n Torchbearer’s Award

Lace the Grand Ballroom was the site for a brunch brigade, when the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Greater New Orleans chapter Inc., hosted its 16th Torchbearer’s Award Program in celebration of African American Legacy Builders. Hundreds gathered. With a nod to the name of the venue, the theme was “Linen and Lace.”

The volunteer non-profit organization, known by its acronym NCBW, “is dedicated to community service with a focus on social and economic needs of our community.” Proceeds from the brunch and auction will support the various programs, as well as college scholarships.

Kenyatta D. Guilford, a NCBW member, designed the centerpieces, incorporating pink ribbons that echoed those worn by members in support of Breast Cancer Month. Additional features included music by DJ-Dirty Red, a silent auction with artwork by Terrance Osborne and Ted Ellis, and a choice menu. The Lace Tchoupitoulas Brunch consisted of, among other tasty treats, seafood gumbo, eggs, grits, Cajun sausage, smoked bacon, jambalaya and bread pudding with rum sauce. Mimosas figured as one of the several libations.

When it was time for the formalities, mistress of ceremonies Gina Swanson, WDSU reporter and anchor, introduced the honorees and NCBW scholarship recipients. Beaming in the first category were Jade Brown Russell (joined by daughter Jardon), counsel of regional Operations for Caesars Entertainment; Chimene Grant Connor, vice president of marketing at Audubon Nature Institute; and Susan Isaacs, WDSU reporter and one of the founders of NOLA Black Professionals. The 2014 NCBW scholarship winners and their universities were Calisha Sadiq, Dillard; Candice Selmon, Xavier; and Antinia Cardoza, Southern University at New Orleans. Let’s give them a hand!

Headlining the brunch brigade were NCBW President Yvonne Mitchell-Grubb, Vice President Fundraising Jemma Mendoza, corresponding Secretary Tiffany Gilmore-Soublet, and Treasurer Sarah Gaines-Taylor. Also, fundraising committee members Tiffany Smith, Centrell Alfred-Ewell, Brenda Mitchell, Yolanda Curtis-Wilson, Gloria Saunders, Sharon Moore, and Shaneeka Harrison.

Guests included Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman (one of the sponsors), Judge Chris Bruno with spouse Kerry, Byron C. Williams, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey with sister Ruth Ramsey, and Sharon Carter Sheridan, who couldn’t stop smiling. She’s the mother of honoree Chimene and was filled with maternal pride.


The full name of the event elicits a smile: Bra-veaux! The UPLIFTING event of the year.

More distaff power and prowess was shown by the New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah, which served as host for the above event that called attention to breast cancer research and also honored the memory “of beloved lifetime member Pearl Daube.” It took place at the Lakefront Airport Terminal.

Part of the party package was the opportunity to bid in the luxury auction of stunning art brassieres and “uplifting works of art by scores of professional artists.” The 75-item silent auction, the kosher-style buffet of house specialties from Messina’s Catering, the stirring sounds of the Siren Sisters, and the showcase of decorative handmade bustiers (with thanks to Ina Weber Davis) lured the legions, whose numbers tallied about 200. A further attraction was the plentiful free parking.

In the live auction, which was helmed by Ruthie Winston, folk art from the Douglas Gitter Gallery, the magnificent brassieres made by the GRAnola Girls and others, “Mother and Child” by photographer Josephine Sacabo, Fats Domino-themed art by Joshua Mann Pailet, and the “Uplifting” sculpture by Luis Colmenares added financial fettle to the party’s coffers.

The decorations, which were designed and fashioned by Gail Fenton Pesses, highlighted the terminal’s Art Deco décor and conveyed the opulence and elegance of the 1920s. White feathers in clear, slender vases greeted guests, while thematic brassieres and bustiers furthered the theme.

Hadassah hobnobbers were led off by guests of honor Albert Daube (spouse of the late — and remembered — Pearl) with son and daughter-in-law David and Sue, event Co-Chairwomen Barbara Kaplinsky and Miriam Waltzer with husbands Mark and Bruce, Hadassah President Ilana Reisin and Efrain, master of ceremonies Jonny Lake, and planning committee members Talora Gross, Rochelle Sackett, Dale Aronson, Julie Schwartz, Carrie Pailet, Charisse Sands, Patty Ungar, Kitzi Goldman, Arlene Hines, Fran Simon, and the above Gail Fenton Pesses.

The tribute to the late Pearl Daube, the 1997 Woman of Valor of Hadassah and a former doctor’s assistant, recalled her birth in England and her meeting Albert during World War II. He charmed her mother with cigarettes, and Pearl with Hershey chocolate.

n Emeritus Club

The Emeritus Club, which is made up of 50-year (and plus) alumni of Tulane University and Newcomb College, sent out invitations for “Lunch Welcoming President Mike Fitts” in the Qatar Ballroom of the Lavin-Bernick Center on campus. The honoree was Robert “Bobby” McIntyre, who was selected for his dedication and service to Tulane and to the Emeritus Board. Close to 100 Emeritus graduates and friends were present, all enjoying the Olive Blue catering (a delicious lunch that started with a salad of mixed greens, moved on to grilled, stuffed chicken breast, and finished with a raspberry mousse with chocolate ganache) and the musical menu of The Last Straws, which includes McIntyre as a principal player and singer. The band has been going strong for more than half a century.

Master of ceremonies Emeritus Board President Dwight LeBlanc (attending with Janie) was joined by executive committee members President-Elect Dan Hurley (with Joycelyn), Andree Keil Moss, Sylvan Steinberg, and honoree Bobby McIntyre, immediate past president, who was accompanied by spouse Pat and members of their family. Bobby also welcomed President Fitts with a special gift and recognized Ken Tedesco, Alumni director for the Emeritus Club.

James Stofan, vice president for Alumni Relations, introduced Mike Fitts, who said he “was getting to know hundreds and hundreds of alumni” and enjoyed “the embrace of the people and the institution.” He continued, talking about the strength of Tulane, its public service program, the “wonderful city of New Orleans,” its food, and the work of Bobby McIntyre.

Turning an attentive ear were Emeritus Board members Jim Besselman with Pat, Katherine Sandoz Boh, John Combe, Winnie Kelly Delery, Doug Douglas, Ruthie Jones Frierson with Louis, Tommy Lind with Eugenia (who just delighted pals with their Krewe of Morgus and Faux Gras celebration), Jerry Haydel with Agatha, C.B. Johnson, Diana Rowley Jones with Robert, Ed Lindsey, Gary Mannina, Virginia Roddy, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Frank Stewart Jr., retired Judge Tom Wicker with Jane, and Robert E. Young with Nell.

Former board members present included Robert Acomb with son Dwight; Tim Favrot with Kay; Derby and Claire Gisclair with her dad, Maurice Picheloup; and Charlotte Travieso, former Alumni Relations executive director.

The luncheon was capped off by Bobby McIntyre’s leading the singing for Tulane’s alma mater and the familiar lyrics of “Olive Green and Blue! We love thee!”

n Around and About

Members, old and new of the Sybarites, lunched at Commander’s Palace on a recent Thursday. Headliners included Vice President and President-Elect Colleen McLeod, Secretary Wendy Beron (who’s making debutante rounds with daughter Scout this season), Kay McArdle, ex-officio Marilyn Aiken, and Margie Bradley, one of the five original founders.

Elsewhere, the Margaret Gardens Inn at Margaret Place in the Lower Garden District was the site for the thespians. Ten years of “bold theatre from The NOLA Project” was the billing for the Green Room Gala that included a patron party and gala, with respective music by Sasha Masakowski and Sweet Crude, and, as honorees, Martin and Cecile Covert. Teamed to chair the event were Laura Sillars and Casie Duplechair, a vice president on the Project board that includes Donna Gay Anderson as president, Katherine A. Hoffman as treasurer and A.J. Allegra, artistic director.

Guests were directed to wear green. They obliged.