The setting sun raised the curtain on revelry when three organizations gathered their own. “Spring Garden Party,” the 20th annual benefit gala for the McFarland Institute Council of Baptist Community Ministries took place at the Metairie Country Club with “elegant summer attire or summer white” as the requested dress; “Love at First Knight” caused party palpitations at (and for) Stuart Hall School for Boys; and “Harvest at Home,” a fundraiser for Second Harvest Food Bank, was held at the home of Calvin and Frances Fayard, a Second Harvest board member. The featured chef was Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s and Ivy, who has just received the 2014 James Beard Award for “Best Chef, South.” All three groups stirred up fine socializing.

m‘Garden’ Gallivating

Event Chaircouple Dr. Jerry and Denise St. Pierre mastheaded the benefit for The McFarland Institute that included as notables McFarland Institute Council Chairman Slade Simons with spouse Elizabeth, BCM board Chairman H. Merritt Lane III with Elly, BCM interim President Charles Beasley with Laura, Council President Charles “Charlie” Young with Sandy, Bob and Claire Howson, Jack and Jane Hunter, Price and Ann Crane, Earl and Carolyn Weiser, Mo and Sharon Crane, Jim and Sarah Wilkinson, Bobby and Peggy Brannon, Philip and Noonee Brooks, Drew and Julie Jardine, Joseph and Holly Popham, Alan and Dana Ganucheau and a brace of vice presidents in Frances Hawkins (Congregational Wellness for the Institute) and joined by Charles, and Dr. Jim Hightower (Chaplaincy for the Institute).

They, and almost 200 others, chatted over the dinner pleasures of Romaine salad, prime rib, Pacific Northwest salmon, and crème brulee. Dorignac’s donated the wines. Floral embellishment came from Nola Flora and consisted of hydrangeas in white and kiwi green, Belles of Ireland, purple stock, roses and orchids. Pretty, pretty!

Punctuating all the activity with a huge exclamation point was the live auction led by Kenneth Pickering. The St. Pierres will have a one-week stay in the St. Thomas Virgin Islands, thanks to the vacation-condo donation by the Howsons; and Dianne Boazman and Dee Clubb will board an Orpheus float as guest riders during Carnival. They will red-circle, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, for the thrills.

Meanwhile, the immediate musical “ride” was provided by The Horizon Band, which added more “Spring” to the “Garden Party” fun.

m ‘Knight’-ly Love

The Stuart Hall Auction, which rounded up cocktail-clad guests in the Multi Purpose Building, featured six boards and 120 auction packages, a live one with Ruthie Winston as the auctioneer, and more than 20 raffle items, including a man’s Breitling watch from Friends & Co. Excitement never abated.

In between trips to the boards, “Love at First Knight” guests thanked Superior Energy Services as the top category (“Can’t Buy Me Love”) sponsor, while they relished the party’s amenities. Restaurant August catered, offering such choices as beef osso bucco and duck and andouille gumbo; Coca-Cola added to the purveyance; and Sugarcoat and Grateful Event productions set up a dessert and candy table for sweet trekking.

Additional credit went to Local Lustre for the red-roses centerpieces, CHL Linens for the décor, Royal Productions for ambient lighting, and Crystal Clear Imaging for the life-size cutouts of the thematic knights.

More than 400 individuals made “Knight” moves, led off by auction Chairwomen Amy Maniscalco and Missy Duhon with Joseph and Gerald, school headmaster Kevin Avin with Tootie, SH founder William “Bill” Gallop, board president Kent Ryan and Lori, Parents’ Club Presidents Mr. and Mrs. Ron Barreca, and from major sponsor Superior, Mike Dowling.

Mingling, too, were the William Goliwases (that’s Billy and Anne), Amy Crosby, Peter and Karen DeBlieux, the Ash Abbotts, the John Van Vranckens III and IV, the Roland Waguespacks, the William Tittles, the Patrick Calhouns, Michael and Renee Hulefeld, and the junior A. Thomas Leonhards. The musical momentum came from Audio Jocks and DJ Patrick Barbaro, who made “Love” lively.

m Harvest Hobnobbing

The fifth anniversary of Second Harvest Food Bank’s fundraiser, “Harvest at Home,” unfolded at the Fayards’ residence, where guests savored a beautiful spring evening as they mingled outside, sipping wine and enjoying the dishes prepared by chef Sue Zemanick. She follows in the fine footsteps of former HaH chefs, Susan Spicer, Tory McPhail, and Donald Link, who attended and prepared more good food. At the end of the evening, Sue Zemanick received a special HaH chef’s jacket to thank her.

Numbering in the gathering that supports Second Harvest were host couple Frances and Calvin Fayard with son Carter, SHFB President and CEO Natalie Jayroe with Ken, and for Saint-ly representation, 2014 HaH Chairwomen Jennifer Lauscha and Melanie Loomis with Dennis and Mickey, Tom and Gayle Benson, and Sean Payton and Skylene Montgomery, a HaH committee member.

Spotted, too, were Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu, Clifton and Elizabeth LeBlanc, Sheila Sanderford, SHFB board chairman Andy Favret with Elizabeth, state Rep. Neil and Kim Abramson, Josh Meyer and Jill Dupre, Helene and Rob Florence, Leann and Ted Moses, Lauren and Philip May, Lisa Abel, Terri Kaupp, Nancy and Mike Marsiglia, and Mary and Robert Lupo, who are thrilled with new grandson, Thomas Jude Lupo, son of Abby and Tom Lupo.

m Around and About

The home of Terry and Liz Creel was the site for a host of congratulations when the Junior League of New Orleans held its annual Mint Julep Party and honored Claire Ferrier Stahel as the 2014 Sustainer of the Year.

Spring brides have been numerous with three rating special attention. Two “I do’s” occurred in April with the focus turning to Collen Mitchell Key, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Scott Key, and Mark Adam Zbrzeznj, who invited close kin and kith to “Under the Oak” at the New Orleans Country Club for their nuptials, and, on a later date, the celebration of the marriage of Calais Pilar Hurst and Patrick Houstoun Waring in the Arbor Room at Popp Fountain in City Park.

Last Saturday, Alexandra “Alexa” Dennis Georges, daughter of Mrs. Dennis Antonios Georges (nee Anita Pelias) and the late Mr. Georges, swapped vows with Jerry Richard Armatis at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Jubilation then flowed at the reception at the home of her brother and sister-in-law, John and Dathel Georges.