“Best Dressed,” a “Great” gathering, and “Speakeasy in the Big Easy” offered encomiums and social swinging. Staging the ado respectively were the Men and Women of Fashion and New Orleans Ballet Association; East Jefferson General Hospital Auxiliary; and St. Paul’s Episcopal School. Fine fetes and feats!

Clothes Encounters

“Prix d’Elegance” titled the annual luncheon of the above Men and Women of Fashion and NOBA that unfolded in the Grand Ballroom of the New Orleans Hilton Hotel with Hollywood fanfare. At each table seat, an envelope contained a pair of sunglasses which were donned at a choice moment for a panoramic photo-shoot. Say, “cheese,” please.

On Nov. 20, 2013, the hosting Men and Women of Fashion held a cocktail reception at the Ritz-Carlton to honor the 2013 “Prix” award nominees. At the Tinseltown-themed luncheon, the 20 awardees were hailed. Taking a bow in the men’s category were Michael Brinkman, Russ Herman, Doug Kilton, Bivian “Sonny” Lee III, Edward F. “Ted” Martin, Manuel I. Martinez, Todd P. Murphy, Dr. Harry A. Roach, Wayne E. Woods and Kenner Mayor Michael S. Yenni. The limelighted women were Allison G. Ashy, Elaine Grundmeyer, Holley Haag, Carol V. Hall, Alanah Odoms Hebert, Diane Hollis, Leslie Andree Perrin, Paige Royer, Suzanne Scott and Carol Short. Kathleen Mix Diamond and C. Michael Winters returned as the Hall of fame recipients. In addition to turning out in fashionable fettle, the “Prix” principals also are known for volunteer and community involvement.

Further profiling came from luncheon Chairwoman Sandra Stone Chaisson, and MoF and WoF Presidents Leon L. Giorgio and Jacquee Carvin, as well as mistress of ceremonies Juli Miller Hart, Deborah Alciatore, Martine Chaisson Linares, Jamie Moreau, Kathy Singleton (as Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Tiffa Boutte (who underwrote the entertainment), Sandra Trout Wilson, Teresa Guzzetta, Laura Badeaux, Virginia Eckholdt, the above Kathleen Mix Diamond, Sharon Marchand, Jean Rice, and Sandra Herman, with Cindy Cenac, who chaired the Walk of Fame. Several individuals from the 1982 and 1983 “Best” set coursed the runway as they had done decades ago.

Hollywood-costumed Brett and Cheryl Mintz Bauman starred as the live auctioneers. Still others putting the show on the red carpet were NOBA executive director Jenny Hamilton, Kenny Rubenstein, Debbie Byrd, Norma Jane Sabiston, Scott Sewell, Sonda Stacey, Joan Zaslow, Charlotte Bollinger, Nancy Claypool, Gayle Dellinger, Juan Barona, Joan Ingram, a committee of 32, the awardees’ escorts, and, for the Spring Fashion Show, Jeff’s (Jeff’s Haberdashery) and Chatta Box Boutique.

Further features included the morning champagne reception, the luncheon menu, an extensive silent auction, the Lee Michaels’ Jewelers and Rubenstein’s raffle, a performance by NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance Students, the honorees’ catwalk presentation, and the plan for the event’s proceeds to benefit the Ballet Association’s Scholarship Fund. Now that’s fine form!

‘Great’ Gallivanting

The Audubon Tea Room was the site for yet another midday gathering, the 38th anniversary of The Great Lady/Great Gentlemen Awards, which thanked the above EJGHA as the presenter. (Luncheon proceeds benefited nursing programs.) Carol Becklehimer, Dianne Breaux, Tommy Fonseca, Pat Golemi, Willie LaNasa, the above Sonda Stacey, Karen Villavaso, and Denise Woodward received tributes and applause for their outstanding volunteer service. More ovation tapped event co-chairwomen Sharon Marchand and Jean Rice, along with Nurse Scholarship recipients Barbara Carson and Joseph Sims.

Notables, and there were many, included Anne Favret, the home hostess for the patron party chaired by Kathleen McGregor and Marguerite Ricks; auxiliary President Lorraine Cucchiara; EJGH CEO Dr. Mark Peters (joined by wife Kim); Ashton Ryan Jr. of major sponsor First NBC Bank; Brother Gale Condit, F.S.C., for the invocation; Ginger Crawford for the Pledge of Allegiance; mistress of ceremonies Shelley Brown of Fox News; auction chairwomen Lisa Baynham, Kathy Zimmerman and Suzette Herpich; and Fred Heebe, winner of a fine wine rack. Auction action was another major attraction.

Still others in the sold-out crowd – all enjoying salad, filet of beef, and the champagne flute filled with lemon mousse – were Frank and Paulette Stewart, Rosalie Edwards, Jolene (Mrs. Ashton Jr.) Ryan, Jerri Klein, Barbara Ballard, Patricia “Tricia” Ortalano, Jane and Bruce Miller, Barry Breaux, Elgin and Coleen Landry, and event coordinator Christy Cavataio. The Arnie Johnson Trio purveyed some scintillating tunes, and whereas this is not considered a dancing event, several couples sauntered forth for a turn on the floor to “Blue Moon.”

‘Easy’ Did It

A Lisa pair, as in Lisa Caracci and Lisa Davenport, combined festive forces to chair “St. Paul’s Speakeasy in the Big Easy” in City Park’s Arbor Room. “Great Gatsby”-style décor prevailed, a dozen-plus restaurants donated food, and auction ado was lively, thanks to the silent set of 116 items (with a painting of Miles Davis by Jacqueline Geystan) and the “live” excitement of 14 entries, including dinner for eight in a Marigny courtyard served by St. Paul’s faculty and staff. The Restaurant Pull and Fund-a-Need added further activity.

Headliners included school board Chairman Sid Degan, head of school Charleen Schwank and husband John (photo booth sponsors), Chris Bryan and Fran Richard (who, in turn, chaired the auction and food), the 12 committee members, Malin Construction Company Inc., auctioneer Tommy Tucker, and celebrity bartenders Andrew Doyle, Myers McAllister and Sylvia Parks. Music makers Darryl Lewis – D2 Entertainment got the groove going with thematic 1920s numbers for the patrons and a gamut of hits during the “Speakeasy” salute.