And, we’re off!! That’s right, party season is now officially underway. Twice last week I found myself going to multiple events on the same night — a sure sign the summer social slump is over.
Family, friends and supporters of the Kelli Leigh Richmond Ovarian Cancer Foundation came together Aug. 17 at Boudreaux’s to help make Kelli’s dream of a place for women undergoing cancer treatment to get clothes that actually fit them a reality. Kelli’s Kloset, located at 4560 North Boulevard, is now up and running. That was the good news shared by Kelli’s dad, Ron Richmond, at the dinner. In fact, they have received so many donations of clothing that any woman with a critical illness or who is chronically ill can now access Kelli’s Kloset.
Kelli Richmond touched thousands of lives during her two and a half year battle against ovarian cancer. Her mission was to warn other women, especially those in their 20s and 30s, of the warning signs of this silent killer and to encourage them to be assertive in regards to their own health care. Kelli lost her battle at the age of 30 but her parents, Patsy and Ron, continue to carry on her fight.
One of the people Kelli touched was LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri. He shared with guests the last time he saw her.
“I’ll never forget that day,” said Mainieri. “She was in the hospital and displayed such courage … It inspires me and I pray that I’ll impact lives like Kelli did. She was my friend and that’s about the best thing I can say about her.”
We also heard from LSU track and field coach Dennis Shaver, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, gynecological oncologist Dr. Dennis DeSimone, LSU Women’s Softball coach Beth Torino, ovarian cancer survivor Jeanette Montgomery and Licia Chaney, who lost her 30-year-old daughter Brandy to ovarian cancer. Along with Torino, Montgomery and Chaney have formed the Teal Foundation and they’ll be working with Kelli’s foundation to educate area women about ovarian cancer.
The night’s festivities also included silent and live auctions. Master of ceremonies for the evening was Guaranty Broadcasting’s market manager Gordy Rush.
The night before, my party hopping began at Baton Rouge Magnet High School where the Legends of Motown took over the stage for a magical night down musical memory lane with the likes of the Temptations, Four Tops, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson and, of course, Michael Jackson. The show was produced by Lorna Gianelloni and Bernadette Dugas and brought to town by Jukebox Legends S.J. and Mickey Montalbano to benefit WBRH 90.3.
In the audience were Grace Broussard of Dale & Grace fame, Chris LeBlanc, Linda Cypriano, Leslie and Jim Browning, Liz Hamilton, Jackie Airhart, Suzanne and Gray Sexton, Gwen Graves, Gail and Bill O’Quin and Terri and Conway LeBlanc. Terri and friend Sharyn Allen came sporting their white go-go boots — too cute! I also got to catch up with former co-workers Larry Davis and wife Bernie, and Rob Payer and his main squeeze, Julie Baxter. Larry and Rob head up the radio training program at BR High.
I only got to catch the first minute or so of the opening Motown number because Baton Rouge Green was hosting its Paradise Gala across town at LSU’s Rural Life Museum.
This party was well underway by the time I arrived. The band Cold Grits had the joint hopping and folks were lining up to play a series of games for prizes. They could take their best shot in the turkey shoot for an Audubon print of a wild turkey, toss bean bags to win a frog fountain and try their hand with a bow and arrow for a $150 gift card to Cabe la’s. Guests could also participate in the wine and tree pull for, well, a collection of wines or some of Baton Rouge Green’s finest trees.
Kim and Mike Wampold served as honorary chairmen of the gala. Here I got to visit with Heather Kleinpeter and Nial Patel, BeBe Facundus, George Schaffer, Joanne and Juan Carillo, Ralph Stephens, Connie and Mike Caldwell, Blair and Jim Purguson and Clay Flournoy, who was manning the turkey shoot.
Providing food and beverages were Walk-On’s Catering, Juban’s Catering, T.J. Ribs, Bistro Byronz, Ruffino’s, Lava Cantina, LA 1 South Truck stop, Blue Bell and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola.
Krewe of Artemis
Over at Boudreaux’s, Dr. Kevin Callerame and wife Cheryl were crowned King and Queen Artemis XIV at the Krewe of Artemis’ coronation. They will reign along with the rest of their royal court at the krewe’s 14th annual Mardi Gras Soirée Jan. 17 and its Feb. 6 parade.
Also introduced to members and guests were maids Courtland Elizabeth Langley, daughter of Susan and Brent Langley, and Devyn Lindsey MacDonald, daughter of Andrea and Carlo MacDonald; dukes Keaton Paul Koch, son of Stacy and Don Koch, and Shane Christian Tipton Martin, son of Dr. Melanie McKnight; and princesses Alexa Marie Garcia, daughter of Leigh and Richard Zimmerman and William Garcia, and Alexis Aline Harvey, daughter of Joanne and Charles Harvey. Escorts for princesses were Brandon Michael Allgood son of Page and Marc Breecher and Ben and Candace Allgood, and Ryan Andrew Perret, son of Amy and Kris Perret.
Attending the queen as pages are Penelope Green James, daughter of Courtney and Dr. Luke James, of Durham, North Carolina, and Avery Adair Kyle, daughter of Sharon and Ronnie Kyle. The king’s pages are Connor Blake Allgood, son of Page and Marc Breecher and Ben and Candace Allgood, and Sean Michael Perret, son of Amy and Kris Perret. The evening began with the final promenade of 2014 royal court members King Artemis XIII John Delgado and his queen, Abigail Hamilton Aaron, along with their maids Chloe Callerame and Cassidy Dickinson and dukes Keegan Callerame and Carson Rhodes.
Aug. 14 was another busy night, with three events on the calendar. The Baton Rouge Blues Foundation honored Leslie “Lazy Lester” Johnson and Jimmy Dotson along with the late Robert “Pete” Williams and the late Otis “Lightnin’ Slim” Hicks at its annual Blues Gala at the Capitol Park Museum. The celebration also included a tribute to the late “Rockin’” Tabby Thomas and blues jam led by Chris Thomas King and featuring 2014 living legend honorees Lazy Lester and Dotson.
Entertaining the crowd earlier in the evening was Henry Gray. Apparently King couldn’t stand it and soon joined him onstage playing the drums for a couple of tunes. Buddy Maxine Crump chaired the gala, which had Mayor Kip Holden dropping by to issue one of his famous proclamations. Also celebrating the blues were Rob and Julie, Heather Day, Jan Bernard, David Wright, Manuel Martinez and son-in-law Christopher Leal, Colleen and Jacob Wilbert and Teddy Johnson of Teddy’s Juke Joint.
Waiting on a Cure
From downtown I headed to Mestizo’s Restaurant and the American Cancer Society’s Waiting on a Cure Celebrity Waiter event. The place was packed and in full-tilt party mode by the time I arrived; suffice it to say margaritas had been consumed.
The event raised $26,000 in tips and online donations, with William Biossat raising the most money raised overall. The team of Jeanne McNeil and Kim Bowman won the award for the most dollars raised at the event and Garic Jenkins took home the Most Spirited Award. Katie Baron chaired the event with help from committee members Tonya Toups, Derrick Fitch, Allison Huber and Elizabeth McCollister.
I had seen a few of the cut glass pieces collected by Suzanne and Gray Sexton but never in a museum setting and not the magnificent ones they graciously chose to share in the latest exhibit at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, “American Brilliant Period Cut Glass: a Silver Lining.” A special group of friends and supporters of LASM got the first peek at the exhibit at an opening reception Aug. 14. This was my first stop of the night and set the tone for a great time.
Aside from pieces from the Sexton’s collection, the exhibit also contains exquisite pieces from the collections of their friends Carolyn and Mike Dolecheck, Sue and Franz Hellwig and Barbara and William Meek.
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