Sugarplum Ball and a 60th Salute

“Sugarplum Ball 2015 Celebrates the Classics” mastheaded the invitation from Children’s Hospital that gave as the location Children’s Hospital State Street Campus. After being greeted by valet car parkers, guests were wowed upon entering a tented area that was about the size of a football field. They also loved the décor.

Retro revelry it was, thanks to the reason (as stated on the invitation) for the celebration: “60 years and the classic era in which it (Children’s Hospital) was founded.” The bash’s program took the cover format of a TV Guide, showing a slim-waisted miss from that time, smiling broadly and toasting “Children’s Hospital Celebrates the Classics” with an Old Fashioned. In fact that drink, along with two other cherished cocktails, titled the three benefactors categories: High Ball for Crescent River Pilots Foundation and Haydel’s Bakery; Manhattan for Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and old fashioned for Foley & Lardner LLP, Huron Healthcare, and Sigma Technology Solutions.

The evening’s honoree was Valero St. Charles Refinery & Employees, a company that has been an ardent supporter of Children’s Hospital, especially since Hurricane Katrina. Effusive thanks targeted vice president and plant manager Ralph Phillip, among others. Proceeds of the bash will benefit the hospital’s Clinical Outcomes Research Center, a new initiative, and Valobra Jewelry & Antiques donated the one-of-a-kind necklace exclusively designed for Children’s Hospital that figured in the Jewelry Raffle. Additional fiscal excitement was generated by the “Straight Up!” silent auction and the “On the Rocks,” a raffle involving the purchase of a painted souvenir glass for a chance to win a choice prize.

Yet another throwback was the cuisine, with much of it inspired by noshes of the ’50s and served by 37 purveyors at their individual stations; and classic cocktails from four sponsors. On the soft side was Ted’s Frostop’s root beer float at the Soda Shop. Turtles and ’smores enticed the sweet tooth.

Spearheading all this yore-themed fun were Sugarplum Ball co-chairwomen Marianna Trepagnier and Lisa Happoldt, who amassed a committee of dozens, ranging alphabetically from Tiffany Accousti to Shannon Zink. Next year, Chrissy Carmody and Ann Heslin will chair the levity.

Additional notables of CH are President and CEO Mary R. Perrin, board Chairman William L. Mimeles, Vice Chairman Elwood F. Cahill Jr., Treasurer Kyle M. France, and Secretary Anthony Recasner, Ph.D. Sighted from the board, as well as several of the above, were Julie Livaudais George with husband Ted, and Betty (Mrs. Norman C. Jr.) Sullivan with Norm.

Milling about, too, were John Deveney, Scott and Tammy Crabtree, Marigny Ernst, Nairne Frazar and Louis Lupin, and with the above mentioned William “Bill” Mimeles, his wife, Gabrielle. The latter couple made a chatting foursome with the Sullivans.

Legions more coursed the party premises under the huge tent, where different rooms with furniture evoked the thematic years. The kitchen featured retro appliances, including an Elmira stove and a Waring blender; the living room’s focal point was a vintage television; and the rumpus room was decorated with vinyl discs on the walls. Remember, Decca, RCA and Columbia? And bebop?

On stage, Sha’on and the Girls with Success proved their name. Favorite hits from a range of years were served up, luring crowds to the floor. “My Girl” was followed by James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” with the lyrics “I feel nice, like sugar and spice.” The subsequent song, “Proud Mary,” reminded the Sugarplum set that they were “rolling on the (nearby) river.” Rocking, too.

Crimestoppers

More than 800 people, including law enforcement from five parishes, gathered midday at the Hilton Riverside for the 30th annual Crimestoppers Awards Luncheon that was emceed by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and, for the presentation of colors, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office. Freeport McMoRan and the Helis Corporation were the top major sponsors. The room was decorated with royal blue table cloths with embroidered fleur-de-lis emblems topped with red “caution tape” with the Crimestoppers logo and phone number. When guests sat for lunch, they enjoyed a salad, sliced beef blade; and a chocolate turtle pecan pie for dessert. Compliments were numerous about the food.

In addition to Sheriff Normand, the program participants included St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne for the national anthem; New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael S. Harrison for the invocation; and Lynes R. “Poco” Sloss, a co-chairman of the luncheon along with Karl Hoefer and Suzanne Mestayer, for the welcome and opening remarks.

Then came Crimestoppers President and CEO Darlene Cusanza for the president’s report and all the awards. Hailed were Laitram, LLC; Sheriff Willy J. Martin Jr. of St. James Parish; John A. “Jay” Batt Jr.; WWL-TV; Detective Brett M. LeBlanc; Lt. Heather A. Sylve; and Detective Ryan Vaught, among others. Karl Hoefer delivered the closing remarks.

A special guest of the luncheon was 10-year-old Savannah Solis from Tyler, Texas, who has written more than 1,000 letters of thanks to law enforcement around the country. Crimestoppers has accepted her “Savannah’s Challenge” and asked local schools to follow suit writing thank-you letters.

Among the many attendees were Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Crimestoppers Chairwoman Caryn Rodgers, Cindy Molyneux, Edel Blanks, Janice Foulks, Bill Goldring, Dean Falgoust, Bill Roussell, Lynne Burkart, Les Nettleton, Pamela Schafer, state Sen. Danny Martiny, Brian Capitelli, Kim Roberts, Kathy and Robert Zetzman and countless others, who picked up the luncheon gifts of baseball caps with Crimestoppers written across the front and will wear them to spread the word.

Quarter Charms

Festive hordes flock to the Vieux Carre around the middle of April each year. The draw? The French Quarter Festival and its attractions of music, food, people-sighting and lots more. It’s the largest showcase of Louisiana music in the world and encompassed 23 stages. Among the Saturday-trippers were Kathleen and Owen Jones (they’re building a house Uptown), and Doc Hawley, who was greeting pals.

Prior to the street scene was the opening night gala (to benefit the Roots of Music) at Antoine’s Restaurant. Drum amandine, oysters Rockefeller, oysters Foch, baked Alaska and café brulot nourished the set of 450 attendees, whose ranks included FQF executive director Marci Schramm, board President Ann Wills, and Janice Foulks and Errin Bellan, who chaired the gala. Also, Jackie Clarkson and actress daughter Patricia Clarkson, WWL anchor Eric Paulsen with spouse Bethany (executive director of the Tipitina’s Foundation), Brandon Jenkens, Mike and Julie Illanne, Teddy Graziano and Beth Sacco, and Frank Quinn and Lindsay Brigham.

During the patron partying, guitarist John Rankin entertained. Once the gala got going, Charmaine Neville — with special guests Kermit Ruffins and the Dixie Cups — commanded the stage.

Around and About

Galatoire’s Restaurant Inc. decided to dip into the past to salute its 110 years of success with a 1905 party featuring memorabilia from the landmark eatery and time-honored customs, cocktails and cuisine. A five-course meal was the order of the evening that included Melvin Rodrigue, Joe Plavetsky, Billy Clark, Bill Kearney, Todd Trosclair, Gabrielle Waxman, David Gooch, Caitlin Switzer, Brenda Beck, Teresa Guzzetta, Jacquee Carvin, Jamie Moreau, Kathy Singleton, Diane Johnston (who got up for a quick dance with the music makers), Bruce and Jane Miller, Janie Kahn, Charles and Brenda Fenner, Sean and Ann Burke, Frank and Donie Schmidt, Ralph and Margie Bencomo and others too busy sipping and supping to be sighted.