n Felicitous Festivity

This must be “Magic!” And it was when Felicity Redevelopment Inc. staged “Magic in Melpomenia X” at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Folks gathered to support the efforts of Felicity Redevelopment in the revitalization “of the lower St. Charles corridor, a historic, high-ground neighborhood with a variety of residential and commercial buildings.” This year marks a decade for the MiM fundraiser and 15 years of the organization’s work “to give this central city neighborhood a new lease on life.”

Bonnie and John Boyd were limelighted as the event’s honorary chaircouple. They have certainly made their contributions to the area in the recent establishment of the John & Bonnie Boyd Hospitality & Culinary Library at SoFAB, which contains more than 11,000 volumes.

Ouida Laudumiey was the event chairwoman, while her mother, Louise Martin, along with Christel Kelley, did the decorations using recycled greenery from their gardens and those of others. Joining them were their husbands Ferdie Laudumiey, Ted Martin and Keene Kelley, as well as Felicity Redevelopment executive director Elizabeth Burger, art appraiser and neighbor Steve Clayton, and Jonathan Leit, who represented Alembic, the redevelopers of Myrtle Banks School.

They made rounds to the food and beverage stations, enjoying the catering of Purloo Southern Cuisine (located in SoFAB), St. James Cheese Company, Broussard’s, Sucre, K-Paul’s, The Wine Seller, Purveyor of Fine Wines, and Bizou Wines. All the while, folks eyed auction items. When it came time for the selling, Weezie de la Vergne stepped forward as the “live” auctioneer for the 28 lots. Featured were art and jewelry by a slew of notable artists, including Tim Trapolin, Gretchen Howard, Phil Sandusky, Ned Marshall, and Ellen L. Jewelry.

Noted, too, were Vicki and Jimmy Lee; new Lower Garden District residents (and Boyd neighbors) Greg Morey and Scott James; siblings Felicity and Eric Strachan with mom Camille; contributing artist Dona Lief; and Cole Halpern, a neighbor and FR board member as are Mary Lou Christovich, Paula George, Colleen Lusignan, Patrick McKenna, Stanley Myers, Michael Rouchell, and the above Louise, Christel and Camille.

Also making their MiM rounds were SoFAB President Liz Williams; Linda Stubbs of the Monumental Task Force, who graciously helped with the art auction display; Bitsie and Grover Mouton, two of the 17 gala committee members; Whitt Wise and Frank DellaCroce from the center for Restorative Breast Surgery, a former site for “Magic”; Theo Bourgeois and Charmaine Baker-Fox of the Israelite Baptist Church; advisory board members Sonny and Laura Shields; the Rev. Stanley Klores of St. Patrick’s Church, who co-led a delegation to Rome last April for the canonization of the two popes; and Mary Lou Christovich with son Michael and grandson Keenan Grote, who was visiting from Dubai.

Closer to home was the beat of the musicians, Cordell Chambliss & the Jazz Ensemble, who added their own noteworthy contributions.

n Luncheon Levity

St. Vincent’s Infant and Maternity Guild’s annual Spring Luncheon and Style Show at the New Orleans Airport Hilton was celebrated on May 5, and thus a motif developed. Cinco de Mayo-themed bright fiesta decorations, large cactus trees and sombreros on the runway were part of the decorations created by Laurie Nodier and Lisa Corcoran, as were maracas and tissue-paper trees. The centerpieces were given away thanks to a clever poem scripted by Gaynell Pervel.

The business of the day was the installation of new officers for two-year terms. Dottie Schulte did the honors, tapping Colleen Cloninger as president; Gaynell, vice president; Cindy Wooderson, treasurer; and, as secretaries, Casey Klaman (recording) and Jeanie Favret (corresponding). They and more than 200 members and guests enjoyed a fine lunch of lime chicken, Spanish rice and ice box pie. Sartorial deserts were supplied by Chico’s and guild members had fun — and garnered applause — as models. Slated to course the runway were Sandy Saucier, Vickie Lee, Susan Pisciotta, Mary Jo Farnet, Rosemary Hernandez, Diane Triay, Carol Barbier, and Judy Abadin. Joan Ingram was the mistress of ceremonies.

Figuring in the lively activity were guild chaplain the Rev. Anthony Taormina, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans President and CEO Sister Marjorie Hebert, guild outgoing President Barbara Richard, a mother-daughter duo in Nathalie Murray and Lynn Allen, Janet Manzella, and Thomas Cloninger, Colleen’s husband. And, Janet Patterson, Pro-Life Services director Michelle Black, Rose Keller and guest Jackie Posner, Suzette Herpich, Meryl Rooney, and Sharon Rodi.

Established in 1958 as an adjunct to the St. Vincent Infant & Maternity Home (which has since closed), the guild provides not only monetary assistance, but also clothing and basic necessities for many children and adolescents. The collection of diapers was a goal at the luncheon — and one that was realized via 50 boxes and more than $200 in donations to benefit ACCESS of Catholic Charities. Generosity was another aspect of the luncheon program.

n A Boy Scouts ‘Bravo’

Golden Eagle Luncheon was the come-on for a host of businessmen and women, community activists, and organizational friends, tagged Leadership of Greater New Orleans, who gathered at the invitation of the Southeast Louisiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America. They assembled at the Windsor Court Hotel to support Scouting’s Youth Development programs.

They also assembled to honor Dr. Norman C. Francis, the outgoing president of Xavier University, “the nation’s only historically black and Catholic university” and the longest-sitting university president in the U.S. (since 1968).” A Xavier alumnus, Dr. Francis has enjoyed a national reputation and has served in an advisory role to eight U.S. presidential administrations.” In 2006, then-President George W. Bush presented him with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dr. Francis, whose name is virtually synonymous with Xavier, was introduced by President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans Charles Rice Jr., Council president. During his talk of about 20 minutes, Dr. Francis emphasized the importance of giving opportunities to young people, both though universities (such as Xavier) and colleges, as well as through Scouting.

Additional notables were event Chairwoman Patricia C. “Pat” Denechaud, Vice-Chairmen Jim Letten (who doubled as master of ceremonies) and Cynthia Molyneux, Loyola University President the Rev. Kevin Wildes, SJ for the invocation, Dr. Paul Gregoire of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for the benediction, and from the hosting Southeast Louisiana Council Boy Scouts, Scout executive/CEO Ernesto Carballo and Torrey Hayden, director of development.

From the event committee came Jessica King-Bernard, Lynne Burkart, Ronnie Burns, Chad Dufrene, 2014 honoree Jimmy Fitzmorris, Holley Haag, Ed Lang, Ron McClain, Anne Milling, Ashton Ryan Jr., PK Scheerle, Jackie Sullivan, and Marian Wallis. One of the defining moments occurred when Jim Letten made a presentation to Pat Denechaud of an acrylic eagle in commemoration of the 2015 Golden Eagle Luncheon that will add more than $200,000 dollars to Scouting’s coffers.