Bring on the Crowds!

Three recent events, at their different fundraisers, amassed about 4,500 attendees, who showed that support of favorite institutions is close to the hearts (and wallets) of New Orleanians. All added “good time,” too.

Piscine Partying

Most everything was fishy-fine about a recent bash that titled itself Scales & Ales. “Scales,” of course, is the fish reference for the location and funding purpose, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, while “Suds” refers to the emphasis on locally brewed beers that were served. As a top supporter, Abita was the Exclusive Beer Sponsor.

“Party your fins off” was the exhortation, and about 3,000 people did at this eighth annual event. Guests meandered about the Aquarium and on Woldenberg Plaza overlooking the Mississippi River, soaking up the sights and sounds with wine and beer from open bars and delicious cuisine from more than 50 fine eateries and drinkeries. The bash, which kicked off National Seafood Month, will direct proceeds “to support Aquarium education and conservation programs like G.U.L.F. (Audubon’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries program) that empower the community through interactive learning.”

Additional highlights, along with a clear breezy night, were DJ Brice Nice, the entertainment inside the Aquarium, and the Plaza Main Stage headliners, The Molly Ringwalds. Further fun came from The Sirens of New Orleans performers, the GoGo Booth (for photos), temporary tattoo stations, VR Arcade NOLA, and YLC Recycles. The raffle, to benefit G.U.L.F., gave S&A-goers chances to walk away with a variety of valuable prizes, including round-trip tickets from Southwest Airlines, Kendra Scott jewelry and an autographed Anthony Davis jersey.

Among those making waves and reveling in the unique aquatic atmosphere were Audubon Nature Institute head Ron Forman and Sally, Abita’s Leo Basile and Heidi Guerra, Councilwoman Nadine M. Ramsey, chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins, Mike Ketchum of the New Orleans Fish House, Linda and Mike Mann of Eustis Benefits, Julie Borsch of the New Orleans Pelicans, Brandi Nye of Entergy, and, from the host committee of 39, Victoria and Max Schellenberg and Casey and Chris Zainey. Also, Aquarium managing director Rich Toth, Laurie Conkerton of ANI, and scores more. Not only did they celebrate sustainable seafood, but they furthered Audubon’s “green” efforts. Guests drank from plastic cups that were cleaned at cup-rinsing stations, and taken home as souvenirs to be used again. And to remember a good time.

Seminary Socializing

Held on the grounds and within Notre Dame Seminary, the annual gala and auction drew hundreds, with special thanks to the chairing couples: Deacon Carlo and Debbie Maniglia (honorary); Tim and Lisa Thriffiley and Frank and Rhonda Tusa (event); Steve and Luly Cali and Deacon Robert and Pam Pendzimaz (auction); Joseph and Erin Caruso and Tim and Beverly Napier (patron party); and Todd and Maura Owers, Carey and Kim Roberts, and Raymond and Cissy Yakelis (food and beverage). All came under the leadership of the seminary’s new coordinator of special events, Caroline Thriffiley. The Chair of Peter Sponsors, the top ones, included as individuals Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Canizaro, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Connick Sr., David and Anna Jouandot, Jacob Giardina, and the Rev. Matthew C. Dupre (St. Patrick Catholic Church).

To embellish the premises, Federico’s Family Florist and Perino’s Garden Center donated flowers and foliage. Jewel-colored roses and greenery were placed in glass and/or silver vases. More social assets were the featured restaurants and caterers, such as Maurice’s with Jean Luc Albin’s crowd-pleasing chocolate martinis, Pigeon Catering’s soup shooters, ETC Catering’s smoked salmon, Lagniappe Luncheonette’s shrimp and grits, and Drago’s shrimp Roma. The Dessert Room offered a plethora of sweet treats. To diet for!

Auction items, silent and live (such as Napa Valley and San Destin stays, as well as a Galatoire’s dinner for eight in the purchaser’s home), and raffle items from Anton’s Ltd., Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, and American Airlines added to the gala coffers.

Among the notables were Archbishop Gregory Aymond, retired Archbishop Alfred Hughes (just back from helping in Houston), Seminary Rector and President the Rev. Jim Wehner, Sharon and Mark Rodi, Darlene and Marc Robert, Brandt and Glenda Dufrene, the Rev. Colm Cahill, Jane Nalty, David and Dottie Haydel, Rob and Joanne Marier, Tammy and John Dupuy, Maura and Michael Cowan, and Greg and Yvette LaCour. Scores more, who delighted in the musical performances of the Notre Dame Seminary Schola.

To Market, to Market!

During four hours, “Moonlight Market” thrilled crowds, who headed to the Contemporary Arts Center for a casual cocktail and food affair in an indoor-garden atmosphere, all to benefit Market Umbrella and the Crescent City Farmers Market. Patrons mingled in the CAC’s atrium with music by Spider Murphy, along with Coquette purveyance (chef Kristen Essig) and cocktails from Bar Tonique (Mark Schettler).

Thirty-plus restaurants during the main event in the warehouse space of the CAC offered grazing galore, as Farmers folks bid at the enticing auction tables on 78 items, tapped a toe to The Tin Men, and admired the decorative garden-scape. It was rendered by bouquets supplied by Whole Foods Market set in Mason jars atop wooden picnic tables and lots of potted plants from Mizell Farms. Posters promoted Market Umbrella.

Mastheaders included Market Umbrella/CCFM Board of Directors President Howell Crosby with Katie, MU executive director Kate Parker and husband James Karst, event Chairwoman Katie Rosenblum and Carl, and board members Avery Corenswet with Jay, Monique McCleskey and Bob, Ann Thompson and Shaw, and David T. Baker. Also, Roane Babington, Allison and George Freeman, Gary Solomon Jr., Janice and Bob Phelps, Erica J. Washington, Danielle Boveland, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Stew and Margaux Krane, Pete and Christina Gerica, and many more, who savored chats with chefs Susan Spicer and Adolfo Garcia as they sampled scrumptious food.