This week, the Lauren-Reilly Eliot Company resurrected Tennessee Williams’ iconic tale of New Orleans dysfunction and love, "A Streetcar Named Desire." To herald the occasion, a Stella! Shouting Contest was held, a pirated version of the one staged annually at the Tennessee Williams Festival.

It was a stellar — or should we say Stella! — evening.

The landmark scene where a remorseful Stanley Kowalski cries out to the woman he’s mistreated is film gold, partly the reason many consider Brando to be the greatest movie actor of all time and the yardstick by whom all others are measured. But as it turns out, there’s a streak of bad boy in every man, and those who garnered a free beer for their performance became shooting stars.

There were classic Brandos who had the pitch and posture down perfect from the 1952 film, and innovative ones. Like the guy from Queens who worked his way back into Stella’s good graces with a “How you doin’, Stella?” Wyatt Steen from Iota (seems there are small-town bad boys as well) and mature Marlons like Larry Broussard, are testimony that old school is still the best school. All found their way into the judges’ hearts, including mine, but after much shirt-rending, chest-baring and begging, in the end there can be only one. Kipp Swannie from Houston snatched victory — plus cash and a generous bar tab — with his car-key can burst and beer-soaked Texas bawl. Proof a country boy can survive.

As for Williams’ play, it lives on and many have asked for more than 70 years why a refined Stella stayed with such an animalistic man.

Oh, I can tell you.


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

Dancing with the Stars

This has grown to be one of Lafayette’s premiere events, no doubt about it. Dancing with the Stars the Sacred Heart Way filled the Cajundome Convention Center with guests and supporters eager to watch fellow citizens compete celebrity-style. Masterminded by pros, Tylor Patin, Carrie Theard, Lauren Lafosse, Judy Kennedy, Jim Keaty, Ross Roubion and Rick Voth were among the 26 dancers who hoofed their way into history. VIPs enjoyed Champagne pre-performance along with Sinatra singer Spencer Racca, the Cajundome provided two buffets and taking it all in for a good cause were Joe Spell, board Chairman Matt McConnell, Head of School Yvonne Adler, Chip and Christa Billeaud and Laurence Svendson. Aimee Simon and Machita Eyre were the “it” ladies, while Robert Foard was the “it” man, requested by not one, but two females for photos.

Penny for Your Thoughts

And we were lucky Penny Edwards thought of us. Edwards attended “Anything is Possible” to benefit 232-HELP, and help she did, donating a jewelry piece from her own collection as well as recruiting Cajun artist Dale Breaux and his hand-carved pirogue for auction. Breaux is self-taught and expresses his love of wildlife through art. We have it on good authority the pirogue brought top dollar.

ASO Ladies Coffee

Hannah Mason hosted the Acadiana Symphony Women’s League for an autumn coffee at her Greenbrier home. Members and guests gathered for Champagne and cupcakes — what more could you ask for? — unless it was Linda Malin singing opera. Malin sang four classical pieces accompanied by Ben Blanchet, including Shubert’s “Du bist die Ruh” and Bizet’s “Habanera.” Among her many rapt listeners were Jessica LeMaistre, lovely lady-in-waiting Roya Boustany and Cindy Dore. What we loved: the bread pudding, director Dana Baker taking a “pup-ternity” leave when her new French bulldog arrives and Malin singing with her shoes off. By the way, you call that “Barefootin’.”

City Club Cocktails

It’s nice to be loved. City Club in River Ranch gave a party for its members, the better to mingle and meet their neighbors. “We have four or five a year,” said Renee Matamoros. “It used to be Symphony under the Stars, but we kept the symphony.” Indeed, the classical string trio played, everyone stayed and enjoying some free wine, Champagne and the occasional Old-Fashioned was Fête favorite Tokes Adoun, convalescing Kay Texada and Brian and Jennifer Heinen, with more grandchildren than the legendary lady who lived in a shoe.