n Centennial Celebration

St. Katharine Drexel Prep partied! One hundred years became the impetus for the joyful jaunt that started with an opening ceremony in front of the school, which was formerly known as Xavier University Preparatory School. Alumna Cheryllyn M. Branche, principal, extended words of welcome; Sister Grace Mary Flickinger, SBS, the prayer and history; and Judge Edwin Lombard, an alumnus and one of the owners of the school (through the 5116 Magazine St. Corp.), the remarks. All three participated in the ribbon cutting.

Further notables were master of ceremonies and assistant principal Jacob J. Owens Jr.; Ariel Sherman, who led the SKDP choir; alumna Dr. Niobe Joseph, president of Drexel Prep Foundation, who spoke about the foundation, its goal to raise money, and “Prep for the next 100 years”; Xavier Prep Alumni Association President Anatalie Waddell Bachemin, who addressed the need for volunteers to “continue the Drexel Dream”; information technology director Clifford Williams, who displayed a power point presentation; and the SKDP Student Ambassadors, who accompanied alumni and community supporters on a school tour.

There was a decade representation for each 10 years. For the early years, and because of the age of the class, there were student representatives, seniors Jaz Hall, Kourtney Williams and Diamonique Bouie, in lieu of alums. But for the 1940-2000 years, the alum representatives were Doris Barnes Sullivan, Dr. Roy Marrero, Perry Tillman, Lansen Barrow, Malinda Boucree, Shayla DeLaRosa and Daphne Elly. They spearheaded a release of 100 balloons, while the alumni sang the alma mater outside the school.

Decorations added to the fun. Drexel Center was done in school colors of gold and white with black accents, thanks to alumna Jane Bell Jupiter, owner of the company, Design Inspiration; the hallways had timelines created by the students under the direction of teacher Collette Handy; and, for the attire, guests sported the above colors, and students their full uniform. The three colors appeared again in the hoisted umbrellas used during the second line around the building and through the school. The Original/Young Pin Stripes Band played and alum Wanda Rouzan and Jaz Hall, student council president, served as grand marshals.

Light refreshments enticed the jubilant crowd of about 450, who enjoyed finger sandwiches, cookies, soft drinks, and, of course, a 100-year birthday cake. It was designed and baked by alum Daphne Elly.

During the course of the anniversary ado, all those gathered sang Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday” to Prep and made wishes for the next 100 years. What a centennial salute!

n Vive le Vieux Carre!

Socializing for a fine cause was the order of the evening when VCPORA, Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, a nonprofit organization, hailed the French Quarter. “Vive le Vieux Carre” marqueed the merriment that took place in The Napoleon House on Chartres Street. Headliners included VCPORA executive director Meg Lousteau, President Patricia Meadowcroft, past Presidents Ann Masson and Carol Allen with Harold Patin, French Quarter Business Association executive director Brittany Mulla, Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Andree Moss of Keil’s Antiques, Robbie Cangelosi, Ralph and Susan Brennan, Captain Doc Hawley, Sue Klein, French Quarter Management District executive director Emily Remington, French Quarter Citizens President Susan Guillot with husband Albin, and Fredrick Guess, who donated a painting of the Paris Metro (the subway) for the live auction.

The silent auction was entirely French-themed and had, among other desirables, French liquors, a Bevolo lantern, gifts from Café Degas and the Degas House for a “Degas in la Nouvelle-Orleans” basket; and a vintage Hermes scarf given by Carol Allen.

Taylor Eichenwald was the auctioneer for the live portion that included two apartments in different parts of Paris for a week-long stay donated by Frances and Rodney Smith (Soniat House owners) and by Brigitte Fredy; and a week at a home in the Loire region donated by Eric Bourdais de Charbonniere.

More giving occurred three days before the gala at the patron party in Café Soule’s Paris Room, which was hosted by John O’Brien with food from Feelings Café, Angeline, Sucre, and Café Soule.

Back to the Napoleon House and the prandial proffering. Generously provided by the venue, along with Redfish Grill and Brennan’s, the savories and sweets were shrimp and grits, gumbo, muffalettas and Bananas Foster. Pimm’s Cups were served at all four bars, two upstairs and two down. Music, too, permeated the premises, thanks to Sarah Quintana (French opera) on the first floor and upstairs in the beautiful Emperor’s Apartment, the Banu Gibson Jazz Trio. Jazzacadabra played at the patron party.

The ultimate host, and for whom the Napoleon House was planned (but not used) as a refuge for the emperor, was Napoleon himself. He (as played by Edward Lillelea) greeted guests, all 200 of them, at the door with champagne. Marie Antoinette (VCPORA board member Lisa Shedlock, owner of Hoi Polloi boutique) joined him as a hostess. Carl Mack provided their costumes and Fifi Mahony’s, Marie’s wig. (It was later sold in the silent auction.)

Lynette Dufrene and Jennifer Kelly teamed for the décor committee. Of special interest were the antique roses that were picked that morning in Armstrong Park by Leo Watermeier. No problem there. He’s the curator for the park’s rose garden. Additional roses came from Matassa’s.

Chatter about VCPORA emphasized its purpose to present the Vieux Carre as a living neighborhood. For the 2015 gallivanters, a thematic jaunt to the City of Light combined “travel” and the pleasures of home.

n Cabaret

“An Evening of Cabaret for Hopeline” rallied theater lovers and a caring crowd to Oak, a wine bar on Oak Street. The event, a fundraiser, supported The Kristin Brooks Hopeline and its program, VET2VET, a suicide hotline specifically for veterans. It helps those in crisis and in their recovery.

Award-winning actress Kerry Cahill produced the event in honor of her late father, Michael Cahill, the victim of a terrorist attack at Ft. Hood, Texas. Included as performers were Nell Nolan, Leslie Castay, Amy Alvarez, Mandy Zirkenbach, John Biguenet, Katherine McClain, Sean Patterson, Larry Beron, Asia Rainey, and Eleanor “Ele” Bernstein. (Her dad is Michael Bernstein, who will be stepping down as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Tulane University, effective in June 2016.)

Among those applauding them were retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Sands and Barbara, Trey Burvant (reaping raves for Southern Rep’s “Stage Kiss”), Barbara Motley (former proprietor of Le Chat Noir), Madeline Uddo, Ph.D. (Veterans Affairs Medical Center), Georgia Gresham, Elizabeth Parent, Donna Kay Berger, Diane Sustendal Labouisse, Bonnie Broel, Casey and Conny Willems, Dr. Bob and Sharon Weilbaecher, Vivian Cahn, Eleanor and Phil Straub, Pat Denechaud, Regan Forrester, Sally Richards, George and Sarah Young, Elroy and Judy Eckhardt, and dozens more, including numerous veterans.

Very substantial hors d’oeuvres, two free drinks with each ticket, a silent auction, and an extensive raffle were further features of “Cabaret,” as was the importance of the cause.