• Prix d’Elegance

Men and Women of Fashion and the New Orleans Ballet Association extended the invitation for the annual Prix d’Elegance luncheon and fashion show chaired by Tiffa Boutte that introduced, as it has done for years, the 2014 Best Dressed. Juli Miller Hart, the mistress of ceremonies, was roundly thanked, with mom Jerri Cullinan also receiving compliments on her.

At 10:30 a.m., and in the Hilton Riverside, the doors opened for a champagne reception. More attractions were the Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry & Rubenstein’s Raffle, the silent auction and premier board auction, lunch, a fashion show, and the Walk of Fame of 1984 and ’85 honorees. Proceeds will benefit the New Orleans Ballet Association Scholarship Fund. Each year, “NOBA provides tuition-free dance training to 1,750 students — over 5,500 classes annually worth over $1 million.” In the summer, dance programs all over the country and study in New Orleans become available to talented students. Jenny Hamilton is NOBA’s executive director.

Formed in 1971, Men of Fashion was organized to honor men who represent outstanding fashion presence and community service. In 1982, 10 women’s names were added using the same criteria, and, 17 years later, Women of Fashion was created.

Leon L. Giorgio presides over the board of the Men of Fashion, which counts 24 members (including Lee) and board chairman R.K. Hoddinott III. For Women of Fashion, the president is Teresa Guzzetta and, including herself, the board consists of 21 women’s names. Jacquee Carvin is that board’s chairwoman.

Limelighted as the MoF Prix d’Elegance award winners were Paul G. Aucoin, Roy A. Glapion, Mel Grodsky, Billy Nungesser, Darren A. Patin, Jack Pruitt, Robert S. Ripley, Mark E. Schneider, G. Raymond Seamon Jr. and Desi Vega, while their WoF counterparts were Dottie Belletto, Daphne J. Berger, Dianne Breaux, Heidi G. Dugan, Betsie Gambel, Cheryl Reuther Georgusis, Lauren Lagarde, Sue McNabb, Stephanie G. Osborne and Lynne H. Uhalt. Mark Edw. Andrews and Virginia A. Eckholdt were the Hall of Fame recipients.

Escorts for the above included Carol Short, John Duck, Jean Rice, Juan Barona, Pat Paternostro, Newell Normand, Faith Peperone, Russ Herman, Gail Barnes McKenna, Jim Sutterfield, Mary Katherine Tusa, the above Lee Giorgio, Cheryl Mintz, Brett Bauman, Cynthia Aucoin, Sammy Steele, Melanie Cannatella, Terrance Osborne, Diane Hollis, Murray Valene, Laura Badeaux and John Eckholdt.

Slated for the Walk of Fame, which was chaired by Sandra and Russ Herman, were Raul Bencomo, Bob Breck, John Bullard, Barry Fox, Pamela Halter Lupin, Dr. Nia Terezakis, Janee Mercadel Tucker and Joseph Young Jr. Special recognition also went to Renaissance Publishing CEO Todd Materne and to entertainment underwriters Dr. and Mrs. Robert Matheney.

A record 670 people attended and enjoyed the performance by NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance students; the fashion show presented by Jeff Chouest of Jeff’s Haberdashery and Rebecca Nordgren of Chatta Box; the Champagne Pull of 40 bottles given by members; the silent auction of 120 items chaired by Leslie Perrin and Kent Ozborn — he also did table decorations with the above Tiffa Boutte; the raffle chaired by Sandra Chaisson of a $2,500 shopping spree at Rubenstein’s and a Lee Michaels-donated strand of Mikimoto pearls with John Eckholdt and Kenneth Pickering as the respective winners; and the live auction chaired by the above spouses Cheryl Mintz (Wine Pull spearheader) and Brett Bauman. Lee Giorgio and Michael Maenza donated a cocktail party at Lee’s luxury penthouse and Teresa Guzzetta, Jacquee Carvin and Sandra Chaisson purchased it with alacrity.

A delicious lunch of Bibb lettuce, braised short ribs, and a trio-plate dessert punctuated the activity. Pink azaleas donated in part by Charvet’s Garden Center served as centerpieces. They, in turn, were sold to guests under the chairing of Jamie Moreau and Kathy Singleton.

Further mastheaders were NOBA Chairwoman Charlotte Bollinger, support group BRAVO President Kathleen Mix, Joseph and Stephanie Parrino, Rosalyn Ditta Gaude, Andre Rubenstein, Steven Putt, Carol Chouest, Mike and Michelle Yenni, Pamela Williams, Holley Haag, Shawn Normand, Toni Bachmann, Margo DuBos, C. Michael Winters, Gerri Valene, Ted Selogie, and scores more in the NOBA know.

‘Downton’ Goes to the Races

With that as the event bannering and “Lady Grantham Wins at New Orleans Fair Grounds,” as the subtitle, a benefit inspired by the TV series, “Downtown Abbey,” unfolded to benefit WYES, which presents the hit show. Attire? “Downton Abbey” (natch!) or Derby preferred.

Attractions were numerous at the New Orleans Fair Grounds-located event that was chaired by Margaret (a former Mystic Club queen) and Ken Beer, CeCe and Trevor Colhoon, and Allison (nee Berger and a former queen of Hermes) and Ben Tiller. Their extensive committee of dozens reflected names associated with Carnival, debutante circles, business and charitable/cultural giving in the city.

Individual patrons answered to Veronique and Marcus Black, Seth Bloom, Ann and Robert S. Boh, Bridget and Bobby Bories, Basi and Michael Carbine, Dorothy Clyne, Mary Clare and Danny Conwill, Constance Cowart, Katie and Howell Crosby, Tricia and Jim Fowler, Nan and Britt Galloway, Chad Graci, Lanier Hosford, Renee and Peter Laborde, and Sally and Jay Lapeyre, recent parents of the bride. Daughter Sarah swapped vows on a Saturday evening at the Lapeyre home, which backs up to Audubon Park, with Douglas “Doug” Stokes, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Carl Stokes. Impressive and extensive tenting added to the ambiance.

The patron roster continued with Kathryn Loewer, Olivia and Archie Manning, Jonathan McCall, Murphy Appraisal, Pixie and Jimmy Reiss, Jean Rice, Sheila and Britton Sanderford, Paulette and Frank Stewart, Hugh Uhalt and the above Lynne, Susan and Pierre Villere, Pierre Villere II and Margaret, Sandy Villere III and Anne, Susan Walker and Tommy Westervelt. The invitation’s photo of a racing horse and jockey was courtesy of Alexander Barkoff.

Cuisine was by Celebrate Catered Events by Windsor Court, a top Winner’s Circle sponsor along with the New Orleans Fair Grounds, and the band, BRW, provided the menu beats. All the while, “Downton Day at the Races” ran at full social gallop.

School House Rock

Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu were ubiquitous as the event’s honorary chaircouple at School House Rock, the fundraiser for City Year New Orleans held at Rosy’s Jazz Hall. An education-focused, nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to keep students in school and on track to graduate, City Year AmeriCorps members commit to a year of full-time service in schools as tutors, mentors and role models. City Year, which works in 25 cities across the U.S., is headquartered in New York and had representation at Rosy’s from Yevgeniya Bulayevskaya, national director of major gifts programs. The national gala sponsor is Bain Capital Community Partnership.

Donna Whalen Little (attending with husband Jack) and Norma Jane Sabiston of the host committee served as the event co-chairwomen, heading a committee consisting of Jay Altman, Lisa and Bennett Davis, Dana Douglas, Scott and Becca Fisher, Rodney Greenup, Hervin Guidry (in attendance with spouse Councilwoman Susan), D’Juan Hernandez, Danielle Leger, Tommy Lewis, Nancy and Mike Marsiglia, Dana Peterson, Mark Romig and Carol Wise. Diana M. Lewis chairs the 11 person advisory board and, with husband Tom, Martha and Gary Solomon, and the above Littles and D’Juan Hernandez, figures in the CY Red Jacket Society.

Red was the understood, if not the predominant color, and was spotted on the invitation and many of the guests’ outfits. “School House Rock, City Year Chronicles” themed the bash; former Tulane President Scott Cowen and retiring Xavier University President Norman C. Francis were the School House Rock Stars, the honorees; and Shayda Amanat and Michael Dodson, CY AmeriCorps members, led off the half-hour program and ceremony as emcees. Then came Ryan Cotton, managing director of Bain Capital Private Equity, who joked, “It’s tough to be the opening act” before saying how honored the firm was to be involved and expressing thanks to certain individuals. Next up, and from CY, were development director Blaire Tritle, Vice President and executive director Peggy Mendoza, and the above Donna and Norma Jane. From the CY Chronicles team were Jessiona Bryant, Maggie Rose Melito and Terry Peng.

As guests mingled, they reached for a fine mix of passed hors d’oeuvres and headed to the buffet areas for main course dishes. The venue, Rosy’s Jazz Hall, suggested the sounds, and sure enough, they were rendered in that musical medium. Tapped to entertain was the NOCCA Jazz Ensemble.