I need to start this week’s column by apologizing to Travis McLavy, who won the award for Most Graceful at this year’s Dancing for Big Buddy. She and professional dancer River Peterson were accidentally left out of the story recapping that exciting night.
This week’s party scene includes another event benefiting children and one benefiting our four-legged friends. Hey, we love them all!
The Crowne Plaza quite literally went to the dogs May 9 for the fourth annual Fur Ball benefiting the Companion Animal Alliance. Crowned as royalty for the night were Queen Tullulah Jane, a Goldendoodle owned by Brien Buxton, and King Cobalt, a miniature dachshund owned by Chadwick Kenny-Possa.
Rounding out the royal court were Princess Coco, a Schnoodle owned by Helen Bolin; Prince Kato, a German shepherd owned by Dr. Ann Zedlitz; Duchess Abby, a miniature cocker spaniel owned by Nadine Russell; Duke Harry, a Labradodle owned by Susan Nickel; Countess Chloe, a shih tzu owned by Hunt Odom; Earl Mikey, a Labrador retriever owned by Randy del Rio; Baroness Gretl, a Goldendoodle owned by Margo Mathews; and Baron Spike, a Biewer terrier owned by Jenni Peters.
Those weren’t the only awards handed out. R obin Prestridge received the Employee of the Year award from board President Christel Slaughter, who also unveiled a rendering of the new free-standing shelter soon to be constructed across from the LSU Vet School.
Charles Landry put on his auctioneer’s cap for the live auction, which included a Florida getaway, a Hunt Slonem painting, dinner for six with wine and champagne at Galatoire’s Bistro, a sport coat from tailor Manuel Martinez and a Christmas package featuring in-home décor by Red Door Interiors, exterior décor by Makaira Landscape and a family Christmas photo and Christmas card by Eye Wander Photo.
An impressive $425,000 was raised in the live auction at this year’s Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital Fiesta!, which took place at the Dow Hanger May 7. Two trips on Dana and Jim Bernhard’s Lady Bee yacht brought in $270,00 of that total, with their donation of a game-day round-trip to the LSU vs. Alabama game bringing in $13,000 and their donated Arnold Palmer golf experience bringing in another $84,000. “Thank you, Bernhards!” just somehow doesn’t seem sufficient, does it?
Joining the Bernhards as major supporters were honorary chairmen LSU Football coach Les Miles and wife Kathy. The Miles’ “officially” arrived along with former patient Daisy Prescott and mom Kristen via an Acadian Ambulance plane. Through an adorable video, Daisy highlighted the care she got at the Children’s Hospital and thanked guests for coming out in support of the mission to build a free-standing facility.
Among those spotted at the Fiesta were Jacqui and Leonard Wyatt, Jolie and Brent LeBlanc, Evelyn and Paul Norwacki, Dr. Andy and Tereasa Olinde, Amanda and Rhein Standish, Erin and Claude Reynaud, Leslie and Scott Berg, Dr. Phillip Cancilleri, Sharon Pol, Cathy Sherburne and a large contingent from Dow Chemical Co., including former site manager Earl Shipp, site manager Eduardo DoVal and wife Rita, Juan Carrillo and wife Joanne, Larry Rushing and wife Patty.
The Fiesta! was chaired by Regina Leonard, with Kristen Landry serving as co-chairwoman.
Before heading out to the airport, I joined former Gov. Kathleen Blanco at the Governor’s Mansion, where the red carpet was rolled out for a VIP reception hosted by Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting to honor this year’s Louisiana Legends. Blanco’s fellow legends included Robert Crais, an award-winning novelist and screenwriter; Joe Dumars, two-time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons; Rolland Golden, renowned southern artist; and Roger Ogden, real estate developer, civic leader and philanthropist.
Following the reception, the honorees and guests trekked to the Old State Capitol for the Louisiana Legends Gala & Auction, chaired this year by Rose Long.
Your Friends’ Closet
On my way to the mansion, I popped in at Mignon Faget’s in Towne Center for the Friends of the LSU Textile & Costume Museum’s annual wine and cheese reception, where they also collected clothing and accessories for its Your Friends’ Closet sale. Attendees also got 10 percent off purchases and were eligible for a $75 Mignon Faget gift card.
Usually Mignon is on hand for the event but a prior commitment prevented her from attending this year. While she was missed, staff members Marie Popov, Amina Dearmon and Nancy Gasser handled everything perfectly in her absence.
The sale is set for Saturday, Oct. 10 at the LSU Mini Farm.
Brotherhood Sisterhood Awards
State Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux were honored May 5 by 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge and Forum 35 as the 2015 recipients of the Brotherhood Sister Awards at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. Chairing the 52nd annual event, which recognizes individuals for their distinguished service in the field of human relations, were Joe Simmons and John F. Smith.
“Receiving this award helps me understand my place, and my place in history and the state,” said Smith. “We need to have programs like this so we can have one Baton Rouge.”
“This lets me know I have done some good, made a difference,” said Gautreaux. “We have to work together everyday so we should treat all people the same.”
In keeping with tradition, the dinner wrapped up with everyone holding hands and singing “Let There be Peace on Earth.” Proceeds from the dinner benefit Forum 35 and 100 Black Men programs aimed at the elimination of bias, bigotry and racism in Baton Rouge.
Celebration for Change
The afternoon started off at the Manship Theatre and Volunteers of America’s annual Celebration for Change, which began with a lovely reception before the formal program. Greeting guests were CEO Jane Shank and members of the board, including program participants Jon Malden, Ladonna Butler Green, and the Revs. Terry Ellis and Juliet Spencer.
Spencer made the appeal for financial support following the moving video produced by Marc Goldstein highlighting the VOA’s children’s programs.
‘Mexico in New Orleans’
Also celebrating Cinco de Mayo was the LSU Museum of Art. Lucky for me it’s also located in the Shaw Center for the Arts. The reception officially opened the museum’s newest exhibit, “Mexico in New Orleans: A Tale of Two Cities,” the first major museum exhibition exploring the “captivating artistic exchange” between Louisiana and Mexico from the 1920s-50s. Curated by Katie Pfohl, the exhibit features pieces from the LSU Museum of Art’s collection of works by Diego Rivera and Caroline Durieux as well as works on loan from the Historic New Orleans Collection and Tulane.
Special guest for the event was Consul Gonzales-Jameson, from the Mexican Consulate in New Orleans. Unfortunately, traffic had him running very late so I didn’t get to meet him.
The week also included several luncheons, beginning with Inner Wheel’s on May 5 at the home of Alice Greer to distribute proceeds from its annual Attic Trash & Treasure Sale to local nonprofits. The big winner was Families Helping Families, which received $94,000 from this year’s record-setting sale.
Also getting checks were Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Rotary Scholarship Foundation, $28,195; Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and Gardere Community Christian School, $19,097; Childresn’s Advocacy Center, Key Academy, Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy, Louisiana Lupus Foundation and Youth Oasis, $1,880.
Memories in the Making
Some 400 guests attended Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area’s annual Memories in the Making luncheon on May 7 at the Renaissance Hotel. Welcoming us were board President John D’Angelo and Executive Director Barbara Auten, who warned of a “tsunami” of Alzheimer’s cases in the years ahead.
In fact, she called it the Baby Boomer generation’s cancer, adding that one in nine men and one in six women over the age of 65 will be effected. On a positive note, Alzheimer’s Services’ Charlie’s Place has become a model of care around the country, and it’s looking into a possible second location in Ascension Parish. “Our vision is to provide more help for caregivers,” said Auten.
We also heard the powerful testimonies of John McManus, Lisa Barona McRoberts and Terry Robillard and how Charlie’s Place has so positively impacted their families. The program closed with an appeal from board member Charlie Vallulzzo, who also shared his family’s Alzheimer’s story.
The Baton Rouge Association of Women Attorneys honored local law enforcement officers at its 22nd annual Law Day Luncheon May 8 at the Camelot Club. Welcoming guests and presenting the awards was BRAWA President Jan Reeves.
Shelly Dick, the first woman judge to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, was honored with the Tribute Award, which is only given when the board feels it’s warranted. She was introduced by former Chief Justice Kitty Kimball, for whom Dick was a law clerk.
Recognized as Outstanding Law Enforcement Officers were East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Sgt. Patti Freeman, introduced by Maj. Bryan White; FBI Special Agent Taneka Harris, introduced by Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dan Evans; and Baton Rouge Police Detective Alaina Mancuso, introduced by Chief Carl Dabadie.
From the Camelot Club, I made my way to First United Methodist Church and the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s 11th annual Silver Magnolia Tea, which honors women 70 and older who are committed to helping others and who have made meaningful contributions to their community.
This year’s Silver Magnolias included Sister Kathleen Babin, co-founder of the St. Joseph Spirituality Center and Myriam House; Carole Ann Cross, props mistress at Theatre Baton Rouge for 26 years and a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul dining room for 12 years; Alberta McFarland, a volunteer with the Boy and Cub Scout programs at Greater King David Baptist Church for over 40 years; Mary McGehee, who with her husband funds scholarships for several University High School students to study in French immersion programs in Quebec and Nova Scotia, as well as volunteers with Kids’ Hope mentoring at-risk children; Dot Thibodeaux, co-founder and current board president of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Information Center; Mary Ford Thompson, active member and volunteer at St. Mary Baptist Church and volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul dining room; and Seabell “Mama” White Thomas, organizer of one of the first daycare centers in South Baton Rouge and the first Black Christmas parade.
Lois Holden, wife of Mayor Kip Holden, read a proclamation from the mayor proclaiming it Silver Magnolia Day throughout the parish. Maureen Cocoran chaired the tea assisted by co-chairs E llie Torres, Frances Bennett, Paula Braxton, Faye Ferdinand, Charlene Ourso and Florence Williams.
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