Several of my favorite folks were deservedly in the spotlight last week for all they do for our community — Whitney Vann, Leonard Augustus, Kim and Trey Bowman, Michael Robinson and Don Boutté, Jim Brandt, Pinki Diwan, Lowry Griffon and Margaret Womack Hart. They and their fellow honorees are part of the fabric that makes this community such a great place to call home.Trianon’s 40th
For 40 years, the members of Trianon have been getting together around the holidays to raise much-needed funds for the ARC of Baton Rouge. What started out as a coffee in a member’s home has now turned into a luncheon and style show attended by hundreds. It’s also raised more than a quarter million dollars.
These accomplishments were definitely worth celebrating at this year’s luncheon Nov. 14 at the Crowne Plaza. Committee member Sharon Richard graciously let me join her table of family and friends for lunch and the style show by Chico’s. Among the models were board members Julie Baxter and Jill Henry, and ARC clients Stephanie and Candace Montgomery, who celebrated their 22nd birthdays the following day. Emcee Diane Deaton led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” to the “precious twins.”
It was the second day in a row I “had lunch” with Diane; she emceed the National Philanthropy Day luncheon, too. Trianon President Ann Suire chaired the luncheon.
Later that evening, it was a sea of red at the Capitol Park Welcome Center for Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge’s 21st annual Celebrate the Family: An All Red Affair. This year’s honored families included Kim and Trey Bowman, Murelle Harrison, Fatemah Malekian and Sherry and Julio Melara.
Since this was stop one of three for me, I offered my congratulations to the honorees and was quickly on my way.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that cocktails are experiencing a resurgence among the cool and hip. To capitalize on this, the LSU AgCenter’s Botanic Gardens debuted “Cocktails in the Garden,” which had a “Golden Age of Hollywood” theme. It was the idea of Scott Gremillion with Olive or Twist, who tweaked on the Friends of City Park’s “Martini Madness” event in New Orleans.
Welcoming party-goers, more than a few of whom were all glammed out, was Michelle Fuller encased in a specially made hoop-type skirt that held martinis from Olive or Twist. Inside a large, warm tent, specialty cocktails and accompanying cuisine were being served up by Beausoleil, Blend, The Cove, Culinary Art, Duvic’s, 18 Steak, Fleming’s, Galatoire’s Bistro, Juban’s, Kona Grill, Lock & Key Whiskey Bar, Louisiana Seafood, PF Chang’s, Pelican House, Radio Bar, Rougaroux, Ruffino’s and Tsunami. The night wrapped up with dancing in the new pavilion to sounds of Ned Fasullo & the Big Band Orchestra.
My last stop for the night was the cocktail party Karnival Krewe King Dr. Glenn Kidder and Queen Charlene Montelaro were hosting along with Ball Captain Frank McArthur at the Kidder home for members of their royal court and krewe board members. Things were just kicking into high gear by the time I arrived; walking in with Colleen Newman and Pat Broderick.
Aside from visiting with the hosts and their spouses, I got to catch up with Tereasa and Andy Olinde, Stephanie Hughson, Kris Cangelosi, Lance Lemoine, Jill Vanlongendock and Jan Daly. They’re all excited about this year’s ball, which takes place Jan. 30 at the River Center.
Ever need proof that one person can make a huge difference? Attend the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ National Philanthropy Day luncheon. At the Nov. 13 event at Boudreaux’s, there were no fewer than 15 stories of individuals whose generosity has impacted thousands in our community.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers received the award for Outstanding Leadership in Corporate Philanthropy. The company has supported our community’s nonprofits, schools, parks, etc. to the tune of $1 million plus.
The Outstanding Philanthropist award went to the Albert Fraenkel family, for its $2.2 million in-kind donation to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. And it didn’t end there. Albert and wife Ellie made a surprise $10,000 donation to the Food Bank that day in honor of their luncheon guests — brother Francis “Shorty” Fraenkel, Laura and Ned Clark, Lynn and Felix Weill, Laura and Jimmy Field, and Susan and Charles Pourciau, and fellow honoree Joey Roth, who received the Youth in Philanthropy award for his “Jars for Change” campaign raising more than $5,000 for Woman’s Hospital NICU.
Baton Rouge High School Foundation was honored as the Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation, which raised over $460,000 for the “Raise Our Standards High” campaign and donated $225,000 to meet the needs of academics, arts and athletics.
The Outstanding Philanthropic Service Organization award went Sharing Shore Indian Women’s Association, which through the sale of its cookbook “Saffron to Sassafras,” has donated more than $100,000 to the Battered Women’s Shelter alone. The group also works closely with the Food Bank.
Christopher Ciesielski was chosen the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for his leadership of Woman’s Hospital’s Annual Giving Campaign; Pinki Diwan received the Outstanding Professional Fundraiser award for her work with the LSU Foundation, specifically its Endow an Oak campaign; and the late Mark Ballard posthumously received the Board of Directors Award for his service as director of stewardship for the Baton Rouge Diocese.
Honored for including their chosen nonprofits in their estate planning were legacy honorees Michael Robinson and Don Boutté, LSU Foundation; Jim Brandt, Public Affairs Research Council; Lowry Griffon, Alzheimer’s Servcies; Margaret Womack Hart, Baton Rouge General; Kathleen and Clay Smilie, American Red Cross; and the late John Dubois, The Hospice of Baton Rouge.
I didn’t mind stepping up to the plate when managing editor Fred Kalmbach asked for a volunteer to participate in City Year’s 18-Minute Networking Event later that evening, … I’m out most night’s anyway, but then I started to question what career advice I could offer these young, service-minded adults. Fortunately the half dozen that stopped by the journalism/writing table had lots of thoughtful questions for us, which actually made cohort Sarah Keller’s and my job easier. We were one of 17 tables where the 20-somethings visited for 18 minutes with professionals from careers they were interested in — education, healthcare, social work, fashion, the legal profession and entrepreneurship, etc. — kind of like speed dating.
The evening was co-sponsored by the Junior League and Forum 35 President Eric Dexter was the night’s featured speaker. Zach Corbin served as emcee.
The spotlight was on Whitney Vann Nov. 11 as The Advocate and Inner Civic Council presented her with the Golden Deeds Award. Her honor came with a $1,500 check from the council that went to Big Buddy in Whitney’s name. There was a large contingent of Dancing with Big Buddy alumni on hand to support Whitney, who with dance partner Leonard Augustus won the first competition, as well as former WBRZ coworkers Sylvia Weatherspoon and Pat Shingleton.
Also in the crowd were Ed Steimel, who at 92 is the oldest Golden Deeds recipient still with us, and former recipient East Baton Rouge Constable Reggie Brown and his new bride, Gayle Boyd.
Here’s to Leonard
The next night Whitney and husband Robert Schneckburger rolled out the welcome mat at their home for a party honoring our dear friend Leonard Augustus as Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s 2014 Dance Dignitary. Cohosting the event were Lisa and Thad Broussard, Susan and Michael Puyau and Beverly and Corky Thompson.
The house was filled with those whose lives have been touched Leonard, primarily through dance but in many other ways as well. Again, there was a large contingent of Dancing with Big Buddy alumni, members of the Baton Rouge Flash Mob, twin sisters Sharon Denise Powe and Karen Denise Shropshire, members of his Sunday School class and supporters of BRBT on hand to congratulate Leonard on this well-deserved honor.
The icing on the cake was that, like Whitney, he was made an honorary mayor, had it proclaimed his day and got the key to the city from Mayor Kip Holden.
Rounding out my party stops was Quota Club’s annual Thanksgiving Feast at the home of Jean Gatz. It’s at this pot-luck dinner that new members are formally inducted into the group. They were wrapping up taking their oath when I arrived and, to a woman, were aglow with excitement.
Quota is one of my favorite groups of women. Not only do they do great things for our community, they have fun doing them and they always seem to make great friends along the way. I’m not a member but they let me hang with the club from time to time. I’m honored to count several of them as my friends.
My apologies …
To Kay and Scott Gaudin for misidentifying them in last week’s column. The correct photo appears today.
To view photos, please click here.
Follow Pam on Twitter @pamspartyline. Items for Pam’s Party Line must be received by 9 a.m. the Monday preceding the run date. High-resolution digital photos should be emailed to email@example.com. Hard copy photos should be dropped off at or mailed to The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Events will run no later than four weeks after they have taken place. The date, place of the event and a contact name and daytime phone number must be included. Photos will be used at the discretion of The Advocate.