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The holidays are a time of tradition for many. Several of my holiday traditions took place last week, putting me in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Tea

The holidays means it’s time for my annual trek across the river for the Plaquemine Garden Club’s annual Christmas Tea, which I did Dec. 5. This year marked my 21st visit with this talented bunch of ladies, who transformed Donna Carville’s home into a holiday haven with their special floral touches strategically placed throughout the house that was designed by Donna’s sister, Baton Rouge architect Lynn Bradley .

As lovely and inspiring as everything was, the icing on the cake for me was the Carville family Christmas tree decorated by Donna and husband Charles . They did their own version of the magnificent ribbon-wrapped tree in the December issue of Southern Living. Having thoughts of grandeur, I had torn that page out with the intention of giving it a try but after talking to Donna I may go to Plan B.

This year’s designers included Paula Alexander, Peggy Alonzo, Barbara Breaux, Janet Bryant, Travis Campesi, Jackie Carville, President Nancy Delahaye, Kathryn Desseles, Lucille Distefano, Dian e Evans, Diane Grace, Verlee Guilbeau, Gwendolyn Gum, Julie Hebert, Mary Jo Hymel, Madeline Kessler, Betty LaBauve, Sandra Landry, Marvo Legendre, Carol Ann Marioneaux, Marian Medine, Mary Lou Medlen, Rosa mond Nicolosi, Jeanne Panepinto, Linda Panepinto, Romano Perrin, Patty Phillips, Sheryl Ramirez, Buté Richard, Patsy Roy, Patsy Williams and BeBe Wintz .

Brenda Blanchard was tea chairwoman, Lou Anna Canella chaired the food committee and Dot Griffon chaired the beverage committee. Manning the registry throughout the afternoon were Penny Acosta, Dianna LeBlanc and Wintz. Pianist Jimmy Ramirez filled the home with the sounds of the season.

Ho H o Holiday

I survived Friday afternoon traffic on the Mississippi River Bridge to make it in time for the Foundation for Historical Louisiana’s Old Governor’s Mansion Open House. It was part of the Downtown Festival of Lights officially kicking off the holiday season here in the Capital City. The mansion looked beautiful in the decorations coordinated by Designs by Milissa and underwritten by LUBA Workers Comp. LUBA CEO David Bondy was looking rightfully proud at his company’s annual gift to the foundation.

Admission to the mansion was a nonperishable food item for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. In the ballroom, the kiddoes could visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus , aka Clif and Mary Murphy , and get a candy cane from elf Alexis Trahan . Visitors could also catch a movie a nd shop the mansion store for unique gifts.

Campus Club

The day began with members of the LSU Campus Club at its annual holiday luncheon honoring this year’s scholarship recipients, Jena Kyle and Olivia Shaffett , granddaughters of proud club members Connie Kyle and Ann Guedry , respectively.

Jena is a third -y ear law student at LSU Law Center. This is the second time she has received the club’s scholarship. Shaffett is a sophomore history major.

This is also the get-together where members bring children’s books, which this year were being given to the Gardere Initiative for children coming there for a Dec. 6 holiday program.

Open House

Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge hosted a holiday open house Dec. 4 to show off its facilities and programs, which are described in a 36-page brochure guests were given as they entered. In each room, staff members and program participants were on hand to talk about the various classes and answer question s. Offerings include prenatal classes and clinic, fatherhood classes, teen parenting classes, counseling programs, education and training classes, banking and computer classes and wellness, nutrition and fitness classes. No fewer than 112 agencies play a role in Family Road.

Donor reception

Woman’s Hospital was aglow in holiday pink for its Leadership Donor Reception Dec. 3 in the hospital lobby. Sharing her personal story of battling breast cancer and the “exceptional” care she received at Woman’s was Sarah Holliday-James .

As guests arrived, a group of carolers welcomed them. Among the singers was Joey Roth , the young man who started “Jars for Joey” benefiting Woman’s NICU program.

‘Night of Music’

Woman’s was a quick stop because I had to get downtown for the Hospice of Baton Rouge’s Trees of Light “A Night of Music” celebration at the Old State Capitol. After a short visit in the Senate Chamber, everyone moved over to the House Chamber for a short concert by the Rev. Greg Daigle , accompanied by Bill Grimes . I have to confess, that beautiful voice gave me goose bumps more than once. Check him out singing “Silent Night” online at http://theadvocate.com/columnists/pambordelon/

After Father Greg’s performance, Lindsay Poché shared her family’s heart-tugging story of hospice. The night ended with levity though, as guests danced to the sounds of Ned Fasullo & the Fabulous Big Band Orchestra.

Pennington dinner

The week of party hopping began with the final Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation’s Scientific Dinner of the year. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received my invitation but I assure you I was most impressed … from the congenial guest list of 100-plus to the scrumptious food from chef Don Bergeron to the most interesting and understandable presentation by Owen Carmichael . Carmichael is an associate professor and director of imaging at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He talked about bio-imaging’s role in diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Foundation board Chairman Jerry Jolly also thanked retiring foundation CEO Jennifer Winstead for her leadership and service.

Profita holiday

My party hopping wrapped up Dec. 6 at the annual Christmas party hosted by Karen and Bill Profita for several hundred of their close st f riends. I’m glad I was there to see Tom Sylvest make his entrance with flowing gray locks, substantial beard and Santa hat. We all knew then it was time to kick things up a notch.

Aside from Tom, I got to visit with Greg Phares, Helen Graf, Jane Shank, Leanne Weill, Rob Payer and fiancée Julie Baxter, André Zamarlik, Mike Cammarosano, Kevin Carlyle, Byron and Kelly Lewis, Steve Storey, Marc Goldstein, Ann Felice Fourrier, Kathleen and Vic Howell, Karen and Glen Duncan, Sandy and George Sells, Chris and Bill Blackwood, Susan Ross and Arthur Metrailer, Bobby Soileau, John Burke, Melissa Parmalee, Jesse Hoggard and, of course, the gracious hosts, who cook all the food for this magnificent party themselves.

What a fab holiday gift to their friends! So, from all of us, Merry Christmas Karen and Bill!!

Krewe of Cypress

The Krewe of Cypress presented seven young ladies at its annual Debutante Ball Nov. 29 at the Carl F. Grant Civic Center in Plaquemine. Ball co-chairwoman Kitty Martin served as mistress of ceremonies, introducing the debs to members and guests.

Taking their formal bow were Lacey Renee Barker, daughter of Lynette and Walter Marionneaux Barker, and escorted by her father; Courtney Paige Burruss, daughter of Beryl Laurent Burruss and Robert John Burruss, and escorted by her cousin, Jeremy deBarrios; Kaitlyn Anna Daniels, daughter of Jennifer and Arthur Boyd Daniels, and escorted by her uncle, James P. Dore; Elizabeth Faith Fitzgerald, daughter of Gidget Ann Thomas, of Arlington, Texas, and Sgt.1st Class Brian Christopher Fitzgerald, stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and escorted by her father; Alexandra Nicole Gautreaux, daughter of Monique and Kenneth Craig Gautreaux, and escorted by her uncle, Robert Moore; Kristin Adele Lestage, daughter of Pamela and Matthew Mechana, and Henry Oscar Lestage IV, of DeRidder, and escorted by her father; Gabrielle Tyla LoBue, daughter of Tyla Wood LoBue and Shane Stephen LoBue, and escorted by her father.

Vanessa Moore was Martin’s co-chairwoman.

Krewe of Cypress President Bert Allain and Treasurer Jerry Bradford led the ceremonial champagne toast. The debs will also serve as maids for the krewe’s annual Carnival Ball Jan. 31 in Plaquemine.

Krewe of Gabriel

A little further west on I-10 in Lafayette, the Krewe of Gabriel staged it Fall Presentation Ball Dec. 6 at the Frem Boustany Convention Center. The 18 debutantes were presented with nosegays of pink roses by their sponsors and received krewe medallions from krewe Commodore Paul Beaullieu.

They included Katherine Blanchet, daughter of Rebecca and Bill Blanchet; Alyssa Craton, daughter of Evelyn and Mike Craton; Caroline Cryer, daughter of Charlotte and Russell Cryer; Avery Eddy, daughter of Toni and Rob Eddy; Maddi Edwards, daughter of Allison Prejean and Christopher Edwards; Michelle Gautreaux, daughter of Kay and Mitch Gautreaux; Haven Gerstenlauer, daughter of Jennifer and Michael Doucet, and Michael Gerstenlauer; Hannah Guidroz, daughter of Ruthy and Stan Guidroz; and Claudia Killeen, daughter of Michelle and Patrick Killeen.

Also, Lauren LaHaye, daughter of Lacey and Dr. Chip LaHaye; Annie LaPrairie, daughter Tori LaPrairie and Joe LaPrairie; Olivia Lerille, daughter of Jacquie and Mark Lerille; Jennifer Link, daughter of Margaret Smith and Jerod Link; Taylor Mann, daughter of Sandy and David Mann; Mary Carolyn Michot, daughter of Monique and Mike Michot; Oakley Montgomery, daughter of Deidre and Dr. Thomas Montgomery; Peyton Pellerin, daughter of Nicole Pellerin and Burley Pellerin; and Caroline Piccione, daughter of Susie Mitchell and Dr. Jim Piccione. R ick Chappuis served as ball chairman; Dr. Michael Judice served as adviser.

To view photos, please click here.

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