800 Years

Note the dates: 1216-2016. And that was the bannering during the recent gala at the Sheraton Hotel, when the 2015 Southern Dominican Province held its New Orleans Gala and celebrated the eight centuries that Dominicans have been preaching the Gospel.

Combining chairing forces were Dr. and Mrs. Harold Anthony Fuselier Jr., Tony and Ann; and Mr. and Mrs. Freddy Yoder, Freddy and Ann. Both Anns and their co-chairman husbands were given special thank-you gifts during the course of the evening, as was Advisory Board member Sandy Sanchez.

Cocktails and a silent auction initiated the immediate socializing, allowing the just-under 300 guests a chance to view the many biddable enticements. Then came the Presentation of Colors by the Tulane University Naval ROTC Color Guard and the three-course dinner. A winter greens salad, beef tenderloin and barbecued shrimp and a trio dessert were the palate pleasers. Backhouse wines and Starbucks coffee in turn accompanied and capped the meal. For table decorations, triangles of glass blocks that were etched by hand with the Southern Dominican shield were placed on mirrors and surrounded by candles. They were set on linens in the Dominican colors of black and white.

Always the highlight of the gala annual event, whose first honoree was the late, beloved actress Loretta Young, is the presentation of the St. Martin de Porres Award. The 2015 recipient was Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond. Abundant congratulations flowed his way.

Both the silent and the live auctions created a welcome stir. The top three “silent” ones of 300 for bid were a dinner at Antoine’s, a Hotel Provincial staycation and prints by the late artist, Grace Newburger. The respective “winners” were Sharon and Mark Rodi, Ruth and Ray Naquin, and Michie (Mrs. Thomas R.) Bissell, who opened the earlier formalities as Advisory Board president. For the live excitement, some of the top bidders were the Naquins (a R’evolution dinner), Margo and Bill Vosberg (a Colorado vacation), Keith and Dr. Stephen Derbes (pinot noir from Dr. Nicolas Bazan’s winery), Hope and Michael Read (a Bevolo lantern) and auctioneer Karen Swensen (Anton Ltd.’s pearls.)

Adding the musical sparkle was the Cristina Perez Trio. Cristina is the daughter-in-law of gala guests, Dr. Ollie and Karen Oser Edmunds.

Former St. Martin de Porres recipients – Mary Jane and John Becker, Marilyn Rusovich, Jeanette and Nat Garofalo, the Naquins, Mary Ann Valentino, Sylvia and John Laborde, the Rev. Neal McDermott, O.P., the above Freddy Yoder, and Col. Jo Ann Cotterman, O.P., USAR –made rounds, as did Kelly and Andre Coudrain, Mrs. Lucas Ehrensing, Katherine de Montluzin, Peter Quirk, and Paulette and Frank Stewart.

From the Advisory Board came Janet Clinton, Charlotte Crusta, Phil Dorsey with Mary, Dr. Pat and Lou Jordan, Melissa Meyers with Dr. Bill, Michelle Midkiff with Donald, John Smestad, Dr. Joaquin Wong, and Dr. Maureen Wright with Gregory.

Prior Provincial the Very Rev. Thomas M. Condon, O.P., presented the above awards. He also described the evening as a wonderful way to celebrate “the beginning of the 800th anniversary year of the founding of the Order of Preachers (O.P., the Dominicans.” Meanwhile, a certain jubilation occurred as guests showed dance-floor delights to The Big Easy Buddies. As one gala principal noted, “Everyone was dancing.”

River Roll Call!

The 35th annual Ozanam Inn Century Club Gala took place at Poppy’s The Crazy Lobster Bar & Grill on the riverfront at Spanish Plaza with Jay, Becky and Tiffany Conner as the 2015 Honorary Chair Family, Poppy’s A.J. and Anna Tusa as the host couple, auction ado, a restaurant raffle won by Everett Bonner, lots of good food, and music by The Mixed Nuts, who donated their time and talents. All for a good cause.

In addition to the restaurant’s seafood-inspired decorations, there were fall-themed centerpieces by Gerry Lafont, the mother of board member Angela Wattler. A large volunteer group and gala committee, including past and present residents of Ozanam Inn, set up the 80-item auction.

Deacon Biaggio S. DiGiovanni is the Inn’s executive director.

As the 2015 honorees, the Conners received a host of encomiums. Others attending were the 2014 Chaircouple, the above Frank and Paulette Stewart, board President Claiborne Perrilliat with Jeanie, board member Fred Kirchgraber with Karen, and special honorees Paul Claudel, Leon Connelly, Will Jourdan and Michel Lanaux, all recently retired board members. And the Rev. Louis Arceneaux, spiritual director for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which has Ozanam Inn as a Special Work; emcee Alexandra Cranford, WWL-TV meteorologist, and husband Aaron Yohn; Mike and Leslie Champagne; Rudy Rayfield; Ron and Anne Cambias and family; Kevin and Nancy Colomb; Diane Morrow; Preston and Gloria Cifreo, and dozens more, who finished “Rollin’” by dancing overlooking the Crescent City Connection.

Playing It Forward

Circle the correct answer for “A game in which the ball is called a ‘dolly’.” Is it, Aunt Sally, croquet, marbles?

For the recent British Pub Night of the Daughters of the British Empire at The Irish House (with thanks to owner/chef Matt Murphy), the theme was “Britain at Play: Name the Game.” Ten such quiz questions were printed and passed around, generating a lot of fun for a game, activity or pastime. The beneficiary is Mountbatten House Retirement Home.

Heather Cavanagh designed the thematic table decorations; silent and live auctions lured the bidders, thanks to auction Chairwoman Maggie Cantwell and auctioneer Taylor Eichenwald; the Map Game spearheaded by Leonard Caruso and Diana Clark Gilbert created fun and nostalgia; and dinner sated the party appetite with potato and leek soup, a main course choice (including bangers and mash) and dessert.

The evening’s honorary Chairman was Honorary Consul of Great Britain James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr., O.B.E., who was abroad at the time. In attendance were DBE in Louisiana State President Jane Caruso with the above Leonard (both back from London and Edinburgh), event Co-Chairwomen Martine Lowe (with Martin, who “kept order” as a British bobby) and Regina Cairns with Ian, emcee Jason Waguespack, and State Organizer Betty Calzada with Butzie, daughter Amy Lewis and granddaughter Zora Ngwaba, who modeled auction items.

Also, Bonnie Slaughter with daughter Colette Acosta (another model), artist David Gamble with Rachel Perkoff, spouses Julianne Nice and Herb Larson, Penny and Dr. Martyn Thompson, Daniel Thompson with Julia Broussard (another model), Hazel Turlington, Elba Hickey, Jean Benard, and Winona Aguzin-Gibbs. All reveled in their “Play” date.

  • French Chic Living

A combined lecture, luncheon, book signing at Calcasieu and a day-before cocktail party at the Garden District home of Pam Georges Dongieux figured into the format of The French Heritage Society, Louisiana Chapter, which was titled “French Chic Living” and hailed author/designer Florence de Dampierre, whose book bears that title.

Within the chic cocktail party assembly were FHS Louisiana Chapter Co-Chairmen Michael D. Harold and Buddy Bolton, respectively with Dr. Quinn Peeper and Jean Bolton, along with the above Katherine de Montluzin, past President Alexandra Stafford, Janet Tallerine, David Ebner, Angele Parlange, Lisa Ludwig, past President Diane Sustendal Labouisse, Jackie Derks, Virginia and Julie McCollam, Catherine Cecil Dumesnil, Rick Normand, Lynne and Hugh Uhalt, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, various members of Alliance Française and others. Many broke bread the next day at Calcasieu for a tasty luncheon and honoree Florence’s talk on her book and her exciting slide show presentation.