O What A Night! marqueed the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s annual gala that honored museum benefactor and philanthropist William F. “Bill” Goldring and hailed Karen Solomon and Katy Weil as chairwomen, Bryan Batt as master of ceremonies, C.K. Sweet as auctioneer, and Donald Link (Link Restaurant Group) and Justin Devillier (La Petite Grocery) as the top toques, the chefs; Southern University at New Orleans held The BASH at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans and packed the Celestin Ballroom; and the New Orleans Garden Society combined lunch and levity during “A Bewitching Affair” at the Audubon Tea Room. In each case, fun and funds fused.
‘O’ was Awesome
IberiaBank and Link Restaurant Group rated gratitude galore as underwriters for O What A Night! Gala at the Ogden Museum for which 12 sets of sponsors — including museum namesake Roger Ogden and Kenneth Barnes, and the above Chairwomen Karen and Katy and husbands George Solomon and Chris Weil — teamed for the succès fou.
“Night” notables, and there were scads, included the above Bill Goldring, the Opus Award winner; Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu; Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell; actors Helen Mirren, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman with spouse/board secretary Anna Beth Goodman; board Chairwoman Allison Kendrick; Kirscha Kaechele and David Walsh; artist John Alexander; artist William “Bill” Dunlap; the above Weils and Solomons; and board members Gregory Holt (with wife Lucy Burnett), Dathel Coleman (with Tommy) and Fran Villere. William Pittman Andrews answers to museum director.
They and about 400 “O” others arrived at the Ogden Museum’s Patrick F. Taylor Library for the 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. cocktails and the 50-item silent auction (presented by New Orleans Auction Galleries) and then moseyed over to the gala tent (adjacent to the museum at the corner of Camp and St. Joseph streets) for the seated dinner, Opus Award presentation, live auction and dancing to O What A Night! All-Stars.
Music was an intrinsic part of the merriment and included Mia Boarders, Jesse Marrow, Jeffrey Pounds, Betty Winn and One, Jeremy Davenport, David Torkanowsky, Raymond Weber, Pat Casey, Chris Adkins, Roderick Paulin, Stephen Lands, Erica Falls, Yadona West and John Warren. To mention most.
The live auction pulled out the stops — and wallets. Artwork by William Andrews, Michael J. Deas, Thornton Dial, Lin Emery, Margaret Evangeline, Skylar Fein, Ida Kohlmeyer, James Surls, Hunt Slonem, Allison Stewart and the above John Alexander and Bill Dunlap, among others, were ripe for big bidding. So were the Saints package and the 1989 Mazda Miata that was a gift from film director Steven Spielberg to actor John Goodman for his performance in the movie “Always.”
Additional features were the gifts, an “O” pin from Adler’s Jewelry (compliments of museum board member Coleman Adler II); the cleverly named drinks; the flowers and decorations by Pompadour Productions and Katy Weil; and the event coordination by BBC Destination Management. “O” what delights!
Almost every round of gallivanting can be termed a bash, but one group has an extra name-lock: Southern University at New Orleans. The annual scholarship fundraiser is called The BASH and plays not only on the idea of a lavish party, but also on the memory of Chancellor Emeritus Emmett W. Bashful. The university’s foundation began the event 10 years ago to honor him.
Teamed this year to chair it were alumni Connie Lavigne, Ed Robinson and Eric Wright, who were thanked in the printed program by SUNO Foundation Chairman Frank Williams Jr. “for their diligent efforts to make this evening a great success.” Chancellor Victor Ukpolo, Ph.D., added his thanks and remarks, as did Southern University Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Bridget A. Dinvaut and Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. He added, “God bless the Jaguar Nation and the state of the Knights.”
Blue was the predominant color, seen on the invitation, program and decorative touches, but the sponsorial categories claimed Gold, Silver and Copper. Liberty Bank & Trust Company figured as the lone Gold star.
When it was time for the evening’s program, Harold Clark Jr., executive associate to the chancellor, and Tammy Barney, public relations director, strode forward as the master and mistress of ceremonies. Next up were the above-mentioned Williams, Ukpolo, Mason and the three BASH co-chairmen, whose steering committee consisted of Cynthia Beaulieu, Gail Thornton Collins, Harry Doughty, Stephanie Jackson, Josephine Okoronkwo and Hazel Pitts. Vice Chancellor Gloria Bartley Moultrie extended special acknowledgements.
The concluding programming was music and dancing, and for that The Renaissance Band added to The BASH bounty.
A Bewitching Affair
Hats and Halloween hobnobbing aligned for lively ado when the New Orleans Garden Society presented “A Bewitching Affair” at the Audubon Tea Room. Headliners included society President Denise Mehurin, who was joined by husband Chet, and Chairwoman Lee Pitre Lynch. Margaret Orr reaped thanks as the celebrity mistress of ceremonies.
Always a lot of fun, and praised for the thematic meal that started with butternut squash soup and ended with chocolate “spider” dessert, the luncheon included a fashion show by Dillard’s, a Parade of Prizes, a 50/50 prize and the Alluring Witch Contest. The categories and their winners were Most Glamorous, Erin Fleming; Best Botanical, Cynthia Glancy; Crème de la Coven, Lynn Abide and Penny Baumer; and Bewitching Ensemble, Brenda Moffitt.
The decorations were tiny-lighted metallic witches’ hats in emerald green, ruby red and purple, all trimmed with gold accents. Most were purchased, with at least one buyer wearing it for her own All Hallows’ Eve party.
Mastheading the “Bewitching” committee were the above Cynthia Glancy, Doris Clement, Virginia Cowan, Jackie Elliott, Brenda Higgins, Irene Klinger (who, as a tribute, was asked to come up to the microphone), Cathy Langhoff, Laurel Reid, Fay Roberts, Cindy Voss and Brenda Doussan, Civic Award chairwoman.
The treats (no tricks, really) were abundant, and so was the altruism. The Civic Award recipient was Arc of Greater New Orleans Vintage Garden Farm. Hats off to Arc!