Two glorious perambulations thrilled their throngs, each with a global twist. The first, Parkway Promenade, invited attendees to jaunt to Hawaiian locales. The second, which followed six days later, beckoned lovers of symphonic music to “Faberge Opus Ball” and its two-fold pleasures. Guests congregated for cocktails at the refurbished Civic Theatre prior to taking their seats for a concert by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. A short walk from the theater to the Hyatt Regency Hotel ensued with dinner, an auction and dancing on the program.
The “Faberge” invitation, which was extended by Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto and the LPO musicians and trustees, was shaped like the famed egg so coveted by the Russian royals and nobles. Within, “A fun evening of outstanding music, elegant dining, fanciful dancing, and fine wine” was promised. Delivered, too, with all the trimmings.
Stated, as well in the gala’s program, was the event chairwoman, Marilyn V. Dittmann, who was also listed as a major sponsor with Paul J. Leaman Jr., and Phyllis M. Taylor. The headlining patron was Patrick Park and The Park Foundation, while the law firm, Jones Walker, was credited as corporate sponsor. Individuals scripted in the event sponsor category were Mr. and Mrs. James J. Frischhertz, Dr. and Mrs. Stephen W. Hales, Adrea D. Heebe and Dominick A. Russo Jr., LPO board President Hugh W. Long and Susan L. Krinsky, Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Malofsky, Eugene Singer, Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Stewart Jr., and Dr. and Mrs. Richard L. Strub. Almost all were spotted within the social scenario.
Making the music happen at the Civic were guest conductor Jahja Ling and virtuoso Russian-American pianist Lola Astanova, who wowed the crowd, both with her keyboard prowess and her stunning glamour. In keeping with the Russian tribute, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov (for the concerto for piano and orchestra) and Rimsky-Korsakov were featured as composers. At the Hyatt Regency, Phillip Manuel rallied the comely crowd to the dance floor.
Sitting to sup, the “Faberge” flock partook of Raviol de Royan salad, braised beef short ribs, and a praline chocolate dome. The individual dishes were placed atop soft-silver tablecloths and centered with phalaenopsis orchid arrangements by Urban Earth, with input from Juan Barona and Carol Hall, Marilyn’s sister. Gratitude was then accorded by Maestro Prieto at 8:40 p.m. to the 67 LPO players (“musicians who are totally committed to the city”) and staff, the three major sponsors, and the assembly, whom Prieto addressed as “dear friends,” finishing with “Give yourselves a hand.”
He next introduced Angela Hill, who strode forward in her sartorial splendor to lead the bidding. She was joined by husband Dr. Irwin M. Marcus. Choice packages included dinner with Carlos Miguel and Isabel Prieto (gala attendees) at La Boca Restaurant, a trip to London (bought by Paul Leaman Jr., who travels there on business), and “Elvis Presley” and “Saints” packages. In addition to praising the orchestra and pianist Lola, Angela extended kudos to the gala chairwoman, saying “Marilyn, you are phenomenal.”
During the course of the select evening, the party eye befell Mayor Mitch Landrieu, LPO CEO James Boyd and Misook Yun, Carlos and Jan Mickan, William and Lexie Waring (the Prieto Dinner purchasers), Foster and Shaun Duncan, Penny and Alvin Baumer, Louis and Judy Freeman, William “Billy” Meriwether and Sally White, Ranney and Emel Mize, Walter and Henrietta Harris, Ann Duffy and John Skinner, John Bullard and Catherine Tremaine, John Hall with the above Carol, Anne Gauthier and Sanford Pailet, Juan Gershanik, Courtney-Anne Sarpy with Walker Ronaldson, and the Ludovico Feolis. For starters.
Before the floor reverberated with enthusiastic dancers, Phillip Manuel regaled the Opus Ball brigade with a pair of choice songs. Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” set the tone for the LPO commitment, and “The Way You Look Tonight” for all the lovely ladies.
Jefferson Beautification Inc. presented Parkway Promenade XXIII, “one of the most successful fundraising events in the city,” at Chateau Golf and Country Club in Kenner, where patrons assembled for an hour before the 5-8 p.m. “It’s a Luau.” Themed “Parkway Promenade goes Hawaiian,” the ado funds such Jefferson Beautification interests as Lafreniere Park Labyrinth and LaSalle Park, and environmental education projects in Jefferson Parish.
Teamed as “Luau” chairwomen were Connie Casey, who was joined by daughter Dawn Casey (with Dr. Glen Cangelosi) and son Dale Casey (with wife Kim), and Kay Donnelly with her husband, Dr. Joseph Rumage. More notables were JBI board members Myrtle Dubea and Charlotte Ruiz, who stationed the welcome desk; Ann Johnson (from Entergy) and Greg Fenn ; spouses Miriam Brown and Andres Rodriguez; Randy and Michele Shane L’Hoste; and Jeri Nims. Also, Lisa Baynham with mom Rita Blessing, Dianne and Barry Breaux, Wanda and Charlie Tiblier, Joyce and Wayne Laporte, Diane Hollis, Carolyn and Michael O’Hare, Debbie Albert with an entourage of Palm Vista Garden Club members, Dennis Assaf of Jefferson Performing Arts Society (which was also represented by Valerie Hart), Lee Giorgio with Melanie Cannatella, Marilyn and Carol Charvet, and decorations duo Denise Woodward and Pat Golemi, the outgoing co-presidents of Cancer Crusaders. Answering respectively to JBI president and executive director are Anne Favret and Beulah Oswald-Soto.
Color was suggested on the cheerful, mostly yellow invitation, and was realized at the revelry in the flowers, especially the leis given to the 250 arriving guests by Floral Trail 2014 maid Faith Baggert and flower girl Kaelynn Steltz. Grass skirts, tiki torches, and orchids added decorative touches.
Additional thematic treats were the Hawaii 504 band, Polynesian cuisine by Chateau’s chef Denis Hutley, hula dance lessons, and Hawaiian Ensemble contest judges Paul Johnston, Jefferson Parish councilman, and makeup artist Jamie Balser. Beaming as ensemble winners were the above Kay Donnelly, Kay Andressen, Sharon Hannahan, Joan Ingram, Todd Murphy, Ray Smith and Ed White. Each received a beautiful orchid plant from, among other donors, Molly Prokop. For the raffle’s bounty, Lady Luck tapped Elaine Beech, Debbie and Charlie Settoon, and Debbie and Tom Mora, while Sheila Spring had an extra spring in her step as the winner of the door prize given by Breaux Mart Supermarkets.