Three recent events focused on programming with television, chamber music, and judges in sight. The Producers Circle of WYES gathered at the home of Circle Chaircouple Mary and Bill Hines for a cocktail reception; the Birdfoot Festival slated “Musical Feast,” a seated dinner with music (and stupendous views of the city) hosted by Jones Walker LLP in the firm’s 52nd floor conference center; and the Academy of New Orleans Trial Lawyers held its annual Seafood Party and Crawfish Boil at Landry’s Seafood House to honor the judiciary. In each case, site was special.

Broadcasting a Good Time

Looking ahead at WYES’s busy production schedule, much of it sponsored by the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation, viewers will be treated before long to “Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel,” “New Orleans Fair Grounds Memories,” “New Orleans: The First 300 years, “ and the “WYES Beatles Tribute Concert Featuring the Fab Four.” Such projects were discussed eagerly at the recent reception at the Hines home, where WYES board Chairman Marc Leunissen introduced WYES President and general manager Allan Pizzato, who then thanked Producers Circle members for their support to fund programming. The WYES Producers Circle is made up of major donors, who provide seed funding for the station’s local documentaries, particularly those by Peggy Scott Laborde. Thanked, too, along with the Hineses, were Bobby Bories (with Bridget) and Danny Conwill (with Mary Clare), the co-chairmen for WYES’s capital campaign, which will raise money for Phase 2 of the station’s re-building.

Guests moved about the beautiful residence, all the while eyeing the luscious floral arrangements by Ambrose Garden and partaking of fine food from Ralph Brennan’s Catering & Events.

Noted were Producers Circle Vice Chairman Alan Philipson — he’ll team with wife Arlene as next year’s Circle chaircouple, as well as Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Paulette and Frank Stewart, sisters Ann Koerner and C.C. Langenstein with John and Bill, Tommy Westervelt, David and Jan Oreck, David Schulingkamp, Jane and Jonathan McCall, Bonnie and John Boyd, Sandy Villere, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Katie and Howell Crosby, Margaret and Pierre Villere, Marla Garvey, and Louisette Brown and George Dunbar. Twenty-two years ago, the Producers Circle was founded with Louisette’s son, Christy Brown, and Lou (Mrs. Charles) Lane cast as the first chairmen. They still remain active supporters and patrons of the station and its local-interest documentaries that provide a treasured archive of our community’s memories, traditions, culture and heritage.

Is it a Bird?

“Bird Flu,” “Bird Food,” “Big Foot,” and “Barefoot” have all mistakenly labeled the fairly new international chamber music festival with a New Orleans flavor that goes by Birdfoot. “We didn’t want to use New Orleans or NOLA in our name, so we came up with Birdfoot, which recalls the imprint left in the Mississippi River Delta as the water moves,” said Tracey Sherry, Birdfoot managing director. She was joined by husband Tom at the Birdfoot Musical Feast in the Jones Walker conference center. The festival is the brainchild of their daughter, Jenna Sherry, who currently calls London home. Michael Ball is the Birdfoot Festival board president.

During the recent festival, 18 dynamic performers (including four local musicians) arrived from various global points to spend 10 days in the Crescent City. They rehearsed, taught, performed, and inspired next-generation musicians and music lovers. Special features were the first Birdfoot Festival@the CAC Residency, “Making Music on Julia Street” (as part of the mentoring program) and the first Community Chamber Music Reading Party.

For the “Feast,” and after people were seated, Jenna Sherry strode forward to welcome everyone to the festival’s third season and extend thanks.

Moments later, she picked up her violin, and played. The composers at the preview concert were Franz Joseph Haydn, Robert Schumann, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Tony Hatch (“Downtown” and arranged for the festival by Tucker Fuller). In addition to artistic director/violinist Jenna, the other players were Kris Tong, Laura Lutzke, Lisa Romain, Andrea Segar, Roger Chase, Dash Nesbitt, Nathan Schram, Michael Kaufmann, Caleb van der Swaagh, Ella Rundle, Eli Lara, Joe Magar, and Prach Boondiskulchok. Applause boomed!

Susan Spicer, chef/owner of Bayona and Mondo, served as the fundraiser’s celebrity chef and created an array of enticing hors d’oeuvres and a dinner that started with crawfish bisque and continued with a local baby vegetable salad, braised duck, and pecan pie with mint julep ice cream. Bayou Teche Brewing did the wine and beer pairings.

Among those praising the music and the cuisine were the above Bill and Mary Hines — Bill, the 2013 Rex, is the managing partner of the host site, Jones Walker; Kurt Weigle with Jennifer Avegno; Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim with spouse HS Kim — the erstwhile New Orleans Arena is now the Smoothie King Center; and, representing fest underwriters Madewood Plantation House and the Loews New Orleans Hotel, Keith Marshall (with spouse Millie Ball) for Madewood and Diane Riche for the hotel.

Also spotted were 2014 piano sponsor Lance Lafargue (of Lafargue Pianos) and Brenda, Fred and Ivy Kushner, Ranney Mize (the incoming president of the New Orleans Opera Association), Anne Bradburn, Linda Logan Monroe, Sandra Heller, Judy and Elroy Eckhardt, Irene and John Cerise, Bonnie Broel, Bob and Gul Zone, Betty and Jim Karam, and Kirk and Holly Gore Groh.

From Urban Earth came Roland Montealegre and Ty Hanes, who created the centerpieces using silver Revere bowls to hold lavender roses, blue thistle, pale yellow tulips and pink lilies clustered around fresh oranges. Tea lights in frosted glass holders surrounded the pieces, which topped soft-gold table linens. Joining Roland and Ty was Keith Boulet.

Accolades for the evening were manifold, putting smiles on the faces of the Sherrys and others. Said managing director Tracey with a twinkle, “We take our music seriously, but we want to have fun.”

Seafood and Sunset

At Landry’s on Lakeshore Drive, the Academy of New Orleans Trial Lawyers honored the local, state and federal judiciary. “Join us (rain or shine) for an evening of great food and spirits” was scripted on the invitation.

Among those responding to the attraction of boiled crawfish, jambalaya, and gumbo, were Judges Jay Zainey with Joy, Rose Ledet, Bernadette D’Souza and Terence, Joseph B. Landry, Carl Barbier, Robin Pittman, Paul A. Bonin, Max Tobias, Sandra C. Jenkins, and Mark Shea with his father, retired Judge John Shea. Also within the gathering of 85 were Associate Justice Jeff Hughes, Scott R. Bickford, Byron Bonck, Linda Harang, and Kenner Councilman-elect Dominick Impastato.

The academy, ANOTL, is an organization of civil trial lawyers from the greater New Orleans area that meets once a month with a member of the local judiciary to dine and discuss civil trial practice and procedure. It’s directed by Neil Nazareth, Palmer Lambert and Jason Landry. They agreed that it was great spending time with the judges in a relaxed atmosphere.

Furthering the enjoyment was the restaurant’s staff, which kept the food and drinks to the fore on the outside deck as the group savored the cool breeze and sunset on Lake Pontchartrain.

Follow this link to the photos.