The Order of St. Lazarus held its Spring Cocktail Party at the home of Dr. Billy and Cindy Woessner on a Friday evening with a focus on charity and camaraderie, while on the following evening, and on a subsequent Sunday, color kicked in. Archbishop Chapelle High School staged its Emerald Gala and the Rose of Tralee paid tribute to the Emerald Isle.

  • The ‘Order’ of the Evening

Mother Nature was the silent hostess at the Spring Cocktail Party given at the Woessner home by the Grand Commandery of the South of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. The weather, described as “perfect,” allowed guests to move with social ease both inside and out of the handsome party premises. To add the musical fillip, pianist Andrew de Buys regaled guests from the hosts’ baby grand, with lovely lyricism heard around and about.

Floral embellishment was readily noticed and appreciated, thanks to the large bowl of white hydrangeas on the dining-room table and the profusion of orchids in the home. In between conversational swaps, guests enjoyed crabmeat canapes, lemon-artichoke cheesecake, grilled pork tenderloin, orzo with shrimp, roasted vegetables and amaretto-laced chocolate brownies.

In keeping with the charitable purpose of the 900-year-old ecumenical order of Christian chivalry (which also supports medical clinics near and afar), guests brought donations of canned goods for Second Harvest or toiletries for Luke’s House Clinic.

Noted as the Honorary Grand Commander was Dr. George Schneider, who mingled with Commander of the Grand Commandery of the South Hugh Straub (who answers, as do several others, to “Chevalier”) and his wife, Dame Commander Mary Ann Straub, vice chancellor for administration of the Grand Priory of America; and Vice Commander Dr. James Jeter, with Jan, a St. Lazarus member. Additional officers were Susan Kartzke, Carlo Capomazza di Campolattaro with spouse/member Rosemonde, Ann Middleton, Drew Jardine with Julie, and Kevin Mackie with Haydee.

Making their Lazarus rounds, too, were Mark Adams with Libby, John Boyd with Bonnie, Amie Harlee Borne with fiancé Richard Seba, Pam Brovarney, Tom Forbes with Jakie, Eddie Geoghegan with Cinci, Ned Hemard with Martha Robbins, John Laborde with Sylvia, Gary Mannina with Marie-Louise, Max and Margaret Maxwell, the Very Rev. Jean Meade, Walker Ronaldson and Dame (as several of the women are dubbed) Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Marilyn Rusovich, Dr. Charles Smith with Carol, Howard Soper with Carroll, Frank Stewart with Paulette, and Dick Spangenberg with Nicole, who as a teenager in German-occupied France was part of the French Resistance and helped care for the wounded, risking her own young life.

Some of the conversational exchange concerned the Order’s upcoming pilgrimage to Walsingham, England, which will have participation from several members of the Grand Commandery of the South, and also the Order’s citizenship program in partnership with the Keller Library and Broadmoor Community Center. Four persons recently completed the program and are now new U.S. citizens.

Rose of Tralee Gala

Madeline Joan Janney, daughter and stepdaughter of Erin Chevis Wright and Brett Wright, enjoyed the limelight as the 2014 New Orleans Rose of Tralee at a gala reception in the Four Columns. The Loyola University student is the 23rd local young lady to be chosen by the New Orleans Rose Association to represent the Crescent City in the Irish International Rose of Tralee Festival. (Her 2013 predecessor was Molly Molloy Gambel for whom wedding bells are ringing.) A regional judging precedes the final big festival that will unfold in mid-August in Tralee, Country Kerry, Ireland.

Boasting the broadest smile — and there were many — at the Four Columns was Madeline’s grandfather, Ron Chevis, her proud Paw-Paw, who has attended and escorted Madeline for more than 10 years while she participated as a youthful Rosebud in previous courts. He did the honors again this year for her role as the honored Rose. Smiling too, of course, were the above parents Erin and Brett Wright and Madeline’s brothers, Nicholas and Gabriel Wright.

As the program commenced, a memorial candle and moment of silence observed the departed loved ones (remembering “The lilt of their Irish laughter”); the Rev. Billy O’Riordan, a native of Cork, Ireland, gave the invocation; Ed Clancy stepped forward as master of ceremonies; and everyone joined in for the singing of the anthems.

Special thanks went to event sponsors the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Dr. and Mrs. Martin A. Belager, and the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Committee.

Completing Madeline’s court were Roses in Waiting Chase Lynn Jackson and Linda Rose Plasse (respectively of the Rafferty and Shea clans) and Rosebuds Anna Irene Dawson (Dawson Clan) and Shea Marie Plasse (Shea Clan). Kathy Shea Plasse beamed with delight at the appearance of her above-mentioned daughters, Linda Rose and Shea, as she recalled her title in 1993 as the New Orleans Rose.

Additional headliners were New Orleans Rose Association President Nora Nolan Lambert, attending with former City Councilman/husband John Lambert, who added a “vintage rendering” to the program that was taught by his mother, Dehlia Bridget Kennedy, in the late 1930s; and NORA officers the above Kathleen “Kathy” Shea Plasse, Kate Ferg and Patricia “Pat” Carreca, who greeted guests along with her sister, Debbie. An auction and a buffet were further attractions. Committee members included Blanche Comiskey, Connie Comiskey, Betsy Dowling, Joan Eckholdt, Margaret Fanning, Merle Guerin, Liz Rafferty, Carolyn Scanlon and Mary Ann McGrath Swaim, who brought Irish dance to New Orleans 40 years ago and led it at the gala.

The spirit was contagious and joining in were Eileen Comiskey, Lisa Hawney and Noel Reed, and others, who got the dancing feet moving in the right direction.

‘Emerald’ Ado

Archbishop Chapelle High School presented its on-site Emerald Gala with Gerry and Colleen Kuhn and Michael and Kim Sorensen as the gala chaircouples, and in other chairing roles, Luly Cali and Robin Schlosser (auction gifts); Steve and alumna Dayna McGovern Boudreaux and Lou and alumna Cindi Meyer Reynolds (patron party); alumna Cindy Schule Wooderson (buffet); Carl Silva (bar); and Jim Hanzo (master of ceremonies). Christian Jules LeBlanc, star of TV’s “The Young and the Restless” as Michael Baldwin, was the gala’s celebrity guest.

In the live auction, a behind-the-scenes tour of “The Young and the Restless” generated a lot of excitement with Joe and Rae Dempsey and Roi-Lynne Hulin emerging as the highest bidders.

More features included the beautiful white roses used at the patron party and the music by the Archbishop Chapelle/Archbishop Rummell Jazz Band; the abundant green accents (table runners and up-lighting) and August Rush music making at the gala; the purveyance by a slew of restaurants; nine silent-auction board; and raffles.

Within the legions reveling in the “Emerald” activity were school Principal John Serio, alumnae director Connie Dantagnan, Robert Wooderson, Joe and Erin Caruso, Mike and Trisha Carlson, and, from presenting sponsor Factory Service Agency, Mike Mitternight.