Art gallery excitement and a brace of global gatherings gave summer socializing a definite boost.

Rolland Raves

An opening reception titled “The Artistry of Rolland Golden” was a paean to both the past and present, with a decided nod to the future. Held at the Garden District Academy, it gathered kin and kith from near and afar of the 82-year-old artist to the Washington Avenue site on the eve of his book signing at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art during White Linen Night. The museum also houses Golden works, 80 pieces, under the bannering “Roland Golden: An Alternate Vision.” The book’s title is “Rolland Golden: Life, Love and Art in the French Quarter.” It’s a Vieux Carre view!

Within the Garden District Gallery’s gathering were owners Patti Adams and Jim Atwood, and Golden family members, such as Rolland’s wife of five decades-plus/business partner Stella and their daughters Lucille, editor of Rolland’s memoirs/book, and Carrie Golden Lambert with son Jarrod; and granddaughter Jessica LeBlanc with Stella and Rolland’s great-grandchildren Kayla and Quintain.

And Bob and Jan Carr, Dabney Ewin and Virginia Dare Rufin, David and Linda Cuthbert, Steve and Robin Rosenthal, Lansing and Betty Lou Kolb with daughter Erin, Virginia Roddy, Jim Derbes and Jan Katz, John and Betty Kemp with daughter Virginia Cabell, John and Emilie Garoutte, Sharon and Bob Weilbaecher, Ira Middleberg and fiancée Cathy Nixon, Robert Guyton and Bob Goggin, Betty Lou Furash, Renaud Rodrigue and sons Jonathan and Benjamin, Harold Burns, Mary Frances Gardner, Andy and Hathia Hayes, spouses Christine Harrington (with mom Marlene Harrington) and Walter Smith, Donald and Linda Mortimer, Kristen Skinner and guest David Gordon, and Susie Hoskins. Most all are collectors of Rolland’s work with many in from out of town for the double-header artistic weekend.

As fans milled about the gallery, they cast an appreciative eye at the artwork (up through Sept. 28) and appetite at the reception tables, where wine and light bites were served.

All the while, they lined up to chat with Rolland and Stella.

Post opening reception, the Goldens crossed the street to Commander’s Palace, where they dined in the Garden Room with Rolland collectors Ron and Amy Cohen, who hail from Irvington, N.Y. Adding youthful sparkle to the table were the Cohens’ daughter, Alexandra, and her friend, Camille Sandoval.

n Nippon and New Orleans

The Crescent City is linked with Matsue, Japan, with which it just celebrated a Sister Cityhood 20th anniversary. A common denominator is Lafcadio Hearn, who hung his hat as a writer in New Orleans from about 1877 to 1888. In Japan years later, he had a teaching position in Matsue, married Koizumi Setsu (with whom he had four children), became a naturalized Japanese with the name of Koizumi Yakumo, and continued as a teacher, journalist and author. In Matsue, the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, as well as his former house, continue to attract tourists.

To hail two decades of New Orleans-Matsue friendship, Honorary Consul General of Japan Donna Fraiche and husband Dr. John opened their St. Charles Avenue home to honor two delegations from Matsue. Adding to the Fraiche presence — and making three representational generations – were the couple’s son, Dr. Geoff, and his little Jack Finnley Fraiche.

Notables included Consul of Japan at Nashville Saori Nagase, Japan Local Government Center (New York) assistant director Yukio Yoshikawa, official City of Matsue delegation leader Satomi Miyazako, and, from New Orleans, Brooke Smith and Mark Romig, respectively Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s chief of staff and CEO/President of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. Eight TOMODACHI (“friends”) exchange participants were led by Yuka Ikejiri, hosted by the Japan Society of New Orleans and funded by the National Association of Japan-American Societies and the TOMODACHI Initiative.

During the formalities, Donna Fraiche issued thanks, stressed the importance of the sister-cities’ relationship, and presented, as gifts, rare strands of Carnival beads that she caught as a child. Additional VIPs were TOMODACHI Exchange Chairman Mike Turner (also the Japan Society of New Orleans president) with wife Bonnie and mom Nancy Turner; exchange committee member Jennifer Prout, who, as a member of the Krewe of Muses, gave the visitors a personalized Muses shoe; Ikebana International New Orleans President Richard Cranford, who designed the flowers in the Sogetsu style; former City of New Orleans delegates (2013) to Matsue in Priscilla and John Lawrence and Kristi App; and recent exchange host families Gayle and Lauren Dellinger, Flori and Ben Hicks, Heidi Netherton and Sara Kaufman, Yamato O’Connell, and Josie and Gordon Patton.

Enjoying the culinary treats and thematic decorations were Ron Markham, Alexandra Stafford, Romy and Joe Ellis, Michelle Hansen, Simon Spadaro-Bliss, Masako Wakabayashi, Yumi Mano, Doug Tassin, and Geri and Marcus Vinson.

The reception to celebrate the 20th sister-city anniversary closed with New Orleans jazzy sounds and the participation of Haruka Kikuchi and Tsuji “Z2” Yoshitaka, who had hands clapping, handkerchiefs waving and feet dancing.

Cefalutana Society Banquet

With an aim to continue as a benevolent society in New Orleans, the Cefalutana Society celebrated the 127th anniversary of the annual Festa honoring Gesu Salvatore, patron saint of Cefalu. Coming from five states and numbering 172, people with connections to the Sicilian town amassed for the festivities that started with Mass at Cabrini High School’s Sacred Heart Chapel. The celebrant was the Rev. Michael Marascalco, a Cefalutana Society member, with assistance from Deacon Uriel Durr.

Then it was on to Andrea’s Restaurant for a lunch of pasta, fagioli soup, chicken Parmigiana or fish, and cassata Sicilian cake; singing by Joe DeNone; and announcements of new attractions, including the society’s Salvatore J. Serio Presidential Award intended for a deserving Cabrini senior, and an Appreciation of Food, Family and Heritage event on All Saints’ Day at the school. Joe Battaglia, CS president, introduced the 2014 officers.

Sighted around the lively event were Sammy Sketteno, American Italian Federation of the Southeast President Victor Musso, Regina Bertolino of the East Jefferson American Italian Society, Judge Kerry Anzalone, Judge Camille Buras, New Orleans fire Chief Tim McConnell, Janice Macomber of Cousins of Sicily, three-time Grammy winner Joe Polizzi, Joseph Distefano of the above federation, and Iberville Parish Councilman Edwin Reeves.

Their ranks were increased by Anita Bertuccinni, Angelo Brocato, Anna Maria Brocato, Justice VJ Buras, Charles and Rosemary Catanese, Jeremy and Amy Patterson, Vincent Liberto, Jack and Suzanne LeBaron, John Robert Marascalco, Erin Battaglia Thomas, Emily Elise Ruiz and Carla Matassa Segura. To mention several dozen, including 21 new members, for whom country and confraternity fused for a meaningful Festa. Merry, too!