Salutations and socializing fused at three recent events. Night time events occurred at the Hilton Riverside for the Gala 2015 of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Heritage Foundation Inc., where Edgar “Dooky” and Leah Chase and Bud Brimberg were honored, and, earlier, at the U.S. Freedom Pavilion of The National World War II Museum for the dinner given by Tulane University and the Tulane Alumni Association and the laureling of six individuals. At Kingsley House, “Wishes” titled the sixth annual Friendraising Luncheon.
‘Give Us the Night’
In the Hilton’s Grand Ballroom, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Inc. held forth in gala style with Mutual of America, Shell, and Peoples Health as the presenting sponsors. Proceeds from the ’15 festivity will benefit the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music, a free, after-school program of NOJHFF, the nonprofit organization that owns Jazz Fest.
Headliners were the above Chases (Dooky Chase Restaurant) and Bud Brimberg (Art4Now), as well as master of ceremonies Bill Rouselle, past president of the foundation, and executive director Don Marshall. Also, gala committee Chairwoman Rachel F. Cousin; Co-Chairwomen Penny Randolph Biagas, board President Demetric M. Mercadel, and Carol Solomon; and, among committee members, Barbara Herman, Arthur Pulitzer, Marc Barnes, Katy Roubion, and Julie Wise Oreck. Special recognition tapped Anthony Sylvester, who represented the Louis Prima and the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, for the major donation to the Jazz & Heritage Center.
Guests were wowed as they approached the party site. At the entrance, a “Broadway Theatre” façade announced 10-time Grammy Award winner George Benson as the main act. He was preceded by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. Flanking the Chemin Royale, the vast hallway outside the Grand Ballroom, were unique highboy tables representing jazz instruments. Within the ballroom itself, all was, according to a party principal, “breathtaking elegance and sophistication.” Navy and silver predominated as colors, subtle lighting added further atmosphere, and white velour drapery created a cabana for the bars and also provided a backdrop for the silent auction and the 12 Jazz Portraits.
In addition to the 30-plus silent selections, there was the live one with the above board President Demetric Mercadel as auctioneer. She got the going, “gone” for the painting that Artist Frenchy did of George Benson during his show. Not only was there the singer’s “music in the air and lots of loving everywhere,” but also art.
As for the food stations, they amassed a slew of happy diners with offerings of soup, salad, seafood, carved meats, main courses, and desserts, such as Mississippi mud squares. The Goldring Family Foundation donated the premium liquor that was available all night.
Making their “Give Us the Night” rounds as well were Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu, Sheriff Marlin and Renee Gusman, Councilman Jared C. Brossett, Laney and Ruth Chouest, the Drew Marshes, Christopher Bardes, the Phillip Mays, Terrell Clayton, the John Finans, Jim and Gemelle Linzy, Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Woods, David Edwards, Chris Pilley, Karen and Bobby Major, Russ Herman, Sandra Pulitzer, Vonda and Charles Rice, Alfred Groos and countless others, who made jazz their jaunt.
Alums and Accolades
The 2015 Tulane University Awards Gala commenced with a one-hour reception followed by dinner and awards. Hailed were brothers Louis M. Freeman and Richard W. Freeman Jr., both known for their philanthropy and civic leadership, the Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement awardees; Col. Douglas G. Hurley, USMC retired, an astronaut who piloted the final U.S. space shuttle mission, Distinguished Alumnus Award; and Marsha S. Firestone, Ph.D., founder and president of the Women Presidents’ Organization and the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization, Professional Achievement Award.
Also, Anthony “Tony” Recasner, Ph.D., an “American Hero,” as recognized by then-President George W. Bush for his contributions to the charter school movement and reshaping public education in New Orleans, Scott Cowen Service Award; Edward J. Crawford IV, a Peace Corps veteran and founder of the Freeman 50, the business school’s young MBA alumni advisory board, Robert V. Tessaro Young Alumnus Volunteer Award; and Andy Hyson, representative of Tulane’s Washington, D.C., Alumni Club, the Outstanding Alumni Club of the Year.
They were joined by spouses Judy (Mrs. Louis) Freeman, Sarah (Mrs. Richard) Freeman, Karen Nyberg (wife of Col. Hurley), Monroe Firestone, and many family members, including honoree Edward’s parents, Edward and Laura Crawford.
Further notables were TU President Michael Fitts, Tulane Alumni Association board President Carol Showley, Vice President of Alumni Relations James Stofan, Freeman School of Business Dean Ira and Susan Solomon, School of Science and Engineering Dean Nicholas and Amy Altiero, and, with husband Rick, Yvette Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development.
Applauding the awardees were dozens, including Denis and Lulie McDonald, Jack and Anne White, Dick and Becky Currence, Dr. Julius and Donna Levy, and Ellen McGlinchey, wife of the late, and aforementioned, Dermot McGlinchey, and their grandson, Hugh Monsted.
Dinner was served, and started with a pre-set salad of field greens, moving on to braised ribs, chicken au jus, and cheesecake with berries on top. Liz Walden provided the floral arrangements of blue hydrangeas, white roses and tulips.
Additional features were the presence of the Tulane Navy ROTC Color Guard, the Green Wave Brass Band, and for ensemble improvisation, the John Doheny Jazz Trio.
Kingsley House’s ‘Wishful’ Happening
Kingsley House, a United Way Community Impact Partner, is the oldest Settlement House in the South. It has served more than half a million people since its founding in 1896. Family is the focus.
“Friendraising” was the festive focus for the eponymous and on-campus luncheon, the sixth one. In keeping with the “Wishes” theme, the tables were adorned with Cinderella-blue linens and tall floral centerpieces created by Fat Cat Flowers from which hung wishes written by the KH children. The stage backdrop featured a castle and caricatures of Disney princesses by KH preschool teacher and artist Karent Hansell.
Guests relished the fine luncheon menu by chef Donald Link, which consisted of beef brisket, potato salad braised greens, salad, and lemon pie. Instead of paying for the event, guests, as part of the “friendraising,” were asked to make donations. All readily agreed.
Board members Claudia Carrere and Jeffery Waltz (with Jill) chaired the luncheon that also recognized columnist Nell Nolan as mistress of ceremonies; KH CEO Keith Liederman, Ph.D. with wife Luanne; board President Kit Fritchie with Gus; President-Elect Bill Hammack with Janice Parmelee; and from KH, Kamren Maize, Dolores Hunter, Richard Johnson, and Lathan Patterson. Additional board officers are Miles Thomas, W. Michael Wilson, and Melanie Bronfin.
Others assembled, and appreciative of the convenience of Royal Valet Services, were Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Meredith and Baldwin Montgomery, Bill Ryan, Richard Roth III and Mary Martin, Colette and Joe Friend, Arnel Cosey, Gina Jackson, Ted Nusenow, Lauren and Bryan Fitzpatrick, Sara and Ryan Gootee, and scores more, who, by their attendance and financial support, will help make KH’s “Wishes” into realities.