Winning Events

Justice Jaunt

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to be involved in this year’s Justice for All Ball and Patron Party. Everyone knows that these are two of the must-attend fundraising events in New Orleans each year.” So said Gary Solomon Jr., who, in an honorary capacity, co-chaired the annual bash with Seth Bloom, who acknowledged, “The Pro Bono Project is near and dear to me. They extended an opportunity to me as a young lawyer to gain real-world experience and see the other side of the legal profession.” Both, along with legions of attendees at the ball held in the Audubon Tea Room, showed their commitment to the city’s need for free and discounted legal services, especially to those who are underserved. The Justice for All Ball is the premier event for the legal, business, justice and government communities.

There’s also a brand-new executive director, Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, a bash VIP along with committee Chairwoman Jan Hayden, of Baker Donelson, who attended with husband Jerry Montalbano; Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D., of Loyola University, the rare document exhibit assembler, and son Zachary Klos (Solomon Group), who donated the rare French document establishing the House of Orleans that found a slew of eager bidders; and Pro Bono Project’s board Chairman Norm Rubenstein.

Doris Metropolitan, Drago’s and Marcello’s catered the JFAB Patron Party in the Zoo Picnic Pavilion, which gathered more than 285 people for the Ace Hotel’s specialty cocktail, Creole Apothecary; NOCCA’s Student Jazz Quartet; and emcee Mark Romig’s thanks to Solomon and Bloom and the gifts from Adler’s to show appreciation.

Then it was on to the Audubon Tea Room, where arriving guests enjoyed the Peacocktail, the rum-created specialty drink by Audubon Catering; offerings from more than 20 food and beverage providers; and the Solomon Group’s high-tech features, such as a large LED video screen that provided an electronic backdrop for the live auction conducted by John Calhoun and the later eclectic band Flow Tribe. Solomon Group bathed the walls of the venue with colors of gold, red/green, and a deep blue/violet to complement the invitation by artist Amy Henry Centola, who was joined at the ball by husband Larry.

Additional notables -- all with titles and affiliations -- were Wendy Hickok-Robinson, Dana Douglas, Mark and Nancy Samuels, Bruce and Liz Boulware, Michelle Egan, Russ and Sandra Herman, Sophia Ryan and husband Isaac, Molly Vigour, Guy and Mickey deLaup, Judge Tiffany G. Chase, Jim Singleton, Christopher “Chris” Ralston, Joseph Ching, Van Robichaux, Patrick Frazer, Nadege A. Assale, Sally Perry, Chris Short, Michael DePetrillo and wife Vanessa D’Souza, Michael and Yvette Semmes and daughter Mathilde Semmes, Elonide Semmes, Conway SolomonJoanna Broussard, Allen Borne, and Judge Bernadette D’Souza with husband Dr. Terry.

Still others were Mark and Barbara Kaplinsky, Lacey Rochester, Bruce and Jackie Shreves, Chris and Casey Zainey, Loulan Pitre, and Steve Lane with Juli Miller Hart.

In the auction, the Centola signature art piece, “Lady Justice at the Ball,” found Gary Solomon Sr. as the high bidder. More top bidders were Laura Carlisle (for the above-mentioned French document establishing the House of Orleans), Douglas R. Plymale (for sports attractions) and the oil-on-canvas, “And Justice For All,” crafted by artist Michael Guidry and “won” by Marguerite Kingsmill.

Opera Ball

With a wink to both the opera “Don Giovanni” and the man himself (aka Don Juan), the Opera Gala 2016 marqueed its elegant merriment “September Seduction.” The Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Association presented the “DG”-inspired bash at The Terminal at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, starting with a party for patrons in The Walnut Room with music by the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra and, for “General and Junior Admission,” a subsequent seated dinner. The promised silent auction extraordinaire, “Special Surprise” Performance, and dancing to The Yat Pack Band concluded the social “Seduction.”

For ladies in attendance, there were gentlemen ballroom dancers for a whirl on the floor. Additional features were the Deluxe Wine Basket Raffle, Lee Michaels “Lights Out” Extravaganza, a floor show with Osman Torres and Taylor Schoen (2015 USA Dancesport Champions) and a gourmet dinner by Messina’s at The Terminal. A greens mix with crumbled goat cheese and grilled butterflied shrimp paired with a small filet were the first courses.

Table decorations were sprays of red and white roses placed in wrought-iron “hearts.” (Remembering the theme, Don Giovanni had a wrought-iron heart. Also, it would take such a heart to resist him!) Rose petals were strewn on the table cloths.

Headliners included Women’s Guild President Penny Baumer (joined by husband Al), who had another role: that of event co-chairwoman. Additional Opera Gala co-chairwomen were Dr. Erin Fleming (with John), Melissa Gordon (with Bruce), Carol Hall (with John), Dr. Jane Miller (with Bruce) and Karen Villavaso, vice president of fundraising. Ranney Mize, Ph.D., (with Emel) answers to president of the New Orleans Opera Association, and Robert Lyall, to NOOA general and artistic director. He’s also addressed as Maestro.

Suzanne Scott (with Byron) and Amanda Green teamed to chair the auction. Noted making rounds and relishing “Seduction” were Virginia and John Eckholdt, Jackie Elliott, Rachel Jones, Debbie Alciatore Empey with John, Mary Donahue, Dr. William and Dee Long, Faith and Bill Peperone, Barbara Ballard and Bill Hudson, Scott and Lorraine Chotin, Debra Wood, Libby and Jim Landis, Holley Haag, Chad and Vanessa Berg, and Amy and Nick Cioli.

Still others -- many chatting about the Mozart opera “Don Giovanni,” which will launch the NOOA’s season on Oct. 7 and 9 -- were Sonya Moore, Marian and Larry Gibbs, Irene Klinger, Pat Murrell, Joan Eckholdt, Pam Rogers, Dr. Charles and Diane Dupin, Lee Ann and Ira Savoie, Ashley Pradel, Loretta and Guy Corbett, Kevin Wilkins, and Meredith and Rawley Penick. To name a few of the black-tie assembly, who delighted in the gala celebrating dancing, cocktails, cuisine and congeniality. As a souvenir, Price LeBlanc, Lexus of New Orleans, arranged the complimentary Special Gala Photography. Snap! Snap!

Lindy’s Place

It was all-Saints day at Rock ’n’ Bowl for The Lindy Rock! The recent three-hour Sunday gathering was bannered “A party to keep Lindy’s Place going.” Due to the loss of its major federal funding source, Lindy’s Place, which is named after the late multi-hyphenated Lindy Boggs, must find new ways to raise revenue for its women’s residence. It was founded in 1992 by Sister Clarita Bourque, MSC, “to help homeless, unaccompanied women break the cycles of poverty and joblessness and reach self-sustainment.”

The lively invitation, which featured a smiling photo of Mrs. Boggs, stated the party’s promises: Rock! To James Andrews, Charmaine Neville (and Amasa Miller); Bowl! At the classic Rock ’n' Bowl; Cheer! The Saints on big-screen monitors; Bid! On auction items, such as an Yvonne LaFleur hat (modeled by Angela Hill and purchased by Alicia Cole), a ballgown of Lindy’s (modeled by Tiffany Bennett Leashore and bought by Rosie Ryan), and a Saints-signed football (“won” by Neil Nazareth); and Eat! Commander’s Palace, Dooky Chase, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe, and Willie Mae’s catered.

Notables were numerous. Within the Lindy-scape were LP board Chairwoman/Catholic Charities CEO Sister Marjorie Hebert, MSC; LP Executive Director Mary Smith; and board members Suzanne Stouse (with husband Howard Margot), Renee Peck (with Stewart), Dr. Bridget Brahney-Laudan (with husband Christian Laudan) and Margie Stewart (with son Brian Griffin). Mary, Suzanne and Renee coordinated the event. Reaped plentiful thanks, too.

Also noted were Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Laure and Mark Starring, Fox 8 meteorologist David Bernard as the auctioneer, Rock ’n’ Bowl impresario John Blancher, Charlotte and Dr. Robert Link, Jay and Lois Van Kirk, Paula Evans, Chris Bynum with Shawn Kennedy, Joan Morrison Tupper, Alicia and Frank Cole with mom Bette Cole, Ginny Hardy, Millie Stouse Fuselier and Rene, Stephanie Stokes, and Danielle and Corey Mitchell. Lindy’s Place volunteers included Margie Stewart, Heidi DeSalvo, Margot Stouse, Janice Landry-May, Dyna DeRien, Elva Dorce, Brenda Landers, Verma Scott, Latisha Smith, Pat McCallon and Francisco Rudeke.