Charitable Spirits

On a recent Friday evening, the Medical Center of Louisiana Foundation presented the 16th annual Spirit of Charity Award Dinner at the JW Marriott and honored Dr. Joseph F. Biundo Jr., “LSU, Rheumatology and PM&R.” An amateur radio operator, a cellist and a former high school boxer (ranked third in the state), Dr. Biundo, the author of 87 publications, is married to Mary Cools Biundo. They have three daughters, Beth, Brenda and Jennifer, and three grandsons.

During his talk, he focused on the historical importance of Charity Hospital, saying “what it has created is the basis of the Spirit of Charity program.” He continued, “The Charity Hospital that we know opened in 1939 and has certainly meant a lot to me.”

Program principals included master of ceremonies/MCLF executive director Dr. Peter DeBlieux, who was joined by spouse Karen; the Rev. Michael Burke, OP, of St. Anthony of Padua Church, for the invocation; Drs. Robert Mipro, Walter Eversmeyer III (with Pamela) and Perry Rigby (with Barbara) for the introduction of the honoree; and Drs. Steve Nelson (with Julie) and L. Lee Hamm III, respective deans of the schools of medicine of LSUHSC and Tulane University, to present The Healing Hands crystal award to Dr. Biundo.

In addition to Dr. DeBlieux, the Spirit of Charity Committee officers are MCLF board president Dr. Frank Incaprera, secretary/treasurer Evangeline Molero Vavrick, and coordinator Stacy Gerhold-Marvin, the event chairwoman. All thanked the five major sponsors and admired the fall-themed floral arrangements by Villere’s Florist. A field greens salad and a chocolate mousse cake began and closed the tasty meal.

Two recently deceased award recipients, Drs. Norman E. McSwain Jr. and Isidore Cohn Jr., received tributes from Dr. DeBlieux.

Noted were such past recipients as Dr. Gerald Berenson with Joan, Dr. Incaprera, Dr. D. Luke Glancy with Cynthia, and Dr. Charles “Bo” Sanders with Julia. Others extending congratulations to the honored Joe were MCLF board members Sally Duplantier with granddaughters Dr. Allison Cragin (with fiancé Dr. Randy Englert) and Michelle Duplantier with Charley Heisen; Dr. Paul Friedlander; Dr. Sally Knight; Malcolm Schwarzenbach III, and Harold Weis with Leah. Merry McSwain and Michael Fawer, Bethany Bultman, Lisa and Byron Miranda, Dr. Bennett de Boisblanc, Lisa Napier and about 210 others were on hand to raise funds for medical research. Tap a toe, too, to the music of the Tim Laughlin Trio.

Kitchen Camaraderie

“Come Grow with Us — Chef Showdown” bannered the fundraising ado for Liberty’s Kitchen, the eighth one, that had Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (in absentia), Mary Matalin and Anne Milling as honorary chairwomen and the New Orleans Public Library’s Main Library as the venue. Awards were part of the format’s ingredients and were presented by LK executive director Dave Emond to Women of the Storm (Youth Advocate Award) and represented by founder Anne Milling, and by LK founder Janet Gorence Davas to LK graduates Syrena Johnson and Tevin Clark, who thanked chef Susan Spicer for early support. Syrena now works at Willa Jean and Tevin at Borgne.

The library was transformed into a social site via lighting, lanterns, a “Liberty’s Kitchen-green” carpet and autumn accents, such as pumpkins and gourds. Images of LK alums and current trainees were placed throughout the premises. Thanks, too, tapped presenting sponsor Swerve Sweetener.

A highlight of the evening was the opportunity of the trainees to work alongside 20 renowned Crescent City chefs, including Spicer, Ryan Prewitt, Adam Biderman, and Jason Klutts. Those who give get: the Chef Showdown winners were chefs Mike and Jeff Gulotta, Tenney Flynn, and Chris Wilson and David Slater. Then there was the Kitchen’s own chef, Greg Fonseca, who presented samples of the fresh food made daily for schoolchildren.

Further headliners were LK board Chairman Matt Schwartz, Councilwoman Susan Guidry (representing LaToya Cantrell), Swerve President and CEO Andress Blackwell, King Milling with Anne, Denis McDonald (Anne’s brother) and Lulie, Denise Redmann and Bill Hoffman, Ellen and Steve Frischhertz, Hervin Guidry with Susan, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, Sharon Jacobs and Lenny Davis, Mary Bond Kohlmann, Jennifer and Stephen Hanemann, Cleveland Spears, Dee and Bill Moody, Joan Mascaro, Carol Wise (recently back from China), Dr. Deidre Hayes and retired Judge Calvin Johnson, Christa and Herb Anderson, Kristina Bradford, Ben McLauchlin, Jorie Kirschbaum, Ashley Stagg, Michael Elizabeth McQuillen and Nicole Collins.

Ruthie Winston led an exciting live auction with Chris Papamichael (Panama Jazz Vacation), Caroline Wilson and Sam Solomon (chef Leon Galatoire dinner), Scott “Rodger” Wheaton (Theo’s Pizza Truck party), and Ernest Nunez (Emeril’s Dine-Around) as purchasers.

They, as did all the Chef Showdown-goers, responded to the music by Mia Borders, Luke Winslow King and Max Moran, and turned an attentive eye to the LK-logo ice sculpture by Juliet and John Albrecht. Awesome!

Art is where the home is

For the 21st year, Poydras Home held its annual Art Show, encompassing a range of A-Z artists (Natalie Acquistapace to Alan Zakem with scores in between) and Luzianne as the top sponsor: Rembrandt. “Sneak Peek” titled the Libby Adams-chaired patron party that had fabulous food and libations, entertainment by Deacon John, and Cameron Adams, Andrea Bland, Kris Capshaw, Vicky McHenry, Susan Ordemann, Margaret Riley and Jackie Yancey on the committee. “Dress to Buy Art” was the sartorial request and most of the 350 attendees did.

Jordana Civetti and fiancé Robert Richmond and Casey Dietz and fiancé Chris Zainey teamed to chair the whole event, which had Bryan Batt as the juried art judge. The three top winners were Marianne Antoine (first), Larry Daniel Nevil (second), and Glinda Schafer (third).

Patrons milling about the seasonally-decorated Poydras Home were artist Chairwoman Anna Dietz with David, Mark Adams with Libby, PH board President Melanee Usdin with Steve, Jill Winston, PH CEO Jay Rive with Courtney, spouses Brent Barriere and Judy Barrasso, Marion and Lee Eagan, Winx and Jim McCarthy, Ella and Walter Flower, Frank and Paulette Stewart, Manny Bright with Edgar and Ashley Bright, Sandra Carter Green and Gloria Normann, all smart for art.

Landmarks levity

The Pitot House on Bayou St. John rallied 160-plus guests at the invitation of Louisiana Landmarks Society for Fête du Jardin. The Sunday soiree included food by nine fine purveyors, music by Hansen’s Garden District Quartet, flowers by Wayne Christenberry, tours of the house that dates back to 1799, and the celebration of the society’s 65th anniversary of incorporation. A look-back remembered all the winners of the Harnett T. Kane Award bestowed since 1968 to recognize lifetime achievement in historic preservation. Sixteen winners attended.

Included in the Fête “family” were LLS President Stephen Chauvin and Cindy, major benefactors Jim Landis and Elizabeth “Libby” (a society trustee), major supporter Elizabeth Livingston (another Elizabeth L.!), executive director Walter W. Gallas, and past awardees Daniel E. Michel of Marksville, William E. “Bill” Borah, James Derbes with wife Jan Katz, John Geiser III, Michael Duplantier, Lydia Schmalz (a Kane winner along with her late husband, Howard), Louise Martin, Pat O’Brien, Camille Strachan, and for 2015, James R. Logan with Jenny.

A keepsake booklet profiling all the winners and their achievements was produced as a memento of this special evening.