1912 Society Dinner

Always a highlight, Loyola University’s 1912 Society Dinner took place at The Roosevelt with an invitation extended by the president, the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., and the board of trustees of Loyola University of New Orleans. The gala dinner celebrated Loyola and honored Anne Barrios Gauthier as the 2016 Integritas Vitae award recipient. Additionally, there was a special performance by world-renowned violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Loyola School of Music students.

After a round of cocktails, master of ceremonies/board Chairman John J. Finan Jr., who was accompanied by spouse Patty, opened the program with words of welcome. Then came the musical interlude from Salerno-Sonnenberg, resident artist in the university’s College of Music and Fine Arts, who said she was in a new phase of her career as a teacher, “doing it right here at Loyola.” In fine fiddle fettle, and accompanied by Loyola Professor of Music Yui Asano, she played a special piece for Anne Gauthier. She was joined by her daughters, who use Gauthier as their surname: Cherie (with husband Kevin Lirette), Celeste (with husband Joey Lepow) and Michelle (husband John Graham was unable to attend). Nearby were past Integritas Vitae award recipients Tom and Kitty Kloor with a table of Kloors.

The Rev. Francis W. Huete, S.J., then gave the invocation, and guests lifted shiny cutlery to enjoy corn and crab bisque and a “duo entree” for the main course. The award presentation to Gauthier, a local community activist and philanthropist, trustee of the Wendell & Anne Gauthier Family Foundation (Wendell was her late husband), current chairwoman of Loyola’s Faith in the Future campaign and president of the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans, next occurred. The Rev. James C. Carter, S.J., Loyola president emeritus, closed the program with a prayer.

Among the many features were reception music by students A. J. Diedrich (whose dad, Bernard, was in from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to hear him), Trevarri Huff-Boone and Mark Anthony Thomas; stunning gold reindeer centerpieces by Jack Siciliano, from Gordon’s of Metairie; souvenir photos; the standing ovation for violinist Nadja after her “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from “Porgy and Bess”; and a dessert reception.

Notables included Sally Duplantier with son and daughter-in-law David and Melanie; Ed Mathes and Anne Schmueling; the above Finans, who were inducted into the Society of St. Ignatius; honorary Faith in the Future Campaign Chairman Anne Milling with King; Faith in the Future Co-Chairman Derby Gisclair with Claire; alumni board President Ted Stacey with Sonda; Janice and Dr. Ed Foulks; and Kendall Vick Foundation President Jerry Reso with Carreen. The foundation was inducted into the University Founders of the Society of St. Ignatius and represented by Jerry Reso. Also inducted was First NBC Bank, represented by Martha Kipnis.

Then there were Sally and Ron Forman, Carlo Mulvenna with Debbie, Ileana Suquet with Jose, Houstonians Ted and Louana Frois, Barry LeBlanc with Theresa, Carol and Dr. Roland Waguespack, Mary Jane and John Becker, Edgar Chase with Alva, the Rev. Ronald L. Calkins, Dr. Jan Lancaster, Paul Pastorek with Kathy, the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., and Bobby Savoie, with Lori.

Post-program, the holiday dessert reception followed in the Lafitte and Conti rooms, where (along with a host of yummy attractions) mini red velvet logs, banana pudding and dark chocolate verrine were enjoyed. To lead guests into these rooms, the above Huff-Boone, a saxophonist and mascot Havoc did the honors.

Latkes with a Twist

“This place is amazing,” said Karen (Mrs. Leopold) Sher, as she looked around the party premises. She was talking about the new Dryades Public Market, where the third annual Latkes with a Twist unfolded. It was given by the Jewish Children’s Regional Service and gathered more than 175 people for the communitywide Hanukkah event. French Market Coffee and Sher Garner Law Firm were the lead sponsors.

Emeril’s executive chef David Slater served up delicious latkes with toppings, such as Louisiana caviar, smoked salmon, beef carpaccio and roasted beets with horseradish sauce. Drinks, including a “Vodka Latke” punch and a Buffalo Trace “Hanukkah Hi-Ball,” were created by Bar 38’s team with the spirits donated by Sazerac Brands.

Mingling were JCRS President Marc Beerman and Angela, Vice President Neil Kohlman and Hannah, board member and co-host Rose Sher and husband Jeremy Soso, and board members Keith Adler and Michelle Soll, with spouses Stephanie and Shea. And Dr. Sanford Pailet, with Anne Gauthier, D.J. and Lisa Romano, Michael and Mariska Morse, Tim and Sheila Gold, Brian and Lisa Katz, Vadim and Michele Gelman, Josh and Mara Force, and Tim and Anamaria Lupin.

Added to all of the fun and food was the music. And for that, guests danced and enjoyed the beat of COOT.

Eat, Drink & Be Giving

HeartGift Louisiana honored Dr. Joseph Caspi “for 20 years of excellence and compassionate care at Children’s Hospital” as a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon during a dinner in his honor at John Besh’s Pigeon & Prince. Close to 100 people gathered, including the honoree’s wife, Tali, and youngest daughter, Gal. Dr. Caspi is a dedicated volunteer surgeon for HeartGift Louisiana, a nonprofit whose mission is to make lifesaving heart surgery possible for children in countries where adequate medical care is not available.

Coming in from afar were Tali Zehavi, who flew in from Israel, and physicians from around the state.

HeartGift Louisiana board Chairwoman Claire Koch (with Josh) introduced a video tribute to Dr. Caspi that was produced and donated by board member Mary Mouton. In the video, cardiothoracic surgeon Tim Pettitt credited Dr. Caspi for “Building one of the top surgical congenital heart programs in the country.” Before awarding the honoree with a Baccarat heart, Koch said he has never turned away a child HeartGift has presented to him. Caspi accepted the award and quoted the Talmud, “He who saves one life saves an entire world.” A standing ovation ensued.

Within the applauding audience were Children’s Hospital Chairman Bill Mimeles, hospital CEO Mary Perrin, LCMC Health CEO Greg Feirn and Sarah, Britt and Nan Galloway, Foofie and Darrah Schaefer, Dr. and Mrs. Nick Pappas, Ellen and Grant Coleman, Dr. Stephen Hales, John and Fran Heaton, and Holly and Fred Mentz. From the HG board came Kyle and Kendra France, Mouton, Peter Sperling, Glen Durham, Mary Perrin, Dathel Georges with John, Brent Ramirez with Michelle, and Maureen and Whit Huguley. The latter’s company offered up to $12,500 in matching donations for gifts made to HG in Caspi’s honor.

Additional aspects of the evening were a menu that began with a Romaine salad and moved into seared Gulf fish, and a molten chocolate torte; lily table arrangements designed and executed by Dathel Georges; cocktails and libations donated by Alan Franco; and the underwriting of MedSurg Specialists. As a source of great satisfaction, “Eat, Drink & Be Giving” raised enough funds to cover the surgeries of two future HeartGift children.