Backing the Blue
Six hundred guests assembled at the Sheraton New Orleans for the Stake Out for Justice Luncheon given by the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation, whose mission is to make the Crescent City “a safer place to live, work and visit.” Hancock Whitney Bank was the Presenting Sponsor and Whitney President Joseph S. “Joe” Exnicios gave the opening remarks. Additional notables were NOPJF board Chairman Gregory Rusovich, President and CEO Melanie Talia, event Chairwoman Karen DeBlieux and keynote speaker Nola Joyce, retired deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department.
In speaker Joyce’s address, she noted that the New Orleans Police Department, which has Michael Harrison as its superintendent, “is developing into a national model for delivering effective crime fighting without sacrificing rigorous constitutional protections” and that the department is “making an unparalleled integration of data and technology” to guide law enforcement efforts.
Awards went to Entergy New Orleans, Corporate Responsibility, and accepted by Gary Huntley; Dickie Brennan & Company, Ebbert Award, and accepted by Dickie Brennan and Steve Pettus; and three NOPD officers, Badge of Honor Award, to Officer Chris Abbott, Sergeant Ray Jones and, posthumously, to Officer Marcus McNeil.
Table centerpieces furthered the “Love BLUE; Live NOLA” theme, which highlighted numerous events, places and activities that make our city unique and the role played by the men and women in blue. One lucky person at each table won the centerpiece artwork. As for the menu, steak was the main course and a NOPJF-inspired dessert, the finale.
A Touro Tout
Combined each year at the Touro Infirmary Foundation Gala is the presentation of the Judah Touro Society Award. This year, during the Mardi Gras World-held event, Dr. Tom Oelsner was the recipient. An émigré from Germany and England, he attended Tulane Medical School, joined the Touro Medical staff in 1966, and practiced internal medicine and nephrology until his retirement in 2006. He and his wife, Marilynn, have since traveled all over the continental U.S. in their motorhome. Thus, “Let’s Take a Road Trip” themed the evening’s activity.
Allison Kupperman (with spouse Shane), Dr. Meredith Maxwell (with spouse Stephen Morel), and Benjamin Swig chaired the gala event that started with a patron party followed by a cocktail hour, both with 1718 catering and music by James Martin Band. Artwork by Nurhan Gokturk, Ashton Shaw Despot, Bryan Brown, Page Goss and others beckoned at the silent auction. Meade Wenzel supplied the centerpieces. Furthering the theme, the décor of the River City Ballroom featured nature-inspired bouquets, license plates from the U.S. states, and travel signage.
Night-trippers included Lauren Oelsner Greenberg and husband David, Touro Infirmary Foundation Director Jonnie L. Honse and Clifford Sutter Jr., foundation manager Josh Friedmann and Lindsay, foundation board Chairwoman Nancy B. Timm (who, during the program, praised Dr. Oelsner for his professionalism and compassion) and Stephen, board member Jonathan and Allison Brouk, Kodi and Passionate Craft, TI President and CEO Susan Andrews, Dr. Brent Wallis (People’s Health) and C.C., Touro Infirmary Governing Board Chairman Louis K. Good III and Susan, and Dr. Alfred John Colfry III and Alysha.
An “after” party created another round of excitement and revelry with a cocktail competition, a Mariana Sheppard Photography photo booth, and lively music by DJ Tony Skratchere.
What’s for SOUPer?
Approximately 200 friends and SOUPporters of The Salvation Army gathered in the atrium outside of BB’s Stage Door Canteen of the National WWII Museum for a reception, followed by an hour-later seated dinner in the Canteen. Decorations included red and black ribbons running the length of each table with red carnations, greenery and votives as centerpieces. Julio and Cesar and their seven-piece Latin band played and guests dined on wedge salad, Airline chicken and a Bourbon pecan tart.
Teamed to chair the SOUPer Bowl Gala, which benefits The Salvation Army, Greater New Orleans Area Command, were Donna Flower and Charlotte Spooner, with their respective husbands, Paul and Ed. Further notables were Janetanne and Arthur Mears, John Key, Kelly and Derek Commander, Beth and Guy Cook, Lynn and Dick Meyers, Cindy and Bill “Billy” Woessner, Karen and Christian Blessey, Kristen and Woody Koppel, Skye and Matt Fantaci, Kathy and Bill Hornsby, Paulette and Frank Stewart, and Sara and Tim Scandurro.
After opening the program, Advisory Board Chairman Ed Spooner showed slides from the Salvation Army’s New Orleans Units, which were deployed during recent hurricane relief services in three states. As guest speaker, Tony Thompson, past CEO of the Krispy Kreme Donut Company and incoming chairman of the Army’s National Advisory Board, reviewed the 150-year history of The Salvation Army and the story of the doughnuts that were made by the Army’s “Donut Girls” and distributed from horse-drawn wagons to front-line troops during WWI.
Another highlight of the evening was the investiture of Salvation Army board member C. Allen Favrot as an Honorary Life Member for his 40-plus years of service to the Army. Joining the beaming honoree was his daughter, Mignon Moscati, and son Caffrey Favrot.
Spirit of the Vieux Carre Gala
A beautiful watercolor by Pio Lyons graced the cover of the invitation for the Vieux Carre Commission Foundation’s Spirit of the Vieux Carre Gala 2017. It featured the Napoleon House, the venue, of the gala chaired by Kathryn Brennan McLeod and Gordon McLeod. She’s the vice president of the foundation, which has as president Sydney F. Anderson (with sponsor Mike Riley). Mary V. Hewes is the VCC’s executive director.
Patron party guests met in the “Appartement de L’Empereur, of the Napoleon House, a 200-year-old landmark and one of the city’s — and country’s — most architecturally significant structures. Harkins the Florist did the floral arrangements and a trio of NOCC students, the musical ones. The main party then opened on the first floor and the patio. More highlights included cuisine by executive chef Chris Montero and a special “unplugged” performance by Grammy-nominated Lost Bayou Ramblers and their Louisiana French Creole-inspired music.
Further mastheaders were Napoleon House proprietor Ralph Brennan and Susan, board Secretary Susan and Paul Klein, Treasurer Terry DuFrene and Lynette, and founding President Darryl Berger and Louellen. (They joined his sister, Donna Kay Berger, and others at the Saenger Broadway Series’ outstanding “The King and I” on opening night.) New board members in attendance included Melissa Gibbs, Matthew Emory, Rebecca Rau, and Mamie Gasperecz, joined by Kirk.
Noted, too, were City Councilwoman Susan Guidry with Hervin, Councilwoman-Elect Kristin Gisleson Palmer with Bobby, music sponsor Jay Valentino (Valentino New Orleans Hotels), spouses Gregory Holt and Lucy Burnett, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Steve Perry, Elie and Daniela Khoury, Kenneth Combs and Brobson Lutz, Juli Miller Hart, Basi and Michael Carbine, New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation President Mark Romig, and scores more, who added social soul to “Spirit.”