The grand opening and dedication of the “Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries” limelighted the names of Richard C. Adkerson and Freeport-McMoRan Foundation; Ralph E. Crump, LTJG, USNR, US Merchant Marine Gallery; and American Spirit Bridge. Six generous sponsors were thanked, among which was the Gary Sinise Foundation.

After the welcome and presentation of colors in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, the above acclaimed actor Gary Sinise strode forward as master of ceremonies.

It was to BB’s Stage Door Canteen that sponsors and special guests hied first for a cocktail party and entertainment by the National WWII Museum’s Victory Six. Meanwhile, folks quaffed champagne and savored passed hors d’oeuvres catered by the American Sector Bar + Restaurant.

Then it was into the pavilion for dinner and the welcoming ceremony, with, among the speakers, museum President and CEO Dr. Nick Mueller (joined by with Beth), board of trustees Chairman Richard Adkerson, and WWII veterans Leslie Tenney, Richard Greer and Ralph Crump. Victory garden salad, grilled filet of beef and black iron seared Gulf fish, and “Old Fashioned” baked Alaska were the menu items.

Within the 600-person crowd gathered for the bash, titled “America’s Journey of Courage and Sacrifice Gala,” were Boysie and Joy Bollinger, Drew and Brittany Brees, Buzz and Jackie Clarkson, Mary Landrieu, Dathel and John Georges, Frank and Paulette Stewart, Joseph and Megan Authement, Bill and Mary Hines, Suzanne Mestayer, Carroll Suggs, Dathel and Tommy Coleman, Paul and Mary Hilliard, and John and Ann Koerner. Conversation hovered on the newest permanent exhibit, the Richard C. Adkerson & Freeport McMoRan Foundation “Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries.”

Retraced in the gallery is the grueling trail that led from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay…and “the staggering range of extreme emotions that confronted American military forces.”

In keeping with the theme, the décor was evocative of colors of the Pacific – tropical greens combined with warm orange and pink hues. Urban Earth provided the floral arrangements of botanicals, such as pink ice protea, purple foxglove, ti leaves, and orange orchids.

Singing for Our Supper

Early in the program during the New Orleans Opera Director’s Dinner at the Windsor Court Hotel, a pair of singers commanded attention. They were the first place winners at the New Orleans Opera Association’s High School Vocal Competition, the Youth Vocal Competition. Mezzo-soprano Emily Treigle Sheets and tenor Ryan Reynolds, both seniors at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, performed. Matthew Wood, a NOCCA faculty member accompanied them. Emily is the granddaughter of the late famous opera singer Norman Treigle; her mother is Phyllis Treigle. The competition is a collaborative effort with Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Fine Arts, Tulane University Department of Music and of NOCCA. It has since been renamed The Donald W. Wood Sr. Competition.

Addressing the black tie-assembly in the hotel’s Grill Room was Debra Hirsch Wood, widow of Donald Wood. She and family members have established funding to continue the competition, which now bears the name of her late spouse, who loved opera and was supportive of NOOA’s educational endeavors.

Mr. Wood’s children will continue their father’s legacy. Recognized were Sarah Louise Wood Ham (whose husband is Scott Ham), Donald William Wood Jr. (Maria Ainsworth Newell Wood), Pearce Friedrichs Wood (Babs Evangelista), Tiffany Shea Hayers (Stuart Hayers), Hunter Whitefield Shea (Christy Liriano Shea) and Emily Madison Eickoff.

Mastheaders of the dinner were Mastersigners Chaircouple Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Martin, Ted and Louise; NOOA President Dr. R. Ranney Mize (who was joined by Emel); and Robert Lyall, the Opera’s general and artistic director. Dinner began promptly at 7 p.m. on the Sunday evening of the event and delighted the collective palate with roasted beets, fennel and satsuma crab; breaded Gulf redfish; and dark chocolate mousse cake.

Noted were immediate past NOOA board President Meredith Hathorn Penick and husband Rawley, Maestro Circle Chaircouple Drs. Nicolas and Haydee Bazan, J. Robert Pope, Mastersigners founder Joseph Young Jr. and Aysen, Drs. Rand and Terry Voorhies, Jerry Zachary and Henry Bernstein, Arthur A.Crais Jr. Price and Christine LeBlanc, NOOA Women’s Guild President Betsy Dowling with Dr. Patrick Dowling, E. John Bullard and Catherine Burns Tremaine, Emmet Geary Jr., and Jay Gulotta and Susan Talley.

And Drs. Ken and Naomi Mann, Karen and Leopold Sher, Paul and Donna Flower and scores more. Quite a bit of the table conversation centered on the 2016-17 season and its forthcoming productions of “Don Giovanni,” “Macbeth,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Faust.”

Gratitude was roundly expressed by the Martins, Ranney Mize, and Robert Lyall. Said President Mize as he overlooked the diners, “ Everyone here is important to the Opera. I am proud to be part of it.”

Many of the above have been pursuing musical performances in the city. The Loyola Opera Theatre presented Charles Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette” (to honor the 400th year of the death of William Shakespeare) and spotlighted music director/conductor Carol Rausch, stage director Bill Fabris, College of Music and Fine Arts Dean Dr. Anthony Decuir, and as Juliette, Rachel Looney (Saturday evening) and Aurora Serafine Foster (Sunday matinee), and as Romeo Dennis Shuman (Saturday) and Kameron Lopreore (Sunday).

Days later, people packed St. Louis Cathedral for “A Fair to Remember” that celebrated the 1884-85 concert season in New Orleans. The free concert featured conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto and performing artists Alcee Jones, Alice Lestang, Elizabeth Lewy, Julian Romero Pacheco, Pierre Queval, Aaron Richert, and Nicolette Sigur. Rafael R. Shabetai narrated. The program was presented by The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Post-concert dining was enjoyed by throngs at the nearby Muriel’s Jackson Square, where the above performers were roundly congratulated as they sat and supped.

Around and About

Fogo de Chao in the JW Marriott rounded up throngs for opening-night feasting and the experience of the Brazilian Steakhouse. There were, and all with titles, Ted Selogie, Jacqueline Simon, Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi, Diane Lyons, Sandra Dartus, Else Pedersen, Frank Stansbury, Renee and Stewart Peck, Sharon Litwin, David Simon, Leslie Perrin and Charles Ransdell, Chris Stocks, Mayra Pineda, Margarita Bergen, Mark Romig, David Bailey, and Ben and Barbara Johnson, Lots more, who loved the ambiance and the style of dining.

Cherie Banos Schneider was the honoree at the Jazz Buffet given by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond and the Board of the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center to raise funds for the center. A Mass in the Notre Dame Seminary Chapel preceded the lively socializing that took place at Dominican High School. A silent auction and the upbeat music of The Last Straws added fun to funding.