How ‘Sweet’ It Was!

Azucar, which translates into “sugar” in English, titles the annual black-tie ball given by the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation to benefit the Scholarship Program. The most recent revelry unfolded at the New Orleans Marriott with hundreds of people ready to fraternize and dance. “La Bamba” titled the Mexican-themed fun that started with a patron party in the hotel’s Acadia Room organized by foundation board member Carmen Duncan (in attendance with husband Kelly) and catered by El Gato Negro, A Mexican Kitchen by Juan Contreras.

Then it was on to the Grand Ballroom for the three-hour bash with gourmet dishes by top Crescent City restaurants, libations from Glazer’s Distributors, music by AsheSon and Julio y Cesar Band, a special musical treat by Mariachi Jalisco, and an extensive silent auction. Foundation board members Blanca Rosa Maldonado and Luz Caputto were in charge of the decorations that made color a priority, thanks to tall-glass centerpieces filled with bright Mexican paper flowers.

A highlight of the evening, among many, was the presentation of the prestigious Galvez Cup by NOHHF President George J. Fowler III to chef/restaurateur Adolfo Garcia in recognition of his service to the local Latino community. Congratulations abounded.

Joining President George were his wife, Cristina; infanticipating daughter Cristi Fowler Chauvin and spouse Christian; and son George Fowler and spouse Jennifer. Further luminaries were Azucar Ball Chairwomen Tesa Spiers Bossetta and Lauren Courtney Mastio, who reaped “gracias” all night; auction Chairwoman Yakelis Anzola with husband Juan Carlos and their daughters, Maria and Daniela, who assisted her; Consul General of Mexico in New Orleans Ramon Gonzalez Jameson and wife Tari; Terry and Henrietta “Henri” Ramirez Hall; NOHHF Vice President of Development Ileana and Jose Suquet; Carlos and Ingrid Rodriguez-Fierro; Robert and Elsa Baker; Margarita Bergen and Sammy Steele; and Hunter and Kaylea Hill. Also, Vincent and Felicia Pigna and daughter Sofia, Greg Holt, the Patrick Quinlans (with a baby on the way), 2013 ball Chairwomen Martine Chaisson Linares and Kelly Theard, foundation executive director Raul V. Fonte and spouse Helen Flammer, Jacqueline Simon, Victoria Baudet, Marla Donovan, and members of the Gershanik family in Dr. Juan and Ana, and sons Alex, NOHHF vice president of scholarships, and Dr. Esteban.

Legions packed the dance floor, where the thrill of the beat made “La Bamba,” the ball, come gloriously alive. When the namesake song was played, “una poca de gracia” blended with joyful gyration.

A Throng for Tennis

Robert Olivier hosted the hour-long President’s Reception at the 138th anniversary celebration of the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club, which included the general membership at 8 p.m. for the taste treats of Saffron Caterers and the animated entertainment by Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. For the decorations done by Paul LaCour, there were “old time” tennis scenes painted on canvas and draped from the ballroom’s vaulted ceiling, swags of garland with lights, and centerpieces of miniature wreaths surrounding fat Christmas candles.

Headliners, as members of the board of governors, included club President Robert Olivier and Barbara, immediate past President Ben Banta with Kathleen, Secretary Mason Couvillion with Jennifer, Judge Karen Herman with Stephen, Robert Redfearn Jr. with Cheryl, John Jeremiah with Lisa, and Shaw Thompson with Ann.

Mingling as well in the seasonal salute were John and Andree Hainkel, Maclyn and Alex Hickey, Rob and Joanne Marier, Brian and Jill Kaplan, Robert and Deanna Karl, David and Caroline Kearney, Rhett and Madhavi King, Neil and Hannah Kohlman, Milton and Marley Morris, Claiborne and Jeanie Perrilliat, Michael and Meredith Pinkerton, Samuel and Michele Prokop, Ravi and Elizabeth Sangisetty, Lou and Gina Stopa, Patrick and Dana Summerour, Devin and Lauren Wakeman, and Gary and Lisa Zoller. A musical crescendo occurred when Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. made “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” a phenomenon.

Military Order

The Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States Louisiana Commandery held its annual meeting and banquet at the New Orleans Country Club, recalling the Louisiana chapter’s founding in 1900. During the course of the evening, the U.S. Marine Corps five-piece ensemble played at the reception, chapter Commander Erik F. Johnsen welcomed guests, a color guard from the New Orleans Maritime and Military Academy (where Col. William Davis is commandant) posted colors, Herschel L. Abbott gave the invocation, and, as the special guest, Lt. Gen. Richard L. Mills, U.S. Marine Corps, strode forward to speak.

Additional program principals were Frank Barry, Dr. James L. Reynolds, Frank Arneman, and Frank M. Denton. Noted, too, on the printed program were the names of scholarship recipients John Charles Kurtz, David G. Trepagnier Jr., Nicholas M. Youngblood, Maija J. Jenkins, Sean Mathieu, and Timmy Tu.

At each of the dozen dining-room tables were flower arrangements consisting of peach roses, hydrangeas and greens. The menu began with turtle soup and concluded with Bananas Foster bread pudding.

Among the attendees were Barbara Johnsen, Pat Mills, Jan Barry, Hugh Ramsey Straub, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Larry L. Merington and Jan, David Gooch, John and Sylvia Laborde, Gen. David Mize and Jane, Dr. George Schneider, Richard “Dick” and Nicole Spangenberg, Jimmy and Jeanie Gibert, Richard and Jane King, Hilton Bell, Jimmy Gundlach, Tommy Lind, Jim and Elizabeth Ryan, and scores more, who gathered to honor and perpetuate the memory of brave and loyal men and women of the military and to encourage the study of American history.

Churchill Confraternity

In honor of the birthday of Winston Churchill, the Churchill Society of New Orleans gathered at the New Orleans Country Club for a reception; musical entertainment by Casey Candebat, Jake Penick, Kameron Lopreore and Jesse Reeks; a four-course meal; and a talk by Will Morrisey, Ph.D., and professor of politics at Hillsdale College in Michigan. His book, “Churchill and de Gaulle: The Geopolitics of Liberty,” figured in his sagacious say. And was snapped up by Society members, who purchased copies.

Notables included TCSNO President J. Gregg Collins and board members (with spouses or guests) William D. “Bill” Reeves, Edward F. “Ted” Martin, Orlin Corey, the above Herschel L. Abbott, Christopher Tidmore, Hill Riddle Jr., Betsy Stout, and almost double the number of attendees from the 2013 birthday tribute.

Happy New Year!

View all Nell Nolan: A Farwell to '14' photos here.