You have to love it when an event goes from great to stupendous in just a year. That’s what happened with STAR’s Hunks in Heels after its debut last year. That and the announcement that Johnny Mathis is coming to town to perform with the Baton Rouge Symphony made for one great week.Seats for Seizures
Price LeBlanc Lexus literally rolled out the red carpet for the Epilepsy Foundation’s fifth annual Seats for Seizures Gala Oct. 19. Several hundred guests filled the showroom as they shopped the oh-so-tempting silent auction. The night also featured a fork pull, with each $20 fork matching up to a restaurant gift card; a wine pull, with each $10 cork pairing up with a bottle of wine; a drawing for a getaway to Charleston, South Carolina; and a live auction. I had fun visiting with Jolie and Brent LeBlanc, Dr. Phillip Cancelleri, Bobby Bernard, Eddie Sims, Teddie Hessburg and Kelly and Enrique Hurtado. Great way to spend a Sunday night!
Hunks in Heels
For the second annual Hunks in Heels, everything was kicked up a notch. From the shoes decorated by local artists to the opening entertainment featuring last year’s hunks (they went to the Leonard Augustus Dance Boot Camp) to the dance moves of the this year’s hunks, it was one wild ride. Check out my video at theadvocate.com/columnists/pambordelon.
The premise behind Hunks in Heels is getting men out of their comfort zone to bring awareness to the victims of sexual trauma and raise money for STAR (Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response), formerly the Rape Crisis Center. Normally buttoned-up James Fox Smith got way out of his comfort zone for the sultry routine that earned him top prize of Hottest Hunk and top fundraiser, bringing in $4,165. His magic dancing shoes were designed by Raina Wurta.
Ruffin Rodrigue channeled John Travolta’s “Saturday Night Fever” moves to earn the Crowd Pleaser award in shoes designed by Melisa Rad. Tracey Donovan Smith’s gymnastics move earned him the award for Best Bad-Ass Dance Moves; his shoes were designed by Natalie Clay. Michael DiResto took his boots, designed by Meg Holford, for a walk and got Sexiest Strut. He also sang “Happy Birthday” to wife Rachael à la Marilyn Monroe. Mark Herbst caused us all to wince as he struggled not to roll an ankle in his bejeweled sandals designed by Carol Smith, earning him the Thinks on His Toes award.
Other awards handed out by judges Leah Simon, Amy Strother, Josh Holder, Orhan McMillian and William Roy included: Pat Fellows, Best Shoe in Show, designed by Tiffany Sewell; Jason Dowies, Dapperest Dan, shoes designed by Mary Singleton; Ty Hingle, Hottest Legs, shoes designed by Kelly Mueller; Walter Higgins, Best Biceps, shoes designed by David Wright; Barrington Neil, Hunkiest Heart, shoes designed by Heather Hogg Barrios; Jason Andreasen, Booty Sweeper, shoes designed by Lauren Collignon; Kenneth Miles, Twerks It; shoes designed by Sheryl Southwick; and Ryan Chenevert, Easiest on the Eyes, shoes designed by Leonard Augustus, who served as emcee along with Whitney Vann.
While the hunks were strutting their stuff at the Hartley-Vey Theatre, Paula Pennington de la Bretonne was announcing that none other than Johnny Mathis is coming to town to perform with the Baton Rouge Symphony Valentine’s night as part of the Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Great Performers in Concert series. She made the announcement during intermission at the symphony’s opening night concert at the River Center Theatre, and as she did, Diane Tate, who serves on the committee with Paula, texted me the name so we could get in The Advocate the next morning.
At a post-concert champagne reception, which I did make, Paula was still giddy with excitement. She shared how she heard the audience gasp as she listed the artist’s hits and they realized it was Mathis who was coming to town. “I got goose bumps,” she confessed, as she rubbed her arms obviously getting them again.
Before the concert, the Symphony League hosted its Opening Night Gala at Stroube’s Chophouse. At dinner, which I got to enjoy thanks to gracious hosts Betty and Harvey Schwartzberg, the topic of conversation was who Paula was going to announce later that evening. It had to be one of the best-kept secrets in town because not even symphony board members knew!
Women in Media
When I got the email that Advocate Publisher John Georges was the October speaker for Women in Media, I quickly signed up for the group’s luncheon at Juban’s. Like everyone else, I wanted to hear what the boss had to say.
“We are a growing newspaper,” said Georges, who just returned from the Southern Publishers Conference. “It’s a good time to be in the newspaper business … newspapers are not demising but evolving … we’re going to continue to play on our creativity.”
The week began with the Better Business Bureau’s prestigious Douglas Manship Sr. Torch Award for Ethics in Business banquet Oct. 14 at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. This was the 14th year these awards have been presented along with the fifth year of presenting the Youth Torch Award Scholarship to a high school senior.
The honorees included SRS Wealth Management, 1-10 employees; Bozeman Distributors, 11-99 employees; Louisiana Workers Compensation Corp., 100-299 employees; Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, 300-plus employees; and Seth Colllins, Youth Torch Award.
“Winning without honor is like eating a meal without seasoning,” said featured speaker LSU Baseball coach Paul Mainieri. “It’ll fill you up but if just doesn’t taste very good … You have to take chances. You either grow or you die.”
A special surprise for the several hundred guests was Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s Elvis serenade to BBB employee BJ Militello, who planned the event. You can catch it online at theadvocate.com/columnists/pambordelon.
Guaranty Broadcasting’s Gordy Rush served as master of ceremonies. BBB President Jim Stalls presented the awards along with board Chairman Greg Wood Jr.
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