The Play’s the King

Lyricism and levity were scripted on a recent Friday evening at The Historic New Orleans Collection when VIPs of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival rubbed shoulders. During the course of several jam-packed days, they had assembled for the fest’s 30th anniversary for Tennessee talk. As they wandered about the Vieux Carre, their paths crossed several of the sites associated with the famous playwright, born in 1911 (died 1983) as Thomas Lanier Williams.

Hosted by The Collection and catered by Chez Nous, the reception honored the many speakers, presenters and luminaries of the TWNOLF, whose ranks included board President Janet Daley Duval — days later, she retired the slip she has worn for many a moon as Stella (from “A Streetcar Named Desire”) in the Stella and Stanley Shouting Contest — and husband Judge Stanwood Duval Jr., founding and current board member Peggy Scott Laborde and Errol, Dick Cavett and wife Dr. Martha Rogers, Collection executive director Priscilla Lawrence (who, along with Kathy Slimp of THNOC was credited with the success of the party), deputy director Daniel Hammer, Festival executive director Paul Willis, Bryan Batt and Susie Hoskins, the home-hostess for the fest patrons’ autumnal partying.

More minglers included Thomas Keith, John Pope, Tom Piazza, Jordan Friedman and actress Cecile Monteyne, who inherited the Stella slip.

Pluvial concerns were lifted just before the reception with, according to Janet Duval, “the deluge ending at 5:45 (p.m.).” She continued, adding, “A rainbow appeared over the Mississippi River.” Possibly Tennessee’s way of saying “Rise and shine.”

Lair of the Hog

A cinematic spoof with a savory twist headlined the fourth annual Pre-Hogs Dinner connected with Hogs for the Cause. An Italian wedding feast inspired by “The Godfather,” the “dinner you can’t refuse” was presented by Hogs for the Cause and the Link Restaurant Group.

Chomps blended with cause. The presenting organization, HftC, operates as the “premier funding source for pediatric brain cancer outreach services in the United States. It provides help to families who are struggling with the financial burdens of caring for a child with brain cancer.”

Children’s Hospital was one of the 19 sponsors of the overall event that claims Rene Louapre and Becker Hall as co-founders.

Before “The Godfather” dinner in City Park’s Arbor Room of Popp Fountain, Louapre said “tracksuits and bad tuxedos are required, slick mustaches are optional, but excessive romantic behavior is encouraged.”

Cocktails kicked off the socializing with Cathead Vodka, Bristow Gin, and Rougaroux Rum, served by the team from Cure Co., creating palate pleasers. More taste treats ensued with the Sicilian-inspired menu, making it truly a dinner that could not be refused.

Notables included the above co-founders, auctioneers Carey Bringle and Mark Romig (also the master of ceremonies), as well as Heather Lolley, Neal Bodenheimer, Kirk Estopinal, Nick Detrich, and Max and Vicky Loubiere for the eating and drinking.

Touted as participating chefs were Stephen Stryjewski, Ryan Prewitt, Rebecca Wilcomb, Levon Wallace, Billy Jones, Andrew Ticer, Michael Hudman, Kristen Essig, Tandy Wilson and Carey Bringle.

Alex Pappas, who was in charge of the décor, served on the dinner committee along with Alex Layfield, Jessica Magnum, Kate Gilly and auction spearheader Claire Thriffiley.

Among the Hogs aplenty hobnobbers relishing the repast were Bill and Cheryl Stegbauer, Gary Solomon, Buddy Patrick, Robert LeBlanc, Tom Drummond, William and Megan Wolf. Dr. Nicholas and Christina Pappas, Dr. Nicholas Pappas Jr., Dr. Steve and Carol Venturatos, Jennifer Bond, Christine Albert, Mary Perrin, Benjamin Guider, and Max and Vicki Loubiere with daughters Savannah and Molly.

And, Graham Ralston, Chris Sullivan, Zandy and Margot Rainold, Kirk Coco, Johnny Culpepper, Kyle Brechtel, Joe and Stephanie Bruno, Judge Chris and Carrie Bruno, Joseph Bruno Jr. and others who praised the “Godfather” gastronomy. As for the musical menu, the Eric Rodriguez Trio did fine purveyance.

Action in the Affirmative

Youth Empowerment Projects 40 Under 40 titled the to-do given by YEP as it proudly debuted the inaugural 40 Under 40 cohort, a philanthropic group of 40 young professionals, who are each donating $40 a month throughout 2016. Their donations will benefit YEP’s programs for underserved children and youth across the New Orleans region.

The outdoor basketball court connected to YEP’s youth center on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard was transformed into a picturesque café setting with picnic tables topped with white table cloths. The floral accents, designed by Marc Roberson, consisted of Gerber daisies and natural greens in Mason jars.

As sponsors of the event, the names to know were the Link Restaurant Group and GNO Inc. Food for the evening was generously provided by the Link Restaurant Group and attendees noshed on charcuterie, select cheeses, and a variety of gourmet sandwiches from Butcher. Wine and beer was provided by GNO Inc.

The program started with an introduction by YEP board members and 40 Under 40 participants Josh Cox and Chris LeBato. Then YEP’s founder and executive director, Melissa Sawyer, thanked the guests and introduced three of YEP’s young people whose testimonials credited YEP with helping them accomplish their dreams. In-attendance Council Members thanked the donors.

Mingling during the “perfect” spring evening for networking and other niceties — thanks to the music of DJ Brice Nice — were Darren Aldrige, Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Millard Morrison, Stephanie Hotard, Ron Carrere, Stephanie Powell, Royce Duplessis, Christine Albert, Joe Giarrusso and scores more for whom “40” was fabulous.