Furry Up, Little Doggie!

“Happy Tails to You” sub-billed the recent 101 Donations event presented by NOLA City Bark on a Friday evening in City Park’s Arbor Room at Popp Fountain, across from the dog park. Named NOLA City Bark, it’s the only “official” dog park located in historic City Park. Answering to NOLA City Bark coordinator is Melanie Paulina.

However, the fun-raiser, “101 Donations Goes Western: Happy Tails to You,” was open to two-legged patrons only. Pooches stayed home.

Wine, beer, margaritas, an auction, and City Park Catering were lassoed for the levity that suggested “Western attire.” A dudes’ to-do.

Queued up for the chow, guests enjoyed barbecue and Southern-style food from City Park Catering, along with luscious donated desserts from Whole Foods, New Orleans Ice Cream Co., and Alyssa Gele, who made bone and dog park logo cookies. “Blue Mongrel” (blueberry mojitos) donated by Velvet Cactus was the signature drink and for those who jonesed for a cuppa joe, Standard Coffee Co. provided the hearty fare.

Appropriately the number of auction items was 101 (more or less).

Highlights included a private dinner at the home of chef Michael Sichel of Galatoire’s, Bevolo lanterns, a James Michalopoulos print, and doggie daycares and vet visits.

As the Western pack arrived, they immediately espied a life-size faux horse and hay bales at the entrance. Photos were snapped there, along with the paraphernalia of cattle ropes, bandanas, and cowboy hats. In the Arbor Room, centerpieces included bright red cowboy boots holding cow-print balloons similar to the invitation’s artwork.

Turning out for “Tails” were City Councilwoman Susan Guidry and Hervin, Lisa Tudor with the above Michael Sichel, Monica Frois and Eve Masinter, and event Co-Chairwomen Jackie Shreves and Sue Guarisco with husbands Bruce and Mike. Jackie, City Bark’s founding president, and Sue, NOLA City Bark board recording secretary, along with Monica Frois, were also sponsors. Patricia Williamson is the corresponding secretary.

And, board President Mary Ann Cardinale with Doug, Susan and Bill Hess and daughter Dr. Audrey Hess, Pam Burck, Dessa and David Giffin, Edmund and board Vice Presiddent Kathy Schrenk, a Scott brace in Messrs. Discon and Williams, Dr. Chris and Patricia Fabacher, Chantel Laporte, Gene Goldring, board Treasurer Daniel Simpson Jr., Lori Keefe, Dean Howard of the Louisiana SPCA, and scores more, who were Bark-ing up the right treat.

Effective KAWS

At home and in prekindergarten, we were taught to share. And that’s just what renowned artist, KAWS (Brian Donnelly), has done. At the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane, “A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum, & Tomoo Gokita” will draw visitors through Jan. 3, 2016. It has been curated by NAM director Dr. Monica Ramirez-Montegut and born out of the personal art collection of KAWS, the Williamsburg, New York-based Pop artist. Along with 17 featured works by the “mononymous” KAWS, there are pieces by Hairy Who member Wirsum from Chicago (who’s known for “grotesque but nonetheless meticulously executed works” and for his “whimsical and brightly colored figures”) and Gokita, who lives near Tokyo. His monochromatic faceless portraits are both “figurative and abstract.”

Faces with recognizable features and names attached dominated the recent opening reception for “A Shared Space.” Before entering the art museum, guests passed by the 16-foot-tall black KAWS outdoors sculpture titled “Companion (Passing Through)” in the Newcomb Pottery Garden. A huge cartoon figure, it has gloved hands covering its face. Interpretations of the work ran the conversational gamut.

Several feet away, guests enjoyed libations provided by Michael’s Catering and chatter at cocktail tables dotting the Woodward Way breezeway in the warm glow of the Tiffany glass windows.

Headliners at the reception included Tulane University President Michael “Mike” Fitts, provost Michael Bernstein, associate provost Ana Lopez, KAWS, Libra and Casius Pealer, Jessie Haynes, Hayden Dunbar, Lander Dunbar, Anne-Marie and Edward Karp, Ben Karp, Yuri Herrara, Bitsie and Grover Mouton, Gia Hamilton, Honor Fraser, Erik Parker, Elizabeth Boone, Catherine Edwards, Ron Bechet, Rontherin Ratliff, Teresa Cole, and Amy Mackie, to name a few. Many of them received posters of the work, which they asked KAWS to sign, and attended the earlier interview with KAWS by NAM director Ramirez-Montegut in Dixon Hall, across from the art museum. Available for purchase was the 2010 monograph of the artist, titled “KAWS,” written by her.

Color was a predominant feature of the evening, both on and off gallery walls. Aqua blue, the chromatic look, was sported in student employees’ matching t-shirts bearing the museum’s now signature color and branding elements. As part of the branding, guests were also given illuminated Mardi Gras beads featuring the institution’s new logo. All for an effective cause.

School’s In!

A tribute to Jim Huger and his work in the charter school movement took place recently at the circa 1854 Greek Revival home of Jim Swanson on Esplanade Avenue in historic Treme. “Magnificent” was the adjective used by a party principal about the recently renovated mansion. A landscaped courtyard, and a wine cellar and tasting room were further attractive features that elicited viewing and compliments from the guests.

The purpose of the partying was to honor Jim Huger, who established the non-profit Choice Foundation in 2004 and worked tirelessly as its chairman for a decade. Choice is the operator of Lafayette Academy, Esperanza, McDonogh 42, and Paul L. Dunbar Elementary in Hollygrove, where the gym is named the James M. Huger Gymnasium.

(The ribbon-cutting took place the morning of this party at the home of Choice Foundation board Chairman Jim Swanson.) These open-enrollment schools serve approximately 2,000 students from the city’s high poverty populations, and in “addition to providing academic rigor, Choice schools promote the enrichment of the child outside the classroom.”

To show their gratitude, honoree Huger received a host of gifts from the schools and handwritten messages from the children of Lafayette Academy.

Joining Jim Huger were family members, including spouse Stephanie, twin sisters Mimsy Huger Lindner and Cabby Huger Boone (both in from away), aunt Susan Gundlach and husband Jimmy, and in-laws Diane and Andy Plauche. Noted, too, were Choice Foundation executive director Mickey Landry, Darryl and Louellen Berger, Robbie and Barbara Evans, Lee and Andrea Finkelstein, Storey and Anne Lynne Charbonnet, Anne and Sandy Villere, board member Wendy Lodrig and Dr. Hank Bart, Caroline and Murray Calhoun, and Susu and Whit Kellam from Baton Rouge.

Also, board member Fritz and Gwathmey Gomila, Laura and John Sillars, Harry Kelleher III with Chrissy, Caroline Roemer, Sarah and Tommy Usdin, Sandy and Leah Whann, Clark and Barbara Fitz-Hugh, Peter and Catherine Freeman, and board members Dewana Hill, Lisa Abel and Dr. Laurie Williams with husband Dr. Claude Williams.

Three heads of school — Anna Faye Caminita (McDonogh 42), Nicole Saulny (Esperanza) and Monica Boudouin (Lafayette Academy) – mingled, as did CF’s James Fulton, Susan Jurkanas, and many more, who made Huger their “hero.”