The drink of the evening was the mint julep. It was served in traditional julep cups with the engraving “Juleps in June 2015,” and given to the party’s patrons. An annual patron gift, it has created several collections and guests eagerly await the next year’s festivity. And another cup.
Juleps in June, the Faulkner Society’s annual prelude to the summer social season, took place on a recent Friday evening at the Audubon Place home of Tia and Jimmy Roddy, long-time supporters of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. This year, the Faulkner Society is partnering with One Book, One New Orleans and members of the One Book organization figured in the JiJ scene. “The new partnership is a logical one,” said Society co-founder Rosemary James. “The Faulkner Society and One Book both create literacy initiatives for at-risk teenagers and adults.”
Headliners for the lovely hobnobbing included Rosemary James and her husband, Joseph DeSalvo Jr., as well as Kenneth Holditch. The three founded the Faulkner Society. More notables were FS Chairwoman Anne Simms Pincus and husband Ron; event hostess Shay Castro, who represented the out-of-town Roddys; party Co-Chairmen Garner Robinson, Angie Bowlin, Chris Fransen and Kent Prince; and guests of honor Brian Boyles, Patty Friedman and Dr. Nia Terezakis, who all have new books out. Garner, whose company, Robinson Lumber Company, was the event’s umbrella sponsor, included as his guests McCall and Meredith Baldwin, Chad Brown, Jamie Charbonnet and Pamela Pipes, Charles and Emily Elliott, Ellen and Bryan Kramer, Andy Nuffer, Michelle Jean Pierre, Werner and Wesley Robinson, Pat and Murray Viser, Dean Wu, and Seth Levine and Alexa Pulitzer. Creatively outfitted, Alexa sported a dress by an Istanbul designer who comes in for Jazz Fest, a belt by Helene Florence and other eye-catching accessories by buddies. “I love wearing my friends’ designs,” she said with a smile.
Mingling, too, were Megan Holt, Candace Weber, Stacey Balkun, Elizabeth Hyman, Kaylee Smith,) Jessica Daigle, Laurence Kopelovich, Elizabeth Burger, and David Burger, event sponsors Steve and Joyce Wood from Nashville, Marian Wallis with brother Bruce Wallis and sister-in-law Virginia Miller and guest Ginja Moseley, Bill and Elizabeth Sewell, Pat and J.J. Morrison, Bishop Perry Center director the Rev. William F. Maestri and St. Stephen Catholic School Principal Peggy Leblanc.
As they mingled, both in the showplace home and the capacious garden and swimming pool area, Faulkner folks enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, such as duck sliders with pear slices, and a summer buffet supper. Palate New Orleans, which has as its owner/chef Glenn Vatshell , catered.
The tables were dressed with blue and light purple organza toppers and summer bouquets. The flowers, both indoors and out, were arrangements of blue and white hydrangeas, roses, sunflowers and other seasonal posies. Musical “chromatics” came from The Jasper Brothers, led by Robert Eustis.
Each year, the Faulkner Society has created a painting of namesake William Faulkner to auction at “Juleps” and Vieux Carre artist A.J.S. “Joy” Kinney was the ’15 donor. Her creation, purchased by Harold Patin who was joined by Carol Allen, was of Faulkner in front of 624 Pirate’s Alley, where he wrote his first novel, “Soldier’s Pay.” Artist Joy was accompanied by her husband, William Kinney, a photographer, videographer and documentarian.
Still others were John and Annabelle Loeb, who moved here from Philadelphia last year and have just completed renovating a residence in Faubourg Marigny; Janice and Dr. Ed Foulks, who were celebrating his birthday; Gregory Moret and Scott James; Society founding member Rheba Schlesinger and Sandy Monahan, Mobile, Alabama, residents Suzanne and Byron Scott, who attend every year; Dr. Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold, who were just back from France; Sammy Steele, squiring Martha Willard; French Quarter preservationist Kate Simester, and Peter Rogers, the adman executive behind the famous query for Blackglama and its fab photos, “What becomes a legend most?”
Perusing the party picture and the scores of attendees, all attested to the tribute paid to William Faulkner, a literary legend. Continuity becomes him most.
A Musical Feast
Billed as having “something for everyone,” the most recent Birdfoot Festival presented, among other attractions, a free lunchtime Café Concert at the Contemporary Arts Center, open rehearsals to an evening of Spoken Word and Poetry at Ashe Cultural Arts Center, and a final gala concert, “Souvenir de Florence” in Tulane University’s Dixon Hall.
But musical humankind does not live by notes alone.
Thus, A Musical Feast 2015!
Formerly at Ste. Marie, chef Kristen Essig is now ensconced in the new Meauxbar restaurant. According to Ian McNulty, The New Orleans Advocate’s restaurant writer, she hasn’t skipped a beat relocating the action.
She was on tap for another beat — a musical one — and a one-night relocation as the celebrity toque at A Musical Feast to benefit the Birdfoot Festival. The gala dinner with chamber music occurred in the aerie heights of Jones Walker LLP on the 52nd floor of Place St. Charles.
The sponsors were Jones Walker, Downtown Development District, Meauxbar, and Urban Earth Design Studios. Anne S. Bradburn was listed as Patron and Gwen B. Smalley, Supporter.
The culinary menu consisted of pork belly rillettes, goat cheese tarts, a salad, chicken maitre d’, and Louisiana strawberry vacherin. The musical one was purveyed by the 2015 Birdfoot Festival artists. Their roster includes Prach Boondiskulchok, Matthew Carrington, Roger Chase, Garrett Hudson, Michael Kaufman, Clara Kim, Karen Kim, Laura Lutzke, Nathan Schram, Birdfoot artistic director Jenna Sherry, Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, Kristopher Tong, Vladimir Waltham, Joann Whang, photographer Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee, and audio documentarian Joseph Stolarick. They performed works by five composers, culminating with Tchaikovsky’s “perennial musical favorite on a trip to Italy,” “Souvenir de Florence.” Spoken word poet Kataalyst Alcindor gave a robust delivery of “Stronger than Hurricanes.”
The Yamaha grand piano was provided by Lafargue Pianos Ltd., the piano sponsor of the 2015 fest. Now in its fourth year, Birdfoot is “an international musical festival with a New Orleans flavor.” It features dynamic live chamber music performed “by today’s emerging and internationally recognized artists in relaxed and accessible settings.”
For the dinner, Roland Montealegre and Ty Hanes of Urban Earth Design Studios created a stunning ambiance with lighting and flowers: Blue cobalt lighting, table cloths of deep aquamarine and floral arrangements in rich colors of orange, amethyst and gold.
All of this was enjoyed by “Feast” luminaries, the above violinist Jenna Sherry, mom/Birdfoot managing director Tracey Sherry and dad/Tulane professor Tom Sherry — both hold a Ph.D.; Festival board President Michael Ball, incoming President Lisa Hooper and fellow board member Christopher Mergerson; Bill and Mary Hines — he’s the managing partner at host/sponsor Jones Walker; Jose (CEO, Pan American Life Insurance) and Ileana Suquet; Debbie Patrick and daughter Karoline, a raved-about debutante of the past season; Iberia Bank’s Margaret Beer, the 2014 Mystic Club queen; Martha Landrum of the Greater New Orleans Foundation; Downtown Development District President and CEO Kurt Weigle with Dr. Jennifer Avegno; and spouses Keith Marshall and Millie Ball. He’s the owner of Madewood Plantation House, BF’s underwriter for the fourth year in a row.
Others savoring site and sounds were Lance and Brenda Lafargue, Ranney Mize, Ph.D., the above Anne Bradburn, Dr. Nia Terezakis, Elroy and Judy Eckhardt, John and Irene Cerise, Robert and Dr. Gul Zone, Capt. Robert and Claire Lansden, Gwen Smalley, Bob and Valborg “Val” Gross and daughter/poet Elizabeth, Janelle Caire and John Waggenspack. To mention the musical most.