Between all the Miss USA festivities and movies being filmed in our great city, I’ve felt very Hollywood the past few weeks. Every one of the contestants I had the pleasure of meeting was an absolute delight. I wanted them all to win the crown! That honor went to Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez, to whom we offer our congratulations. Come back to visit us!
The new Miss USA never did make it to the after party following the June 8 pageant— other obligations, I’m sure. That didn’t slow the party, though. It was a great mix of Baton Rougeans, contestants and celebrities partying into the wee hours of the morning. We got to rub shoulders with the current Miss Universe, Gabriella Isler, of Venezula; New Orleans Saints coach Sean Peyton; NBA great Karl Malone, a Louisiana native who served as judge; his fellow judges Melissa Peterman, Randy Couture, Ian Ziering (of “90210” fame) and Rumer Willis (Bruce and Demi’s daughter); Miss Connecticut Desirée Pérez; her fiancé Steven Mazzurco and their families; 2013 Miss USA Erin Brady, who’s also from Connecticut; contestants Miss Iowa Caitlyn Bradarich, Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl, Miss Rhode Island Christina Palavra and Miss Montana Kadie Latimer; and, of course, our own Mayor Kip Holden and Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo.
I wasn’t able to attend the pageant because of another social obligation, but I did get to the evening gown/swimsuit preliminary June 3 at the River Center. A group of us met for dinner at the Capital City Grill beforehand, building up the excitement as the clock ticked closer to the appointed hour. Among the judges that night was WVLA-TV news anchor Jeanne Burns, who represented Louisiana in the 1990 Miss USA competition.
We all left with our favorites. I can’t wait to compare notes and see how our picks fared.
‘Mozart on the Lake’
As I mentioned, I had a conflict Sunday night but I really didn’t mind. I always love the Baton Rouge Symphony’s “Mozart on the Lake” event at White Oak Plantation, and you can always DVR your favorite TV show, right?
The evening started with the orchestra under the baton of music director Timothy Muffitt performing Mozart’s “Suite from Gran Partita, Serenade No. 10, K. 361, B-flat Major” beside the lake at White Oak.
Then everyone moseyed inside for a scrumptious duck dinner prepared by chef John Folse. At both the concert and before Folse announced the menu, he and Muffitt led guests in singing “Happy Birthday” to 86-years-young Betty Schwartzberg, who co-chaired the sold-out event with Barbara Matens and Deborah Todd. Folse gifted her with an autographed copy of his cookbook, “Hot Beignets & Warm Boudoirs.”
As we all enjoyed the last of our dessert, Muffitt and Folse (who might want to consider taking their show on the road) conducted a very productive live auction. Jack Harris was a prolific bidder and Muffitt will be manning the grill for a very special cookout at the Harrises in the very near future. Another hot item was the Alys Beach getaway donated by event sponsors Gary and Sandy Young. So, John D’Angelo, what dates do I need to put in for vacation?
Night at the Museum
As busy as Sunday was, Saturday was even busier. The party hopping started at Capitol Park Museum’s Night at the Museum fundraiser. This year’s event celebrated “The Flavour of Louisiana.”
The Advocate’s own Smiley Anders portrayed a New Orleans’ Lucky Dog vendor. In addition to sampling many of the culinary delights this state is known for, actors brought to life characters telling the unique history of Louisiana. Always at the ready to promote the state, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne commandeered Oneal Isaac, who was portraying Homer Plessy, of Plessy vs. Ferguson fame, to give his spiel from the stage in commemoration of the 122nd anniversary of his being jailed for sitting in the white car of the East Louisiana railroad. You can watch it online at theadvocate.com/columnists/pambordelon.
Of course it wouldn’t be a party with music. That was taken care of by the Michael Foster Project.
‘The Mind’s Eye’
From the Capitol Park Museum, party buddy Ruth Kovacs and I headed to the Arts Council offices for the National Alliance on Mental Issues first-ever fundraising art auction and gala, “The Mind’s Eye.” The event was the idea of NAMI Baton Rouge President Florence Day, who was quick to share that it was Daphne Grady who made it happen. The art portion of the event was curated by Melissa Precise. As guests shopped the silent auction, sampled the culinary offerings and adult libations they swayed to the sounds of The Jazz Side of Slam Funk.
‘Take the Lead’
Our last stop of the night was the Academic Distinction Fund’s debut “Take the Lead for Our Kids” prom night event at BREC’s Perkins Road Park Team Automotive Group Sportsplex. The prom king and queen had just been crowned by the time we arrived. Education advocate Rob Bergeron was chosen as king, with East Baton Rouge Parish School System Pre-K Director Bobbie Robertson tapped as the queen.
A lively live auction was underway, with hands flying up to bid on overnight stays in New Orleans and The Bluffs, a Drew Brees Blue Dog print by George Rodrigue and tickets to the LSU vs. Ole Miss football game.
‘Pitch Perfect 2’
As I’m sure you’re probably aware, the sequel to the 2012 hit “Pitch Perfect” is currently filming here in Baton Rouge. When I called Ann Guercio to see if she wanted to go the Miss USA preliminary with me, she invited me to a “watch party” at her house June 3. Plans were to start filming a fraternity party in the house across the “holler” from her home, and she had invited a few friends over to watch all the commotion along with the rest of the neighbors.
Well, in typical Hollywood fashion, it was kind of like watching paint dry. By 9:30 they hadn’t shot the first second of film, so I called it a night and went home. I’ll just wait and see the movie, “Pitch Perfect 2,” which is set to be released in May 2015.
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