Martinis and memories kind of sum up last week’s events. Thrown into the mix was the introduction of another group of debutantes and so begins a season of celebration.

ARTini

Executive chef George Krause’s “Tri Poland” martini earned Doe’s Eat Place bragging rights at the ARTini event benefiting the Baton Rouge Symphony League. Several hundred people filled the Renaissance Hotel ballroom for the May 21 celebration, which pitted local bartenders against each other to see who could create the best martini.

Also popular with the judges and attendees were Galatoire’s “Original Sin” martini created by Blake Hernandez and Ben Phillips, and the cucumber and watermelon version created by Beausoleil’s Jessica Torres. As we all sipped the various elixirs, we shopped the fabulous art and other tempting items featured in the silent auction.

Women leaders

Earlier that day, Joan Cronan, women’s athletic director emeritus at the University of Tennessee, was the featured speaker at Capital Area United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel. “I love United Way,” Cronan said, “and I think it’s the best way to give the most to the right people.”

Attendees also included LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell, local real estate agent Ruthie Golden, IBERIABank branch manager Susan McCarter and CAUW President Darrin Goss Sr. They all shared stories on the council’s mission to mentor young women in education, income and health.

Remembering Katrina

Another coach was behind the microphone May 19 for the American Red Cross Heroes Luncheon at Tiger Stadium’s new South Stadium Club. LSU football coach Les Miles was often emotional as he shared his memories of Hurricane Katrina with attendees. It was his first season as coach of the Tigers and, as I’m sure you all remember, LSU’s Field House was turned into a field hospital and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center into a triage center for the thousands of evacuees. Among the many stepping up to volunteer were Miles and his assistant coaches, trainers and players, several of whom had no idea where their own families were at that moment.

As it is for all who lived through those tumultuous days 10 years ago, it’s a time obviously forever etched in coach’s mind. I think it’s also safe to say this is when he started to fall in love with the people of South Louisiana.

“I’ve always been that guy from Michigan, but when that happened, I enjoyed saying, ‘I’m from Louisiana,’ and I always will be,” Miles said.

Assembly tea

In between these two luncheons the Baton Rouge Assembly introduced its 2015 debutante coterie on May 20 to the wives of Assembly members and their guests at a tea at the Baton Rouge Country Club. Making the introductions were Julie Folse, wife of Assembly Chairman Scott Folse, and Kylee Selser, wife of Assistant Chairman John Michael Selser. The 18 debs will be formally presented at the Assembly’s annual ball Nov. 27 at the Baton Rouge River Center.

They include MaryHannah Grace Broussard, daughter of Melinda and James Broussard; Mary-Charlotte Collette Bruce, daughter of Collette and Anthony Bruce, both of Washington; Alexis Amelia Garland, daughter of Karen and Douglas Garland; Emma Louise Gordon, daughter of Dr. Stewart and Clarice Gordon; Haley Danielle Harrington, daughter of Dr. Laurie and Scott Harrington, of St. Francisville; Alyssa Beth Kleinpeter, daughter of Stacey and Karl Kleinpeter, of Jackson; Rebecca Clare Kleinpeter, daughter of Virginia and Judge William Kleinpeter, of Port Allen; Griffon Ainsley Lawson, daughter of Susan and Courtland Lawson; Lindsay Michelle McKowen, daughter of Erin and John G. McKowen Jr.; Caroline Wensel McKowen and Margaret Ellington McKowen, daughters of Elisabeth McKowen and Feltus B. McKowen; Stephanie Leigh McNamara, daughter of Dr. Susan and John McNamara; Joy Jeannette Roberts, daughter of Clay and Richard Roberts Jr.; Caroline Lee Spencer, daughter of Karen and Christopher Spencer; Katherine Ellen Tanner, daughter of Ellen and Thomas Tanner Jr.; Juneann Anderson Walker, daughter of Beverly and David Walker, of St. Francisville; Annie Weeks Womack, daughter of Sheryl and Thomas Womack Sr.; Blakley Allison Woolf, daughter of Kerri and James B. Woolf II.

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