Last week started off slow but kicked into high gear by the time Thursday rolled around. It wasn’t just the first day of school, it was the first night of multiple parties.
Destiny Dominique Ephrom, daughter of Alisa and John Ephrom, of Baton Rouge, was crowned Cotillion Queen at the Baton Rouge Delta Development Corp.’s and Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter’s 50th Anniversary Debutante Cotillion Aug. 8 at the Crowne Plaza.
Madison Lee Sutton, daughter of DeAnne Sutton and George Mason, of Glen Dale, Maryland, was chosen as Honor Maid; Jaia LáNique Norris-Ewing, daughter of Janae Norris, of Baton Rouge, and Devin Ewing, of Dallas, and Dominique Arielle Thomas, daughter of Allisha and Dwayne Thomas, of Donaldsonville, were tapped as maids.
They were among the 14 debutantes taking their formal bow. Also presented were Keiturah Dy’mon Barber, daughter of Jacqueline Barber and Keith Barber Sr., of Baton Rouge; Nicole Alexandria Bartley, daughter of Janice Bartley and Frank Bartley III, of Baton Rouge; Randi Joell Eames, daughter of Melanie Eames, of Baton Rouge, and the late Randy Joe Taylor; Nicole Nachell é Goree, daughter of Machelle Goree and Eduardo Goree, both of Baton Rouge; Brianna De’Shay Franklin Haney, daughter of Wyetta and Abraham Banks, of Slaughter, and Derrick Haney, of Baton Rouge, and; Danae Shakira Middleton, daughter of Shanda Cook-Grimes and Gerald Grimes, of Baton Rouge, and Danny R. Middleton, of Hammond.
Also, Sydney Leigh Pelichet, daughter of Leila Haynes Pelichet, of Rosedale, and the late Don Pelichet; Alexis Danielle Pickney, daughter of Tracey and Raymond Pickney, of Baton Rouge; Amber Nicole Randall, daughter of Toni Wims, of Zachary, and Eric Randall Jr., of Baton Rouge, and Morgan Tiffani Riggs, daughter of Dinah Riggs, of Baton Rouge.
Randall was chosen by her fellow debs as Miss Congeniality. Receiving scholarship awards were Bartley, recipient of the Ora Nobles Evans Scholarship; Pelichet, recipient of the Virtle T. Jones Scholarship; and Thomas, recipient of the Sadie Conner Keel Scholarship.
Entrepreneurial Awards went to the debs with the highest ad sales for this year’s Cotillion. Winners were Thomas, first place; Sutton, second place; and Pickney, third place.
The celebratory evening was officially opened by Shirley L. Henderson, chairwoman of the Baton Rouge Delta Corp. She then turned over the podium to mistress of ceremonies Charlene Wilson.
Alumnae President Karmen Davis presented this year’s Hazel Johnson Freeman Community Service Award to the Woman’s Health Center, represented by Executive Director Trey Thomas, and the Clarence Marie Collier Community Service Award to the Kid’s Orchestra, represented by Executive Director Jody Hanet.
And, they weren’t the only ones honored that night. In a huge surprise while I was taking the debutantes’ photos, cotillion Co-chairwomen Donna P. Washington and Doris G. Brown presented yours truly with a beautiful bouquet as a thank you for working with them over the past 20 years.
That had me floating on air as I headed to Bocage Village’s Courtyard for Baton Rouge Green’s Green Paradise Gala. It was, quite literally, the hottest ticket in town that night. The second hottest ticket was the one that won Katheryn Flournoy the $5,000 custom-designed diamond-and-emerald necklace from Hannon’s Jewelry.
Old-fashioned church fans helped shoppers keep somewhat cool as they checked out items up for bids in the silent auction. There was something for everyone — jewelry, garden items, LSU memorabilia, a duck hunt, dinners, spa services and a plethora of objets d’art. The adventurous took a turn at Big Shot Basketball, the Frog Throw, Wild Turkey Shoot and Choot ‘Em Gators.
Of course, there were delectable goodies from Beausoleil, Walk-On’s Catering, City Pork, Portabello’s Grill, Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, Tiger Deaux-Nuts and Stab’s Steak & Seafood, which was also serving a divine pear-and-rosemary martini. Other libations were provided by LA 1 South, Blend Wine Bar and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola.
Musical entertainment was by Jodi James and Clay Parker. One of the songs they played actually inspired the name for the gala — Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” where they “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
‘An Evening of Art’
My Saturday ended at the lovely home of André Moreau, who hosted “An Evening of Art” to showcase the fabulous artwork of friend Ramon Reyes. I think my favorite was “The Violin.”
Joining me in wandering through the house-turned-gallery were BeBe Facundus and Zeke Weimert, Marianne and Bobby Freeman, André’s co-anchor Donna Britt and husband Mark Ballard, Maxine Crump, Sharon Furrate Bailey and the Moreau sisters — Michele Rathbone, Becky Newsham and Tonsie Beach.
It was a great way to end the night.
The night before I got to meet one of my favorite authors, fellow Alabamian Rick Bragg. He was speaking at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, primarily about his latest book, a biography of Jerry Lee Lewis.
“People ask you why you did it?” he said of writing yet another book on the Louisiana-born rock ’n’ roll legend. “I thought it needed to be done.”
He explained that the worse thing a writer can do to his readers is write a dull book.
“Dull is a killer, and the one thing I knew about this book is that it would not be dull,” he said. “He was a little older but he was still Jerry Lee; his pants had pianos on them. And, we sat and we talked. He remembered everything — stealing his dad’s car, running away to New Orleans, making Elvis cry, his rise to the top of rock ’n’ roll and his fall … he led me through 80 years.”
Following his talk to a packed auditorium, Bragg signed copies of “Jerry Lee Lewis, His Own Story.”
The week of party hopping began the night of Aug. 6 at the Istrouma Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s Community Leadership Development Award Dinner honoring Frank McArthur. Held at Drusilla Place, this event kicked off the council’s 17th annual Sporting Clays Classic, which took place the following day at the Avondale Scout Reservation in Clinton.
Since moving to Baton Rouge 35 years ago, McArthur has served on no fewer than 21 community boards, including the Istrouma Area Council. During his tenure on that board, he chaired the Endowment Committee and was instrumental in its growth and development.
Brian Fourroux conducted the live auction, which included several weapons, fishing and hunting trips and a photo signed by LSU football coach Les Miles. Fourroux was assisted by the evening’s emcee, WAFB meteorologist Jay Grymes.
Flint Virgets served as chairman of the Sporting Clays Classic and Bill Ragsdale as team chairman. Committee members included Tyrone Black, Terry Bell, Bret Frey, Jennifer Harris, David Reynerson, Nolan Reynerson, Scott Simoneaux and Scout Executive Gary Mertz.
I didn’t stay at the Boy Scouts event because I had to trek to Ascension Parish for a Team Leonard Viewing Party. Hosted by Rhonda Loy and husband Shawn, the get-together of those of us lucky enough to be on Leonard Augustus’ team when we danced for Big Buddy was way too much fun. It not only included this year’s team but also members from past teams and professional dancers LeBrian Patrick, Ryn Jones and Claire Broyles.
The highlight of the night was watching the video of this year’s “Dancing for Big Buddy” complete with commentary by Leonard. We even face-timed a vacationing Adam Knapp so he could be a part of the festivities. By the time I left, my sides were hurting from laughing so hard. Now we’re all focusing on the upcoming 10th anniversary show. Who knows who might return to the stage?
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 email@example.com. 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.