A presentation of The Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Antiques Forum 2014 bore the title “Southern Expression” and amassed an assembly that represented 16 states for four days of touring, sessions and speakers, and socializing. Spearheading the activity was Jack Pruitt, director of development and community relations.
On the first day’s optional bus tour, Eugene D. Cizek and William M. Hyland led two groups, each on a separate bus, to historic Pointe Coupee Parish to visit a pair of important houses, Jacques Dupre and Bonnie Glen, as well as Alma Sugar Plantation. At St. Mary of False River Catholic Church in New Roads, Brian J. Costello discussed the early settlement of the region. Then the touring troops enjoyed lunch, thanks to purveyance by chef John Folse’s White Oak Plantation.
For the remaining three days, approximately 200 folks packed The Collection’s Boyd Cruise Room of the Williams Research Center on Chartres Street, where they were initially welcomed by Priscilla Lawrence, THNOC executive director, and the above Jack Pruitt. In his opening remarks, perennial moderator Tom Savage once again showed why he’s a popular choice for the podium. He arrived to address, “What’s New in the Old South,” wearing Miss Ellen’s portieres on his shoulders as a risible nod to the green velvet curtains in Tara that Scarlett made into an ensemble. The forum audience loved the humor — and the program was launched with laughter.
Subsequent speakers included John H. Lawrence, Daniel Kurt Ackermann, Ralph Pokluda, Margaret Beck Pritchard, Robert Hunter, Estill Curtis Pennington, Merikay Waldvogel, Stephen Harrison, Priscilla Lawrence (for “New Treasures” at THNOC), John T. Magill, and Laurie Ossman.
In the audience, at various times during the forum, were members of the board of directors of the Kemper and Leila Williams Foundation. Included in those ranks are Mary Lou (Mrs. William K.) Christovich, Drew Jardine, John Kallenborn, John E. Walker, E. Alexandra Stafford, Hilton S. Bell, Bonnie Boyd, and Fred Smith.
Thanks aplenty targeted the honorary advisory committee, sponsors (led off by Neal Auction Company), THNOC staff, and special individuals, sites and businesses.
Throughout the programming, there was due socializing. Participants savored lunch on their own in sundry Vieux Carre restaurants and finished at “Jazz Brunch with the Speakers” at Antoine’s Restaurant as an optional activity on the forum’s last day.
One of the hobnobbing highlights was the earlier cocktail reception at The Collection on Royal Street, which gathered 150 guests indoors and outdoors, including most of the above groups. Noted were Lydia Blackmore, Jessica Dorman, Alfred E. Lemmon, Sally Reeves, Susie Hoskins, Tim Fields, Butler Burdine, Dr. Trent and Kay James, Nell Carmichael, Claudia Kheel, Hill Riddle Jr., Della Graham, Thomas Jayne, Isabelle Dissard-Cooper, Mel Buchanan, Pamela Dupuy, and Scott Chotin and Lorraine Myhal, who’ve got an October wedding date.
Passed hors d’oeuvres were readily enjoyed by the guests, who then strolled to the buffet table for a slew of taste treats. Desserts came in small sizes, such as tiny key lime pies. Meanwhile, traditional New Orleans jazz was performed by a trio consisting of Chuck Brackman, Bruce O’Neil and Gregory Smith. As Martha Walker, spouse of board member John, perused the players, she commented with a smile, “I just love it when you walk in and hear music.” “You Are My Sunshine” was the musical message.
The Society of the Cincinnati, the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, was founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts, who served together in the American Revolution. Members, male descendants of officers of the Continental Army, foster fellowship and promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence.In 1983, the Louisiana Association of the Society of the Cincinnati was founded, and each year the society selects a French Scholar, who tours the United States as a guest of the society. The most recent scholar was Alexis de Ponteves, a student in Paris of economy and management.
During his five-week trip in the States, he was roundly entertained here in the Crescent City with visits to the New Orleans Museum of Art and Preservation Hall, a piano concert, a jazz brunch and a cocktail reception in his honor at the home of Dr. and Mrs. T. Cooper Woods. That’s Louisiana Association Chairman Cooper Woods and Elizabeth.
Mingling, too, were William Harper “Bill” Forman and Olive, William North Blanchard and Sandra Querbes, Rutledge C. Clement Jr. and Joy, the Very Rev. David Allard duPlantier and Carla, Ben Foster, T. Scott Monsted and Mary, Howard K. Soper and Carroll, R.B. Monroe Kelly, Eugene R. “Gene” Preaus and Ann, C. King Mallory IV, and Sally F. Suthon. In from Arlington, Va., were William “Pless” Lunger, secretary general of the General Society of the Society of the Cincinnati (the national headquarters) and his wife, Mary.
In between conversational exchange, guests relished shrimp gazpacho, pork tenderloin, orzo salad and libations, all the while admiring the party flowers (by Monroe Kelly) in society colors of blue and white.
“Wine & Dine: An Evening with Chef John Folse” was the beckoning to benefit the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center dedicated to Our Lady of the Cenacle (formerly The Cenacle Retreat House). It was housed in the Schulte Auditorium at Notre Dame Seminary, which was transformed into a fine banquet room, complete with the pianism of Dr. Hristo Birbochukov of NOCCA. Sisters-in-law Barbara Collura and Pauline Colomb (joined by husbands Steve and David) combined their creative forces for the black and gold decorations.
As for the food, chef John Folse and his staff did the culinary honors and prepared a savory bisque, twin beet salad, osso buco, and Creole cream cheese cheesecake. Wearing another figurative hat, chef Folse personally raffled off two dinners for 12 at the above-mentioned White Oaks in Baton Rouge, Restaurant R’evolution or the home of the “winner.” Beaming as successful bidders were Libby and Jim Landis and Susan and Bob Jackson.
Notables, and there were quite a few, included Archbishop Gregory Aymond, retired Archbishop Alfred Hughes, Retreat Center executive director Dr. Paul Ceasar and Barbara, and two pairs of event chairwomen: Kathy Screen and Cathie Crochet (Baton Rouge) and Linda Sunseri and Susan Glennon (New Orleans).
Also, Ann Babington, Mary Lee Burke, Marguerite and Jim Lewis, Wendy and Vinson Knight, the Rev. Joseph Palermo, Shannon and Byron Adams, the Rev. Beau Charbonnet, Rosa and Dr. Michael Dunn, Kathy and Jim Chenevert, Virginia and John Eckholdt, Barbara Gaiennie, Jackie Schoen, Margaret Culicchia, Cherie Schneider and daughter Julie Poitevent, Charlene and Terrel Broussard with Monsignor Harry J. Bugler, Mary Furlow, Cuqui Moore, June Menard, and Marlene Zuccaro. Taking a trek down Memory Lane were Dee Levy and Mary Ann Valentino, the founders of The Cenacle Retreat House.