Gazing and Giving

Rising Stars

Presented by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, “Under the Stars” combined a patron party (with food by Celebrate! of Windsor Court and a specialty drink by Cure) and a gala at JABizTown of Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans. In 2003, JA instituted the City Stars Soiree to reach young professionals interested in its mission and to recognize those, 40 years and younger of good character, who have demonstrated strong entrepreneurial skills.

Take a bow, 2017 honorees! Leading off the alphabetical list was Jennifer Bond, Bond Moroch; Edgar “Dook” Chase IV, Dook’s Place Restaurant and Chase Catering; Greg Dietz, Ted Neikirk, James "Jammer" Orintas, Theo’s Pizza co-founders; Chase Mullin, Mullin Landscape; Donny Rouse, Rouses Market; and Scott Wolfe Jr., zlien.

JA President Larry Washington thanked Vince Giardina (accompanied by wife Donna) of the presenting sponsor, the Tolmas Charitable Trust. Then event Chairwoman Diedra Dias introduced the Rising Stars. The soiree was co-chaired by Wesley Palmisano, joined by Annie.

Others noted were JA board Chairwoman Lee Anne Sciambra, Brandon and Tara Smith (who spearheaded the auction), Terry and Karen Radosta, Warner Thomas, Jane and Scott Wolfe, Leah Chase, Monique and Jimmy Dunn, Carol and Buddy Bond, Shauna Lovorn-Marriage and Shayne Marriage, and Chase and Laura Mullin. To note a few.

As guests walked the red carpet, they noticed replicas of the stars of Hollywood Walk of Fame, which were scripted with the names of JA’s 2017 luminaries. Lighting, outside and inside, was by the Solomon Group. To further the Hollywood theme, Sallie Uhl designed the table centerpieces of red roses, white ostrich feathers, pearls and crystal.

Nineteen local eateries provided the vital (and tasty!) victuals, including restaurant Chairman Adam Biderman’s Company Burger. More features were the silent auction with 90 coveted items, all with Tinseltown titles (“The Leading Lady,” “Hollywood Home”), that produced Dr. Granville Morris and Gina Mmahat as respective top bidders of a Tuscan Villa getaway and earrings from Lee Michael’s Fine Jewelry.

Still more activity came from the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra and its music making of the Rat Pack Era, and souvenir photos. Guests had a lot of fun being snapped by the Spoofs-provided photo booth with look-alikes of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra.

Key Care

Saks Fifth Avenue and Carolyn Elder, vice president and general manager of the Canal Place store, welcomed all to Key to the Cure 2017 to benefit the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. Teamed to chair the event with Elder were a mother-daughter duo in Barbara Greenberg and Lauren Wakeman (with Devin). More family support came from Barbara's Austin-based sons (and Lauren's brothers), Mark and Sean Greenberg, and her dad and stepmom, Herbert and Sue Barton.

Further notables were corporate liaison Sue Singer and a chairing twosome in Allison Hoffman (social media) and Sandra Pulitzer (entertainment). The Key to the Cure Committee ran an A-Z gamut: Carla Adams to Susan Zackin. Dozens figured in between.

Thanks were plentiful and tapped the Goldring Family Foundation (represented by Diana Franco), Republic National Distributing Company, the Ogden and Berger Families (The Garage at Canal Place), Marianne (Mrs. Isidore Jr.) Cohn, John W. Deming and Bertie Murphy Deming Foundation, Richard and Linda Friedman, Jerome S. Glazer Foundation (represented by Kim Glazer), Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation (represented by Susan Jones Gundlach, joined by husband Jimmy), and the Ira and Betty Jones Family Foundation. From it were Betty Kohn and son Robert with wife Millie.

Also, the LSUHSC Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, Ochsner Health System, Britton and Sheila Sanderford, the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, Tulane Cancer Center, John and Gail Wall, and Xavier University of New Orleans. Hundreds of others were donors.

The entire Saks was turned over to the fundraiser, starting with appetizers on the first level and sounds by The Music Box and Mock Mood Band; main course fare on the second with ELS Show Band; and desserts on the third, along with the Don Vappie Duo. The cannoli from Angelo Brocato Ice Cream & Confectionery were delicious.

Socializing began at 6 p.m. About an hour and a half later, guests rallied on the third floor for the ETRO fashion show of its Fall/Winter 2017 Collection. Steven Putt announced the show that elicited such comments as “beautiful fabrics” and “amazing creativity.”

Another fashion fillip were the Key to the Cure T-shirts designed by Missoni, which were seen in national magazines and worn by Jennifer Lopez. Guests locally flocked to cashiers to buy them.

Then it was back to partying. Among the hundreds and hundreds noted were Walter Christy, Judie Oudt, Rick and Debbie Rees, Louana and Carlo DeMatteo, Arthur Pulitzer, Tiffa Boutte, Jacquee Carvin, Charlotte Bollinger, Jim Mounger, Penny Baumer, Juli Miller Hart and mom Jerri Cullinan, Liz Yager, Janice and Ed Foulks, Kim and Mike Sport, Jane Miller, Eleanor Farnswoth, Olivia Manning, Barbara Bush, Betty and Jim Karam, Diane Lyons, Sandra Dartus, Jane Goldring, and Fred and Amanda Herman. When the ELS showmakers started up, the Hermans took to the floor to boogie to “Chain of Fools,” “Shotgun” and others. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” packed the dance area, and by its title, signified what the wildly successful fundraiser was all about.

Traveling East!

“The Director (Susan Taylor) and Trustees of the New Orleans Museum of Art” (as stated on the invitation) held a Patron Preview of “East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography” at the museum. A half-hour reception was followed with remarks by Susan Taylor, NOMA Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, Prints and Drawings Russell Lord, and Diane Waggoner of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery in association with NOMA. In New Orleans, support came from the Freeman Family Curatorial Fund, the A. Charlotte Mann and Joshua Mann Pailet Endowment Fund, the Azby Museum Fund, The Helis Foundation, and Tim L. Fields, Esq. Delta Air Lines provided additional support. “East of the Mississippi” runs through Jan. 7, 2018.

Among those previewing the treasured photographs and learning that photography came to the U.S. in 1839 were Tina Freeman, Tommy and Dathel Coleman, Casey and Conny Willems, Bob and Sharon Weilbaecher, John and Priscilla Lawrence, and Courtney-Anne Sarpy with brother and sister-and-law John and Linda Sarpy. And, Bill Fagaly, Terri Romano, Robert and Millie Kohn, Phil and Eleanor Straub, Beatrice Germaine, Alice Reese, Jude Swenson, Carol and Tom Reese, and from Russell Lord’s family, spouse Dana Gruber and their kids, Noah and Eleanor Lord. All were riveted by the early photographs of New Orleans, especially those by Theodore Lilienthal (the “late” St. Charles Hotel) and Jay Dearborn Edwards (“Esplanade at Royal Street”).