Guests who attended recent events learned about Belle Reve New Orleans and its role in providing assistance to homeless adults and families affected by HIV/AIDS at a gala in Generations Hall; others, the educational plan of Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans during a cocktail reception at the home of Kathleen and Andrew “Drew” Ramsey; and still others, the art of Chakaia Booker in a members-only walk-through led by the artist in the Newcomb Art Gallery. As with the former two activities, a reception in the gallery allowed for fine socializing.

'Belle Reve Breeze'

On a recent Saturday evening at Generations Hall, “the most generous and colorful hearts in New Orleans” gathered to hail the years of Belle Reve’s work and dedication. The gala, titled “Belle Reve Breeze,” celebrated the organization’s past achievements, growth and impact, as well as the lives that will be changed.

The levity kicked off at 7 p.m. with a patron party and 75 attendees. Later, a night of “fun, food, and dancing” followed for at least 225 guests, who hoped for success at the silent auction tables as they made tracks to the restaurant stations. Hand-made paper kites were the key decorations.

Particularly thanked for many of the event’s attractions were Sally Caraway and Sir Speedy Printing; various chefs, including Tony Mollon, Terry Davies and Cynthia Rico; the auction donors, such as Pearl Wine Co., Cheramie Frame Shop & Gallery and Courtyard on the Ridge; and entertainers Anthony Graziano and Tony of Mobile Music Unlimited. Major gratitude tapped presenter Avita Pharmacy and various individuals, including John Groth, Rodney Cullota, Pat Skelley and Sylvia Frank, and Jim Howell.

Mastheading the “Breeze” bash were gala Chairwoman Mary Elizabeth Wilkes, Belle Reve Executive Director Vicki Weeks, and gala committee members Kelley Mackenroth, Katy Caraway, Mark Alain Dery, Ann-Porter Uhlhorn, Jimmy Fahrenholz and Courtney Cola. Also noted were Blake Miller, Martha Kegel, Fran Lawless, Noel Twilbeck, Darlene Hargrove, Tamara Pierre, Sonny Gee and Jorge Munoz.

To make a cool thematic point, guests were given paper fans as they entered. To make a calendar point, the DJ spun “September” and crowds packed the dance floor.

Lycee Francais

The French-language school, a public one (and billed as the French charter school serving all of Louisiana), has a host of sound and innovative approaches to learning that were related by Marina Schoen, director of academics, during the cocktail reception at the Ramsey home. She talked about partnerships with the Audubon Zoo, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Louisiana State Museum as part of the school’s Thinking Outside the Classroom program.

Listening attentively, along with hosts Kathleen and Drew (who are parents of LF pupils Grace and Margo) were LF board Chairwoman Alysson Mills, CEO and Principal Keith Bartlett, and respective directors of finance, development and academics in Karianne Heins, Sarah Stickney and Schoen. From the board came Lisa Tropez-Arceneaux, Tim Gray, and Mary Jacobs Jones.

They enjoyed the artisanal charcuterie presentation by Patois, sweets from Pralines by Jean and other tasty treats that were accented florally by bouquets of Gerbera daisies and roses.

Milling, too, were Christine LeBlanc, Alliance Francaise Executive Director Aurelie Champvert, Kim David Reyher and Joshua Reyher, Kim Burgau, Una and David Anderson, Pamela and Philip Bonner, Nikki Rachal, and several of the Ramseys’ neighbors, such as Brian Kuehne.

Art Time

The Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, is bannering “Booker/Taylor,” solo shows by two contemporary American artists. That’s work by Chakaia Booker and her “Eradication: A Form of Obsession” and Katherine Taylor and her “One and Together.” Gallery visitors eyed such pieces as Taylor’s “Don’t Cross the Red Line” and “One Body Together.”

Prior to the 6-8 p.m. general reception, there was a 5 p.m. members’ preview and walk-through with the New York-based Booker, who is being called one of America’s most important contemporary sculptors. Among her early (and continuing) creations are those done with recycled rubber tires, which she sees as both material and metaphor. Taylor works in clay, utilizing patterned porcelain.

At the reception, which included about 285 attendees, Jeremy Marx and Jasen Weaver purveyed the modern jazz. Making party rounds were Ron Bechet, Jacqueline Bishop and Herbert Halpern, Michael Manjarris, Dorian Bennett, Jeremy Jernegan and Michelle Foa, MaPo Kinnord, Bill Fagaly, Earl Retif and Ann Salzer, Anne Milling, Scott and Cara Dessens, Anne Favrot, Gail and Robert Swan, Ana Lopez, Mia Bagneris, Nicole Charbonnet, Sally Heller, and Lin Emery. As they meandered, they relished purveyance by Nora Wetzel’s Educated Palate, such as salmon-avocado mousse cups and feta-stuffed eggplant bites.

Around and About

“Lambeth Lectures” titled the 2014 Summer Lecture series for residents of Lambeth House and their guests, one apiece. Among those greeting lecture attendees were LH’s Scott Crabtree and Tanya Becnel.

Jeffrey “Jeff” Michael Anding, of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, gave the first talk, “New Orleans Will” (with a nod to where there’s a will, there’s a way); photographer Richard Sexton addressed “A Creole World”; Dr. Dabney Ewin, who has taught medical hypnosis at Tulane and LSU medical schools for 34 years, discussed hypnosis in “Keep An Open Mind,” and for the final words, biologist Carrie Salyers focused on “A Majestic Return” and the reintroduction of whooping cranes to our marshlands. Each lecture was accompanied by PowerPoint visuals and followed by delicious drinks and refreshments, different each time.

View all Nell Nolan: Learning and Levity photos here.