Youngest first! And that was CHAIRish the Children. Three recent groups hailed kids, a former Orleanian and now national telebrity, and leadership across the board.

Every Crowd Has a Silver Lining

Move over Cirrus and Stratus and all your cloudy siblings! This party held at the Louisiana Children’s Museum and titled “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining” marked the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Coming under the aegis of the 17th annual CHAIRish the Children, a must-do estival bash, it was themed “Silver Linings” and acknowledged “the revitalization of the region, which has given our children more opportunities to grow to their full potential.” Capital One Bank was the “Most CHAIRished Sponsor.”

Appropriately, the blue background invitation by artist Katie Rafferty (with a layout by Carter Perrilliat) depicted a child on the cover standing on a chair and reaching for a star. Behind a cloud was a big yellow sun. Listed, too, were the Silver Linings honorees: Dr. Robert “Bob” W. Becker, Leslie Jacobs, Derrick Tabb, Sarah Newell Usdin, and Warner M. Williams. The latter, a corporate leader and philanthropist, and spouse Pam Williams were not able to attend, but the other four enjoyed limelight. With City Park CEO Bob was spouse Pat; with former CEO of New Schools for New Orleans-current Orleans Parish School Board member Sarah was husband Tommy; and with Educate Now founder Leslie was daughter Michelle. Derrick answers to co-founder and band director of the Roots of Music.

Headliners were numerous and counted event Chairwoman Amy Lawler and husband Christopher, and additional chairing forces: Jessica Krinke (restaurant), Drs. Mara Haseltine and Melissa Montgomery (auction) and spouses Greg Smith and Dr. Scott Montgomery, and Kathleen and Ben Banta and Marcie and Cres Gardner (patron party). The latter couples teamed to chair last year’s gala.

Further “Silver” stars — and many donned that color — were LCM board President Taylor and Angel Beery; former prez David Farnsworth and Lisa; chief executive officer Julia Bland with Will; and board members Paul Peyronnin, Kathy Garvey, Roy Taylor (with Heather) and Kate Speakes (with Trey Jordan). Also, Terrance and Stephanie Osborne, Anne and King Milling, Walt and Danielle Leger, Mike and Janis Eckert, Dian and Tom Winingder, Cathy and Andy Burka, and master of ceremonies Michael Hecht with wife Marlene Friis. Marlene will spearhead the LCM Children’s World Fair in 2016.

Working alongside emcee Michael was the evening’s auctioneer, Middleton O’Malley, who hyped the auction that specializes in (as the fundraiser’s name implies) chairs. Unique ones. The most coveted item of the 2015 CHAIRish silent auction was the “City Park Bench” created by Bobby Zabler of Kern Studios/Mardi Gras World in honor of the above Bob Becker. Moving on to the live activity, which was sponsored by the J. Edgar Monroe Foundation, the two top bid contenders were the Watercolor, Florida, vacation donated by the Libby Family, and “The Four Libations of the Apocalypse” giclee by artist Todd White and donated by Galerie Rue Royale. Auction records were broken, thanks to the $ total reaped by the 185 items in the silent and live sessions that will abet the coffers of the museum’s educational programs and exhibits.

Then there were the one-of-a-kind commissioned chairs for the Silver Linings honorees with credit to Tami Curtis, Leonard Galmon, Lizano’s Glass Haus, Shannon Kelley, and the above Bobby Zabler.

As for the party’s decorations, the invitation set the tone. Sparkling, silver-lined clouds; cascading, colorful raindrops; and hints of silver and blue were found throughout the Julia Street museum.

Now from clouds to chow! The Schlumberger-sponsored patron party featured delectable dishes from Peche Seafood Grill and chef Ryan Prewitt, such as cured Gulf fish with cucumber and chili. Margarita Silver Rum provided “The Silver Sizzle,” the patrons’ signature cocktail. More than 20 restaurants sated the collective appetite of the main-party pack, who perused the auction artwork of Austin James, Alex Beard, Jennifer Ansardi, James Michalopoulos, Julie Neill Designs, Simon, Terrance Osborne and Todd White. Yet another top attraction was the raffle for the $2,000 Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry Shopping Spree.

To dispel any cloudiness, music is a solution. The Jimmy Maxwell Trio featuring Mark Monistere rose to the “sunny” occasion.

So that memories of merriment could occur, there were “Silver Linings” souvenirs. Patrons received their choice of a pin or necklace engraved with CHAIRish the Children, and guests posed for pictures by Kent Ledet Photography in LCM’s iconic streetcar. Sweet treats were the take-home desserts from Sucre and Maurice French Pastries in little white to-go boxes.


“Power of Women Luncheon” billed midday ado at the Marriott New Orleans, when the American Red Cross and the Tiffany Circle honored eight female volunteers and community leaders who have contributed significantly to the post-Katrina recovery. Take a bow, PoW honorees Dr. Karen DeSalvo, national coordinator for Health Information Technology; Yvette Jones, Tulane University’s executive vice president for University Relations and Development; Adrianne M. LeBlanc, principal of St. Dominic Catholic School; Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm; Margaret Orr, chief meteorologist for WDSU-TV; Sally-Ann Roberts, co-anchor of the Morning Show and reporter for WWL-TV; Denise Thornton, creator of Beacon of Hope Resource Center; and Connie Uddo, of St. Paul’s Homecoming Center and Hike for KaTREEna. “Our community is so fortunate to have such amazing women driving the continued revitalization and recovery,” said Kay W. Wilkins, regional chief executive of the Red Cross in Louisiana. Husband Lee joined her.

Adding to the starry roster was cynosure and keynote speaker Hoda Kotb, co-host of NBC’s Today Show, a Dateline NBC correspondent, New York Times Best Seller author, and former WWL-TV anchor and reporter from 1992-98; and event Co-Chairwomen Lori Murphy and Olivia Manning of the Tiffany Circle, a group of women who dedicate resources and talent to the mission and work of the Red Cross.

Appropriately the Rebirth Brass Band, along with Hoda, the honorees, and the Tiffany Circle, kicked off the luncheon with a second-line.

Artisan breads, a spinach salad, bronzed Gulf fish, and strawberry almond shortcake filled the menu bill.

Chromatics were the Red Cross red and white, with red up-lighting, red table runners in the shape of a cross, and julep cups with flowers in the signature colors.

Headliners were Mayor Mitch Landrieu, TC’s Cindy Nunez, Archie Manning (Olivia’s husband) to introduce Hoda, Red Cross Chairman Gary Lorio, and TC members Susan Currie and Jennifer Rice, who presented the Juli Juneau-designed awards to the honored eight.

Also, all with titles and connections, Ellen Manning, Patricia and Vernon Brinson and daughters Elizabeth Brinson and Emily Webster, Joni Eaton, Pat Brister, Lisa Rice, Emily C. Hamner, Sharon Poirrier, Pam and Mike Thompson, Charlotte Bollinger, Christine and Otto Briede, Richard Reed, Susan Taylor, Ann Fuselier, Peggy Laborde, Laurie A. White, and Sheryl Merrick. Formerly Sheryl Duplantis, TC member Sheryl recently married Robert “Bob” Merrick, chairman and CEO of Latter & Blum and a Red Cross board member.

Legacy Leadership

Archbishop Chapelle High School held its Legacy Leadership Party at The Crossing in Kenner, where guests were charmed by the rustic, yet formal, décor with exposed beams and historic brick walls. A buffet-style dinner awaited. And pleased. Dessert was a “decadent” chocolate cake with “Chapelle” inscribed in icing.

The who’s who included Principal John Serio, advancement director Connie Dantagnan (class of 1988), board Chairwoman Erin Caruso (1981) with Joseph, and chaplain Rev. Christian DeLerno. The limelighted guests were the donors, who received profuse thanks and plaques from Principal Serio.

In that number were Mr. and Mrs. Ray Brandt, Judy and Ray Spadafora, Allison Vogt, Dr. Catherine Fitzmorris, Catherine and Louis Belanger, Mike Calamari, Cynthia and Dr. Joseph Molyneux, Shannon and Kenner City Councilman Dominick Impastato, Monica and Todd Wallace, Malinda Ferrell, Kay and David Dussouy, the Peter Egans, Cindy Wooderson and Rob, Yvette and Gregory LaCour, and Anne Southworth, one of the many alumnae.