Project Lazarus heeded the vernal calling for a two-tiered fundraiser that rallied patrons on the first evening at the Windsor Court Hotel and then, on the following night, made gala “to-go” at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park. Divided into a cocktail reception in one area, usually outside, and a dinner inside, the gala amassed 230 individuals.
“A Splash of Color” emblazoned the premiere event to benefit Crossroads Louisiana Inc. at lunchtime in the Jefferson Orleans-South.
More midday meeting and greeting was organized by the Tulane University Women’s Association at the Southern Yacht Club, where the coveted Jane S. Longenecker Award was given to Jewelynn Nice. At each one, generosity enjoyed a spring setting.
“Angels” We Have Hailed on Time
At the Guardian Angel Award Gala, which came a day after the Patron Party, Project Lazarus honored as 2014 Guardian Angels Patricia “Pat” Denechaud and Archbishop Emeritus Alfred Hughes and, as the recipient of the Pawell-Desrosiers Award, Halloween New Orleans. The latter autumn activity has donated more than $4.6 million to Project Lazarus, a United Way Partner Agency, over the last 29 years. As its mission, Project Lazarus helps heal and empower people living with HIV/AIDS.
Sponsorship for the gala came from AT&T, Whitney Bank, IberiaBank, Cynthia M. Molyneux, the Goldring Family Foundation, the James R. Moffett Foundation, and St. Louis Cathedral.
White orchids and tealight candles set a decorative mood with light classical instrumental music adding the aural touch. Beef with béarnaise sauce was the “plat principal” and a chocolate mousse, the dessert. All the while, guests tried their luck (and credit cards) at the silent auction, which featured 14 desirable vacation, restaurant and art packages, as well as artwork by Paul Gruer and Hernan Caro. More such enticements, including an original Gustavo Duque painting and a week’s stay at a Destin, Florida, beach condo, lured the largesse during the live auction.
All of this was relished by PL board Chairman Bruce Gallassero, executive director Kim Moss, Charles I. “Dene” Denechaud III with spouse/honoree Pat, event Chairman Anthony Lala Jr., auctioneer Mark Romig and David Briggs, auctioneer Eric Paulsen with Bethany, Holly Popham, Meghan Donelon, former Lt. Gov. Jimmy Fitzmorris, Henry Lambert and Carey Bond (the 2012 GA recipients), John and Virginia Eckholdt, Rodney and 2013 GA awardee Frances Smith, Charles and Linda Teamer and about 200 more for whom Project Lazarus is “living in the positive.”
Val Killion and Martha Sassone teamed to chair the first benefit luncheon for Creative Expressions of New Orleans that serves 100 adults with developmental disabilities. Proceeds of “A Splash of Color” will benefit the daytime art program at Crossroads, Louisiana.
Guests were beckoned to the Jefferson Orleans-South by an invitation featuring artwork by a CENO student. Still more art came in the form of the table centerpieces done on hand-painted paper and presented by the T-Girls of Penthouse.
Additional features were the glasses of champagne given to arriving guests, the 25-item silent auction, Latin music by Patrice Fisher and Arpa, and the audience involvement with “Name That Tune.” “Color” songs (such as “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Pink Cadillac”) were played and quickly identified. Camera favors, as prizes, were used to record the day’s festivities.
Among the names to know were family members of the co-chairwomen, such as Val’s husband Charles and their daughter Helen (who just graduated from Mississippi College) and, with Martha Sassone, George Cella and her mother Edith Sassone.
Dr. William LaCorte was the event’s honorary chairman. Further notables were Crossroads executive director Susan McIlwain, CENO art teacher Jean Hood, Dr. Gerald and Rita Murphy, mistress of ceremonies Mary Lou McCall, Sally Stock, Debbie Villio, Danica Ansardi, Karen Villavaso, Dr. Jane Miller (who, for the Rouses Royal Street Stroll of the Wine & Food Experience, sported a blonde wig and a cute costume), Irene Klinger, Kellie Barnes, Cynthia Austin, Joseph Gioia, and Shirl Watsky. Dozens of others as well, who made “Splash” their socializing and sentiment.
“Spring Luncheon” titled the annual gathering of the Tulane University Women’s Association at the Southern Yacht Club, where guests had the choice of Chicken Clemenceau or trout amandine as the main course. Just deserts came in the form of the tribute, the Jane S. Longenecker Award, named for the former Tulane “first lady,” the wife of university President Herbert Longenecker. (Both are deceased.) Past TUWA President Jewelynn Nice received the homage, saying she was shocked, but so pleased. Joining her was her husband, Charles “Chip” Monroe Nice III.
Chairing the luncheon was Carole Green, who was assisted by Maria Daly, Janet Hughes, Kathleen Crago, Nancy Turner, Molly Keenan, Ruth Olivera and Vicki Buccino. Three other members rated special attention. Doris Baron reaped applause and gratitude as the outgoing TUWA president, while Matesa Gago-Luu and Staci Sundmaker received good wishes as the incoming presidential duo.
Breaking bread were Tupper Allen, Patty Andrews, Stella Bowers, Corrine Dower, Mary Kilroy, Barbara Knill, Debbie Nice, Pam Rogers, Bernadette D’Souza, Margie Scheuermann, Georgie Smith, Kristina Webb, Loraine Purrington, and dozens more.
All turned an attentive ear to the music making of Lulu and Jesse Reeks, who performed a charming program of standards and jazz improvisations. Taken by their talent, the audience was further thrilled by the Reekses’ personal stories. A favorite was hearing how they met. It occurred when Jesse accompanied Lulu at her graduate recital at Loyola.