The Arts Council of New Orleans held its Community Arts Awards at Mardi Gras World and titled it “Celebration.” Presented by First NBC and emceed by Mark Romig, the event honored Arthur Roger, gallery owner; A Studio in the Woods, artist residency space; Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane, the conservation of New Orleans’ musical history; Howard Miller, Mardi Gras Indian chief and educator; Jeanne Nathan, arts and cultural advocate; Young Men Olympian Junior Benevolent Society, African American benevolent society in Louisiana; and Zion Harmonizers, gospel vocal group (and one of the region’s oldest).
Sergio Andres Lobo-Navia, Kat Sotelo, Kevin McCaffrey, Charles Samuel, William Sabourin, Steph Smith, and Chris Haney were credited with the video portraits. To close the tributes, Arts Council deputy director Nick Stillman provided remarks about the council’s renewed energy and its vision for the future, and, for artistic excitement, aerialist Liza Rose and flamenco dancer Eliza Llewellyn performed.
Further features were the invitation by Marianne Angeli Rodriguez of a carousel meeting a safari (a motif picked up in the décor); Germaine Bazzle singing with the Peter Harris Trio; catering by the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group; and the presence of awards chaircouple Ivy and Shawn Barney, honorary Chairwoman Susan Brennan, ACNO board Chairwoman Tiffany Adler with Jep Epstein, and board members Josh Mayer, Tim Williamson, Amanda Mantle Winstead, and Tommy Westervelt. Also, Dr. Isidore and Marianne Cohn, Ed Marshall, Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Lin Emery, Barry Kern, Priscilla and John Lawrence, Jane Lowentritt, and Monique Gougisha Doucette.
Show-stopping fun occurred when Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts introduced the 2015-2016 season in fine style. Guests arrived for the courtyard reception in heated tents that were decorated in black and white. Abundant food and drink (with thanks to supportive caterers), choice auction items, and the music of a four-piece band led by Kenny Kerth of the Bucktown Allstars added to the socializing.
Then it was into the theater for the show to begin. Rivertown Theaters co-artistic directors Gary Rucker and Kelly Fouchi led off the program with Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni. Among those thanked and acknowledged by Rucker and Fouchi were Person of the Year awardees John Barrois and Carlos Cuevas. Due excitement arose as a preview of each upcoming show was presented, especially “Will Rogers Follies.” Auctioneer John Calhoun got the bidding going for such unique items as a walk-on role and backstage experiences.
Applauding all this theatrical to-do were Kenner Councilman Keith and Donna Reynaud, state Sen. Paul and Ashley Hollis (daughter Bree was “Annie” in the company’s 2013 production), event Chairwoman Betsy Dobson with Geoffrey, Tara Tedesco, Joyce Bracey, Jane and Charlie Hirling, Jerry and Marsha Parks, Marc Fouchi, Shelly Rucker, Bonnie Broel, Linda Fried, and Betty and Don Kern. They, and scores more, capped the evening with desserts of all sorts and champagne.
When the New Orleans Bar Association installed Walter J. Leger Jr. as president during the 90th annual Dinner Meeting at the Audubon Tea Room, it also laureled Dawn Barrios as the Arceneaux Award recipient. Joining President Leger Jr. were spouse Kathie and their son, state Rep. Walt Leger III. Limelighted, too, were past NOBA President Mark Surprenant with Monica, President-elect Judy Barrasso with husband Brent Barriere, New Orleans Bar Foundation President Perry Staub Jr., Young Lawyers section Chairman Ross Molina with Amy, city attorney Sharonda Williams, and Laura Malveau, recipient of the inaugural Public Interest Law Fellowship, which provides “an opportunity for lawyers who will devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor.”
Dinner started with an avocado, tomato and crabmeat napoleon, moved on to filet mignon, and concluded with a 90th anniversary trio of sweets.
Chalmette Chapter, United States Daughters of 1812
Organized in 1893, the Chalmette Chapter of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 is the second oldest chapter in the country. It is New Orleans-based and takes its name from the plantation that was the most devastated of all the plantations on which the battle of Jan. 8, 2015, was fought.
Jackson Square flag raising and wreath laying were followed by a reception in the Cabildo. The theme throughout was the beginning of 200 years of peace with Great Britain and was celebrated with the attendance of Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States Sir Peter Westmacott and (the Houston-based) Consul General Andrew Millar. James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr., who lives in New Orleans and is the honorary consul, was named as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire that day.
Additional notables for some (or all of the events) were Archbishop Gregory Aymond, the Jesuit High School Marine ROTC (under the direction of Col. Tim Huete), Sarah Jane McMahon, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial Commission Chairman W. Henson Moore, Lance Hatten, and Jeanne LeBlanc Williams, president of the Chalmette Chapter, USD of 1812, who was joined by her parents, Clyde and Joanne LeBlanc, and chapter Treasurer Courtney Williams. President National (U.S. Daughters of 1812) Virginia “Ginger” Apyar and state President Patricia Gallagher were spotted, as were Priscilla Lawrence, Daniel Hammer, Alfred Lemmon, Jack Pruitt, Jason Wiese, Sally and Bill Reeves, Howard Hunter, Bonnie Cook, Lea Martin and Jerry Songy, and Sheila Curry.
As they circulated in the Cabildo, they enjoyed music by a Joe Simon jazz trio, tasty treats by Joel Catering, meat pies, pralines, and king cake.