Kudos to our area chefs, restaurants and caterers, who over the past few weeks have pulled out all the stops for three huge gastronomic extravaganzas — the two-day Fête Rouge event, Dining By Design and, most recently, Capital Chefs’ Showcase. Please note which of the many wonderful restaurants and caterers stepped up to provide, at their cost, food for several hundred hungry guests and patronize them as a way to say “thank you” for their generosity.
I know LSU already had one game under its belt, but football season just didn’t feel real to me until the Bengal Belles hosted their annual luncheon at the River Center Sept. 4. In keeping with tradition, it was sponsored by The Advocate.
The place was buzzing with excitement as President Aimée Simon welcomed the several hundred Belles and a few daring beaux. Former player and coach Jerry Stovall gave the invocation and asked everyone to remember little Drew Moscona, son of sportscaster Matt Moscona, in their prayers as he faces more surgery. We also heard from newly appointed Alumni Foundation President Cliff Vannoy.
Then Gordy Rush got possession of the microphone and he and Kathy Miles, “the first lady of LSU Football,” kicked things into high gear. It’s always fun to hear what Kathy has to say about husband Les. This year’s big question dealt with daughter Smacker’s boyfriend.
Next up were players Jamal Adams, La’el Collins, Danielle Hunter and Jamie Keehn. It says a lot about this team that when asked what the highlight of their win in Houston was the week before they all said Kenny Hillard’s touchdown and rushing for 100 yards. But, it was Jamal Adams dance moves that earned him the coveted Bengal Belle cookies.
A rousing standing ovation welcomed coach Les Miles, who poked good-natured fun at his players for almost running him over coming out of the tunnel before the Wisconson game. “Give an old man some room or I’m not doing it anymore!”
The day’s party hopping continued that afternoon with a cocktail reception at LSU’s Cook Hotel for the unveiling of “Take Five,” a silkscreen designed by the late George Rodrigue and released by the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts to benefit the LSU School of Music. Joining Jacques Rodrigue in announcing the release were Mayor Kip Holden and Dean Todd Queen. As a thank you to Deborah Todd for underwriting the reception, Jacques presented her with an estate stamped and numbered print of the famous Blue Dog sitting at the piano.
About half way through the presentation, the skies opened up with a deluge making it difficult to leave for Cancer Services Capital Chefs’ Showcase. Fortunately Beth Fuller found an umbrella in a corner, which I used to get to my car. When I dropped it back off, I picked up her husband Butler and drove him across the parking lot to his car. What a mess it was!
Capital Chefs’ Showcase
LSU Baseball coach Paul Mainieri and the mayor served as honorary co-chairmen of the 32nd annual Chefs’ Showcase. Unfortunately, Coach got held up in Birmingham, Alabama, with some Southeastern Conference business and didn’t make it. His lovely wife Karen represented him well, though.
The actual chairwomen for this year’s showcase were Susan Henry Jones and Diane Bollinger. They joined Executive Director Brian Hannah and former Executive Director Mary Jane Howell in a very moving tribute to the late Mary Delle Gerald, who served as development director of Cancer Services for some 20 years and was instrumental in founding Chefs’ Showcase. It was Mary Delle who dubbed this fun fundraiser the “largest moving cocktail party in Baton Rouge.” Keeping us moving, at least our tapping toes, were the V-Tones. Among those swaying to the music as we visited and sampled all manner of yummy delights were son Don Gerald and wife Meg, Whitney Vann and husband Robert Schneckenburger, Ann Guercio, Susan and Marvin Borgmeyer, Mary Sue and Bill Potter, Kim and Trey Bowman, Debbie and Jeff Kleinpeter, Connie and Mike Caldwell, Jay Ducote, Diane and Johnny Tate, Frances Bennett, Mary Beth Chevalier and Pat and J.H. Martin.
Dishing up those goodies were Alexander’s Highland Market, Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar, Bin 77 Bistro & Wine, Café Americain, Wanda & Phil Calkins, Cheesecake Bistro by Copelands, Chef Don Bergeron Enterprises, Culinary Productions, Don’s Seafood, Duplantier Catering, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Forte Grove Bakery, Galatoire’s Bistro, Hello Sushi, Jasmines on the Bayou, Juban’s Creole Restaurant and Kleinpeter Farms Dairy.
Also, Lava Cantina, Le Creolé, Mansurs on the Boulevard, Mike Anderson’s Seafood, Nothing Bundt Cakes, PF Chang’s, Portobello’s Grill, Roberto’s, Ruffino’s Catering, Southside Gardens, Stab’s Seafood & Steak, Stroubes Seafood & Steak, Superior Bar & Grill, Sweet Impressions Bakery, Tallulah, The Little Village Downtown and Airline Highway, Unique Cuisine Catering and Zea Rotisserie & Grill.
‘White Hot Night’
Normally I’m at Chefs’ Showcase until they turn the lights, on but I left a little early this year because I just had to go by Sullivan’s for its “White Hot Night” party. Who knew there were so many different styles of white dresses to be found!
Nobody throws a party quite like general manager Leo Verde, so the place was naturally packed. And he always finds a way to give back to the community — members of the Junior League Hollydays committee were front and center selling raffle tickets for the men’s and women’s Rolex watches donated by Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. Hollydays chairwoman Elizabeth Laborde is downright jolly with excitement about this year’s market, Oct. 8-11, as is league advisor Kim Morgan.
I also got to visit with Debbie Daniel, Leonard Augustus, Thomas Telhiard, Tracey Donovan Smith, Vanda Gray, Laurie Stoma, Tereasa Olinde, Brian Low and Ryan Maranto.
The following night had me partying at the Renaissance Hotel at the sixth annual Heritage Ranch Gala. Executive Director Vicki Ellis shared the exciting news that they are in the process of interviewing for house parents and hope to welcome the first residents by year’s end.
As the several hundred guests sampled the culinary creations from Acme Oyster House, Big Easy Cookie Co., Bistro Byronz, Burger King, Cupcake Couture, Leroy’s Restaurant, Mestizo’s, Ruffino’s, Tallulah’s and Unique Cuisine along with beverages complements of Abita Brewing Co. and Baton Rouge Coca Cola, they could also shop the tempting silent auction. There was a wealth of sports items up for bids as well as an autographed print from the Beatles Ed Sullivan Show debut. A live auction featured vacations in the mountains, the beach and skiing in California.
Rites of Passage
“Gems in the Making: Fine, Rare & Admirable” was the theme of the Nu Gamma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority’s annual Rites of Passage ceremony Aug. 17 at The Lyceum. Chapter President Linda Early Brown welcomed guests to the presentation of this year’s debutante coterie; sorority member Linda Joseph served as mistress of ceremonies.
Making quite the entrance attired in African attire were debs Sydné D’Les Barard, daughter of Nicole and Brandon S. Barard; Cara DaLaune Blunt, daughter of Kimberlee and Brian Coleman and Colby Blunt, of Baker; Jade Alexandra DelValle, daughter of DaMaris Landry, of Prairieville; Tamara K. Fluker, daughter of Thomas Fluker III; Tayler Jalise Fort, daughter of Cherita and Richard C. Fort Jr.; Elise Gabrielle Gipson, daughter of Michele Boyle Gipson and Kelvin Gipson, of New Orleans; J’Lynzia Malaya Glover, daughter of Debbie and Joseph M. Glover Sr.; and Morghan S. Hudson, daughter of Arthur and Nicole Hudson.
Also, Kourtney Tre’nelle Jackson, daughter of Rebecca Jackson, of Greenwell Springs, and Nathaniel Selders Jr., of Clinton; Ty’Keria L. Jackson, daughter of Sharonda Jackson and Michael Watson Jr., of Sicily Island; Johnna Alise Johnson, daughter of Alethea and Johnny L. Johnson Jr., of Port Allen; Maya Alexis Kleinpeter, daughter of Mia and Milton H. Kleinpeter Jr., of Prairieville; Biaunka Nichole Robinson, daughter of Trashica R. Robinson, of Tangipahoa; Alexis Nichole Simoneaux, daughter of Shalonda and Mark Simoneaux, of Port Allen; Lezlie Denise Slaughter, daughter of Denise and Ralph Slaughter; and Tailyn Briere Smith, daughter of Tia and Van Chew and Sherman Brazil.
Featured speakers for ceremony were the Rev. Demetria Jones Smith, sorority member and minister of Christian Education and Youth at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church; and Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards. Sorors Joycelyn Green and Errin Gaines served as chairwoman and co-chairwoman, respectively.
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