The Duchess of Cambridge has provided the world with yet another opportunity to review society’s manners toward new mothers. This is rarely talked of, but thanks to Kate Middleton, get ready to hear journalists gush again over Middleton’s post-partum appearances and baby Charlotte’s progress.

Please refrain.

Once etiquette standards disappear, they rarely return. And while no one begrudges some gawking over a royal princess, when it comes to babies, there’s a big difference between agog and gauche. Facebook and digital media devolution aside, there are still some proprieties.

There’s no polite way to seize someone’s baby without invitation, no matter how benevolent you may be. Only the ordained may perform a laying on of hands, but in the event there’s an emergency and you must perform the fireman’s carry, you may be excused.

You may ask how the mother and baby are doing. That’s it. You may not discuss the fact the lady appears not to have lost much weight, and oh, by the way, how much poundage did she gain in total? Likewise off-limits is whether or not she is breast-feeding, a lecture about its benefits and that it will help with the “baby weight.”

Tempting as it is, keep quiet about how you just knew there was something wrong with your own baby after you brought him home, and, if the doctors had only listened to you, everyone would’ve been spared those agonizing hours in ER. Leave the doctoring to the specialists and this includes grandmas. Female mammals are hardwired by eons of evolution to kill anything that approaches their young, and it’s a miracle you’ve escaped this far. A mother hippo will bite a small boat in half.

Art & Shadows preview party

Our culture at its finest. Shadows on the Teche in New Iberia hosted new work by artist Lynda Frese and musician David Greely, and Lafayette took notes. Catered by French Press, the event marked the culmination of a year-long collaboration between the UL-Lafayette professor and fiddler, whose partnership aimed to fill in the home’s historical gaps visually and musically. Frese’s 18 narrative pieces, displayed in three rooms, bore her unmistakable style, and she chatted with guests while Greely played from the front porch. “It’s interesting to hear musicians practice,” said Frese. “I know how artists practice.” Practice makes perfect, because the pair did the Teche proud, and very glad they came were Shadows board member Beverly Shea, gentleman Josh Huval, Kent and Polly Maddox from Avery Island, out-of-towner Paddy Bowman, longtime UL favorite Hector LaSala and happily wed John and Katie Hebert. What we loved: Shea’s New Iberia hospitality, the ballroom and chandelier erected in the backyard beneath the oaks and the French Press vodka-infused lemonade with fresh thyme. You can see Art & Shadows on Main Street in New Iberia until September; the lemonade you’ll have to get in Lafayette.

May ArtWalk

Just about Lafayette’s best see-and-be seen, ArtWalk got underway for May, only this time highlighting the Student Arts Expo. The Acadiana Center for the Arts paired downtown businesses with schools in the parish to promote the arts, and while Theresa Wasiloski’s Play-ful students danced in the James Devin Moncus Theater, Creations by Fire & Bernard LeMaire Art partnered with Paul Breaux Middle School. The Student Arts Expo is in its sixth year and includes nearly every school in Lafayette Parish. What we loved: Ginger Kelly’s blown glass orbs on view in The Vault, the hand-knitted mice at LeMaire’s and Nouvelle’s Ojai Orange votives.

A magical night of music

Champagne on the steps, tables decked in glamorous red — Oakbourne Country Club rolled out the red carpet in honor of Carolyn French and the Friends of Music. And who should be perusing the silent auction line but the VIP guest herself, ever serving the cause. “It’s a privilege to be part of this organization,” she said with humility. “An idea doesn’t succeed without support from everyone.” The FOM funds scholarships and more for the UL-Lafayette music department, and several faculty members represented — Sue Lein, Chan Kiat Lim, Yuling Huang-Davie, Shawn Roy — while busy socializing over champagne were recently-returned-from-Monte Carlo Mitch and Sandy Landry, Steve and Jeanie Domingue, two-weeks-’til-retirement Chip Jackson and wife Jennifer, “cousins” Jay and Elaine Jackson, mother-son duo Vinayak Chaturvedi and Vandana Chaturvedi and charming Bob Pastor, who said “I like your dress.” A very nice birthday present indeed.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at or at