Silver Bells

Billed as an intimate reception, the “Silver Bell” event of the Preservation Resource Center gathered patrons and distinguished sponsors of the 29th annual Holiday Home Tour. An impressive St. Charles Avenue mansion, the home of John and Yulia Houghtaling, was the site for the socializing that preceded the two-day touring of the Garden District homes of Adele C. Uddo, Mr. and Mrs. Cedric Martin, Dr. Thomas Lyons, Richard C. Colton Jr., Mrs. Arthur Fort, Mr. and Mrs. John J. Charpentier, and Richard Buchsbaum and Bethaney Vincent. Trinity Episcopal Church’s Bishop Polk Hall served as the headquarters and Trinity Counseling & Training Center, the bonus house.

Luminaries at the Houghtaling home for the sparkling “Silver Bells” were HHT Chairwomen Anne Long and Jenny Charpentier, who were joined by husbands Paul and John (of sponsor Dawn Services); Patron Party Chairwomen Jill Pipes and Amy Browne, with Minor and David; Scott Howard (Regions Bank) and Janet; Ted Le Clercq (Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, L.L.P.) and Courtney; Suzanne Dumez and Steve (Eskew+Dumez+Ripple); and Dorian Stone and Robert (Stone Insurance). The above Charpentier home on the tour was that of Jenny and John.

Noted, too, were Mary Martin Roth and Richard, Libby and Bruce Hoefer, Mary and Eddie Johnson, Lesley Kane, Kristin and Brian Van Hook, Jessica Kane, Brandy Gilly, and Louise Smallpage. Answering to PRC board President is Clyde Jacob; to Vice President, Julie Habetz; and to executive director, Patty Gay, who greeted guests at the home’s entrance.

Social treats were the strumming of harpist Luke Brechtelsbaur, hors d’oeuvres by Ralph Brennan Catering and Events, and the opportunity to visit the acclaimed house.

A second social wave occurred after the “Silver Bells,” when additional patrons and sponsors were duly welcomed and the New Orleans Banjos + 2 added liveliness to the yuletide fun.

Catholic Foundation Dinner

“I accept this award in the name of our brothers and sisters who cannot care for themselves,” said Judge Jay C. Zainey (with Joy) in his acceptance speech as the 2014 Saint John Paul II Award recipient during the annual dinner of the Catholic Foundation Archdiocese of New Orleans. A federal judge in the U.S. Eastern District of Louisiana, he founded the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP) Program. The Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Riverside was packed for the event, which featured LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri (with Karen) as the keynote speaker; Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond as the CF board chairman (with a special tribute to Jay Zainey); CF President Brian E. Adorno (with Marie); executive director Charlie Heim (with Barbara); dinner committee Chairwomen Patricia T. Hotard (with Jimmy) and Mary Ann Valentino (with son Michael), who’ve chaired the event for the 29th year; and, with Sylvia, John P. Laborde, the 2013 award recipient, as were several other in-attendance awardees, such as Betty Lauricella.

Federico’s Family Florist provided the lovely centerpieces, dinner concluded with a tasty Creole praline parfait, and rapt attention turned to the speakers. Within the appreciative assembly were Gordon and Ann Stevens, Gayle Benson, Sister Beth Fitzpatrick, O. Carm., Don and Marge Garvey, Edgar “Dooky” and Alva Chase, Steve and Donna Stumpf, Monsignor Andrew Taormina, Joe and Debbie Exnicios, and Monsignor Christopher Nalty. To name a few of the crowd, who gathered for faith, friendship and festivity.

Oaks Ado

City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks, one of the most exciting and luminous events of the Christmas season in the Crescent City, will run through Jan. 3. A gala patron party that honored longtime “Celebration” chairwomen Barbara Hammett and Janet Larue launched the luminosity on a Friday evening. Julie LaCour now has the title of Celebration in the Oaks director.

Guests thrilled to the party’s multiple attractions, such as the 45 restaurants participating in the Chefs’ Culinary Competition; the five bands, including The Tip Tops and The Yat Pack stationed throughout the City Park Botanical Garden; three trains; and new exhibits, including Karaoke Santa. Superior Energy and Entergy were the major sponsors.

Making party tracks over the span of 20 gated areas were City Park Improvement Association President Bill Hoffman with Denise, and association members President-elect Susan Hess, Karen DeBlieux with Dr. Peter, Edmund Schrenk with Kathy, Jackie Shreves, Andrea Legrand with Georges, Dessa Giffin with David, Jane Brooks with Walter, Mary Johnson with Keith, and Jackie Palumbo with Vincent.

They “oohed” and “aahed” the “Celebration” excitement, as did Robert and Donna Taylor, Charles and Vonda Rice, Colleen Levy, Laura and Philip Claverie, Sally Duplantier and family members, Mary Ellen Miller and Cliff, Richard Meeks, and Michelle and Nick Lorusso.

On the following two nights, the spectacular fun was repeated creating a trifecta. Saturday’s “Jingle Bells and Beer” and Sunday’s Family Preview with Stephen and Nancy Hales as honorary chairmen were both sell-outs. Lots of bright lights!

Sociedad Espanola

At the Metairie Country Club, the annual Christmas Dinner Dance of Sociedad Espanola started with a feat of feet. During the cocktail hour, talented instructors gave pasodoble lessons. Then guests sat for dinner.

Embellishment in the dining area consisted of green garlands entwined with tiny white lights that circled the room and red poinsettias as table centerpieces, all contributing to Christmas color. Soft Spanish music by the Banda Musical Vivaz was played during the dinner.

Enjoying the elegant activity were Honorary Consul of Spain Jose Luis Banos with Anne, Ricardo and Dolly Dean Martinez, Andima Ayerdi and Graziella, Alfredo and Soffy Botero, Agustin Guitart with Pat Ford, Tom and Beatrice Lannigan, Ignacio and Carmen Menocal, Francisco and Bertha Merchan, Hugo and Juanita Valera, Ramon and Maria Vallejo (with a trip planned to Spain), Dorothy Benge with Bertin Estevez, Maria Hicks with Ron Merlino, Veronica Noble, Encarnita Prado, Eileen Doll, Virginia Huber, Rose Labauve, Cuqui Moore, and others, who reveled in the spirited dance music and showed their own fine footwork.

Of course, “Feliz Navidad!” was roundly wished, as were “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.”