All on a Saturday night! On this Easter Sunday, we glance back at gallivanting on a recent Saturday that hailed children, fellowship and learning as purposeful partying. Spring was yet to come, but a figurative bounce existed in the step of each partygoer. Happy Easter!
“All That Jazz” was the marquee for retro revelry when Children’s Hospital held its 35th Sugarplum Ball at The Old U.S. Mint with Bryan Subaru and Haydel’s Bakery as the top sponsors. It created a festive flap — and flapper.
Arriving guests encountered a rose Champagne tower provided by Ruffino as they stepped onto the red carpet leading to the entrance. The first two floors of the museum were open for the party pack to explore, but the third floor, and its Big Spender Lounge, invited the high rollers for the exclusive VIP pre-party. Dickie Brennan and Company served hors d’oeuvres, and vocalist Anais St. John rendered the requisite sultry sounds for this select gathering.
Additional features were the names of sponsors that seemed to float bubble-style throughout the three-story stairwell; the cornucopia of taste treats from 34 area restaurants; libations (with a different take on an Old Fashioned) provided by The Goldring Family Foundation/Sazerac Co. and Republic National Distribution Co.; handmade chocolates by Haydel’s Bakery; an exciting 84-item auction, with value ranges from $230 to $13,500, and Joey Richard, Betsey Todd, Chris Coniker and Whit Hinkley among the “winners”; “On the Rocks” raffle tickets; the syncopated delights of the James Martin Jazz Band; proceeds directed to Children Hospital’s new Heart Catherization Lab; and the tent. Yes, the stunning tent!
Outside and behind the Mint, a large white tent was decorated in chic, oversize black and white balloons, furniture for lounging and white-clothed cafe tables with lily centerpieces. The stage showcased the Wise Guys, who showed lots of sonorous sagacity. Guests responded by bounding to the dance floor.
Among the many headliners were Sugarplum Ball Co-Chairwomen Ann Heslin, outfitted in a 1920s-inspired beaded cocktail dress, and Chrissy Carmody (with husband Ian) in a period-style Dolce & Gabbana mode that she purchased in Rome “just for the occasion.” And Sugarplum 2016 honoree former CH President and CEO Steve Worley (now an adviser to LCMC Health); hospital President and CEO Mary Perrin with Dr. Keith Perrin; Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Heaton with Fran; LCMC CEO Greg Feirn with Sarah; hospital Chairman and LCMC board member William L. “ Billy” Mimeles with Gabrielle; and hospital board members Betty Lauricella, Dr. Stephen Hales with Nancy, Vice Chairman Elwood Cahill Jr. with Sandra, Philip Claverie with Laura, Treasurer Kyle M. France with Kendra, and Betty Sullivan with Norman. Anthony Recasner is the board’s secretary. Also noted were Elizabeth Morrison (Heslin’s sister) with Kenny, Becker Hall, Rene Louapre, Michael Smith and state Rep. Walt Leger with Danielle.
A highlight of the bash was the jewelry raffle and the drawing for the coveted earrings (valued at $20,000) created and donated by Valobra Jewelry and Antiques. When the winning name was pulled, it was of Ryan Haydel, who happened to be standing 5 feet away. Thrilled, he exclaimed, “I’m so excited. I’ve never won anything in my life.”
Spreading that euphoria, everyone in attendance was considered a “winner,” garnering the party pleasures, costumed camaraderie, and knowing that their presence will help the hospital and children. The blessings of Mother Nature and a just-cool-enough evening were a bonus. In summary, as Heslin described it, “a magical evening.”
Blocks and blocks away on Esplanade from The Old U.S. Mint, and in City Park’s New Orleans Museum of Art, the annual fellows dinner and presentation of the 2016 Isaac Delgado Memorial Award took place. The invitation was extended to the Fellows, a category for giving, by the museum’s Montine McDaniel Freeman director, Susan Taylor, and NOMA board President Julie Livaudais George. On the invitation’s cover was an image of “Melic Meeting” by Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008). Considered “the most ambitious modern art purchase” in NOMA’s history, it was acquired with funds provided by the Helis Foundation.
At 7:40 p.m., Susan Taylor asked for attention from the cocktail-attired crowd, saying, “The Fellows Dinner is one of my favorite events.” She extended profuse thanks to all the donors, recounted the many happenings and exhibitions of 2015, and announced the winner of the above award: David Kerstein and the Helis Foundation. “David’s leadership has been crucial to NOMA and the community,” she said, adding an effusive “Thank you.” Recipient David then addressed the role of art and its need in inspiration as he expressed gratitude and pride in the honor. In conclusion, he thanked his wife, Geneva, and the NOMA board.
Among the many applauding him were Pia and Malcolm Ehrhardt, Sydney and Walda Besthoff, Jimmy and Susan Gundlach, Luis and Anne Banos, Richard and Sarah Freeman, King and Anne Milling, Ann and Bob Williams, and Dr. Tony and Ann Fuselier.
Rebecca Todaro provided the musical treats; Bella Blooms, the flowers; and Ralph Brennan Catering and Events, the menu. All good!
Jumping a half dozen decades from Sugarplum’s thematic fun, St. George’s Episcopal School turned back to the time of Ferris Bueller and “Footloose” for the 33rd annual soiree. Held in the school’s Jefferson Market (the gym) and courtyard, the gala was headed by Kelly Marks and Carolyn Fitzpatrick (with Bryan). Committee stalwarts were Angelle Bommarito, Rachel Alltmont, Jennifer Brammell, Cristin Bordelon, Courtney Costello, Dori Hernandez, Allison Hescock, Nancy Lavie, Krystil Lawton, Laurie Leaman, Liz Schafer, Cathy Schieffelin and Julie Simmons. Many mingled at the patron party with cuisine by Juan’s Flying Burrito and Taceaux Loceaux.
Excitement during Soiree was generated by the décor — Rubik’s Cubes as centerpieces, glow sticks, Pac-Man games, 1980s movie posters and records, and a “Pretty in Pink”-themed cake; silent and live auctions; a raffle of earrings donated by Friend and Company and won by a thrilled school-parent, Myriam Leach; and the plentiful food and drinks.
Making their “Back to the ’80s” rounds were headmaster Dr. Rob Eichberger and Elaine (director of admissions), board Chairman Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Fierro and Ingrid, Vice Chairwoman Jennifer Guillen, master of ceremonies/auctioneer Michael DeGeorge with spouse Deborah Hinson, and from the Parents Group, Laurie Leaman (president) with Dana, and Vice President Schieffelin.
Also, Greg and Liz Schafer, Lee Anne and David Garner, Alex Breckinridge and Kirsten, Leon and Ava Nowalsky (top sponsors along with IberiaBank and Bowen, Miclette & Britt of LA), Norma and Michael Kimble, Robert and Eugenie Suggs, Heidi Gould, Carrie and Jonathan Wachtel, and Dr. Jennifer Avegno.
Of course, Band Camps’ music helped make the days-ago merriment. No one could resist boogieing to Working Class Dog’s “Jessie’s Girl” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Around and about
Peggy McCloskey Hardie was the centennial birthday girl at a noon celebration at the Metairie Country Club, where her three children, Edward Joseph McCloskey, Mary Lou McCloskey O’Keefe and Hugh Martin McCloskey, and a host of extended family members partied. Paul Norman’s flowers, Peggy’s Passion Fruit Coconut Cake, Jessica Bachman’s photos, and The Gumbo Trio (with its second-lining of Peggy’s hankie-waving great-grandchildren) made 100 ever so happy.
Among them was Shannon McCloskey Able (with husband Patrick and children Sydney, Madison and P.J), who, as president of the Junior League of New Orleans, has been spreading the word of Ann Thorpe Thompson as the 2016 Sustainer of the Year.
Baby Crutcher Kirkwood Reiss was the attraction at a “Sip and See” given by grandmother Pixie (Mrs. James J. Jr.) Reiss at her home. The proud parents are Sarah, the other S & S honoree, and Crutcher Reiss.