Family Service of Greater New Orleans hailed a top “10,” distinguished and giving citizens, at its recent gala; the Encore Shop Fall into Fashion benefited the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as fashionistas and friends; and, for more of the latter, Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful held “The Autumn Affair,” slating funds to beautify and landscape public green spaces in Jefferson Parish. In each festive case, service to the community was at the fore.


A certain section of City Park was abuzz on a recent Wednesday evening when Family Service held its Ten Outstanding Persons Gala. Patrons first assembled in the Botanical Garden for Champagne and passed hors d’oeuvres before joining others for the dinner-auction-tribute in the Pavilion of the Two Sisters. The Marais Boys were the music makers.

Villere’s Florist created the flowers for the dinner tables in the pavilion to align with Family Service’s signature blue and white. When guests sat to sup, they relished a menu by City Park Catering of a mixed salad, grilled shrimp and beef tenderloin, Tuscan-grilled vegetables and white chocolate bread pudding.

The principal desserts were directed to the 10 honorees, whose ranks included Charlotte Bollinger; Darlene Cusanza, who was joined by husband Sal; Klara Cvitanovich with son Tommy and daughter-in-law Leanne; John Hollowell with Paula; Bob Merrick with Sheryl Duplantis; Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand with Shawn; Terrance Osborne with Stephanie; Alan Philipson with Arlene; Pam Ryan with Bill; and Cheryl Teamer with dad Charles. Recognized and chosen for their good works in the community, the laureates spoke about the importance of service and volunteerism.

More headliners included board members/gala co-chairwomen Kristi Post and Kathy Vogt with husbands Bill Larzelere and Paul Vogt; Ashton Ryan Jr. of First NBC Bank, the event’s presenting Sponsor of Hope; master of ceremonies Mark Romig with David Briggs; honorary gala Chairwoman Cynthia “Cindy” Molyneux with Joe; FS interim President David Haynik; and director of development Juli Pattison with Terry. All espouse the work of FS as it “strengthens the emotional health and fosters the self-sufficiency of families and individuals.”

To add to the coffers, they and dozens more made silent auction rounds for such enticements as artwork by Terrance Osborne and Joe Barth III, wine baskets and fleur-de-lis décor from Roux Royale and Forever New Orleans. The “live” thrills came from the Crystal Cooking Experience (with a private chef for six, limousine rides to and from Experience, libations and a crystal gift), which was donated by Al and Penny Baumer; a presidential yacht tour (Gulf Coast Bank) donated by Dale and Guy Williams; and David Yurman diamond hoop earrings donated by Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. The respective (and smiling) purchasers were the above Kathy Vogt, Cindy Molyneux and Charlotte Bollinger.

Noted, too, and with FS board connections, were board Chairman Blake Jones with Lois, C. Allen Favrot with Jane, Carroll Suggs, Kathleen Robert, the above Baumers, Hattie Broussard with husband the Rev. Terral Broussard, Gary and Valerie Huntley, Michael Liebaert with Ruth Austin, Renee and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Clarice Kirkland, Elizabeth and John Ryan, Sandra McClain Cutera with Jim, Jackie Sullivan, Jean Taylor, Joan Coulter, Michael Todd, Howard Rodgers II, and a son-dad duo in Alex and Juan Gershanik.

More gala-goers counted Virginia and John Amato, Patricia Brinson (sister of Bob Merrick) and Vernon, Mike and Kim Sport, Chad and Vanessa Berg, Joe Dempsey, Leo and Leslie Marsh, invitation designer Freda Paz with friend Mayra Pineda, Joe and Debbie Exnicios, Steve and Cameron Perry, Qi Wiggins, Mike Read, Dottie and Judge Kern Reese, PK Scheerle, Skip and Nancy Weber, and Joe and Linda Pappalardo. To remember the Ten Outstanding Persons Gala and the work of the 1896-founded Family Service, each guest received an FS charm, which was designed for the event by the Thomas Mann Gallery.

Funds for “Fashion”

The party package added just that: packages. Wrapped up in one evening was altruism — the beneficiary was the orchestra-owned Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; hobnobbing in one of the city’s most beautiful homes — that of Mary and Bill Hines; and the chance to shop. That’s shop! Thanks to many generous donors to Encore Shop Fall into Fashion, the event’s Boutique (which offered, as does the Maple Street-located Encore, gently used designer clothing, accessories and jewelry to benefit the LPO) featured such touted names as Hermes, Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Mignon Faget and St. John. The Hines’ daughter Mary Wyatt Milano arranged the display of the exciting items.

The hosts were Mary and Bill Hines, who give to a plethora of community projects. In social circles, they have had such top honors as Rex for him and queen of the Mystic Club for her. Throughout the evening, guests raved about the home and gardens, as well as the Hineses’ hospitality. Said a top party principal, “Mary helped with every aspect of the event … and made the organization easy and delightful.”

Features of “Fashion” were numerous and included purveyance by Twelve Seasons Catering (represented by Victoria Lehew); Luz Caputto’s monitoring of the meal and the procuring of cheeses from Langenstein’s and caviar from Louisiana Caviar Company; Maple Street Patisserie’s assortment of breads; and Betty Speyrer’s homemade desserts. Dorignac’s generously provided the wine. Embellishing the dining room table was a centerpiece donated by Carrollton Flower Market.

Mary Hines (representing both herself and husband Bill, who was out of the country) led off the list of the 140 attendees, which included Fall into Fashion Chairwoman Darleen Carlisle attending with Jerry; with Ileana, Jose Suquet, president/CEO of Pan American Life Insurance, which supports the LPO in generous fashion; and Cristi Fowler Chauvin, Patricia Kahn, and Joel and Bert Meyers, who purchased patron ticket packages.

Adding their “Fashion” profile were Marcia Hubbard, Danielle Trostorff, Jamie Manders, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Mimi Kruger, Marilyn Dittmann, Jacque Gold, Melissa Gordon, Alix Rico, Margaret Wood, Mary Ellen Gallagher and dozens more, who reveled in all the pleasures of this ninth annual event (and the best attended so far), along with the toe-tapping scintillation of the Nick Ellman Jazz Trio.

‘Beautiful’ Friends

Holley Haag, Elesha Kelleher and Ashley Price Swanson teamed to chair “The Autumn Affair” given by Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful at the Metairie home of Heather and Bruce Burglass, the patron party hosts, while Jackie Madden made rounds as Friends president. First NBC was the Iris (top) sponsor.

Board and/or Gala Committee members present included Friends Vice President Dessa Giffin with David, Secretary Joe Baucum with Cindy, Treasurer Albert Kelleher with the above Elesha, Patrick Quinn with Holley Haag, Jack and Gerri Stumpf, Michael Whealdon with Mary, Mary Fay Legnon, Ed Marshall, JoAnn Christopher with husband Jozsef Toth, Ingrid Garvey, Mary Ellen Miller with Cliff, and Mike Cotter.

When not catching up on another’s comings and goings, they moseyed over to the fine fare of Fleur de Lis Catering, which was described as “absolutely exquisite.” Byblos, Arania and Salu provided the drinks and rated thanks. For the auction, treats consisted of a house portrait by Alesha Barnett, artwork by Mary Soniat, a Saints package, a gift basket from Saks, a weekend at a Florida home and a screening party donated by the Theatres at Canal Place.

Adding to the Friends forum were Jefferson Parish notables, including President John Young, Jennifer Van Vrancken Dwyer and Brook Burmaster; Marla Garvey, who was noted in a Saturday evening’s audience of the Ricky Graham-directed “One Man, Two Guvnors” at Rivertown Theaters; Susan and Rick Price, Ninette and Perry Eastman, Wayne Nocito, Penny O’Krepki, Lou and Charles Lane, and Christie and Gunther Perdigao. Scores more, too, for whom “beautify” was the beat.