Legions poured into Saks Fifth Avenue at Canal Place for the annual Key to the Cure at the invitation of The Louisiana Cancer Research Center and Saks. The event, which was nationally widespread in sundry Saks locations, bannered Julianne Moore, the 2015 Oscar-winning Best Actress, as the 2015 Ambassador for the Entertainment Industry Foundation for “Key” and Stand Up To Cancer. In a statement, she said, “Everyone has been affected by cancer is some way, whether you’ve cared for a loved one facing a cancer diagnosis, or contended with cancer yourself.” She continued, saying she was honored to highlight the mission to make those diagnosed with cancer into survivors.
Whereas the acclaimed actress was not present for the local hobnobbing, a slew of notable New Orleanians were.
People-watching was part of the evening’s excitement that covered three tiers at Saks. On the first floor, The Uptown Music Theatre featured as entertainers Merengue 4-Four and appetizers, all scrumptious, by Arnaud’s, Broussard’s Restaurant, and The Green Bar at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place; Mike Soulman Baptiste and The New Orleans Mystics were the second-floor music makers, and 12 fine eateries purveyed “main-course” fare; and on the third floor, the Wendell Brunious Trio entertained, while folks relished dessert delights.
It was also on the third floor that the fashion show, a first for the “Key” activity, held forth at approximately 7:20 p.m. Most people stood for the defile, while VIPs sat. Carmen Marc Valvo was the in-attendance designer of the looks — “all great, all wearable” as many remarked w— and on hand to get a hearty ovation at the end. He then mingled as people came up to compliment and thank him.
At the various Saks locations, and during the Charity Shopping Weekend, money was raised based on sales to combat cancer. At Key To The Cure 2015 Charity Shopping Kickoff Gala in the Crescent City, 2 percent of sales that night and for the succeeding four days benefited the Louisiana Cancer Research Center.
A sixsome chaired the gallivanting: Saks Vice President and general manager Carolyn Elder, who wore a Carmen Marc Valvo mode; Chris Fransen, in a Theory suit; James “Jim” Mounger, wearing Billy Reid; Anne Redd, in Kate Spade; Julie Wise Oreck, sporting a Clover Canyon design; and Susan Wormser, whose look was Milly. Sam Mercer, Edmond Redd and Lenny Wormser joined, respectively, Chris, Anne and Susan.
Amanda Herman and Sue Singer formed the 2015 Corporate Liaison, while Meaghan Ryan Bonavita with Joe, Mary Wyatt Milano, Lauren Ryan and Margaret Villere chaired the Fabulous Under Forty forces.
More bash brass included entertainment Chairwoman Sandra Pulitzer with Arthur; Saks marketing executive Steven Putt with other Saks executives Larry Dauterive, Charles Leininger, Colleen Bolling and marketing manager Denise Trahant; and in-attendance designers Carmen Marc Valvo and Marvin K, founder and co-creator of Aquatalia Shoes.
From LCRC came Dr. Prescott Deininger, Dr. Krzysztof Reiss with Dr. Francesca Pruzzi, and Richard Granen.
Top sponsors included the Goldring Family Foundation and Republic National Distributing represented by Diane Goldring Franco and Fred Holley, as well as Ochsner Health System.
At the party’s entrance, Darryl Berger, who was joined by Louellen and their son and daughter-in-law Brandon and Daphne, smiled as he observed the décor and significant chromatics. “It’s pink — and getting pinker.” True words. “Pink was the Theme” titled the to-do. Furthering the look were tracker lights on the front of the store and, within, a suspended floral creation by visual director Miguel Canlobo and uplighting in tones of pink. Many manifestations of pink were noticed and scores within the party pack of 800 wore some form of the color.
In addition, Marie Antoinette look-alikes welcomed guests with rose champagne. Someone hummed a few notes of “You Go to My Head.”
Mingling, and enjoying the myriad aspects of “Key,” including food “by the bite” from 27 of the city’s best eateries, were Carla and Jay Adams, Penny Baumer, Tiffa Boutte, Caroline Calhoun, Ella Flower (Anne Redd’s mom), Ana and Dr. Juan Gershanik, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Karen Gundlach, Juli Miller Hart and mother Jerri Cullinan, Betty Kohn and daughter-in-law Millie, Elly Lane, Cheryl Mintz and Brett Bauman, Pam and Bill Ryan (parents of the above Meaghan), Sheila and Britton Sanderford with daughters Shelby and Bergen, Drs. Sissy and Oliver Sartor, Dr. Ed and Janice Foulks, Kim and Mike Sport, Lynne and Hugh Uhalt, Alma Dunlap and daughter Anne Honeywell, Christopher Romano and Brooke Davis, Melanie Loomis and about 750 others for whom “Cure” was the come-on.
They put their money where their merriment. During the days of the charity shopping weekend, more than $125,000 was raised for cancer research in Louisiana.
On a late Sunday afternoon and early evening, the Audubon Tea Room was abuzz with activity concerning the 12th annual Blessed Seelos Gala Dinner. The outdoor lighting was courtesy of Jim Perrier and Company.
Always the source of much comment, the auction attracted a throng, who eyed the 101 silent items and the five live ones, which were led off by auctioneer Dr. Michael Giorlando. Chief among them were a New Orleans staycation (consisting of gift certificates to The Roosevelt, Saks and Galatoire’s) and a three-piece vintage jewelry set. Both were purchased by Dale and Carol Guidry.
Notable names, and there were many, were those of National Shrine of Blessed Francis X. Seelos executive director the Rev. Harry A. Grile, C.Ss.R.; event coordinators Anne Batt, Diana Maher, Gloria Bacque and Kay Kenney; mistress of ceremonies Karen Swensen; and honorees Dr. David and Alma Weilbaecher, the recipients of the Order of Seelos Witness Award. From their immediate family came David and Georgian Weilbaecher, Karen and Bill Schmid and Michele and Pierre Legrand.
They relished the fine meal of mixed greens salad, crispy roast chicken and white chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate cup. CHL Linens (Kevin Tran) did the table linens and Federico’s Family Florist the arrangements. Dorignac’s Food Center, Zuppardo’s Super Market and “A Friend of Blessed Seelos” provided the wines.
Thanks were plentiful to all.
Also in attendance and enjoying the Sunday camaraderie were Marie and Dr. A.J. Giorlando, Marshall Smith and Karen Owen, Sharon and Dr. Bob Weilbaecher, Curtis and Maria Pellerin, Roslyn and Randy Eckstein, Mary Beth and David Mettz, Mary and Dr. Joe Biundo, Kathleen and Dr. Lee Roy Morgan, Arlene and Bob Rogers, William Coskrey, the Rev. Richard Thibodeau, C.Ss.R., the Rev. Maurice Nutt, C. Ss.R., and scores more for whom party and purpose melded.
The Green Scene
Feast with the Stars, an Entergy-sponsored jazz brunch that launches tree-planting season and supports green space work in the Crescent City, attracted around 200 festive folks to Gallier Hall on a recent Sunday. A few days prior, patrons gathered at the home of Cathy and Mark McRae to honor Jared Zeller and Michael Karam with Green Spirit awards.
Plants provided by the Department of Parks and Parkways lined the hallways inside Gallier Hall, while fall colors and fall plants brightened the stairway and tables. More decorative touches were the balloon arch and bouquets provided by volunteers Allan and Laura Querens; the entrance stairway embellished by decorations committee Chairwoman Joan Doyle (joined by Ballad Tebo); the centerpieces of crotons provided by Nell Howard; and the jonquil-yellow tablecloths. Atop those tables, guests placed various dishes of all the delicious food served, thanks to 11 purveyors, and drinks from the main bar.
Auction Punch added some smiles because of the name, but it reflected one of the chief activities of the annual event. Silent auction items placed on four different boards beckoned for a Krewe of Orpheus parade ride, Jazz Fest tickets, jewelry from Mignon Faget and also Porter Lyons, restaurant gift cards, Saltwater Fishing Trip sponsored by Shallow South, and Windsor Court and Prince Conti hotel stays.
Headliners included Feast co-chairwomen Kristi Trail and Norma Grace with respective husbands Blake Heymann and Bob Sternhell, auction Chairwomen Donna D’Antoni and Josie Boynton, and from Feast presenter Parkway Partners, founder Flo Schornstein, President Jim Lestelle with partner John Stephens, and executive director Jean Fahr. Noted, too, were emcee Margaret Orr, Tom and Mary Judice Finney, Tom Fitzmorris, R. Stephanie Bruno, Jackie Clarkson, and Department of Parks and Parkways director Ann Macdonald.
Entertainers included The Messy Cookers, The Pussyfooters led by Denise Gerarve, and Sean Patterson (one of the dozen “Stars”), who sang, “It’s Not Easy To Be Green.” “Feast,” however, made it easier.