A Night of Rights   

   With attendance numbers projected around 600, the 24th annual Dinner and Silent Auction of the Louisiana Human Rights Campaign was one of the largest social gatherings of the season. It was held in the Empire Room of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where lighting and handsome table settings added ambiance to the overall socializing.

   A three “C” team – Conan Cleveland, Colette Melancon, Christian Rogers – chaired the event that had further chairing assistance from John Cannon and Betty Sun (Corporate), Katie Cannella (Table Captain), Derek Larson (Silent Auction) and Laurie Richmond (Program Book).

Figuring on the Dinner Committee were Stacy Badon, Doris Bobadilla, Chaz Dickerson, Michael Glorioso, Lisa Guillory, James Kelly, Don Paul Landry, Lester Perryman, and Andrea Rubin. Chad Griffin is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, which espouses and works for equality for LGBT people.

   During the years, the HRC has presented an Equality Award. Among the dozens of recipients have been such notables as Eamon Kelly, Donna Klein, Michael Lomax, Delta Burke, Arnie Fielkow, Noel Twilbeck Jr., and the late Francoise Richardson. Arthur Roger, whose contributions to the local art scene have helped “transform it into the bustling community that it is now,” was limelighted as the most recent awardee. An active member of the HRC board of governors from 2002 through 2003, he helped organize the first gala dinner in 1994. The above Lester Perryman heads up the 2016 New Orleans HRC Steering Committee Board of Directors.

    Special sponsorial thanks tapped Michael O. Smith, Hyatt Regency New Orleans general manager, and Joel Vilmenay, WDSU president and general manager.

  Prandial pleasures were many and the scores of gala-goers delighted in a four-course menu prepared by Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace; Susan Spicer, Bayona; Eric Damidot of the hosting Hyatt Regency; and Kelly Fields, Willa Jean. More slated features were the keynote speech by Uruguay-born, TV star/social activist Jonathan Del Arco, and the entertainment excitement of Grammy Award-winner Estelle.

Benefactors

   Scripted on a cream-colored background were the words of the invitation: “Please join the Ochsner Health System, Department of Philanthropy, at the Benefactor Dinner Celebrating the generosity and dedication of the Philanthropists of Ochsner.” The Roosevelt was the site, and the format, cocktails, dinner (three courses) and presentations.

   Heritage Society members first gathered in the hotel’s Blue Room for conversation with Dr. John Ochsner, who discussed the history of Ochsner Clinic and related stories of his career. At the dinner on the mezzanine level, Ochsner Chief Development Officer Michelle Dodenhoff welcomed everyone and introduced John Hanson, an honoree of the evening, who created a fund in memory of his late wife.

After dinner, Ms. Dodenhoff introduced the honorees and President and CEO Warner Thomas presented commemorative gifts. He also spoke about The Campaign for Ochsner and its $75 million goal by the end of 2017, Ochsner’s 75th year.

   Among the many who sat at tables centered with arrangements of hydrangeas and orchids, were Pam Bonura, Jane and William Rippner, Ann and Robert Boh, Frank and Paulette Stewart, Dr. Billy Lennarz, Suzanne Mestayer, Dr. Pat O’Brien and Joel Borello, Judy and Eli Tullis, Laura and Charles Beasley, Ann and Charles Leggett, Brian  Hebert, Marla (Mrs. Lawrence D.) Garvey, Sandy Villere, and Mikell Johnson.

Rhythm and Soul

    In “Rhythm with the Greater New Orleans Community,” Jewish Family Service, a social service agency, held Rhythm & Soul 2016 at the Audubon Tea Room and honored Julanne Isaacson, JFS executive director from 1973-1994. The Big Brass Sponsors were The Bissinger-Timm Family and Cathy and Walter Isaacson, and the Super Satchmo Sponsors, Julanne and Irwin Isaacson and Sara B. Stone. Aviva Bowman, Vivian Cahn and Nancy Bissinger Timm chaired the event that included a dinner committee of 17. Included was JFS board President Julie Wise Oreck, who opened and closed the program.

   A tasty meal, with table accents of white orchids, was a major feature, as was the earlier, specialty Mint Julanne cocktail. The Mike Rihner Trio added the musical touch. Speakers included JFS executive director Roselle Ungar; Julanne’s son Dr. Tom Haspel from California; former executive director Deena Gerber with a gift for the honoree; and Julanne, who, visibly touched, surveyed the room, saying, “What a life-affirming experience it is for a 91-year-old to look out… and see so many (JFS) supporters.”

   Among them were Morris and Cathy Bart, Allan and the above Nancy Bissinger, Robert Ancira and Judith Haspel, Flo and Richard Schornstein, Lee Isaacson and Cynthia Knight, the above Tom and Kitty Haspel, Dorothy Jacobs, Max Nathan Jr., Hugo and Lis Kahn, Julie Grant Meyer, Sanford Pailet and Anne Gauthier, Julie Schwartz and David Radlauer, and Joshua L. Rubenstein.

Gratitude and a Good “Tyra” Time

   Tyra Treadway, a registered nurse and the wife of the late Dr. J. Kent Treadway, was the honoree at an end-of-the-year party held in the fascinating home of Dr. Tlaloc Alferez, an infectious disease specialist and the daughter of the late Peggy and Enrique Alferez, the renowned sculptor and artist. Her home, a former chapel, houses many of her father’s works. From her garden came mint, which was used in the lemonade that accompanied the luncheon prepared by chef Robert Myer.

  The occasion was to recognize and thank Tyra for all of her work of 23 years associated with the Spring Fiesta Association, including more than a dozen of presidential duties. Joining her for the farewell were daughter Ardyn and daughter-in-law Natalie (Mrs. James Treadway), Barbara Richmond, SFA President-Elect Celie Browning and Warren, Louise Zimmerman, Cecie Zimmerman, Katie Zimmerman, Vicky Moffat, Kelly Thibeaux, Laurel Reid, C.J. Blanda, Lynn Kirby and daughter Stephanie E. Rehkopf, Gayle Ehrensing, and Morris Kahn. To mention several, who help the SFA in its mission “to preserve and share the cultural heritage of New Orleans.”