Twenty-Fifth Tout!

Many of the attendees sported a touch of silver at the recent Azucar Ball of the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Perhaps it was in jewelry, or the color of the dress or cufflinks. Even as a headpiece. And that sartorial nod was for the foundation’s 25th Silver Jubilee.

Gracing the cover of the printed program was thematic artwork by Mario Villa. An angel with head wings – and done in shades of burnished silver – furthered the culture-through-education purpose of the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation with “Education gives you wings to fly” or “La educacion da alas para volar.” The bash benefitted the foundation’s Scholarship Fund to help deserving Latino students.

The festivity took social flight at the patron party in the Empire Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency, chaired by Elena V. Countiss, Carmen L. Duncan and Mayra Pineda, who were joined by husbands Eugene, Kelly and Hector. It was sponsored by Dickie Brennan & Co., highlighted signature cocktails by Daniel Victory of Victor Bar, and featured a music ensemble of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

An hour later, the Masquerade Ball, which was presented by Pan American Life Insurance Group, continued in the same venue with entertainment by Carl Mack Presents, gourmet dishes by top New Orleans restaurants, music by Julio y Cesar and AsheSon, a silent auction (with online activity by Thompson Auction Service and St. Mary’s Dominican High School, among others), and the 9 p.m. presentation of the prestigious Galvez Cup for 2015 to artists Mario Villa, Hernan Caro and Luis Colmenares. Commemorative centerpiece sculptures by Caro and Colmenares were available for purchase, as were raffle chances for earrings from Friend & Company. A slew of sponsors and top donors got gratitude galore.

Further features of the 25th gala were the splendid décor by Royal Event Rental, Karla Marie Fine Art Photography, the Photo Booth by Boogie Booth and Audio Visual effects by Royal Productions.

Chairing the ball was a glamorous threesome in Maricarmen Huelga Aldana, Elizabeth Dunn Bordes and Francesca Velasco. Dozens served as committee chairmen, including George J. Fowler III, NOHHF president. The executive director is Raul V. Fonte, who was joined by spouse Helen Flammer.

Luminaries among the many Jubilee-goers were Luz Caputto with Dr. Salvador, Blanca Rosa Maldonado with Hector, Dr. Juan Gershanik with spouse Ana and their son Alex (who enjoyed a round on the dance floor with his mom), Christian and Cristi Fowler Chauvin, Yakelis Anzola with Juan Carlos, Elsa Baker, Belinda Flores Shinshillas, Ramon and Maria Vallejo, Cuqui Moore, Maria Bonilla with Carlos and daughter Karla Bonilla-Peyton, Terrence and Henri Hall and Jose and Ileana Suquet, who were among those making constant treks to the dance floor for one of the most dancingest parties in town. Let’s slow it down for “Sabor a Mi” and then strike it up for “La Bamba.”

Semper Fidelis

The Marine Forces Reserve & Marine Forces North held the 2015 Birthday Ball in celebration of the Marine Corps 240th birthday. Nov. 10, 1775, marks the founding date. Mardi Gras World was the site for the Semper Fi night that started with a VIP social hour hosted by Lt. Gen Rex C. McMillian (with Rebecca), commander of Marine Forces Reserve. Then came the Official Ceremony during which time Sgt. Kenneth Altazan (with Mary), who had been awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in Vietnam (recently upgraded to Navy Cross), was recognized. Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, 13th commandant of the Marine Corps, sent a special Birthday Ball message. So did Gen. Robert B. Neller, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps, who wrote about the founding in 1775, “when the Continental Congress raised up two batallions of Marines.” He concluded with “Happy Birthday, Marines.”

The music was provided by Marine Forces Reserve Band New Orleans with a special performance by Lt. Col. Mike Corrado, who performed “Stand,” a country-music tribute to veterans.

Usually the apex of the evening is the escorted arrival of the birthday cake. It was cut by Lt. Gen. McMillian and Sgt. Maj. Anthony Spadaro, command sergeant major. Featured, too, were the oldest and youngest Marines present, respectively Gunnery Sergeant Robert L. Allen (enlisted April 18, 1945) and Lance Corporal Robert D. Kisow (enlisted July 21, 2014).

Good food, a beautiful location, elegant dress (with military evening dress “B,” tuxedos, and long evening gowns as correct attire) and joyful music thrilled an assembly of 1, 215, who made “A Celebration of New Orleans” their splendid social salute.

Award Dinner

The Anti-Defamation League invited a host to the 2015 A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award Dinner in the Hyatt Regency that honored Phyllis Taylor and Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Ph.D., with the award. A cocktail reception was followed by dinner and the program. Teamed to chair the event were Carroll Suggs and the Rev. James C. Carter, SJ, Susan O. Hess and Dr. Norman C. Francis. Father Carter and Rabbi Edward Cohn launched the program. Additional principals were ADL Regional Director Dr. Allison Padilla-Goodman and board Chairwoman Nancy B. Timm.

Noted among the hundreds – and many were friends or associates of the honorees – were Beth (Mrs. Nick) Mueller, Rod West, Charles Rice Jr., Bill Goldring with Kenneth Polite and Timothy Francis, John Casbon with Leon Cannizzaro and Jeff Sallett, Michael Botnick, Gordon Arata, Danny and Mary Claire Conwill, Bob Merrick, Cathy and Charles Glaser, Joshua and Mara Force, Michael Smith (of the host hotel), Charlie Teamer, the Rev. Kevin Wildes, SJ, Michael Fitts, and the Gary Solomon, Sara Stone and Bissinger-Timm families. Most all answered to impressive titles.

An autumn-inspired salad, grilled fish and a strawberry tart were the menu items in a room that was florally pleasing, thanks to the yellow roses designed by Vivian Cahn.

Remember When?

For its annual Christmas Gala and Auction, St. Pius X trekked down Memory Lane with “Remembers All Things New Orleans.” How about Jax, Godchaux’s, Bali Ha’i, Schwegmann, MB, House of Lee? For the nostalgic nod, Curt Kronlage was the Platinum Sponsor.

New Orleans Food and Spirits catered the hors d’oeuvre array for the patron party. Then came the gala and its buffet dinner, party boards, silent auction, Students’ Art Auction, One-Thousand Dollar Cash Raffle, Tuition Raffle, gift table, NOLA Twine Photo Booth, live auction and dancing to Louisiana Spice.

The top two names were gala Chairwomen Jennifer Gutierrez and Michelle Raymond, whose committee numbered 31. Additional mastheaders were Pastor the Very Rev. Patrick J. Williams, Principal Pamela W. Fulham, the Rev. Jonathan P. Hemelt, Deirdre Macnamara, and four presidents: Kathleen Schott (Pastoral Council), Stephen Lovecchio (School Board), Armand Bourdais (Men’s Club) and Janis Lovecchio (Mothers’ Club).

The St. Pius X Catholic School Father A.T. Screen Gymnasium was the venue for the “Remembers” romp that made the past into a lively presence.