Moonlight, film fettle and costumed kids all relied on a sprinkling of magic for their momentum. And it was given social status, thanks to Magic in the Moonlight at City Park, the New Orleans Film Festival and Boo at the Zoo. Thousands of followers were feted.

Clair de Lune

Bannered as “an al fresco dinner to benefit The New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park,” Magic in the Moonlight, a top society draw each fall, thanked, as underwriters, the Conwill Family Foundation, IberiaBank, and Joel Catering and Special Events. Chef Evan Benson of Joel Catering and Wendell Brunious rated raves, in turn, for the dinner and musical menus.

When guests sat to sup after the 6:30 p.m. cocktails and silent auction, they enjoyed the palate pleasures of a fresh-market salad, herb-crusted New Zealand lamb chops, and a delectable dessert. All the while, “Moonlight” minions admired the table decorations of silver candelabra and the floral arrangements of freesia, hydrangeas, and Casablanca tulips.

Added to the pleasures of conviviality was the excitement of the silent auction and its nine lots. Among the “green”-grabbers were a sapphire and diamond necklace that “was the talk of the night” and sold well — very well!; a Sunday afternoon at the country home of attendees Jennifer and Fred Heebe; and the Cajun Fais Do Do purchased by 21 couples with a family-style dinner by chefs Donald Link and Ryan Prewitt and dancing to the rhythm of a traditional zydeco band.

Mastheading “Moonlight” was the soignee Sybil Favrot, the chairwoman, who made rounds with husband Blair; Co-Chairwomen Lydia Sneed and Tina Kern with B.K. and Barry; Botanical Garden Director Paul Soniat; City Park CEO Bob Becker; Botanical Garden Foundation President Anne Abbott with Herschel (a former Rex), and upcoming President David Waller with Barbara. Thirty-one individuals make up the foundation’s roster.

Mingling, too, and soaking in the elegance and ambiance were Dr. Robert and Beverly Matheny, Richard and Vivian Cahn, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Sandra and Arthur Pulitzer, Adrea Heebe, Kathy Weidner, and Genevieve “Gen” Munson Trimble, who with her late husband, Morrell “Bud” (another former Rex), brought life back to Afton Villa, an antebellum property with extensive gardens near St. Francisville, over a 20-year period. Gen served as one of the 37 members of the event’s committee.

“Magic in the Moonlight” celebrated its fifth year in sold-out style, attracting a comely crowd who cultivated a social garden. Thanks to all the participants, especially to Chairwoman Sybil, were duly planted throughout the evening.

A Silver ‘Celluloid’ Salute

“Movie” was the magical word when the New Orleans Film Festival, the largest event produced by the New Orleans Film Society, celebrated its 25 years, kicking off that anniversary and the start of the fest with a private cocktail party for the Quarter Century Club at the Garden District home of fairly newlyweds Alexa Georges and Jerry Armatis. The party honored festival Marquee Sponsor Starz Digital. After the round of cocktails, guests walked around the corner for the Filmmaker Welcome party at the home of Gregor Fox.

Hollywood Trucks owner Andre Champagne, Rita Benson LeBlanc, Margo and Clancy DuBos, Bill Goldring, Nan and Britt Galloway, Dawn Wheelahan, Julie and Monty Burlingame (who’re gearing up for both daughters’ nuptials next year), Christine and Dr. Nick Pappas, Melanee and Steve Usdin, and Shawn and the infanticipating Ivy Barney were among the “Quarter” masters.

Tucker Fitz-Hugh Jr., who wears many hats, wore that of a chef to cater the event. He also helped Alexa design the home’s gardens, where, during the cocktail celebration, the George French Trio played within a candle-lit scenario.

Still others assembled were Jane Booth, Ashley and Skipper Bond, Stephanie Bruno, Jack Forbes and Brian Bockman, Alex Glaser, Steve Armbuster and Tamarin Hennebury, Sandie and Jim McNamara, Deb and Jerry Shriver (in from New York), Dabney and Clyde Jacob, Ted Bloch, Monique and Beau Beals, Parker Roy, Karen and George Solomon, Nomita and Shaminder Gupta, Adam Marcus and Linda Novak, and Roger Wilson. Longtime NOFS supporters, board members and club members were some of their affiliations.

They and Film Society executive director Jolene Pinder must be sporting mega-watt smiles. The festival’s 25th year amassed “more than 25,000 attendees at 237 films across 12 venues and welcomed more than 450 filmmakers” to the city. It was a record-breaking year.

  • Boo at the Zoo

Presented by Bryan Subaru, Boo at the Zoo bills itself as “a safe, fun-filled Halloween event for children up to the age 12.” It takes places over several nights during successive weekends and benefits Children’s Hospital and Audubon Zoo, its venue.

Attractions were myriad and included the Zombie-themed Ghost Train Ride; the Toddler Area; three entertainment locations; and appearances by the New Orleans VooDoo football team, and players from the Pelicans, Jesters (soccer), and University of New Orleans and Loyola basketball teams. They distributed candy to the kids and signed autographs.

Legions poured into the zoo with, among them, Andrea and Jason Recher with daughters Kennedy (as Snow White) and Presley (a pumpkin); Elicia and Carter Sheridan with daughter Eliah (Zerina, the Pirate Fairy) and Elicia’s parents, Alvin and Ethel Mae “Sugar” Broussard; Alicia and Matt Murphy with princess daughters Margaret, Molly, Carolyn, Elizabeth and Alanna; Shauna Harvey with Harris (little Frankenstein); Karen and Evan Jacobs with Weston (an astronaut); Emily Harris and Tom Weathers with daughter Isla Weathers (Tinkerbell); and Kristen and Court Robinson with Anna (Abby Cadabby of “Sesame Street”).

Also with their Halloween-role youngsters were Andie and Scott Savoie with Andrew, Myndee and Luis Corkern with Kadence and Gavin and Dylan, Mary and Clint Olivio with Noah and Liam, Julie and Scott Habetz with Brooke and Ellie and Courtney, Shirelle and Joel Vilmenay with Alexia and Langston, Courtney Costello with Chaz and Bishop, Linzy and Paul Cotaya with Annelise, Caroline LeBlanc with Elliott, Megan and Melvin Albritton with Pearl and Fern, and Aleis and Jay Tusa with Katie. The entire Tusa family was dressed as Day of the Dead and won the costume contest on one of the “Boo” nights.