Only two more days until Santa comes a calling. Have you been good or are you getting switches in your stocking? Me, I’m pleading the fifth. Anyway, I hope you and yours have a blessed holiday season.
‘Fête de Noël’
More than 1,300 women, including a few men and children, filled the Hilton New Orleans Riverside’s grand ballroom for the Ladies Leukemia League “Fête de Noël” Dec. 12. This year’s event, chaired by Jacquelyn Milan, honored the event’s founders and New Orleans Saints’ wives.
The league was founded in 1968 by Katsie Mecom, wife of the Saints’ first owner, John Mecom. Friends with Carol Channing, who was appearing at the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blue Room, she volunteered to appear at a fundraiser of Katsie’s choosing. After discussing the offer with Saints’ wife Jacque Whitsell, whose friend had lost a child to leukemia, they decided on the Leukemia Society. Honored at the luncheon along with Whitsell were Karen Wood, Henrietta Hall, Arlene Mmahat, Sharon Lambert, Dixie Taylor, Peggy Hepting and Myrna Linden.
The following year, the group became independent and incorporated as the Ladies Leukemia League in order to keep its fundraising efforts more local. To date more than $3 million has been raised for research, and another $175,000 was presented to five Gulf South region researchers at the luncheon. They included Dr. Shou Dong, Dr. Karen Rabin, Laura S. Levy, Lily Jun-shen Huang and Dr. Alfonso Quintas-Cardama. The grants were presented by Faye Young and Rosalie Edwards.
The day began with cocktails, shopping via a most tempting silent auction and visiting with friends old and new. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with my hostess, Joan Ingram, who co-chaired the event; as well as her twin sister, Jean Rice, and Beth Cristina, all of whom I met on my first party-hopping foray in New Orleans; and a former co-worker of mine, Lynn Savoie. As we all sat down for a delicious lunch following league President Meb Cafalu’s welcome, Dillard’s models took to the runway in a make-you-want-to-shop-now fashion show that traveled the globe from Paris to Madrid, the Austrian Alps to Hong Kong, Africa to the Caribbean, Dallas and, finally, home to the Big Easy. The festivities wrapped up with the announcement of the raffle winners and awarding of door prizes. WDSU’s Margaret Orr served as mistress of ceremonies.
Also assisting Milan with the luncheon were Catherine Accardo, Gene Alario, Cynthia Aucoin, Lisa Baynham, Melba Bruce, Priscilla Casey, Sandra Chaisson, Michelle Charvet, Joyce Coleman, Carolyn D’Antonio, Suzanne deMontluzin, Fay Doucet, Anna Eller, Carolyn Escher, Anne Favret, Suzanne Friloux, Pat Golemi, Suzette Herpich, Kathy Johnson, Lauren Lagarde, Jeri Landry, Martine Chaisson Linares, Kathy Mitchell, Janet Patterson, Paula Pizzaloto, Linda Raphael, Christy Saladino, Phyllis Stacy, Cissy Tittle, Maria Winn, Denise Woodward and Kathi Zimmerman.
To check out more of the fun, visit the website http://theadvocate.com/columnists/pambordelon/.
‘Dancing With Big Buddy’
Well, the wait is over; we now know who the 2013 Star Dancers for Big Buddy’s seventh annual gala are going to be. They were announced, and introduced to each other and their professional dance partners, at a luncheon hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Dec. 11.
So, drum roll please, they are Shelly Beal, owner SB Wellness Group; Nikki Caldwell, coach LSU women’s basketball; Rosa Flores, WBRZ-TV; Scott Kaiser, attorney; Heather Kleinpeter Savoy, real estate agent; Nan McCann, Baton Rouge High School principal; Dr. Douglass and Kelli Mendoza, Ochsner Medical Center; Michelle Pricer, The Dunham School; Ob Soonthornsima, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana; Ralph Stephens, Postlethwaite & Netterville; Wayne P. Talbot, East Baton Rouge Parish school system; John Tyler, attorney; Jim Urdiales, owner Mestizo Restaurant; Todd Waguespack, Level BR Construction; and Dr. Ann Zelditz.
To bring home the point of why they agreed to participate, former Little Buddy Travis Dabney and his employer, L’Auberge Casino, dropped by to deliver a $1,500 check in Travis’ honor to Big Buddy.
WBRZ news anchors Sylvia Weatherspoon and John Pastorek return as emcees, and joining The Advocate’s Smiley Anders as a judge will be Lynn Spears, aka Britney’s mom.
It all takes place April 27 at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Tickets go on sale Feb. 1 and are available by calling Big Buddy at (225) 388-9737 or online at http://www.bigbuddyprogram.org. See you there!!
If you’re from anywhere in the greater Baton Rouge area, chances are pretty good you’ve purchased or at least ridden in a car that has “Gerry Lane Enterprises” stamped on the rear bumper. After all, car salesman extraordinaire Gerry Lane has sold more than $10 billion in automobiles during his 59 years in the business.
Now, at age 81, he has teamed up with my buddy, Leo Honeycutt, to tell the story of his rise from Dust Bowl Okie to one of America’s top car dealers. The duo were signing copies of “Gerry Lane, An American Success Story” at Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe Dec. 14. By the time Gerry, Leo and publisher Jim Brown, of Lisburn Press, arrived there was a line waiting on them. It might just be the perfect Christmas gift for the entrepreneur on your list.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is the December Woman’s Club coffee. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to this year’s Dec. 6 “Deck the Halls with Sounds of Christmas” celebration, which featured the musical talent of the Foto Sisters — Addie, Gaylyn and Katie — and a program of holiday favorites. Cameo artist was Baton Rouge Quilting Society member Eileen Gosselin.
The coffee is also when the club draws the winning names of its Jingle Bell Raffle. The lucky winners were Helen Daigle, Judy Foust, Pat Pike, Chris Viator and Jennifer Angier.
Welcoming members and guests were Lois Saye and Sandra Thomas. Decorations were by Debra Tarter. Others assisting with the event were Diane Finley, Jackie Kreutzer Jane Dennard-Dimattia, Rita Grant, Diane Olinde, Jackie Creaghan, Debbie Harris, Alice Bondy-Hill, Carol Haase, Geraldine Ryder, Linda Wasilosky and Anjier.
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