Thirty Years and Counting

Messina’s at The Terminal Lakefront Airport was the destination for diversion when hundreds assembled for the 30 Year Anniversary Gala of Project Lazarus, whose slogan is “Living in the Positive.” It honored the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans. In 1985, the Archdiocese founded Project Lazarus.

A cocktail reception in the Walnut Room with music by violin and guitar duo Tanya and Dorise, well-known street musicians on Royal Street, launched the activity that segued into a 7:30 p.m.-on dinner and program. All the while, guests admired the newly renovated art deco venue, which suggested the party’s décor. On the tables were white centerpieces with red accents. And when it was time to sup, everyone did so splendidly with a menu that included a mixed green salad, grilled veal chop with spinach risotto cake, and summer berry shortcake.

Marguerite Moisio, who was joined by Steve Bouzon, chaired the gala committee that included Kevin Charpentier, David Cortez, Jason Elam, Laura Fine, Bruce Gallassero, Lawrence Gobble, Lily Hannigan, Susie Hoskins, Don Paul Landry, Cynthia M. Molyneux (joined by sister Jennifer Klotz), Sister Marcy Romine, OFM, Steve Rivera, Frances Smith (with Rodney), and Glynn Stephens Jr. Thanks galore tapped sponsors Avita Pharmacy, LABO Charitable Foundation, Whitney Bank, IberiaBank, Cynthia Molyneux, the Louise H. Moffett Family Foundation, Goldring Family Foundation, Mystic Krewe of Satyricon, St. Louis Cathedral, Baptist Community Ministries, and Ed Blancher Service Inc.

Auction ado generated a special buzz. The silent one featured 19 art, vacation, wellness and restaurant packages, while the live auction promoted eight. The premiere piece was an original George Dureau charcoal sketch. Another special one was the commemorative watercolor by Stephen Hoskins that was inspired by the prayer labyrinth onsite at Project Lazarus.

When it was time for formalities, PL interim executive director Steve Rivera presented Archbishop Aymond the award. Many of the guests remembered that when the Revs. Bob Pawell and Paul Desrosiers walked around the Vieux Carre in the early 1980s, black wreaths on many doors indicated the deaths, mainly of young men, who succumbed to AIDS. They were mostly alone and unsupported. The two priests approached the late Archbishop Philip Hannan about a solution and Project Lazarus was created to provide quality housing, innovative care and opportunities for people living with HIV/AIDS. Said Rivera, “Rather than providing residents a safe place to die, we provide an opportunity to live.”

The anniversary video, which was created through a donation from Christopher Jacob Photography, featured the founders, Fathers Pawell and Desrosiers. Also during the program, PL former resident and current volunteer Lorraine Loydrake spoke about her journey from homeless and addiction to independence and success.

Among the headliners in the crowd of 290 were hosts and auctioneers Eric Paulsen of WWL-TV (with wife Bethany) and Warren Backer Jr. (with David Cortez), along with Archbishop Emeritus Alfred Hughes, Anne and King Milling, Jerry Purcell, Arthur Roger, Jim Perrier, the Very Rev. Philip Landry, Archdiocese CFO John Eckholdt with Virginia, Jason Waguespack, Dustin Woehrmann, John Deveney and Chris Costello, and Archdiocesan liaison John Smestad Jr. and Laura. All hailed the “Positive” partying.

Parlor Talk

The outside cover of the invitation featured the parlor at Butler Greenwood Plantation; the inside one, a pair of Jacob Petit vases, circa 1840; and the insert, Butler Greenwood Plantation, St. Francisville. The contents indicated that the director and trustees of the New Orleans Museum of Art were extending an invitation for the patron preview of “Louisiana Parlor: Antebellum Taste & Content” at the museum. A reception, remarks and tour were all included.

Whereas Butler Greenwood Plantation is a bed and breakfast, the parlor, “one of the South’s best examples of a pre-Civil War interior,” was moved in its entirety into NOMA. Turning back the pages of time, Harriet Flower Mathews completed the parlor arrangement in the plantation house just prior to the Civil War.

At the reception, a number of the descendants of the Butler and Flower families were in attendance, such as Anne Flower Redd, Hope McCullam, Carol Parsons, and Anne Butler, the seventh generation of her family to live in the house. She is passing the house on to her son.

Among those present, most of whom cast an eye at the floral arrangements done by the NOMA staff and enjoyed food by Catering d’Orleans, were Larry Anderson and Michael Boulas, Dr. Sid Bhansali, spouses Scott Chotin Jr. and Lorraine Myhal, Joni and Thomas Diaz, Hallie Dietsch, Lander Dunbar, Allison Elsee, Kay McArdle, Brenda and Michael Moffitt, Sally Richards, Elizabeth and John Ryan, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Jane and Rodney Steiner, Brent Woods, Melanee and Steve Usdin, and Melissa A. Gibbs.

Melissa had her own rooms on view recently. Adjacent to Canal Street Historic District, Picayune Place, the city’s “smallest local historic district,” welcomed visitors during a recent home tour presented by the Preservation Resource Center, Downtown Development District, Friends of the Cabildo, Historic District Landmarks Commission, and International House. Jill Chance, Nancy Murray and Erik Schwarz, Chad and Amanda Saltzman, and John Stephens and James Lestelle also opened the doors to their impressive digs.

Around and About

Anniversary was the excitement for a slew of recent couples, who tied the knot 50 years ago. Dr. John and Virginia Richmond Ernst celebrated at Antoine’s with close kin and kith. Brennan’s was the spot chosen by Stephen and Dee Moses, who, likewise gathered their nearest and dearest.