For the 22nd annual Women of Substance Luncheon, which took place at the Audubon Tea Room, “Inspiring Grace Through Mind, Body, and Spirit” was the bannering. It touted the 60th anniversary of Bridge House/Grace House, the beneficiary, and thanked the James P. Raymond Jr. Foundation as the Leadership Sponsor. Bridge House/Grace House is dedicated to helping men and women lead sober and productive lives.
Recognized as the 2017 Women of Substance during the 22nd luncheon were Molly Kimball, founder of Eat Fit NOLA and WGNO-TV’s nutrition and fitness expert; Parker Sternbergh, assistant director of the Porter Carson Institute at Tulane University; and Veronica Winget, current Albert Schweitzer Fellow working with chronic pain management at Grace House.
More recognition tapped another threesome, the 2017 award recipients: Michael Lavie for the Richard “Buzzy” Gaiennie Award; Andree Batt, Volunteer of the Year; and Ashley Fowlkes, Alumna of the Year. Special thanks were directed to the Audubon Tea Room, auctioneers Bryan Batt and Mark Romig, music maker Mike Morris (for “Amazing Grace”) and Richard Vallon. Walton Goldring chaired the luncheon that included committee members Stephanie Clary, Darlene Cohen, Felice Delahoussaye, Courtney Dodson, Barbara Gaiennie, Nancy Gaden Jackson, Andre Laborde, Diana Parham, Carol Pittman, Meredith Sarringhaus and Karen Tipton. Yet another threesome, Else Pedersen, fairly recent bride Michelle Gaiennie Hamrick and Kevin Gardere, figured on the committee. For BH/GH they answer, in turn, to CEO, executive director of clinical services and executive director of development. Les Vincent led the opening prayer.
Always a well-attended luncheon, the social attractions were many. Four silent-auction boards enticed, a raffle included a Electra Women’s Red Cruiser I bicycle donated by GNO Cyclery, and the menu included a chopped salad with lots of tasty ingredients, ruby red trout and strawberry mousse atop poundcake. The centerpieces were of white hydrangeas in clear vases and beribboned with blue-fringed bows. Animated chatter permeated the Tea Room.
Then came the live auction with Batt and Romig, who drummed up moola for a Besh Restaurant Group Dine Around and a jaunt to the Four Seasons Resort Vail (in Colorado) and Southwest Airlines tickets.
The event’s only possible negative was a pluvial one, but that soon changed. Almost symbolic, Bryan Batt looked outside through the large windows and then spoke to the attentive crowd. “Look, “he commented, “the rain has stopped, and the sun has come out.”
Mothers Meeting and Greeting
With Lake Pontchartrain in the visual background, the setting was sublime as the St. Dominic Mothers’ Club sat to sup at the Southern Yacht Club. Cocktails preceded the dinner that consisted of cucumber house salad, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and ice cream sundaes, which pleased everyone (and is a special favorite of school Principal Adrianne Leblanc). Lindsay Munson did the flowers of peonies, baby pink roses and tulips; the Rev. Peter Damian led the blessing; and, respectively, Two Sprouts and Pel Hughes designed and printed the programs.
Mastheaders included luncheon Co-Chairwomen Angela Tullier and Cyndi Cinquemano and the Mothers’ Club board members, who were sworn into office. Answering to co-presidents will be Megan Sannino and Melissa Kernion with Carrey Britsch and Lindsay Munson as the co-presidents elect. Four vice presidents, Michelle McKeon, Tori O’Hara, Alex Kless and Danielle Bellina, were inducted, as were a recording secretary trio in Joyce Dolley, Michelle Peuler and Mandy Catanzaro and the same-number of corresponding secretaries in Natalie Sander, Tara Boland and Christine Ferry. Brandie Borde is the treasurer, and Stacey Meyaski and Marisa Rovira now answer to parliamentarian.
Seventh-grade mothers were honored and prior to the dinner, and students in that class sent letters to their mothers titled, “My favorite memory about my mom is …”. Adding lovely sentiment, the letters were read aloud to each mother by Co-Chairwomen Angela and Cyndi.
Wind and Wings
Although one of the major attractions of the recent St. Vincent Guild Spring Luncheon was the fashion show, and the sedentary pleasures of lunch, the event’s theme bowed to breeze. “Wind Beneath My Wings” titled the to-do that unfolded at the Airport Hilton with 180 attendees.
Guild member Laurie Nodier created the vernal décor of bird cage centerpieces; guests enjoyed food fare of salad, chicken piccata, Brabant potatoes and string beans; and, with assistance from Betsy White and Debbie Landry, Joan Ingram coordinated the Stein Mart fashion show that featured as models Cheryl Cabes, Rosalie Edwards, Jeanie Favret, Judy Legett, Judy Quinilty, Judy Amadin and Karen McGoey. The fashions were of bright and pastel colors with lots of hand bags and chunky jewelry.
Sister Marjorie Hebert, president and CEO of Catholic Charities, updated membership on Catholic Charities, and special guests included Monsignor Andrew Taormina, CC’s Pro-Life Services director Michelle Black, and Colleen Cloninger, the guild’s outgoing president. Coming in as the new president was Gaynell Pervel and officers Cindy Wooderson, Robin Dykes, Casey Klaman and Jeanie Favret.
In the spirit of giving, the guild members looked to little ones. There was a collection of diapers and donations to benefit ACCESS of Catholic Charities.
The Art of the Matter
Founded more than a century ago to promote the study and advancement of the fine arts, the society that bears that name assembled members and a few guests to the Fine Arts Club Spring Lunch in the Garden Room of Commander’s Palace. First, they met for business and then relished the pleasures of the table: a grilled Gulf shrimp salad and classic creme brulee. The decorations were of clear, pink and white balloons, which served as centerpieces.
Installed as new officers were Lynn Skidmore, president, and Inez “Bunny” Hinckley, Nancy McArthur and Adrienne Miester. Additional attendees were luncheon Chairwoman Amie Harllee Seba; her sister, Betty Trachtmen; Linda Forman, twin sister of the new president (making them Lynn and Linda); and past presidents Sonda Stacey, Rosemarie Kaskell and Hattie Fraser. Breaking bread, too, were Arthemise Gros, Susie Russell, Linda Moreau, Kathleen Morgan, Virginia Dare Rufin, Anita Garcia, Peggy Simmons, Patsy Baltz and Lenel Romero. President Lynn Skidmore’s words of address were taken to heart, as she looked at the assembly, saying, “Thank you to all the ladies who work so hard and are proud of the club’s 100-plus years.”