Arny, Jr. award recognizes promising Louisiana irises and rewards the hybridizers of those cultivars for their work. Although many members continue to vote for the older cultivars, the intended purpose of the award is to encourage hybridizers and recognize outstanding recent introductions.