The Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge to honor local trailblazers during Women’s Week

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Passionate. Purposeful. Trailblazer. These are just a few words to describe the 2019 Silver Magnolia honorees of the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

A Silver Magnolia is described as a woman who has reached at least 70 years of age, has played an active role in Louisiana history and whose life and service embody the qualities of integrity, leadership and courage.

This year’s honorees are:

V. Jean Butler-Smith

V. Jean Butler Smith is the daughter of Baton Rouge icon Leo S. Butler and the mother of award winning actress Lynn Whitfield

V. Jean Butler-Smith is a nationally acclaimed housing executive who made her mark in the State of Louisiana and City of Baton Rouge in civic, social and political affairs.

By the time Mrs. Butler-Smith was tapped to lead the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, she had become a Certified Property Manager, a designation obtained through one of the most rigorous programs in the industry. She used this training and her extensive local background in housing to implement the highest “Best Practices” standards at the Agency, while establishing an outstanding track record of service to constituents.

V. Jean Butler Smith’s life is centered around helping others. She was a founding member of the Baton Rouge Chapter of The Links Incorporated and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

Mary Elizabeth Norckauer

Mary Norckauer is the first choreographer for the LSU Golden Girls.

At 95 years young, there is no stopping Mary Elizabeth Norckauer. After completing two degrees at LSU, she spent 10 years traveling with the “Holiday on Ice” show.

​In 1959, Ms. Norckauer became the creator and choreographer of the Ballet Corps now known as the LSU Golden Girls. Over the last 60 years, the values she instilled in her first group of dancers have been continuously passed down to approximately 450 Golden Girls.

​At 95, Mary Elizabeth Norckauer still competes and wins Gold Medals and sets new records in Track and Field Events as well as rowing.

Maureen Corcoran

Maureen Corcoran is the first Legacy Silver Magnolia

The opportunity to be honored by an organization you poured your heart into is one of life’s most cherished moments. ​​Maureen Steiner Corcoran served the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge for over 10 years. During her tenure she played a pivotal role in the production in some our our most notable events.

​Maureen has devoted her life to working with non-profit organizations such as Red Shoes, the Food Bank, CAAWS, and Men and Women’s Homeless Shelter. Becoming a Silver Magnolia is special to Corcoran as her mother Sylvia Steiner is a member of the 2004 class.

Janifer Broome Peters

Janifer Broome Peters is a mathematics pioneer at SUBR.

Since high school, Janifer Peters has continued to multiply her roles in her community just as she’s continued to add to her years of teaching mathematics in the classroom.

​Though she has many titles at Southern University, in her role of Director of the engineering Scholarship Program, she is responsible for assisting students with making their dreams of a career in a STEM field a reality.

​When she’s not in the classroom or mentoring students, Janifer serves by being a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and is active in many different roles at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.

​Mrs. Peters is also a charter member of The Society, Inc., Avant Garde of BR Chapter (an organization that supports youth in the arts) and serves currently as Chaplain and financial Secretary.

Hazel Domangue

Hazel Domangue is a Baton Rouge volunteer extraordinaire.

A native of Chicago, IL, Hazel Domangue is known to many as a trailblazer. Her purpose is people and that led her to travel the world and serve in under privileged communities for decades.

​Hazel’s passion is serving. She’s worked in various government agencies, that included monitoring legislative activity in Washington, D.C. and working for then Mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington, as Director of Intergovernmental Relations. ​Since moving to Baton Rouge two years ago, Hazel has continued to be a servant to others by being active in many volunteer initiatives.

Jean B Armstrong

Jean B. Armstrong is the first woman to receive a CED designation.

Jean B. Armstrong currently serves as President of Leaders With Vision. It is a non-partisan organization that strives to inform Louisiana citizens in the areas of Civil Rights, Education and Health Care. She also served three terms as State President of the League of Women Voters of Louisiana, and was President of the League of Baton Rouge for nine terms.

After rigorous board examination in October of 1988, Mrs. Armstrong was the first woman in Louisiana to earn the prestigious Certified Economic Developer designation by the American Economic Development Council.

This year, the Women’s Council is introducing a Silver Magnolia memorabilia booklet. Members of the general public can express their own special sentiment by placing a congratulatory ad, tribute, or greeting in the booklet.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Baton Rouge African- American History Museum in the memory of one of the 2014 honorees Sadie Roberts- Joseph.

The honorees will be honored at the Silver Magnolia Luncheon which will be held on September 28th from 11:30AM-1:30PM at The Tracy Center. Tickets can be purchased for $35 each.

Further information on how you can place an ad or purchase a ticket to any of the Women’s Council events can be found here.

If you would like to purchase tables or give a monetary donation please contact Shana Augustus at 225-202-1175 or email

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