You really have to like a week of events that include celebrating women, and that’s how last week wrapped up, with the kickoff luncheon for the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s Women! A Week-Long Celebration.

Women’s Week

The ballroom of the Marriott was filled with women of all ages for the Sept. 19 luncheon, which featured healthy cookbook guru Holly Clegg as the speaker. She shared with the ladies one of my favorite tales involving Thelma and Louise and their joint trip to visit the doctor in search of the secret to living a long life. Thelma went first followed by Louise, who was a little hard of hearing. On the way home, Louise asked Thelma what the doctor told her. She replied, “Exercise and eat good food.”

“That’s not what he told me,” said Louise. “He told me to accessorize and buy new shoes.”

We all agreed we liked Louise’s advice much better. Fortunately, Holly provided us with some great advice of her own on how to eat healthy, good-tasting food. She even gave away an autographed copy of her “Too Hot in the Kitchen” cookbook as a door prize to one lucky person at each table.

Special guests for the event were the 2014 Silver Magnolias, women 70 and older honored by WCGBR this past spring. They include Beverly Aucoin, Janice Ann Carpenter, Aileen Hendricks, Demetria McJulien, Sadie Roberts-Joseph, Mary Ann Sceroler and Willie Mae Williams. Also recognized was Kristina Shapiro, who has served on the Women’s Week Committee in some form since the beginning.

WAFB-TV’s “Healthline” reporter Elizabeth Vowell served as emcee for the luncheon, which was chaired by Sarah Wilde. Welcoming guests was Women’s Council President Janel Chapman.

Art & Travel

Later that afternoon, the hallways of Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s studios were turned into an art gallery for the preview party for the Friends of LPB’s annual Art & Travel Auction, which airs Oct. 23 from 7-10 p.m. This year’s event is chaired by Joey Haddad with Donna Ewing serving as co-chairwoman.

Top Hat Soirée

The day’s party hopping ended at the Baton Rouge Gallery for the Lauren Savoy Olinde Foundation’s Top Hat Soirée benefiting skin cancer awareness. This event is put together by friends of Lauren, who lost her battle with melanoma skin cancer at age 27, to make their generation aware of the causes of skin cancer and ways to prevent it. It’s a fitting tribute to a beautiful life cut short.

The evening included both record-setting silent and live auctions with guests bid numbers containing tips on preventing skin cancer as well as dates of upcoming foundation events. You can find them online at

Kendra Scott

Jewelry designer Kendra Scott held a VIP grand opening for her new store in Perkins Rowe Sept. 18 to benefit the American Cancer Society. It was nice to meet the woman behind all the pretties we were all trying on because just looking at them wasn’t enough.

Karen and Bill Profita, Pamela Matassa, Sherry Melara and I had fun visiting and shopping around. Gordy Rush was there for a quick visit, which is what mine was because I had to get home to watch my Auburn Tigers pull out a win against Kansas State in a rare Thursday night game.

Rouge welcome

On the afternoon of Sept. 17, I got to meet the new quarterback for the Baton Rouge Symphony — Executive Director Cary Byrd, who’s not really new to Baton Rouge but who has “come home,” so to speak. Incoming board President Judi George and husband Jim, who was also celebrating his 80th birthday that day, hosted a lovely reception at the Camelot Club for board members and major sponsors of the symphony.

Aside from the hosts and guest of honor, I enjoyed my visits with Mae Calvin, Lois Saye, Deborah Todd, Betty Schwartzberg and, on my way out the door, Louann and Ronnie Bombet.

LEAF Award

The week began with a reception at BREC headquarters honoring Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation with the BREC Foundation’s LEAF Award. The award recognizes a person or business which has “done tremendous things to impact BREC,” explained board President Kim Hunter Reed, and it comes with a $1,000 grant to the BREC program of the recipient’s choosing.

BCBS Foundation was honored for committing $1 million for BREC’s linear trails park along Wards Creek.

It also helped fund BREC’s nationally recognized mobile playground, BREC on the Go. In accepting the award, BCBS Foundation Executive Director Christy Reeves caused jaws to drop when she announced that it would also help to make a second mobile playground a reality.

“This just proves it takes a village, and we have a mighty fine village,” summed up Reed.

Yes, we do!

To view photos, please click here.

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