Professional Landmen's Association of New Orleans - PLANO

History of PLANO - The 1980s

PLANO joined other local associations in 1979 in welcoming the compilation by the AAPL of CPL requirements and guidelines. By 1983, the AAPL had developed a program to prepare participants for taking the CPL exam. The program covered such topics as land descriptions, real estate, property and title curative, contract law, leasing, lease administration, well tracts, operating agreements, pooling and unitization and ethics.

PLANO established the Betty Baronne Award in 1982 to honor a member of a federal, state, parish or city agency who is particularly helpful to landmen dealing with those agencies and who extend service beyond the routine duties of office. The award was not intended to be made annually, but only in instances where the nominee performed outstanding service. La Nelle Boehm of the MMS was the first Betty Baronne Award recipient.

The PLANO Community Affairs Committee arranged in 1982 the first annual "Bunny Hop," wherein a PLANO member dressed as a bunny and, along with other members, passed out Easter baskets and candy at children's homes and orphanages throughout the New Orleans area. Other community affairs considerations for PLANO included the recently renovated Audubon Zoo's "Adopt An Animal" campaign, as well as The Times-Picayune's "Toys for Tots" program.

By 1982, PLANO membership had swelled to 694 regular members, 49 honorary and 24 associate members. It was not uncommon for attendance at monthly luncheon meetings to approximate 200 people.

PLANO was voted the Outstanding Local Association of the year at the 1982 AAPL Convention held in San Diego. In making the presentation, AAPL noted the ambitious list of entertainment events, the educational seminars, the management night function, support of the AAPL scholarship fund, but was said to have seemed most impressed with the Bunny Hop project.

The By-Laws were amended in 1982 to change the number of independent landmen serving on the Board of Directors from two to three and to include a definition of "independent." The By-Laws were also amended to provide that the employment status of each Board member will be determined as of the date of the nomination for the election, in order for employment changes by elected Board members not to affect the Board member's ability to serve

In 1983, PLANO launched the "Take Stock in America" essay contest open to 12th graders in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany Parishes. The essay topic was "The Free-Enterprise System - How It Meets America's Needs." Prizes awarded were $500 in stock for first prize, $200 in stock for second prize and $100 in stock for third prize. Local historian and news editor for WGNO-TV, Mel Leavitt, spoke at the awards luncheon in May. Winners were chosen by a Blue Ribbon Panel consisting of, among others, City Councilman Sidney Barthelemy and Congressman Billy Tauzin.

PLANO members enjoyed many good speakers in 1982-1983. In September 1982, Henry Goodrich of the Independent Petroleum Association of America spoke at a luncheon meeting at the Hilton, in November, Congressman Billy Tauzin spoke at a luncheon meeting at the Hyatt, and in December, Lieutenant Governor Bobby Freeman spoke at a luncheon at the Royal Orleans. At PLANO's 30th Anniversary luncheon, AAPL President Roland Champion was the speaker, and in March, Iris Kelso spoke at a luncheon meeting at the Hyatt.

PLANO's Community Affairs Committee launched the Christmas Crusade in 1983, in which a PLANO member dressed as Santa, together with and dozens of other helpers, made the rounds of children's homes and orphanages handing out Christmas stockings and balloons. The 1983 Bunny Hop focused on delivering Easter baskets to shut-ins and the elderly in homes around the city.

PLANO organized the 1983 AAPL Annual Convention, which was held in New Orleans June 15-17 at the Hilton Hotel. Approximately 2500 people attended the convention. Outside activities included a plantation tour, a tour of New Orleans homes, a performance by Pete Fountain and a brunch and fashion show on the riverboat "President".

New Orleans hosted the 1984 World's Fair, which featured a Petroleum Exhibit. The Petroleum Exhibit demonstrated the ecosystem that develops around the base of an offshore oil rig. PLANO held an Octoberfest party at the World's Fair German Beer Gardens on October 20, 1984.

Imposition of an earnings tax in Orleans Parish was a political "hot potato" in 1984 and was debated by a panel at a PLANO luncheon meeting held on October 22, 1984. The proponents of the tax were Lee Madere and Donald Mintz, and the opponents were Ken Hollis and Lawrence Chehardy. Another hotly debated political issue in 1984 was coastal erosion, and the industry was constantly under fire. PLANO proposed a task force to deal with this problem.

PLANO educational efforts continued to be strong in 1984. The LSU PLM program, which PLANO had supported and worked to develop, was accredited by the AAPL. The "Take Stock in America" program proved to be a great public relations vehicle for PLANO in letting students and teachers know what the industry was about. Also, PLANO contributed $500 to the Energy Source Education Council which, in 1979, was formed by industry leaders and national education organizations to develop and distribute a comprehensive energy curriculum to students in kindergarten through high school. The contribution was applied to the purchase of education units in Orleans and Jefferson Parish schools and contributions were planned in other parishes, as well.

By 1985, the industry was greatly depressed and the country was in a highly inflationary period. Costs had risen so dramatically that much discussion at the monthly board meetings revolved around lowering costs. As a result, the "Take Stock in America" program was re-evaluated because, although it was successful, it was also extremely expensive. The purposes and goals of the program were defined to be the following: 1) a device for community action by PLANO; 2) to introduce PLANO to civic leaders via the blue ribbon panel of judges; and 3).to provide publicity for PLANO. It was decided that, based on the aforesaid objectives, the program would be continued for the next year, but private donations would be sought to reduce the cost to PLANO, and further cost reduction avenues would be explored.

In 1985, PLANO became a charter member of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, PLM Booster Club. The Booster Club was formed to help the three-year old PLM program gain support for fundraising and job placement.

Enrollment in the PLANO Auxiliary dropped to 53 members in 1985. The decline in auxiliary membership was attributed to the changing lifestyle of women, with more women working outside of the home.

With the help of PLANO members, Jan Van Loon and Jeff Womack, the AAPL published a 30 year history in 1985.

The PLANO Company of the Month award was given to CNG Producing Company for the month of November, 1985, when CNG rescued the struggling New Orleans Symphony by donating $200,000, thus enabling the symphony to perform the 1985-1986 season.

In 1986, PLANO membership was down by 14% and the CPL review and examination scheduled in New Orleans was cancelled for lack of participation, reflecting the industry slump. Nevertheless, the new Petroleum Club in the Energy Centre opened in January of 1986 and, in order to support the new club, monthly PLANO meetings moved from the Hilton Hotel to the Petroleum Club.

A complete re-evaluation of the PLANO newsletter was requested by the board in early 1986, in light of problems and complaints. The reporter system was eliminated and replaced with the committee system, whereby the committee chairs would be responsible for submitting their own articles.

In January 1986, PLANO revised its By-Laws to provide for a new category of membership: Honorary Membership, reserved for any person rendering outstanding service or contributions to the industry which were so noteworthy as to be deserving of the designation. The initial Honorary Members were: C. J. Bonnecarre, Edward Rhorer, Bobby L. Jones (all of the State Mineral Board) and John Rankin (of the BLM). The Life Membership category was eliminated.

The PLANO newsletter reevaluation, which was begun in 1986, resulted in the 1987 decision to formalize the newsletter to include professional articles, such as legal updates on state and OCS issues, and to continue including upcoming events and new member information. The newsletter also continued listing PLANO committee assignments and projects, and assistance on these projects was requested from the general membership via the newsletter. The idea of selling advertising space in the newsletter was introduced in 1987.

Social/civic events in 1987 included the annual beer social, golf and tennis tournament, football follies, Day at the Races, Bunny Hop, crawfish boil, Executive Night, the first annual Holloween Dance, and a Thanksgiving Basket Drive called the Gobble-a-long. At Thanksgiving, three hundred turkey dinners were served at a Senior Citizens Club; at Christmas, 25 food baskets were distributed to the needy and at Easter, PLANO members prepared and served gumbo to Senior Citizens.

In August 1987, the Louisiana State Mineral Board announced its intention to revise the state lease form. PLANO members spearheaded a drive to ensure the form would be acceptable to the industry. The Chairman of the State Mineral Board also appointed PLANO members to a committee charged with the goal of adopting concepts for stimulating exploration on state-owned lands.

By the third quarter of 1987, PLANO membership was on the rise following the adverse impact on membership caused by the mid-1980's industry downturn. PLANO membership totaled 474, consisting of 385 active, 41 associate, 44 life and 4 honorary members. The upswing was attributed, in part, to the industry moving back to New Orleans because of a resurgence in offshore activity and increased exploration activity in southeast Louisiana.

In 1987 and 1988, PLANO began conducting its own educational seminars for members, a move which coincided with the 1988 Louisiana Supreme Court rules mandating continuing legal education for members of the Louisiana State Bar Association. The seminars were free to PLANO members and CPL and CLE credit was available. PLANO successfully obtained an exemption from the Louisiana state Bar Association's CLE requirements for members of the Bar not actively engaged in the full time practice of law, but who use their legal education in business dealings, such as landmen.

Speakers during 1988 included Governor Buddy Roemer, who was the guest speaker for Executive Night held at the Hilton on April 12, 1988.

Advertising space in the PLANO newsletter was first offered in 1988. The prices were $75.00 for business card-sized ads in four issues or $15.00 for a single such ad. PLANO also originated the idea of selling local advertising to subsidize Landman magazine.

Monthly Landman's Breakfasts were established in 1988. The purposes of the breakfast meetings were to come up with new ideas for PLANO's development and to discuss problems facing the industry and the local economy.

PLANO received an AAPL award, the Local Association Management Award of Merit Fiscal Management, for 1988-89.

PLANO's Energy Business Link to Education ("PEBLE") was formed in 1989. Under the program, PLANO members spoke at local schools to educate children about the oil and gas industry. The first such speech, held in St. Bernard Parish in April, 1989, explored the topic of "Coastal Erosion."

The PLANO Auxiliary agreed, in 1989, to begin directly assisting PLANO in its charitable efforts. Consequently, the Auxiliary and PLANO began hosting monthly birthday parties for children living in the Crescent House for battered women and their children. The project was arranged through Associated Catholic Charities.

History of PLANO