“School House Rock” marqueed the merriment for City Year New Orleans at Rosy’s Jazz Hall; “Victory Begins at Home: New Orleans 1944” amassed hordes to the National WWII Museum for the 2014 Victory Ball; and, with a nod to the elegant televised soap opera, “Downton Abbey,” the Daughters of the British Empire laid out “British Afternoon Tea.” The Pavilion of Longue Vue House and Gardens was the site for the sipping.
Everything’s Coming Up Rosy’s
Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu served as the honorary chaircouple for “School House Rock,” which hailed James Carville and Mary Matalin as the 2014 School House Rock Stars. More top names were those of Norma Jane Sabiston, Ronald Carrere and Kevin Wilkins, who co-chaired the SHR host committee, and Diana M. Lewis, advisory board chairwoman. Bain Capital was the sponsor.
Noted, too, were state Rep. Walt Leger, City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Ernesto Anguilla, Michael Connolly, Sakari Morrison, Jennifer Eplett Reilly, Jay Altman, Eli Feinstein, D’Juan Hernandez, and Sarah Usdin. For starters.
A program titled “City Year Chronicles & Ceremony” punctuated the 6-9 p.m. event, which was a celebration of service. City Year, an education-focused nonprofit organization, was founded in 1988. It partners with public schools to help keep students in school and graduate. To further this goal, teams of young AmeriCorps members commit to a year of full-time service in the schools, providing tutoring, mentoring and after-school programs.
The party’s invitation stated “Join City Year New Orleans to celebrate the service of our corps members… and learn about their work.”
Meanwhile, guests meandered about Rosy’s Jazz Hall, enjoying the food catered by the venue, casting an eye on the flowers by NOLA Tilth, and turning an ear to the NOCCA Jazz Ensemble. Those who give, often get. The gifts to the host committee were City Year Journals, as well as candied apples (remember this is a school-oriented event!) from Mister Apple. To learn about the corps members, each guest received a “homework” card, which served as an event “icebreaker,” containing images of City Year corps members.
Victory Ball — a 70th Salute
At the National WWII Museum, guests assembled for the ball recalled the D-Day landing in Normandy, France, 70 years ago on June 6. They also recalled, and honored, the unique and important role that the Crescent City played in World War II. Hence the bash’s billing, “Victory Begins at Home: New Orleans 1944.”
The evening began with the Superior Energy Patron Party, where attendees had a sneak preview of the Campaigns of Courage Pavilion and then continued on to the Whitney Bank Victory Ball inside the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.
Stepping forward as the evening’s cynosure, and mistress of ceremonies, was Cokie Boggs. How fitting it was! The museum awarded its highest honor, The American Spirit Award, posthumously to her mother, Lindy Claiborne Boggs, for her lifetime of service. The late Lindy was the first female recipient of the prestigious award.
Lush greens and other accents decorated the U.S. Freedom Pavilion to create a French Quarter courtyard garden, a homage to Mrs. Boggs and the parties she famously hosted at her Bourbon Street home. During her career, she answered to ambassador, U.S. representative and author. Furthering the ambiance were the floral arrangements were by Dunn & Sonnier and the lighting by the Solomon Group.
When the guests sat to sup, they enjoyed a fresh take on classic New Orleans flavors, including a “crawfish boil” salad, a choice of redfish or smoked hanger steak, and French Opera cake. John Besh’s American Sector Restaurant received the culinary kudos. Adding the musical menu was The Victory Big Band.
A further round of taste treats unfolded, thanks to the fifth annual Otto Candies, LLL “How Sweet It Is!” dessert and dancing event. Guests enjoyed the American Sector’s impressive array of desserts and bounded to the floor to shake a leg to the sounds of James Andrews and the Crescent City All Stars.
Headliners included the above Cokie Boggs, whose married surname is Roberts, along with museum President and CEO Gordon “Nick” Mueller with spouse Beth, former California Gov. and Mrs. Pete Wilson, Richard Adkerson, event chaircouples Frank and Paulette Stewart and Joe and Deborah Exnicios, Jackie and Buzz Clarkson, Bill and Mary Hines, John and Sylvia Laborde, Herschel and Anne Abbott, Robert and Donna Taylor, Nickie Candies, Madlyn and Paul Hilliard, and Suzanne and Michael Mestayer.
“Victory” made the spirit of the posthumous awardee viable for the future. Proceeds from the ball helped create the Lindy Boggs Educational Endowment, which will enable the museum to inform and influence the next generations about the indomitable American spirit.
At Longue Vue, Daughters of the British Empire President Jane Caruso welcomed members and guests to the seventh annual Spring Tea fundraiser: “British Afternoon Tea” with a “Downton Abbey” theme.
Heather Cavanagh and the Elizabethan Chapter designed the table decorations of hand-painted terra cotta pots containing spring flowers. A mounted photograph of television’s Downton Abbey elicited smiles. So did the thematic, early 1900s costumes inspired by the Masterpiece Classic series, which produced first and second prize tributes for Tanya Mennear and Colleen Dicosola.
Former DBE state President Esther Coy orchestrated the food, proffering traditional British afternoon tea fare of dainty sandwiches, scones, lemon curd and strawberry jam. Little sweets were presented on pedestal cake stands for guests to partake at their leisure. Of course, tea was the focused feature and it was poured by costumed servers from Brown Betty tea pots.
More features were the raffle, which was presided over by Rachael Hatley and assistant Charlotte Floberg, and the door prizes. The DBE in Louisiana acquired through Stuart Bamforth an extensive collection of books, many quite rare, on the British monarchy. He donated them in memory of his wife, Olivia, a DBE member, and several of these books became door prizes.
Making “Tea” their togetherness were Tim and Jan Lantrip, owners of the English Tea Room in Covington (and donors of the scones); Alice Dantro, representing the Daughters of 1812; Eileen Garey and Catherine Haws, both volunteers at the National WWII Museum; Dr. Rennie Culver, Paula Dickey and Richard Gill, Liz Smith and Beth Goddard of the English-Speaking Union; Lee Maloney, who was celebrating her 91st birthday; and Jenny Blythe, Mandy Tebbutt, June Mears, Linda Curphey and Eileen McShane of the DBE Strawberry Fields Chapter in Baton Rouge. Mingling too was Margot (Mrs. Richard McNeely), who as Marigold Bostock-Wilson was one of the Wrens in World War II, who worked at Bletchley Park and succeeded in breaking the German Enigma code.
Many others reveled in this delightful camaraderie and credited the DBE for the socializing and its good works. The DBE chapter in Louisiana was chartered in 1959 and comes under the umbrella of the National Society of the Daughters of the British Empire, a philanthropic society that has been active in more than 30 states in the U.S. for over 100 years.