Two really fun events bookended the past week — the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Wine Opener and the Charity Ball Association’s new member French Fête.
Dee Grant and her committee pulled out all the stops with help from Sullivan’s Steakhouse general manager Leo Verde and staff for the 12th annual Price LeBlanc Lexus Baton Rouge Wine Opener benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Nov. 2. The place was packed with several hundred supporters who came to sample the 60 wines being poured by Glazer’s Companies of Louisiana and the delectable cuisine prepared by Sullivan’s executive chef Leighton Carbo and guest VIP chef Nathan Gresham , of Beausoleil.
Guests could also dance the night away to the sounds of Press 1 for English and do some serious shopping in the silent auction.
Assisting Dee were committee members Lori Bergstresser, M’Elaine Booth, Kitty Calabrese, Emily David, Daria Doyle, Vanda Gray, Carla Jumonville, Sheree Murphy, Jenny Mestayer and Executive Director Erin Achberger.
Paula and Tommy Savoie rolled out the welcome mat to their lovely home Oct. 26 to welcome new members into the Charity Ball family. They include Dede and Skip Ferrara, Rachel and Shawn Frazer, Debra and Scott Guerin, Lynn and Lewis Savoie, Mary and Warren Stablier and Kelli and Todd Stevens. I’ve known a few of their daughters since they were little girls, so it’s hard to imagine they’re almost deb ready.
Charity Ball presents a coterie of debutantes each year at its Bal de Noêl. This year’s ball takes place Dec. 27 at the Crown Plaza.
Mayor Kip Holden served as maître d’ for the celebrity waiter event Oct. 29 at Stroube’s benefiting Red Stick Revelry’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Donning aprons for the very successful dinner were Visit Baton Rouge! CEO Paul Arrigo, BiteandBooze.com’s Jay Ducote, author Leo Honeycutt, Jordan Piazza, Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer, Guaranty Broadcasting’s Gordy Rush, local attorney Wendell Woods and, from WAFB-TV, André Moreau and Lauren Westbook. I hope someone gave Lauren an extra large tip for having to put up with this group of guys!
Meanwhile, make plans to attend all the fun that’s planned for this year’s Red Stick Revelry — a free street party in the North Boulevard Town Square to ring in 2015.
From Stroube’s I headed to the City Club where the Southern University Law Center was hosting a reception for two very special guests — National Bar Association President Pamela Meanes and American Bar Association President-elect Paulette Brown. Brown was in town to deliver the opening address for the 25th annual National Bar Association Wiley A. Branton Awards & Issues Symposium held during an evening convocation at the law center. Southern Law faculty along with members of the Baton Rouge Bar and Louis A. Martinet Society joined SULC Chancellor Freddie Pitcher in welcoming the women to Baton Rouge.
I enjoyed visiting with Chancellor Pitcher, Judge Curtis Calloway, Denis Blount, Carolyn Collins, Ayan and Michael Rubin and Pat and Winston Riddick while waiting for the honorees to arrive. Then I enjoyed getting to visit with them for a quick moment before calling it a night.
I got up before God turned on the lights the next morning for the YWCA’s fourth annual Persimmon Women breakfast at Boudreaux’s. Special guest of honor was Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of YWCA USA and mistress of ceremonies for the event. She said the 226 local chapters of the YWCA serve 25 million women and girls across the world.
“Women come to the YW in times of crisis,” said Richardson-Heron. “We welcome them with open arms and provide a variety of help.”
One such woman shared her touching story with breakfast-goers. Kenyetta Brown was a junior at Glen Oaks High when she got pregnant. It was right before final exams. She turned to the YW’s Early Head Start program at the school for help. Today, this mother of two works at that program.
“This is what it’s all about,” said Richardson-Heron, who was made honorary mayor of Baton Rouge by Mayor Kip Holden. The mayor also proclaimed it Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron Day throughout East Baton Rouge Parish.
Serving as table captains for the fundraiser were Doris Brown, Maria Despinasse, Marjorie Green, Dale Marioneaux, Tisha McKinney, Sylvia Melancon, John Noland, Jennifer Shoub, Trudy Smith and Jevella Williamson. Co-captains were Jennifer Butler, Kathleen Crapanzano, Ashley Junek, Shaye Sable, Shalonda Walker, Sonja Wiley and Summer Steib.
The mayor was issuing more proclamations at Our Lady of the Lake College’s annual luncheon Nov. 1 at Boudreaux’s. This round honored three very special individuals — Distinguished Alumni Barbara Anthony, a registered nurse who has advocated for the elderly for more than 40 years; Dintinguished Recent Alumni Chandler LeBoeuf, a 2011 graduate who is working on his Ph.D. as he serves as the director of student and alumni engagement at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette; and Franciscan Impact Award recipient Coletta Barrett, a cardiovascular nurse specialist who is tackling a number of local health issues.
Coletta brought down the house when she asked Kip if the fact that it was her day would get her out of a speeding ticket. Always quick with a quip, he replied, “As mayor I don’t fix tickets, I adjust them.” Then he suggested she drive very carefully.
Luncheon-goers also heard from freshman Morgan LeBlanc, one of the five 2014 Franciscan Scholars. The others include Baylee Bennett, Emily Farnet, Melanie Induni and Shanea Spears.
The luncheon was co-chaired by Ginger Miller and Margaret Rome. Assisting them were Barbara Perdue Campagne, Marlene Colter, Fay Heroman and Wanda Spurlock.
In the middle of all this fun, husband Jim and I managed to join a group of friends for an afternoon of French food and wines Nov. 2. Helen Graf opened her doors (literally) to the group, which dedicated the gathering to the late Christine Lewis-Varley. André Zamarlik led us all in a toast to the friend who left us way too soon.
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