Have a Heart

The alliterative Pumps and Pearls for Prevention 2016 rounded up around 350 partygoers (and supporters) at Harrah’s New Orleans on a recent Sunday afternoon. Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta (both inc.) sororities partnered with the American Heart Association to host the third annual event, which was billed “creative and educational.”

Also, exciting! Who could resist an open-to-the-public bash that touted line dancing, a Fierce Pump Contest, Zumba, free screenings, a silent auction, and prevention awareness education?

P & P headliners were DJ Wayne Guidry, Dance Fit NOLA’s Elba Selva, line dance instructor Susan Bailey, and contest judges Miss Louisiana USA Maaliyah Papillion, Casey Ferand of WDSU, Dora Cullen of Shoe Nami, Kristi Coleman of Fox 8 News, Natalie Shepard of WWL-TV, and, from SUNO, Gerald Brooks.

Among the “Pump” pack were Judge Terri Love, Dr. Wanda Auguillard, Currita Waddy, Judge Robin Pittman, former state Sen. Diana Bajoie, Chimene Grant Connor, Dr. Jennifer Lapeyrolerie, Kelisha Garrett, Cleveland Spears III, Dr. Kim Evans-Rugon, Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, and Gina Trapani, director of Go Red for Women and Heart and Soul Gala American Heart Association — Greater Southeast affiliate.

From the sororities came AKA’s Kathy Saloy, Robyn McCormick and Brenda Williams, presidents, respectively, of the Omicron Lambda Omega, Alpha Beta Omega and Rho Pi Omega chapters; and DST’s New Orleans Alumnae Chapter President Cheyra Head-Jenkins.

Harrah’s Hotel donated the food, such as “heart-healthy” jambalaya and baked chicken wings; and LSUHSC students gave a cooking demonstration. Discussions – with questions and answers – addressed making common meals better for the heart.

In addition to “heart,” art played a major role in the auction, with thanks directed to, among others, Terrance Osborne and Varion Laurent, and, in keeping with the theme, shoe art by local artists.

A Half-Century Salute

On the Avenue! St. Charles Avenue! And that’s what the ado was all about on a recent Saturday evening when the House of Broel Historic Mansion and Museums beckoned for the “Fabulous 50th Anniversary Gala,” featuring food catered by the House of Broel, fun, fashion and live entertainment. Punctuating all this was the opportunity to visit the house. On the second floor, an array of doll houses riveted the eyes of onlookers, who marveled at all of the miniature intricacy involved, and on the third floor, gowns, mostly wedding, attested to a gamut of styles.

Through the House of Broel Foundation, the collections and meeting space can continue to operate “for generations to come.”

Sponsors for the gala fundraisers were Gene and Duchess Brian, NOLAlit, Fashion Group International New Orleans, and Carl Mack Presents. In the Benefactors category were Douglas and Elaine Grundmeyer (attending with Patron-level daughter Sarah Abrusley) and Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman. Fifty-nine pals of hostess/house owner Bonnie Broel served on the committee.

Shortly after hors d’oeuvres were passed during the patron party at which Philip Melancon entertained, the fashion show took place, followed by awards and tours of the house, and music by DJ Carl “Bubba” Livermore.

“Sensations of Stage and Screen” marqueed the show, beginning with a “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” segment and culminating with the “Josephine Baker Story.” Participating were models and local celebs, including Tangie Landot, Dr. Jane Miller, Margarita Bergen, MaryFlynn Thomas, Rachel Welliver, and Tammy Broussard. Providing the gowns were the House of Broel Museum, Pedram Couture, Prima Donna’s Closet, and Carl Mark Presents. DJ Carl Livermore played precise musical numbers to accompany each fashion vignette.

To set the ambiance, a red carpet ran from St. Charles Avenue to the entrance of the mansion; two giant gold Oscar statues flanked the front door; and papier mache festooning accented with gold ribbon, plumes, pearls and drop crystals adorned the front door, mirrors, staircase and archways. A House of Broel backdrop was placed under the pavilion in the courtyard for photos. Guests clicked away.

Among the notables, many of whom heeded the suggestion for “Victorian attire,” were Elliott and Sandy Raisen, Joan and John Malinski, Carl Mack, Cindy Rigamer and son David, Kevin Wiggs, Lilli and John Colby, Dolores Hall, Cathie Weinstein, Anne Zoller Kiefer, Tracee Dundas (thanked for help with the show), Athena Samuel with Ricky Beavers, Albert and Carolyn Mendelson, Cheryl Welliver, Suzaune McCamey and Don Rees (who were married several years ago by Bonnie), Becky Allen and scores more, too costumed to be identified.

A significant moment occurred when Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, accompanied by Byron Cornelison, presented House of Broel with a proclamation in which the Council of the City of New Orleans recognized House of Broel President and CEO Bonnie Broel “for her extraordinary services to our fashion, culture and business community” in the 50th anniversary celebration.

Bonnie Broel had her own awards to distribute and did so by calling up to the podium friends and HoB family who were important to her and the foundation. There was still more to come. A cake cutting of the stunning three-tiered lavishly adorned confection, a champagne toast and dancing capped the evening, as did the above Phil Melancon with his rollicking tunes. People were laughing, singing along and dancing.

  • Praise for Play

A Montessori school that began in 2009 and “having grown from the benevolence of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral,” Cathedral Montessori School held a school auction, titled “Praise for Play.” It took place on a Sunday afternoon at the House of Blues on Decatur Street, where the location’s cathedral-style décor jibed with the school’s name, and the Parish Room’s orange hues complemented the logo design.

Among the features were the delicious food from donors Cochon, La Boulangerie and Congregation Coffee, along with gumbo, salad, smoked salmon and baklava. A mixture of artwork, household merchandise, children’s items and staycations stirred up auction ado.

Reveling in all of this were event Chairwoman Carmalia Lee with Marques Celestine, academic administrator Billie Venturatos Andersson and husband Paul, Parent Association President Ami Falterman and Jason, Cathedral dean the Rev. George Wilson, Michael and Kelli Shoemaker, Kathleen and Christopher Graythen, Kyle and Julie Sclafani, John and Amy Abadie, Anne Teague Landis and Cuyler Boad, Eliot and Elysha Guthrie, Charlotte and Barret Dragon, Sophia Pappas, Diane Chronis, Petros Christakis, Kosta Vennis, Koula Fatsis Vennis, Nisey Shanks, Neda Geyer, Shannon Markward, Eleni Roulakis, Ashley Holtrey, and Ashley Rouen. The entire event, which was organized by CMS parents, elicited the comment, “great to share time with parents and friends of CMS.” Listen to super music, too. And that was supplied by the Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band.

Around and About

Today in New York, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 2016 Semi-finalists, nine total, will compete. Recently, at Loyola’s Roussel Hall, and with auditions helped by support group Amici, baritone Sean Michael Plumb won from the Gulf Coast Region. As a semifinalist, he will compete today. “We are thrilled our winner (Plumb) is advancing,” said Melissa Gordon, regional director.

“We had way too much fun at our party/reception at our home in the Garden District…to honor New Orleans painter Aron Belka,”said hostess Andrea Wilkes, who, with husband Ren, celebrated the painter’s first solo show at Lemieux Galleries, as well as his recent “win” of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Award at ArtBasel in Miami.

Features of the delightful hobnobbing were the flowers by Gulf Florists, taste treats by the hostess and Martin Wine Cellar, the Iberville Club gin punch (contributed by Suzonne Stirling), and Bombay Sapphire artisan-themed party favors and decorations from Republic Beverages.

Mingling were Aron’s wife and muse, Lina Moses, along with Gloria and Loren Smith, Jan Sutton and Tom Mann, Laura and Ed Moise, Corinne and Bruce Gibb, the above Suzonne, Michelle and Charley Varley, Cathy and John Schieflin, Virginia Miller and Bruce Wallis, Kathy and Ray Cannata, Anna-Maria and Tim Lupin, Cristina Kim, Lynn and Drew Marsh, Alissa Schiffer, and Betsy Stout.