The Ogden Museum of Southern Art showcased one of the South’s most appreciated flowers, in actuality and motif, at a recent bash. Now in its second year, with plans to be annual, the Magnolia Ball celebrated and benefited the Center for Southern Craft and Design. Candy Chang was the honoree, hailed for her contributions to the Crescent City art community.
Festive florescence abounded, both in the summer attire sported by the approximately 600 attendees, as well as the décor. David Halliday’s “Magnolia Image” provided decorative inspiration, and poster-size reproductions were displayed throughout. In addition, paper magnolias adorned Goldring Hall, along with dangling string lights and colorful spotlights on both the inside and outside of the building.
Activity started with partying patrons, who assembled in the above hall’s first floor and the fifth floor terrace for ET’s All-Star Express and The Roamin’ Jasmine. Later, Efrem Towns, founder of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and ET’s leader, led a second line from the roof area through the building to Pied Piper everyone into the Patrick F. Taylor Library for the live auction when it was time for that big bidding. It was spearheaded by Ogden Museum executive director William Pittman Andrews and included original art by William Dunlap, Pinkney Herbert, Fat Kids From Outer Space, and a yoga package from Reyn Studios. White banquettes and clusters of twinkle lights surrounding the stage transformed the library into the patron lounge with music by DJ Matty. Silent auction items, including art by honoree Candy Chang, were available for mobile bidding, “straight from your own device.”
Ten sponsors reaped thanks, as did ball Co-Chairmen Meaghan Ryan Bonavita, William A. Gammell, Anna Beth Goodman and Megan Kendrick and their committee of 31. A dozen purveyors of cocktails and cuisine were located throughout the museum’s five floors. As guests coursed the party premises, many of them enjoyed sno-balls from Imperial Woodpecker. Knock on good!
Among those putting the petal to the social mettle were museum board President Allison Kendrick, Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby, Stephanie and Robin Durant, Greg Morey and Scott James, Paul and Molly Babineaux, Jude and Erica Olinger, Jay and Stacy Underwood, L. Kasimu Harris, Allison and Ben Tiller, Harry Shearer, Tia Roddy and Emily Shaya. To mention a few, who enjoyed all of “Magnolia”’s myriad aspects.
Not content to wrap up the ball an hour before midnight, a pack of night-trippers whooped it up in the patron lounge with DJ Matty until new-day hours.
“Full Circle: New Orleans to Nepal” titled the recent fundraiser hosted by the Louisiana Himalaya Association to directly assist the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Workers are on the ground in Nepal to identify needs and the “Full Circle” funding will purchase food supplies and materials for shelter.
Guests headed to the Botanical Garden in City Park, where hand-painted signs and Tibetan prayer flags were decorative elements. More thematic atmosphere came from fair trade vendors, Nepali musicians, a Tarot card reader, and a table for letters to Nepal.
Within the crowd of 300 were LHA board members Daniel “Wink” Winkert, Susan Dunlap, Jeannie Detweiler, Barbara Bernard and Misty Crawford deMahy; volunteer coordinator Eva Sohl; fundraising committee volunteers Robin and Marie O’Neil, Wendy Pabian, Bill LaCrosse, Mareesa Villaire and Rabin Pokharel; and chairing forces Kelly LaCrosse (food and beverage), Scott Maher (entertainment) and Elizabeth Downey (promotions).
Breads on Oak, Iskcon, Vincent’s Italian Cuisine, Bacchanal Wine, Mona’s Café, Glazer’s Distributors, Novalore, and Pabst Blue Ribbon catered. Glazer’s mixologist, Star Hodgson, created a specialty drink for the event, which was complimentary for the first 100 guests admitted.
As for the significant sounds, Nepali and New Orleanian musicians blended the two cultures with traditional Nepali music and performances by the Zazou City Trio, Buku Broux, and Harmonouche.
More significant sounds were music to the auction “ears,” thanks to the work of celebrity auctioneer John Calhoun. He brought in more than $40,000 in the live auction alone. Folks were ready bidders for works of art by James Michalopoulos, Mardiclaw, and Louise Guidry, along with (among other choice items) a Haitian mask made by Serge Jolimeau.
Along with the auction, the fund-a-shelter portion raised considerable money. “Full Circle” supporters bid on shelter materials to send to on-the-ground LHA volunteers.
All total, the 300-person benefit raised $52,500, exceeding LHA’s goal of $50,000. Why that specific figure? That was the amount, $50,000, that was donated by Nepal to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Full circle!
n Festive Friends
In Italian, “amici” means “friends.” Add a capital letter A, and a capital cause, music, and the picture became sonorously and socially clear. The local support group, Amici, which serves as friends to the Metropolitan Opera of New York, held a summer musicale at the handsome home of Libby and Jim Landis. Seasonal flowers and tasty refreshments added to the hobnobbing harmony.
Headliners included Met Regional Co-Chairmen Diane Dupin and Dr. Quinn Peeper (retiring from the position), who was joined by Michael Harold; Sophie Hester and Grace Mears, granddaughters of hostess Libby Landis and Amici President Claire Stahel; and new Regional Co-Chairwoman Melissa Gordon with Bruce, president of the New Orleans Opera Club of the New Orleans Opera Association. The Gordons were part of a Crescent City group that winged to San Francisco to hear “our own” Bryan Hymel and Lisette Oropesa sing in leading operatic roles: respectively “Les Troyens” and “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
Then there were District Co-Chairwoman Michelle Schlafly with Kim, hospitality Chairwoman Judy Eckhardt with Elroy, and further Amici officers Jackie Gamble, Leo Ehrhardt with Effie, and Bette Marks. Also, sisters of hostess Libby, Ann and Marie Elise “Muffin” Mahorner; Chickie and John Martin; and choir members of Holy Name of Jesus Church, Courtney-Anne Sarpy and Jacqueline Bodet.
Dreux Montegut, who recently celebrated his 20 years as a voice teacher at Loyola University, coordinated the program. Accompanied by Jesse Reeks, Aurora Foster, Maggie Probst, Annie Halbert and Dennis Shuman sang lovely arias for the Sunday Musicale.