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.

The 76th annual Society for Louisiana Irises National Convention was held from April 21st to April 24th in Bossier City, LA, with 54 attendees enrolled.

An iris show consisting of only Louisiana Irises was held as part of the convention on April 23rd, 2016.

The winners of the show were:

Katherine and Ray Cornay Award

Members of the Society present at the show shall, by popular ballot, select the outstanding seedling from those that have not been introduced and those seedlings in the junior section that have not been introduced.  A top seedling will be chosen from each height class and awarded a ribbon, which will be presented to the hybridizer. The person entering the iris selected for award will receive a small vase.  An overall best seedling shall be selected and awarded the Katherine and Ray Cornay rosette, which goes to the hybridizer. A crystal vase shall be presented to the person entering the overall winner of the award during the awards banquet.

Outstanding Seedling:  'Cajun Popcorn' by Roland Guidry entered by Karin Payne
Best Tall Seedling:  05-07-15 by Ron Killingsworth entered by Lin Millar
Best Medium Seedling:  'Cajun Popcorn' by Roland Guidry entered by Karin Payne
Best Small Seedling:  No entries

MacMillian Award

This award shall be given to the oldest registered iris receiving a blue ribbon.  A cultivar may receive this award only once every five years. The winner of this award will be presented with a rosette and a crystal vase during the awards banquet.

'Clyde Redmond' entered by Lin Millar

Marvin Granger Award

This award shall be chosen by the AIS judges from the first place winners that are double or cartwheel form.  This award honors Marvin Granger for his work with cartwheel form irises.  The best overall cartwheel or double selected by the judges will be the winner of this award. The winner of this award will be present a Rosette and crystal vase during the awards presentations

.'Delta Star' entered by Lin Millar

Joseph Mertzweiller Award

This award shall be presented to the best overall tetraploid iris selected by the AIS judges from all the blue ribbon winning tetraploid entries. The winner will be presented a rosette and crystal vase during the awards banquet.

'Professor Marta Marie' entered by Monica Cowan

Dr. Small Award

This award shall be presented to the best overall iris entered in the species classification of the show and will be selected by the AIS judges from the blue ribbon winners of this classification.  The winner will be presented a rosette and crystal vase during the awards banquet.

No Entries

Ira S. Nelson Award

Members of the Society in attendance shall select three Louisiana iris winners by popular ballot chosen from the blue ribbon winners selected b the AIS accredited judges of registered AND introduced irises.  First, second and third placed rosettes will be awarded.  The person who entered the first place winner in the show will be presented with the rosette and a crystal vase during the awards banquet.  Award rosettes for second and third place will be presented during the awards banquet.

First Place:  'Delta Star' entered by Lin Millar
Second Place:  'Dark Dude' entered by Lin Millar
Third Place:  'King Alex' entered by Monica Cowan

English Box

A collection of 'Blue Jean Baby' and 'Bayou Tiger' entered by Karin Payne

Caroline Dormon Award

The AIS judges shall select the best collection of irises for this award.  The collection shall consist of six and the names of each iris will be written on the back of the entry card. The winner of this award will be presented with a rosette and crystal vase during the awards banquet.

A bouquet of irises consisting of 'Red Velvet Elvis' and 'Laura Louise' entered by Monica Cowan

American Iris Society Awards

Queen of Show:  'Delta Star' entered by Lin Millar
Best Seedling of Show:  'Cajun Popcorn' by Roland Guidry entered by Karin Payne
Sweepstakes AwardsSliver by Monica Cowan with 11 blue (first place) ribbons and Bronze by Karin Payne with 10 blue ribbons.

There were 95 entries of 74 varieties of Louisiana irises exhibited by 7 exhibitors. The show was judged by Harry Wolford and Donna Wolford from Palm Bay, FL, and David Nitka from Feeding Hills, MA

Society for Louisiana Irises Honorary Awards

The Society for Louisiana Irises has established a series of awards to honor individuals for services to the Society. The following identifies those awards and the criteria for each.


Service Award: This is an award presented to an individual who has given unselfishly of time, service and support of the Society over and above the duties of an office held or committee duties performed. An individual or group who has been a member of the Society for the past five years shall be eligible. Recipients of this award are no longer eligible for this same award.

Distinguished Merit Award: This award is made to a living individual, group or   organization that has promoted Louisiana irises in some outstanding manner, such as service, promotion, writing, presenting programs, teaching of judging schools, hybridizing, growing and other valuable contributions. Society membership is not required. Recipients of this award are no longer eligible for this same award.

American Iris Society announces results of 2015 Official AIS Ballots


The Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal

     Seminole Sunrise by Harry Wolford - 30 votes out of 133 cast


     Renee Fleming by Heather Pryor - 27 votes

     Rochester Lilacs by Heather Pryor - 19 votes

     Rilla Hickerson by Farron Campbell registered by M&J Wilhoit - 18 votes

     Zydeco by Patrick O'Connor - 16 votes

     Frederick Douglas by Dorman Haymon - 14 votes

Award of Merit

     Our Friend Dick by Ron Killingsworth - 41 votes of 276 cast

     Dark Dude by Ron Betzer - 25

     Lemon Zest by Kevin Vaughn - 23

     Michagan Belle by Jill Copeland - 23


     Seminole Autumn by Harry Wolford - 21

     Blue Splatter by Wayland Rudkin - 14

     Sarah Faith by MD Faith - 14

     Acadian Debutante by Hooker Nichols - 13

     Sugarplum Treat by Heather Pryor - 13

Honorable Mention

     Seminole Moon by Harry Wolford - 20 votes of 282 cast

     Gulf Coast Beaches by Hooker Nichols - 14

     Start of Something Big by Harry Wolford - 14

     Earline Sudduth by Harry Wolford - 13

     Kakadu Sunset by Heather Pryor - 12

     David's Symphony by Joe Mussacchia - 11

     Green Eyed Cajun by Joe Mussacchia - 11

     Nancy Tichborne by Bernard Pryor - 11


     Lucky Dog by Pat O'Connor - 10

     Dick's Legacy by MD Faith - 8

     Pontchartrain Beach by Pat O'Connor - 8

     Aunt Rose by Joe Musacchia - 7

     Holly Joy Carol by Harry Wolford - 7

     Bayou Buckskin by Jim Hedgecock - 6

     Louis Armstrong by Pat O'Connor - 6

     Mister Sandman by Harry Wolford - 6

     Paramount Star by Bernard Pryor - 6

     Secret Rendezvous by Heather Pryor - 6


Rebecca Wong Ser Award PicRebecca Wong, longtime life member of SLI and SLI’s webmaster for many years, was presented the much deserved Society for Louisiana Irises' Service Award, by President Jim Leonard, at the awards banquet during the SLI Convention in Lafayette, LA, on April 11, 2015.

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 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 which is composed of registered and introduced Louisiana irises that have met the following  criteria established by the Board of Directors:

Awards of the American Iris Society Awards (AIS) for seedling, Registered and Introduced Iris

Each year the judges of the AIS vote the offical ballot and awards are made to many different classifications of irises.  Other awards are given for irises winning the most most in the gardens on the tours of the annual AIS convention.  This article gives a brief summary of each of the awards given by the AIS.

Debaillon Award and Debaillon Medal Detailed Results (runnerups in the voting are also included)

The DeBaillon Medal is awarded each year to the Louisiana iris receiving the most votes from the American Iris Society (AIS) judges and is awarded by AIS at the annual convention. To become eligible for this award, an iris must have received the Award of Merit (AM) in its class.  Eligibility begins the second year after the variety has received the AM and continues for a period of three years. This article shows MSDM winners from 2014 to 1948 and shows the number of judges' votes received as well as the "runnersups" for each year they were recorded.

Marie Caillet and Rita Hickerson


Since 1948, the DeBaillon Medal, given by the American Iris Society, has been the most prestigious honor a Louisiana Iris hybridizer can receive.  The Author traces the award's history, triumphs, and controversies.

Marie Caillet spent a lifetime promoting the Louisiana Iris, first while a resident of Lafayette, LA, where she taught at the local university, and after her retirement at her family home on Lake Lewis north of Dallas, TX.  She served the Society for Louisiana Irises in many capacities, including editing the journal for decades.  She was 92 when she died on May 20th, 2010.