Beauty and the Feasts

Blooms with a View

“One of the most gorgeous events in the city” was resounded at the annual Magic in the Moonlight. Even busy chef John Folse, of Revolutionary Catering, which fed the French-themed fete, stopped to imbibe the atmosphere, casting his gaze over the four long tables placed in the main axis of City Park’s Botanical Garden. There, and in celebration of New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, chef Folse recreated the 1671 banquet given by Prince de Conde in honor of King Louis XIV at Chateau de Chantilly in Chantilly, France. Folse’s four-course, al fresco dinner was presented in honor of Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, who attended the prince’s dinner as a boy.

Headlining Magic in the Moonlight, which was presented by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust (represented by Vincent Giardina, joined by wife Donna), were event Chairwomen Margo DuBos (with Clancy) and Juli Miller Hart (with her mother, Jerri Cullinan), as well as New Orleans Botanical Garden Director Paul Soniat. Richard CPA’s, LLC; Susan and Jimmy Gundlach; and IberiaBank were the sponsoring names in the Magnolia category.

Muffin Balart (joined by Luis) presides over the New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation Board of Trustees with David Waller (with Barbara) as immediate past president. In addition to Paul Soniat, City Park mastheaders are CEO Robert Becker, as well as Steve Pettus, Leigh Thorpe, Casie Duplechain, and Genevieve Trimble (emerita).

Around and about were the Gundlachs, Tiffa Boutte, Buzzy and Joey Brown, a Burkart threesome in Lynn and Woody and Gerry, Michael and Basi Carbine, Sweet and Ben Dupuy, David and Catherine Edwards, Sybil and Blair Favrot, Nan and Britt Galloway, Carey Bond and Henry Lambert, Dathel and John Georges, Dana and Steve Hansel, Kaylea and Hunter Hill, Amy and Tom Mabon (IberiaBank), Cleland and Claudia Powell, Debbie and Rick Rees, Dessa and David Giffin, Catherine Tremaine, and Cristina Wysocki and Maury Herman.

And, Anne Abbott, Anne and Luis Banos, Edgar and Alva Chase, Hunter and Meg Charbonnet, Laura and Philip Claverie, Marla Donovan, Rene Fransen and Eddie Bonin, Natalie Finnegan with Kelly Cusimano, Ruthie and Louis Frierson, Priscilla and John Lawrence, Mary Ellen Miller and Clifford, Beverly and Robert Matheney, Meredith Maxwell with Stephen Morel, Christopher and Elizabeth Morgan, Diane and Andy Plauche, Edmund and Anne Redd, Rebecca Schultz with Dan Lester, Laura Shields with Sonny and countless others, such as Ashley Bright and Sarah Young, with Edgar and George, who chaired the beautiful bash in 2016.

This year, an added fete, billed Moonlighters’ Magic, amassed the under-45 set. For that Porter Lyons LLC and Creole Cuisine were the presenting and restaurant sponsors.

Both parties hosted cocktails in the Arrival Garden and the evening’s focal point, the conservatory tent. Accents were uplighting in jewel tones, red sateen “kissing couches,” cocktail rounds topped with shimmering crystal votives and white roses (Perfect Presentations), and, for the dinner on the axis, florals donated by Dunn and Sonnier and arranged by the volunteers of the Botanical Garden Study Club, chaired by Melinda Taylor. White lights sparkled throughout the majestic oak trees with a white globe, a “full moon,” hung about the center of the axis. More credit targeted Carla Adams Events.

Then there were look-alikes of Philippe II, the Duke of Orleans and his bride Francoise Marie de Bourbon, who hosted the Lizzy LeBlanc-chaired auction of seven choice items with auctioneer Meg Farris. Strolling musicians (such as Raphael Bass) played chamber music throughout the gala. For the younger set — Ashley Porter, Frannie Lupo, Will DuBos, Cat Bloemer, Olivia Carasella, Taylor Spectorsky, Tupper Allen, Molly Phayer — dancing was the later lure and they boogied into the “oui” hours.

A Tricentennial Tout

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, the Very Rev. Philip G. Landry and the Board of Directors of The Catholic Cultural Heritage Center extended an invitation for the exhibit opening of “The Church in the Crescent: Three Hundred Years of Catholicism in New Orleans” at a black-tie event in the Old Ursuline Convent Museum. Gordon and Ann Stevens (New Orleans Steamboat Natchez), Mr. and Mrs. Tom Benson, Phyllis (Mrs. Patrick) Taylor, a Friend of Young Catholic Professionals, Michael Valentino, Mr. and Mrs. John Becker, and Dr. and Mrs. Edward Foulks were the event sponsors. Janice Foulks and Kit Carriere Stumm were respectively honored during the Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Alumnae Weekend as the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and Alumna of the Year award recipients.

Ambrose Garden and Johnson Tropicals embellished the premises with flowers and a dozen restaurants purveyed. The stunning grounds of the convent accommodated the many attendees, whose ranks included the above Stevenses, retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes, the Most Rev. Fernand J. Cheri, OFM, Barbara Turner Windhorst, Sister Marjorie Hebert, MSC, Greg and Ann Hoffman, John and Erin Bolles, Cory and Molly Howat, Dickie Brennan, Price and Christine LeBlanc, Gerry Schoen, Mark and Sharon Rodi, Jane Nalty, Monsignor Frank Giroir, and the Revs. Rodney Bourg, Colm Cahill and Travis Clark. From the Read family came Hope and Mike Read, Helen (Mrs. Timothy) Young, and Susan and Doug Johnson. While socializing, they perused the exhibit curated by Emilie Gagnet Leumas that relates the story of the St. Louis Church from its beginnings as a small wooden church to the present-day edifice, St. Louis Cathedral, the seat of the local Catholic Church and a symbol of New Orleans.

Ancient Order of the Hibernians Presidents’ Dinner

Held at the Intercontinental Hotel, the testimonial dinner honored the National Ancient Order of Hibernians President Judge Jim McKay (with Marie) and the National Ladies AOH President Patricia O’Connell from Illinois. They entered the banquet hall on a float, escorted by the De La Salle Marching Band, while the judge’s six McKay grandchildren, Austin, Lily, Zoe, Vivienne, Cecelia and Fionn, threw beads.

More features were the emceeing of retired Judge Dennis Waldron, music by Tim Laughlin’s New Orleans All-Stars, the piping of Kevin Gilheany, the invocation by Archbishop of Mobile Thomas J. Rodi (AOH National chaplain), centerpieces by Lance Uhde, of Art in Flowers, Sarah Jane McMahon’s singing of the Irish and U.S. national anthems, and the benediction by AOH Deputy Chaplain the Rev. Michael Healy, from San Francisco. AOH National Vice President Daniel O’Connell, from Ohio, praised Judge McKay’s leadership.

Special dignitaries were the Irish Ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Mulhall (with Greta), who presented the Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award to Secretary General for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Ireland Niail Burgess (with Marie), and consular corps members.

Among those noted, several with AOH titles, were Carol Sheyer and Ron, Judge James Kuhn and Cheryl, B.J. Eckholdt and Joan, Ellen McGlinchey and daughters, Michael Giambelluca, and, all McKays, James IV, Michael and Liz, and Laurie and Colleen. Also, Fred and Amanda Herman, Mickey Landry, the Bart Kellys, Dick and Judy Burke, Ronnie and Kay Burke, Kay and John Fitzmorris, Ken and Jane Blanchard, M’Liss and Nelson Schexnayder, Pam and Paul Falter, and Kevin and Laurie McKay.