Three recent events not only anticipated spring but also the seasonal delights of Easter. And each one nodded to indoor-outdoor socializing.
In City Park, Lark in the Park delighted hundreds; sponsored by Iberia Bank, the 2015 Secret Gardens Tour rounded up patrons to the bank on St. Charles Avenue, and then days later, held the touring, all to benefit The Brain Injury Association of Louisiana (with the Waring family as presenters); and the third annual Jazzin’ on Jackson unfolded in the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center. The beneficiary was Mercy Endeavors Senior Center and Phillip Manuel provided the live entertainment.
‘Lark’ made its mark
Combining present festivity with a future focus, Robin Bordelon Borne, Annie Orillac Thibodeaux and Leigh Morgan Thorpe combined organizational skills to chair the 2015 Lark in the Park. Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson was the honorary chairwoman. “Celebrate Your Park: Here’s to Past, Present and Future Memories!” titled the jaunt that slated proceeds for the continued preservation of New Orleans City Park through the endowment fund. Said park CEO Bob Becker, “You will be investing in the legacy of City Park for generations to come.”
Patrons first assembled in the park’s Pavilion of the Two Sisters, where Commander’s Palace catered and John Michael Bradford entertained. Then it was a social flutter to the New Orleans Botanical Garden and its of-the-moment set-ups. The trio of featured areas, the Party Flock Lounge, the VIP Sponsor Tent and the Rose Garden Piano Bar had furniture, respectively, from West Elm, Modern Market and Pret a Fete. Well over 45 restaurants purveyed savory and sweet delectables.
Decorations and posies added joyful florescence, thanks to calla lilies, white hydrangeas, and white gerber/football mums. The centerpieces were designed and donated by Iris Floral and Event Design.
All the while, auction activity lured the Larkers. In the live portion, there were 12 unique packages, including a FrenchyLive painting, as well as a trip for four to Oregon Wine Country with a personalized tour of the Moises-Wahle Vineyard. The raffle also generated a heap of excitement, thanks to a car and Coin. Bryan Subaru donated a 2015 Bryan Subaru (with gratitude to Jay and Pam Bryan) and Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, a Roberto Coin gold bracelet, selling, in turn, only 750 and 500 tickets.
Among the scores helping Lark take wing were Friends of City Park board President Jackie Palumbo attending with husband Vincent, Mary Johnson and Keith, Kimberly Zibilich and Keith, Tania Hahn, Karen DeBlieux and Peter, Adam McNeil, Paul Thibodeaux with Annie, Karen Adjmi, Reba and Michael Conefry, Larry Dale, Patrick Galloway, Jeanie Favret, Helen and Tim Young, Kathleen and Tom Smith, and Lana and Grayson Lovick. Those Friends (and friends) of City Park caught up on the latest of the in-attendance members of the City Park Improvement Association, namely President Susan Hess with Bill, Anne Abbott with Herschel, Laura Claverie with Philp, Karen Fernandez, Dessa Giffin with David, Bill Hoffman with Denise, Michael Hollis, Paul Masinter with Renee, Britton Sanderford, and Edmund Schrenk with Kathy.
All were enthralled by the featured entertainment by Luke Winslow-King and his jazz, blues and rock ’n’ roll; Brian Coogan tickling the ivories at the Piano Bar; and Bobcat’s aerialist performance.
As donors or sponsors or noted attendees — or all three — some of the names to know were Lisa Irons from presenting sponsor Capital One Bank, the above Bryans, Ed Mathes, Walt Navoy, Margo and Clancy DuBos, Terry and Lynette Dufrene, Lynne Burkart, Pat and Elaine Gootee, Muffin and Luis Balart, Joseph and Dianne Caverly, Sally Duplantier, Larry and JoAnn Katz, Sue and Mike Guarisco, Mike and Nancy Marsiglia, Mark Romig, Liz Reyes, Joey and Buzzy Brown, the Dick Piners, Rodger and Gretchen Wheaton, and countless others, including Dan A. Robin Jr., whose surname and self added another ornithological presence to the “Lark” levity.
“I didn’t know she had such a glorious garden,” said a tour participant on the Secret Gardens Tour about a friendly acquaintance. But then, that’s the purpose of the tour: to introduce and show gardens that individuals might not know existed or would ever visit. And all for a most worthy cause: The Brain Injury Association of Louisiana.
As folks meandered about a section of the Garden District, they viewed the Baus, Tremaine, Casselli, Johnsen, Colbert, Stall, Strachan, Tessier, Gelderman, Spencer, Tallerine, Stag, Manning, and McGehee Butterfly gardens. Music, restrooms (Garden No. 8), and food, water and vendors made the touring ever so pleasant.
To welcome select supporters, an inaugural patron party titled “The Great Outdoors” occurred at IberiaBank on St. Charles Avenue. Headliners included 2015 co-chairwomen for the Secret Gardens Tour Barkley Rafferty (with Christopher Tidmore) and Meghan Donelon (of IberiaBank); founder and BIALA board member Kathleen Waring with Ben and their daughter, Nina; SGT director Eva Pokorny; SGT committee members Randa Abisamra with Freddy, Jean Bowling with David, and Ashley Morgan (of IberiaBank) with parents Lynn and Digges Morgan; Dr. William Waring (of the presenting family) with Dot Weisler; garden professionals Marianne and Alan Mumford; BIALA director Cat Howard; Joyce Rice; and 2015 garden owners Susu and Andrew Stall, Carli and Frank Tessier, and Janet and Leonard Tallerine. For starters.
It was no “secret” that they enjoyed the socializing. Party delights abounded with flowers and decorations by Emily Eberwine of Pick-a Petal, music by Jonathan “Jon” Roniger, food by Taceaux Loceaux and Foodie Call (both in food trucks) and a specialty cocktail: the Secret Gardens Sip.
Jazzin’ on Jackson
The lively levity that raised fun and funds for Mercy Endeavors Senior Center took part of its name from Jackson Avenue near the party site, St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center and its environs. Mercy Endeavors is located close by on St. Andrew Street. A new facility will be housed on the corner of Jackson and of Rousseau Street in the Lower Garden District with land donated by the Jamie Coleman family.
Christopher J. Bruno answers to board chairman of Mercy Endeavors and James P. Ellerbusch, vice chairman. Board members include Diana Bajoie, Ronald Burke, Summer Duperon, Gina McMahon, Katie Rafferty, Sister Nicholas Schiro, RSM, Patricia Unsworth and Pauline Willeford. Sister Jane Briseno, RSM, is the executive director. Teamed to form the “JoJ” committee for the event were 25 individuals.
Making “Jazzin’?” their social tout were Judge Christopher Bruno with wife Kerry and mom Marion Bruno, Vice Chairman James P. “Jay” Ellerbusch with June, and, from the board, Diana Bajoie, Patricia Unsworth with John, and Ronnie Burke with daughter Jenna. Also noted were the John Stockmeyers, Dr. and Mrs. Lee Roy Morgan, Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Raymond, Vivian Palmisano, Melanie Loomis, the Craig Nelsons, the John Stassis, Judge Nakisha Ervin-Knott, and the Ryan and the Richard Moores.
The headlining sponsors were the “Saxophone” category with the names of Judge and Mrs. Robert Lobrano, while the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club was the second-tier sponsor, the “Trombone.” Instrumental, too, in all the activity was the entertainment with Phillip Manuel billed as the note-worthy name.
More than 60 packages, including trips and a Bourbon Orleans staycation, enticed the silent-auction crowds, as did the artwork donated by Lizzie Randol, Stephanie Brauner, Patricia Hardin and Terrance Osborne. Dr. Carrie Emonet and Steven Koenig were the respective top bidders for art by Houston-based Austin James and for four theme park tickets for Walt Disney World.
Adding to the many attractions were the offerings by a slew of fine restaurants or caterers and the lighting. Credited for the lovely lambency was Jennifer Vu ,of Firefly Ambiance, who set the mood with large candelabras, lanterns and glimmering golden vases lit with candles.
The glow of the décor matched the satisfaction of those involved with the “JoJ” fundraiser. Said Sister Briseno, “Our third Jazzin’ on Jackson was a delightful evening for our seniors and our center’s friends and supporters.” She concluded with how honored she was to see such support.