Last week’s party hopping started off on Monday and continued through Sunday, often with multiple events on the same day. I told you the social scene was heating up. So here we go.
Dining by Design
The Crowne Plaza ballroom was transformed into the Garden of Eden Aug. 23 for this year’s Dining by Design, benefiting the Sister Dulce Foundation’s Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center. One creation was God’s hands holding a large red apple. It was done by Erin DeBosier and Melissa Lancy, of Red Door Interiors.
They were among the area designers paired with celebrity chefs from around the country who answered the call of local chef John Folse for this amazing night. Sharing their heart-tugging stories of how Sister Dulce Maria touched their lives were Rick Hart, Connie Campbell, Andrea Thornton, Daphne Childress, Nikki Moon and Christine and Mickey Parenton.
Of course, there was an element of surprise. Local songstress Celeste Veillon stood up from her table and asked to sing a song for Sister Dulce. She was soon joined on stage by the “Sister Dulce Singers” for a rousing rendition of “Operator Get Me Jesus on the Line” followed by “Shall We Gather at the River.”
Joining Folse in the kitchen were Pierre Sauvaget, executive chef at the Los Angeles Tennis Club; Seth Shipley, executive chef at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Florida; Rick Tramonto, executive chef and founding partner of Tru in Chicago and a partner with Folse in New Orleans’ Restaurant Revolution; Charles Carroll, executive chef of the River Oaks Country Club in Houston; Peter Sclafani, executive chef and co-owner of Ruffino’s Restaurants in Baton Rouge and Lafayette; Chris Motto, chef at Mansurs on the Boulevard; Chris Lusk, chef at Restaurant Revolution in New Orleans; and Dondi McNulty, corporate chef for Wayne Stablier Enterprises.
Creating the jaw-dropping floral designs were Joanie and Vincent Russo, of Cole’s Florist; Peregrin Joel and Carla Mica Franklin, of Peregrin’s Florist & Decorative Services; Phyllis Brister and Earl Savoie, of Interior Design Associates; Lynda Jenkins, of Eduardo Jenkins Landscape; Jake Sibley, of Jake’s on the Avenue; Nancy Zito, of Nancy Zito Interiors; Milissa Duhé, of Designs by Milissa; Charbel and Ruth Harb, of Harb’s Oasis; Donna Forbes, of Whole Foods; Eric and Carolyn Fredricks, of Bee’s Wedding & Event Floral Designs in New Orleans; Glenna Bethay, of Alexander’s Highland Market; Lea Richardson and Alice Olivier, of A Cottage Path, and Bonnie and Sal Trentacoste, of Elizabeth’s in Metairie.
I wasn’t able to stay for all the Dining by Design fun because I had to go party with my friends at the Baton Rouge Ballet. Janet Boles rolled out the welcome mat to her home for the evening honoring BRBT’s 2015 Dance Dignitaries, the Puyau and Stelzer families. In presenting the award, co-artistic director Sharon Mathews gave a timeline rundown of the involvement of the honorees, which began when Renée Puyau Stelzer was a sheep in the 1993 “Nutcracker” production. Mom Dr. Susan Puyau joined the board in 1999 and brother Jordan joined the “Nutcracker” cast as a party boy. Dad Dr. Mike Puyau soon got in on the action, working backstage for “Nutcracker” every year. In 2007, when BRBT staged “Cinderella,” Renée enlisted her boyfriend, now husband, Jason Stelzer to join the cast.
“Renée literally grew up in the ballet,” said Sharon. “It’s amazing; they’ve done so much for the ballet.”
“Even when their kids were not involved, Dr. Susan and Dr. Mike have remained a part of the ballet family,” added co-artistic director Molly Buchmann. “I don’t think we could do ‘Nutcracker’ without Dr. Mike backstage.”
Helping present the Puyaus and Stelzers with their medallions was veteran BRBT dancer Leonard Augustus.
Honoring the two families was just one reason for the get-together. The other was to launch the campaign to raise $100,000 to assist the ballet in hosting the 2016 Southwest Regional Dance America Festival April 8-10. The event will bring 21 dance companies from five states to Baton Rouge. If you’d like to help out, call the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre at (225) 766-8379.
The night before I was invited to join Kris Cangelosi in celebrating her birthday in style. She was crowned Queen Artemis XV at the Krewe of Artemis’ coronation at Boudreaux’s along with her king, Joe Possa.
They will reign along with members of the 2016 royal court at the krewe’s Mardi Gras Soirée Jan. 16 at the River Center. The krewe’s parade rolls through downtown Jan. 29.
Also introduced to krewe members and their guests by master of ceremonies André Uzee were royal maids Claire Marie Charpentier, daughter of Nanci and Troy Charpentier, and Nina Claire Jalenak, daughter of Maia and Jay Jalenak; and royal dukes Michael Aaron Avery, son of Shannon and Michael Frierson and Brock and Brooke Avery, and Jeffrey Scott Madere, son of Christine and Timothy Madere.
Also introduced were princesses Virginia Routh Bowen, daughter of Maria and Phillip Bowen, and Taylor Ann Thomas, daughter of Jennifer and William Thomas; and junior dukes Neal Risley Elliott III, son of Olivia and Neal Elliott, and Michael Allan Sims III, son of Jacy and Mike Sims.
The queen’s pages are Elizabeth Grace Lato, daughter of Cherie and Shaun Lato, and Natalie Ann Rahm, daughter of Shannon and David Rahm. The king’s pages are Locke Joseph Brackin, son of Renée Renegar and Richard Brackin, and Marshall Fielding Elliott, son of Olivia and Neal Elliott.
The krewe also took the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to its 2015 royal court King and Queen Artemis XIV Dr. Kevin and Cheryl Callerame and royal Maids Courtland Langley and Devyn MacDonald. The Callerames were presented with their royalty medallions by Captain Joann Harvey. She also presented royalty medallions to King and Queen Artemis XIII John Delgado and Abigail Aaron.
Joining me at the queen’s table were friends Charlene and Stan Montelaro, Renée Chatelain and Wayne Talbot. Among those partying with us (and we did some serious partying, thanks to the band Rock-It Sound Co.!) were royal spouses Guy Blanchard and Chadwick Kenny-Possa, Melanie Uzee, Marci Blaize, Joy Hammett, Lauri Alario, Kelly and Enrique Hurtado, Don Bergeron and fellow JAGS Kristie Andries, Yolanda Rabalais and Jane Shank.
Capital City’s Finest
The weekend of partying got underway with the Baton Rouge Beer Fest honoring the Capital City’s Finest at the Hilton Capitol Center Aug. 21. At the beginning of the evening, the Capital City’s Finest had raised $110,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Raising the most money to be declared the winner was Brian Oliver. His fellow honorees included Anna Maran Betts, Neal Choppin, Katherine Smith Coghlan, Cristyn Mayeux Hodges, Hope Hollingsworth, Jennifer Romero, Ashley Sikes, Caroline Tatum and Sarah Trufant.
Emcee Gordy Rush presented the Sheena Diane Ayers Breath of Life Award to Derek Ponamsky, founder of Baton Rouge Beer Fest. “He literally gave it to us as a fundraiser and he remains involved to make sure things run smoothly,” said Executive Director Erin Auchberger.
This is a fun fundraiser and the place was packed with folks ready to sample the beers from Bayou Teche Brewing, Chafunkta Brewing Co., Covington Brewhouse, Founders Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Parish Brewing Co., Saint Arnold Brewing, Southern Prohibition Brewery, Sweet Water Brewing Co. and Tin Roof Brewing Co.
Of course, you need a little food in your tummy when drinking adult beverages. That was provided by Barcadia, City Pork Deli & Charcuterie, the Hilton, Jeaux’s Boys, Marty J’s, Chef Troy Deano Catering and Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant.
From downtown I headed out Highland Road to Mount Hope Plantation for the Akula Foundation’s third annual fundraiser. Special guest for this event was none other than award-winning actor Danny Glover, who was most gracious in posing for photos with attendees.
The nonprofit foundation provides resources to Canon Hospice for indigent care, an annual children’s bereavement camp, holiday projects for needy hospice families and education to the community about hospice care. As guests noshed on heavy hors d’oeuvres and sipped libations they shopped the silent auction and its tempting array of items.
Family, friends and colleagues of Judge Freddie Pitcher Jr. turned out en mass to celebrate his retirement as chancellor of the Southern University Law Center. The Aug. 20 reception at the City Club was hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Phelps Dunbar and SULC.
Among the accomplishments during his 12-plus years at the helm, SULC established a domestic violence center, established the part-time evening program, established a $100,000 endowed scholarship from three local law firms, established the Chancellor’s Circle gift society and raised the percentage of students passing the bar on their first try to 60.61 percent in 2013-2014. Needless to say, Pitcher leaves big shoes to fill.
My last stop on this evening was Sullivan’s Steakhouse, where general manager Leo Verde had rolled out the welcome mat for the Dancing for Big Buddy 10th Anniversary Informational Social. Leo is among the Star Dancer alumni who have remained involved with Big Buddy, and we’re all excited about the big anniversary show, which will involve as many alumni as possible in some form or fashion.
Other Star Dancers showing up for the social were LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell, Allison Collins, Travis McLavy, Reid Bateman, Ty Hingle, Terri LeBlanc, Jim Uridales, Layne McDaniel, Ralph Stephens, Rock Rockenbaugh, Chris Russo Blackwood, Wayne Talbot, Melvin Hardnet, Shelly Beall and yours truly.
Stay tuned to Party Line as more details become available on the anniversary celebration. It’s going to be an unforgettable night!
Toast & Tour
Karnival Krewe de Louisiane hosted its Toast & Tour reception kicking off its 2016 Mardi Gras season Aug. 18 at the Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. This annual get-together provides an opportunity for members of the royal court and debutante coterie to see first hand where the money raised by the krewe goes.
Not only did everyone get to see the latest equipment and services available to assist cancer patients, they also got to see Mary Bird’s new lobby and waiting areas — very impressive.
The week got underway at the annual thank-you party honoring the chefs, caterers and sponsors of Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge’s annual Chefs’ Showcase. Tricia Day and Joe Simmons opened their lovely home for the Aug. 17 soirée, which had showcase committee members showing off their culinary talents.
Special guests for the party were LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri and wife Karen, who are again serving as honorary chairmen of Chefs’ Showcase, which takes place Sept. 10 at the River Center. Thanking everyone for their part in making this year’s event a success was Cancer Services new Executive Director Jill Roshto. The party was organized by Ann Guercio.
In last Sunday’s column I told you about a fundraiser for Boys Hope Girls Hope, “An Evening with Donna Saurage.” Well, it seems in an effort to surprise Donna they put someone else’s name in the program under the special board award when in actuality the award went to Donna.
So, our belated congratulations to Donna on her latest honor.
Follow Pam on Twitter @pamspartyline. Items for Pam’s Party Line must be received by 9 a.m. the Monday preceding the run date. High-resolution digital photos should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hard copy photos should be dropped off at or mailed to The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Events will run no later than four weeks after they have taken place. The date, place of the event and a contact name and daytime phone number must be included. Photos will be used at the discretion of The Advocate.