Curtain Call Ball

In pulling back the figurative curtain, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre launched seasonal levity and a line-up. “The Curtain Call Ball,” a first fundraiser of its type for the venerable 99-year-old theater, took place on a Friday evening with Iberia Bank and The New Orleans Advocate as the Main Stage sponsors. In the Red Carpet category were Absolut, Crystal, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin A. Baumer Jr., Kay (Mrs. H. Mortimer Jr.) Favrot, and Kathleen (Kay’s daughter) and Charlie Van Horn.

From the board were Chairman Bruce R. Hoefer Jr., who attended with spouse Libby; and officers Leon Contavesprie with guest Claire Conti; the above Kathleen with Charlie; and Fred Lay and Ned Benjamin with their respective wives, Charlotte and Helaine. Balancing the board are Diana Bajoie, Bryan Batt, Jacquelyn B. Clarkson, Janet Daley Duval, Saundra Levy, Brenda Moffitt, Barbara Motley, and Troy Poplous. Maxwell Williams answers to artistic director, but also assumed the auctioneer’s role for the gala. Managing director Katie Hallman, in eye-catching green, made rounds with husband Cavan.

Kay Favrot was marqueed as the ball’s honoray chairwoman, while Shon Baker, Kay McArdle, Brenda Moffitt (with husband Michael) and Kathleen Van Horn were cast as the chairing quartet. Shon regretted her absence, but not the reason for it: She and husband Charles had very recently welcomed the arrival of baby Charles III.

When guests first arrived, at “An Evening of Music and Theatre,” David Torkanowsky and Friends (Nicholas Payton, Shannon Powell and Grayson Hackleman), the house band for the bash, were playing on the theater’s stage. Subsequent entertainers were Idella Johnson, and to cap the caper, The Big Easy Babes, including Idella, along with Whitney Mixon and Ashley Rose Bailey. Meanwhile food and drink were top attractions, thanks to Dickie Brennan’s Tableau and Dickie Brennan, Steve Pettus (with Yvette), Lauren Brennan Brower (in absentia, but represented by husband George and mom Lynne Brennan), and “the entire Tableau team.” Passed hors d’oeuvres sated the comely crowd early on, and the food stations, with such treats as Chicken Tableau, as the evening progressed. The suite of sweets was located in the lobby.

Five top items enticed the ball bash during the live auction that had among its most-contented purchasers, Charlie Van Horn, Nia Terezakis, and Charlotte Bollinger, who said, “I’m having the best time. This is so much fun.” People enjoyed the free-flow aspects of the event as well as the cause: to continue producing plays, supporting actors, and mentoring. Chatter concerned the 2015-16 season’s selections of “Our Town,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

More on the “way” to the event fun were Advocate publisher Dan Shea and spouse Stephanie Stokes, Victor and Eileen Andrews (who worked on some LPT shows, starting in late 1989), Brent and Lele Wood, Margaret Beer, Elly and Merritt Lane, Bob Edmundson and Kathleen Parke, Biff Motley with the above Barbara, R. K. Hoddinott, Sybil and Blair Favrot, Tony and Katherine Gelderman, Dana and Steve Hansel, Bob and Sharon Weilbaecher (who celebrated their same-day, same-year birthdays shortly after), Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, Carol Dienes, Julie and Ted George, and Joyce and Sidney Pulitzer.

Before the final curtain (and bye-bye to the bash), the blue sequined-gowned Big Easy Belles revved up the revelry with Motown momentum. “Respect” got a lot of folks boogieing in the theater’s aisles. Showed, too, by its name, what the party pack feels about Le Petit.

Fin Fun

The signature fundraiser for Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Scales & Ales made waves as it attracted nearly 3,000 to Woldenberg Park to party their fins off. Now in its 25th year, the Aquarium of the Americas is celebrating its birthday with the theme, “25 Years of Fintastic Memories.” And tails of the deep.

Another significant anniversary, a 40th, is that of Steamboat Natchez, which served as the VIP Party Sponsor and welcomed hundreds on the boat throughout the evening. Abita, the exclusive beer sponsor, provided the titular “Suds,” and poured more than a dozen signature brews, including specialty selections, in the Beer Garden. Chevron was the entertainment sponsor, showcasing DJ Brice Nice, DJ Rooney G — World Premier Video DJ, and the New Orleans Sirens. Proceeds from S&A will benefit the Aquarium’s conservation efforts and education programs. Each year, more than one million people visit the Aquarium, and since its inception, S&A has raised more than $800,000.

In addition to the celebrated hops, specialty cocktails, such as the hailed “Silver Sea Sparkler,” wet the collective whistle. The restaurant fare from 49 purveyors was extensive and delicious with seafood in a variety of preparations producing eager consumption. Sort of culinary hook, line and sink your teeth in.

Among those in an o-fish-al capacity were the honorary Chairmen: Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, chef Tenney Flynn (GW Fins), Sheriff Marlin Gusman, and Sal Sunseri (P & J Oysters), along with the 40-person host committee. Then there were Carmen and Kelly Duncan, Mary Clare and Danny Conwill, Kristin Alvey, Julie and Britton Chauvin, Betsy and Steve Clement, Lanier Clement, Clare Colton, Casey Dietz and Christopher Zainey, Caroline and Reiss Eagan, and Catherine Frampton and Charlotte Page.

Others having a bucketful of fun were Michael Mann Jr., Sarah Mayhew, Ellie Sanders, Asia Strong, Nicholas Ursin, Jodi Yuspeh, Mitch and Melissa McGrane, Caitlin Hunter, Alex Cheramie, Lindsay Southwick, Theron Batie and Esther Ellis, Valerie Pescay and Ann Worthy.

Decorations made the aqueous ado just that. Hand-made jellyfish hung from the Aquarium’s ceiling at the entrance, while inside (and as Brice Nice did his thing) scores of gulls and boys enjoyed watching schools of fish and sharks glide by in the Great Maya Reef and Gulf of Mexico exhibits. Outside on the Great Lawn overlooking the Mississippi River, the New Orleans Sirens and their spirited dancing made everyone glad they weren’t mermaids.

Newcomers and Noshes

The recently renovated Garden District home of Pam Georges Dongieux was the site for the night when St. Andrew’s Episcopal School held its Newcomers’ Party. Fourth-grade parents traditionally organize the togetherness and line up the food, which, each year, becomes a feast. Chez Nous catered and a slew of taste treats beckoned, including Santa Fe cheese puffs, spanakopita, tuna tartare, lump crabmeat dip, and desserts. The red schoolhouse cookies, which echoed a school color, were by JCB Creations. Kudos to hostess Pam, Jen Bilbe, Susanna Dipp and Kelli Towers, all mothers of fourth graders.

Extending one of the many welcoming hands was head of school Mason Lecky, who thanked Pam as he acknowledged new parents. He and spouse Megan Lecky have three children at St. Andrew’s. Milling, too, were the Rev. Jim Morrison, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church; school board chairwoman Jane Miller — she and David have twin boys in sixth grade; Lisa Witter, director of admissions and financial aid; and Chantelle Pierre, director of development.

Noted, as well, were Parents’ Club officers, starting with President Alex Modinger with wife Kimberly Finney, Chad Majorie with Erin, Lori (Mrs. Jerome) Jupiter and Norris (Mrs. Alex) Gagnet. New parents were Nate and Alice Allen, Dr. Jacques and Katy Ancelet, Paul and Amy Bernadas, Ashley Samaha, Vanessa Gruver, Ryan and Jamie Hughes, Ryan and Kristi LeBlanc, Dr. Aukena and Terrance Long, Jose and Michelle Martinez, Holli Nunn, Ricardo Sanchez and Dr. Amber Naresh, the Joseph Shermans, Christie Weidemann, William Johnson and Mary Garton, Eithne Field, Cory Hebert and Dr. Hui Kim, Anne Rolfes, Kristen Riegel Hook, Dr. John Seal and Erin Crowley, and Jessica Witcher.

James and Daninka Bremner, Jennifer Turner, Neil and Paula Apffel, and Mark and Emily Dodart were among the many in awe of the fabulous new home. On the sound system, “Just the Way You Look Tonight” played, an apt number to describe the lovely surroundings.