“A perfect spring day” suited the Daughters of the British Empire to a tea. With a “Downton Abbey” theme, the DBE invited guests to British Afternoon Tea in the Pavilion of Longue Vue House and Gardens. It was a fundraiser, the eighth. The National Society Daughters of the British Empire is a philanthropic society that has been active in more than 30 states in the U.S. for more than 100 years. Four regional retirement homes, along with local causes, benefit from money raised.
Table decorations by artist Heather Cavanagh and the ladies of Elizabethan Chapter featured photographs of characters from “Downton Abbey,” the hit TV Masterpiece Classic series. Larger-than-life cutouts of Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Mary and Carson were on loan from The English Tea Room in Covington and provided a whimsical backdrop for guests to be photographed with their favorite principals.
Costumes inspired by the series were readily sported by the sold-out crowd, who turned back the sartorial pages to a century ago. Prizes for the most authentic creations tapped Martin Lowe and Elaine Grundmeyer as the winners in the categories for gentlemen and ladies.
More winners developed, thanks to the raffle items of elegant baskets filled with specialty items. Graphic designer Rachael Hatley, who created both the tea flyers and the menus, presided over the raffle presentation. Further excitement came from the door prizes.
During the course of the afternoon, traditional British afternoon tea fare was to the fore with all food items being homemade and lovingly prepared by DBE members. Savory sandwiches; scones with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and jam; and small sweets delighted the collective palate. Numerous cups of English tea were poured from “Brown Betty” tea pots by costumed servers, assisted by high school volunteers.
Leading off the “Tea” set were DBE state President Jane Caruso for the welcoming words; special guests Tim and Jan Lantrip of the above English Tea Room, who donated tasty treats; longtime member Thelma Brands, who has a 91st birthday this month, and son Arthur; Patricia Gallagher representing The Daughters of 1812; Christene Zagone and daughter Bailee Choate from DBE Petticoat Lane Chapter in Lafayette; Valerie Monks and Lylee Hess from Baton Rouge’s Strawberry Fields Chapter; and Marigold McNeely. As Marigold Bostock-Wilson, she was among the Wrens in World War II who worked at Benchley Park and succeeded in breaking the German Enigma code. (This was the subject matter of the very recent movie, “The Imitation Game,” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Allen Leech, Tom Branson of “Downton Abbey.”) Everyone who worked there was required to sign the Official Secrets Act, which was in effect for three decades. Now, Marigold is married to Capt. Richard McNeely and Covington is their home.
Others making “Tea” their time were state organizer Betty Calzada, event Co-Chairwomen Beryl Mundee and Jean Benard, state first vice president; and state second Vice President Martine Lowe with the above Martin and daughter Deanna. And, Esther Coy, Penny Thompson, Winona Gibbs, a “Rose Girls’’-costumed duo in Bonnie Slaughter and daughter Colette Acosta, Diana Clark, Joy Miller, Hazel Turlington, Anne Garrett, Carol Gelderman, Elisabeth Huber, Douglas Grundmeyer, Diana L. Lewis, Henry Sullivan and Amanda Bates.
Special mention targeted Heather Cavanagh, Cynthia Parham, Hank Parham, Gary Benard, Beth Goddard, Elba Hickey, Debbie Coz, Jeanne Cline, Liz Beauregard, Gail Duffy, Gilda Deeks and Carolyn Heurre. Dozens more delighted in the setting and socializing, which melded “Abbey” and altruism.
On a recent Thursday evening, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) presented its sixth annual garden party and fundraiser, An Edible Evening, to support five school gardens and two teaching kitchens at five New Orleans charter schools operated by FirstLine Schools. It was held at the Dreamkeeper Garden, one of the five gardens managed by ESYNOLA, at Langston Hughes Academy.
Features of the al fresco fun and funds were the patron party by Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse and Tableau restaurants, and to cap off the evening M Squared Productions LLC sponsored the Late Wave Party featuring DJ Brice Nice to encourage night owls and young professionals to come out and enjoy the garden.
In addition to foundations and businesses, there were individual sponsors of the event: Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Lane, Karen Giger and Larry Eustis, Vaughan Fitzpatrick, Alan and Marianne Mumford, and Cathy and Hunter Pierson, a former Rex. The New Orleans Advocate was the event’s exclusive Print Media Sponsor.
Langston Hughes Academy’s Dreamkeeper Garden is the only FirstLine schoolyard garden that hosts animals and so goats in bow ties entertained the guests. Everyone loved their inclusion. An Edible Evening was also the inaugural event for the garden’s new outdoor garden-culinary classroom, where students gather daily for garden classes. It is funded in large part by Mr. and Mrs. George Wilson.
Among the 1,000 attendees, all of whom relished the food offerings of the many vendors at the main event, were “Evening” Co-Chairwomen Alice Glenn and Shon Baker with husbands Brodie and Charles, FirstLine CEO Jay Altman and board President Gregory St. Etienne with Adrienne and Denise, ESYNOLA executive director Claudia Barker and husband Michael Tucker, M Squared founder/owner Michael “Mike” Murphy and Brent Becnel, Councilman Jared Brossett, the above Piersons, Randy Fertel of the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation, ESYNOLA Task Force Chairwoman Dee McCloskey, Presqu’ile Wines President Matt Murphy and Amanda, Madison and Suzanne Murphy and their daughter Anna, Leah Brown, and Larry and Ruth Kullman.
Wetness came earlier in the day in the form of a heavy downpour. However, by party time, the rain stopped and guests ventured out and partied in the garden, as well as the rain-plan building. Then, the desired wetness came in the form of drinks with Presqu’ile as the official wine for the evening, and other fine liquid additions from NOLA Brewing Co., Whole Foods Market (for non-alcoholic fare), Cure Co., Twelve Mile Limit, and ESYNOLA’s “The Dreamcatcher,” one of the specially made drinks noted. Hitting the bright notes, and with thanks to in-part sponsorship by Positive Vibrations Foundation, were Seguenon Kone, NOCCA Jazz Ensemble, Social Set, Tuba Skinny, and the above DJ Brice Nice. Nice!
Appropriately, the Compass Room at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside was the venue for the annual gala dinner of the Council of American Master Mariners Inc., a social high mark during the annual general meeting, hosted by the New Orleans CAMM Chapter, which was held at both the Hilton and the National World War II Museum under the title “The Changing Face of the Maritime Industry.”
Chapter President Capt. Ed Higgins and Chief Engineer Horace George teamed as event co-chairmen. However, duties at sea prevented Captain Higgins from attendance at the dinner. Additional organizational assistance came from Capt. R.J. Klein (joined by wife Lyn), Capt. Robert “Bob” Phillips and Juan Barona. Tours, live entertainment, and restaurant outings awaited the Master Mariners and their company.
At the gala dinner, Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, was the keynote speaker, sharing limelight with Capt. Pat Moloney (accompanied by Deborah Ferguson), the recipient of the prestigious Lalonde “Spirit of the Seas” Award. Along with the Port of New Orleans, the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, ISH and Matson were some of the sponsors.
Noted were Captains Manny Aschemeyer with Floy Ann, Tom Bradley with Linda, Don Moore with Jacolyn, Joe Hartnett, Dan Jordan with Mona, and Phil Mouton with Louise, as well as the Rev. Sinclair Oubre, June Milliard, Michael Rodriguez and the Rev. Philip and Sandra Vandercook. Prandial pleasures included garden salad, shrimp bisque, main course choices, and, to conclude, triple cream cheesecake.
Around and About
Dr. Ollie and Karen Oser Edmunds just celebrated 45 years of marriage with an at-home reception with their nearest and dearest, which included a family gamut going from her 100-year-old stepfather, Frank Purvis, to the feted couple’s little grandson, Julian. Days later, more celebration surrounded Jacob “Jake” Vincent Manguno, whose 90th birthday was hailed at his Vincent Mann Gallery on Royal Street. Further natal-day delights came from an Earth Day-birthday given by Duane Page at the Audubon Golf Club. “Enrich the Earth with Love” was her slogan.
Two movies about family, tenacity and dreams have gathered Orleanians. “The Woman in Gold” stars Helen Mirren, who, with husband Taylor Hackford, used to have a house in the French Quarter. At Elmwood, a red-carpet premiere of “Little Boy,” which had audience members applauding at the end (and many wiping their eyes), was hosted by Susan Brennan, Dr. Daniel Morin, Frank Loria, Ron Aleman and Lester Coe. Noted were Lester’s wife, Dr. Janine Lissand Coe, Digges and Lynn Morgan, Deborah Mooney, Arnold Goldberg, Ingersoll Jordan, and Dot and Dick Piner with lots of their family.