The Social Swirl
Talk about a delicious fundraiser! That was the annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction that took place in the Armstrong Ballroom of the New Orleans Sheraton with a slew of noted chefs up to the plate. Ochsner Hospital for Children was the Gold Sponsor; spouses Steven Dwyer and Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken, the gala’s chaircouple; and master of ceremonies Heath Allen, of WDSU.
Patrons first assembled at 6:30. Then came the Chef Tastings, raffle and auction, the March of Dimes program, the seven-packages live auction led by Nick Bennett, of Stokes Auction Group, Fund the Mission, and entertainment. Honey Island Swamp Band created the musical menu.
Noted as headliners were Louisiana Secretary of Health Dr. Rebecca Gee, MOD board member Dr. Juan Gershanik, another board member in Karen Eastman, Archie and Adrienne Casbarian, Katy Casbarian, Hunter and Kaylea Hill, Graham and Adele Ralston, MOD senior development manager Rainer Madigan, and the celebrity chefs, who prepared signature dishes. The host hotel prepared the hors d’oeuvre selection.
The talked-about toques were Mike Lena, Parkway Bakery and Tavern; Brack May, Cowbell; Nathan Richard, Cavan; Thorsten Leighty, New Orleans Marriott; Mark Quitney, Hilton New Orleans Riverside; Thomas Wolfe, Royal Orleans Rib Room; Andrea Apuzzo, Andrea’s Restaurant; Rene Bajeux, Palace Café; Carlos Lianez, JW Marriott Hotel; and Steven Marsella, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts. Centerpieces of white roses with purple ribbons bedecked the black-clothed tables.
Chatter during the evening touched on the MOD’s founding by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 and its continued commitment to the lives and health of babies. The Prechters — Paul and Paige, and daughters Annika and identical twins Savana and Juliana — were hailed as the Ambassador Family. In their expression of gratitude, they thanked the MOD and its important research role in helping premature babies.
All “4” One!
Swamp Gala Galaxy 2017 billed the opening celebration of Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp given by the Board of Directors of Prospect New Orleans. Hundreds of art-oriented hobnobbers headed to the bash’s venue, The Sugar Mill. Among the top contributors were Big Bang Boudreaux notables: Susan and Ralph Brennan, Lucy Burnett and Gregory Holt, Jones Walker LLP, Mrs. Nancy A. Nasher, Pan American Life Insurance Group, and David Workman. The New Orleans Advocate was the Media Partner.
More mastheaders were artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, interim director Ylva Rouse, and honorees Lynda Benglis, Holly Block, William “Bill” Fagaly, Thelma Golden, and Barkley L. Hendricks. Mardi Gras Productions planned the event, 1718 Catering was the purveying force, and Oh Hi Co., the invitation designer.
Still others were Prospect New Orleans board Chairwoman the above Susan Gore Brennan, Co-Vice Presidents Michael Wilkinson and Christopher J. Alfieri, Treasurer Nick Mayor, and Secretary Staci Rosenberg. Teamed to chair the fabulous fete were Abhi Bhansali, Colleen Connor, Sayde Finkel, Trevor J. Haynes, and David Workman, whose committee of 115-plus attested to the excitement generated by Prospect.4, a citywide triennial of contemporary art.
Those Who Wine, Shine
The French American Chamber of Commerce-Gulf Coast amassed a host of oenophiles and folks who just wanted to have fun at the JW Marriott for the annual Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration, the 21st one. Tastings and auction items were major components of the event that thanked at least 13 generous sponsors, dozens of auction vendors and contributors, and 11 patrons, along with promotional partners and food and wine vendors.
The names to know were troika Eric Belin (FACC-GC president) and Christy and Julien Worms, who chaired the gala; the honorary Co-Chairmen Consul General of France Vincent Sciama and spouse Yuanyuan, Henry and Cheryl Battle, and Christine George; Earl Dyck for the sponsorships; and Edna Greenbaum, who spearheaded the auction along with Millie Baudier and Jean Cranmer. Rating recognition, too, were Ron Marlow, Greg Lambousy, Nikki Polk, Alycia Daumas, Mia Salsi, Stephanie Halphen, and Jackie Duvieilh.
In keeping with the title of the to-do, bottles of 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf filled the party area’s foyer, muscadine vines draped guest tables, handmade holiday ornaments hung from Beaujolais bottles on each sponsor table, and Acquistapace and Picardie Frame + Millwork sponsored the extensive French Cheese Table
Making rounds were Consul General Sciama, Gary LaGrange, Jacqueline Simon, Ted Selogie, Beverly Baudouin, Bridget Wilson, Pamela Bonner, Audrey Nikitine, Paul and Pascale Meyer, Charles Chamberlain and Vivian Norris, Jean Cranmer, Millie Baudier and Mike Haase, David Bourg with daughter Jeanne Bourg and son-in-law Luc Soleau, John and Amy Haspel, Tom Krentel and Courtney Maheu, Chet and Mary Gelpi, Christine and Price LeBlanc, and from FACC-GC, Loretta Krasnow (executive director) and Christine Greenebaum. (Quite a few of the above assembled for more bonhomie at the very recent FACC-GC Holiday Networking Soiree at Sully Mansion.)
The lively Beaujolais party became even more so with the entertainment. On the eve of the general gallivanting, the VIP set enjoyed the renderings of Raphael Bas-Harmounche. And on both nights, the Pussyfooters made surprise visits to the delight of the crowds. The Celebration, the main event, had the Yat Pack, sponsored by Meyer the Hatter, as the band. Dancing was dominant and at the conclusion with “When the Saints Go Marching In,” almost everyone gyrated with glee.
A Presidential Presence
The New Orleans Bar Association installed Dana M. Douglas as president at the 93rd annual dinner meeting, which unfolded at the Audubon Tea Room. Guests first enjoyed libations al fresco, in the garden area, while T-Ray the Violinist entertained with jazz interludes.
Inside the Tea Room, golden fleur-de-lis centerpieces captured the eye, while salad, filet mignon and chocolate roulade pleased the appetite.
With Dana Douglas were Candince and Stephanie McMillian, Ida Woodfork (Dana’s mom), and Tina and Richard Woodfork. Immediate past President Chris Ralston presented a check to Laura Tuggle, of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, to fund the Veterans Justice Fellowship for 2018. More notables were President-elect Jason Waguespack with husband Jeff Morgan, Arceneaux Award recipient Thomas Flanagan with wife Gene, Walter J. Leger Jr., Alex and (infanticipating) Krista Glaser, Kathy and Dr. Charlie Glaser, Judge Jay and Joy Zainey, Judge Brian and Melanie Jackson, 50-year honoree Ron Wood with Margaret, Judge Robin Giarrusso, Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown and Marcus Brown, and Dana Douglas’s law partners, Keith Jarrett, Carey Menasco, and City Councilman-elect Joe Giarrusso.