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.

The official results of the judge's voting for 2017 pertaining to Louisiana Irises are:

The Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal - 144 votes cast - one winner

'Our Friend Dick' - 29 votes - by Ron Killingsworth

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 hbridizers and recognize outstanding recent introductions. The award was established in 1993 in honor of his pioneering work done with Louisiana irises and his promotion and world-wide distribution of the flower. The winner of this award shall be selected by the annual SLI Popularity Poll.

The winner for 2017 is ‘Edna Claunch’ by Harry Wolford of FL (2004). ‘Edna Claunch’ was awarded the AIS Honorable Mention in 2010, the Award of Merit in 2012 and the Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal in 2014. It also won the Caillet Cup in 2013. Congratulations Harry Wolford!

Runners-up: ‘Red Velvet Elvis’ with 30%; ‘Deja Voodoo’ with 25%; ‘Gris Gris’ with 20%; 'Ginny's Choice with 20%; 'Dark Dude' with 19%; 'Dixie Deb' with 19%

The results of the American Iris Society (AIS) official ballots, as voted by AIS judges, have been complied and the Louisiana Iris winners for 2016 are:

The Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal

(Total votes cast = 127)

The Winner is:  "Blue Mountain Mist" by Bernard Pryor with 20 votes

Runners up:

19 - "Cajun Serenade" by Hooker Nichols

18 - "Zydeco" by Patrick O'Connor

16 - "Choctaw Ridge" by Joe Musacchia

12 - "Edna Grace" by Heather Pryor

12 - "Rilla Hickerson" (Farron Campbell by M. & J. Wilhoit)

Louisiana Iris Award of Merit

(Total votes cast = 170

The Winners are:

32 votes - "Deja Voodoo" by Patrick O'Connor

16 votes - "Blue Splatter" by Wayland Rudkin

Runners up:

13 - "Sugarplum Treat" by Heather Pryor

12 - "Gris Gris" by Patrick O'Connor

12 - "Ride for Dixie" by M & J Wilhoit

10 - "Bayou Festival" by Hooker Nichols

9 - "Katrina Dog" by Patrick O'Connor

9 - "Southern Star" by Heather Pryor

Louisiana Iris Honorable Mention

(Total votes cast = 315)

The Winners are:

29 - "Melody Wilhoit" by Hooker Nichols

21 - "When Pigs Fly" by Patrick O'Connor

20 - "Lady of Lometa" by Jim Landers

18 - "Watermelon Wizard" by Hooker Nichols

12 - "Dashing Hero" by Heather Pryor

11 - "Aunt Rose" by Joe Musacchia

Runners Up:

9 - "Michelle Ma Belle" by Heather Pryor

9 - "Royal Gala" by Heather Pryor

9 - "Velvet Hookah" by Hooker Nichols

8 - "Montegut" by Joe Musacchia

8 - "Valentine Passion" by Hooker Nichols

7 - "Cajun Greased Lightning" by Kevin Vaughn

7 - "Mister Sandman" by Harry Wolford

7 - "Reverchon Snowfall" by Hooker Nichols

7 - "Tandoori Sizzler" by Heather Pryor

Congratulations to all hybridizers who produced these beautiful Louisiana Irises.  Click here to see a complete list of all AIS Awards for 2016.