Three recent events beckoned for daytime al fresco frolics. The Junior League of New Orleans gathered up generations for “Family Fun in the Garden” at Longue Vue House and Gardens, the Audubon Nature Institute made “ZOObilation” the members’ excitement, and the 25th Feast of St. Henry Mass & Reunion billed “Block Party.” A free event, people were told to BYOC. Bring Your Own Chair.
Just Wild about Henry
It was a silver-anniversary salute when the Friends of St. Henry, a non-profit organization that continues to support the history and traditions of the 158-year-old Catholic Church, gathered for the Feast of St. Henry Mass and Reunion. A vigil Mass preceded the Block Party, which was in the yard of the Blessed Pauline Center and directly behind the General Pershing Street-located church. The invitation: “Please spread the word about the reunion to your neighbors, friends and even to total strangers.”
Along with the relaxed bonhomie was music by the J. Monique’ D Blues Band, door prizes, food, snowballs, soft drinks, beer and water. (All gratis!)
Making reunion their revelry – and noting “St. Henry (Church) lives in Good Shepherd Parish – were parish Pastor Monsignor Christopher Nalty, former pastor Monsignor Henry Engelbrecht, Friends President Alden Hagardorn and wife Cynthia, reunion Chairman Robert Morton, the Rev. Douglas Brougher, Deacon Richard Eason, Henry (another one with the celebrated name) and Brenda Jobin, a mom-daughter duo in Doris Smith and Lana Drewes, Milton and Sandra LeBlanc, Jean Schneider, Mark Peneguy, Gary and Cathy Vincent, Betty Marino, Ann Harper, Anthony and Colleen Larocca, Claire Pelleteri, and Francis Matherne. To name a few.
The reunion, a lively highlight on the summer calendar, is for “anyone who went to St. Henry’s school, lived in St. Henry’s Parish, attended St. Henry’s Church, knew someone named Henry, or can spell Henry.”
The 2014 ZOObilation appreciation party for Audubon Members unfolded over three late-afternoon hours and welcomed almost 5,000 people. Exclusive access to the Audubon Zoo and special events, including live music, “keeper chats,” animal feedings, open houses of exhibits, and children’s activities were among the many attractions.
In addition, and part of the excitement of ZOObilation, opportunities that are not available during regular operation hours were offered, such as animal hospital tours, a chance to feed the giraffes, and a 20% discount at all Zoo concessions and the Audubon Marketplace gift shop.
Teamed for the 2014 entertainment were The Topcats (on Capital One Stage), Art from the Heart face painters, magic shows (Shell’s Wildlife on Stage) and free train and simulator rides. And that’s not all! Cool Zoo - Audubon’s splash park, and Dinosaur Adventure welcomed the troops, who arrived with blankets, lawn chairs and little wagons.
Spotted were Kate Sanders with a hula hoop and mom Shanna; Christina and Kenny Anderson with Korey and Kyle; Amy and Richard Roberts, whose Holly enjoyed being pulled about in a Radio Flyer; Sherry and Stuart Schayot; Greg and Ashey Metcalf with Riley and Kate; A. J. and Zoe Broussard with Alex and Ellis; and Todd and Holly Graffagnini with daughter Maeve. Thousands more joined in the ZOObilation spirit, many becoming Audubon members on the spot. They’ll be back in 2015.
At Longue Vue, Junior League members and their families were able to “dig, do and discover” in the interactive Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden, as well as to explore and visit the 14 “garden rooms” of the Longue Vue mansion. Participants enjoyed the light refreshments, but were encouraged in advance to bring picnic blankets and baskets for lunch under the oaks. Thanks aplenty tapped event organizers Cecile Kerber, Jamie Toso Minor, Rachel Roubion and Kelly Reily. All are connected with the League’s Esprit Committee.
Others noted were JLNO President Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond along with husband Beau and their children, Sydney, Charlotte and Kate; and Natalie Sparrow, Caty Flower with daughter Mary Catherine Flower, and Summer Duperon, whose names (Sparrow, Flower and Summer) fit just fine with this outdoors “fun.”
Then there were Jeanne Charlebois with daughter Simone; three generations in Eileen Murray, Kathleen Murray Ramsey and daughters Grace and Margo Ramsey; the above Cecile Kerber with husband Ben and their youngsters, Madeline, Jackson and Benjamin; another organizer, Rachel Roubion, with Justin and their daughters, Adelle and Lexie; Tesa and Kenny Bossetta and Blythe; Natalie Martin with Richard and their daughter, Mahkenze Bonczek; Chalon Dominick; Rebecca Martinez with Jonathan and their son, Patrick; Ashley and Stephen Aarons with Emily; and Barkley Rafferty, a League member, who started working for Longue Vue House and gardens two days later. In April, she co-chaired, along with Shaun Duncan, the delightful Sentimental Journeys to benefit LVHG.
Commented one of the participants, “Part of the Junior League of New Orleans’ mission is developing the potential of women.” The visit to LVHG certainly showcased distaff achievement, thanks to the remembrance of the creativity of three phenomenal women: owner (with husband Edgar) Edith Rosenwald Stern, a noted philanthropist and Sears, Roebuck & Co. heiress; Ellen Biddle Shipman; one of the nation’s first female landscape architects; and Caroline Dormon, a renowned Louisiana naturalist and artist.
In the meantime, the assembled families relished their “Garden” adventure and the magnificent eight acres involved.