Somehow it seemed rather apropos that I went from a celebration of Bastille Day to a wine tasting the evening of July 11. I was feeling very French, and I haven’t got a drop of French blood in my family tree.

Bastille Day

As a history buff, I enjoyed State Archivist Florent Hardy and CODOFIL President Bill Arceneaux’s talk to members of the Old State Capitol Associates at their Bastille Day celebration co-hosted by Secretary of State Tom Schedler. For instance, did you know that bastille actually means fortified gateway and that when the prison was stormed in 1789 there were only seven prisoners within its walls?

Also participating in the “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”-themed program were Jean Claude Brunet, consul general of France in New Orleans, and Paul West, site manager at SNF FLOPAN, a French-based company located in Plaquemine. I didn’t get to hear them because I had to head over to LSU’s Reilly Theater for Swine Palace’s annual Wine Gala.

Swine wine

The closest French experience at this year’s Wine Gala was the Baked Brie and Mediterranean Platter served by gala sponsor Fresh Market … no French wines. There were some of my favorites being poured however: the Coppola Diamond Cabernet, Merryvale Starmount Cabernet and Wild Horse Pinot Noir.

I had fun visiting with Susan and Marvin Borgmeyer, Kevin Knobloch, Bettsie Miller, Mary Beth Chevalier, Jeanne Horton, Elise and Charlie Kaufman and Beth and Steve Tope.

Proceeds from the gala help fund Swine Palace’s upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which opens Tuesday. For tickets to the play, directed by George Judy, visit the website,

Hall of fame

The following evening, the Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum inducted nine individuals into its hall of fame at a banquet at Boudreaux’s. Keynote speaker for the event was Christopher Epps, president of the American Correctional Association.

This year’s honorees included Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal; West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Michael Cazes; Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier; 15th Judicial District Court Judge Jules Edwards, of Lafayette; retired 19th Judicial District Court Judge L.J. Hymel, of Baton Rouge; attorney Keith Nordyke, of Baton Rouge; 9th Judicial District Court Judge Harry Randow, of Alexandria; Nadine Tanner, of St. Francisville, Outstanding Achievement in Corrections Award; and Elain Ellerbe, of Jackson, and the late Michael Ellerbe, recipients of the Louisiana State Re-Entry Service Award.

The nonprofit museum is devoted to the study of the history and the artifacts of corrections, and is located outside of the front gates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

‘The Moon’

More than 300 students ages 7-14 from more than 60 greater New Orleans schools took a virtual trip to the moon at the 31st Country Day Creative Arts Banquet July 3. There were lunar art adornment, sensory moon experiences and lots of hands-on fun thanks to help from cutting-edge local and visiting artists.

The banquet highlights the midpoint for participants in the five-week multiarts program of Metairie Park Country Day School.

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