‘Keeping Our Promises’

The Daughters of Charity Foundation of New Orleans held its fourth annual gala, “Keeping Our Promises,” in the Armstrong Ballroom of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, launched by a one-hour patron party with music by Tanya Boutte. During the course of the following three-hour gala, the foundation honored Steve Worley, the former president and CEO of Children’s Hospital, with the prestigious — and beautiful — Inspired Cross Award. It is presented annually to individuals or organizations who work with Daughters of Charity Services to transform health care. Joining the honoree were spouse Patty Worley and daughter Laura Fornash.

Teamed as the event’s chaircouple were Kerry and Mary Wyatt Hines Milano, who followed in the 2014 chairing footsteps of Pierre Villere II, the Daughters of Charity Foundation of New Orleans board chairman, and spouse Margaret. Kelley Bagayoko and Tim Adams, Julie Comarda, Patricia C. “Pat” Denechaud, Tracie Haydel Griffin, Holley Haag, Crystal and Todd McDonald, Paul Pursley Jr., Lauren and Andrew Ryan, and the above Villeres figured on the 2015 committee. Almost all were noted during “Promises.”

Along with sighting chums and colleagues, the partyscope turned to the decorations. The white roses and light blue hydrangea centerpieces arranged by Federico’s Family Florist were resplendent on chic black table linens. Further table accents were votive candles. Along with elegant uplighting, a custom 180 Year Anniversary gobo served as an impressive backdrop for the evening. A slideshow played throughout the gala, showcasing photos of Daughters of Charity patients, staff and partners.

Another major attraction was the silent auction of 66 unique offerings, including artwork from notable New Orleanians, sports memorabilia and gift packages. Donors included Jones Walker LLP, Terrance Osborne, Varion Laurent, Brad Adams, Gustavo Duque and chef Edgar “Dook” Chase IV. Still more excitement was generated by the LCMC Health-sponsored raffle for an Oscar de la Renta necklace donated by the boutique MIMI. (The eponymous Mimi, who was widowed and recently remarried, is the mother of Pierre Villere II.) Robert Braley, of Walgreens Pharmacy was the lucky winner of the beautiful necklace.

While patrons hobnobbed, they enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Sheraton’s catering staff. Among the favorites were andouille sausage en croute, shrimp fritters and Cajun-dusted beef tenderloin. During the gala, more sumptuous fare emanated from the brace of “savory” buffet stations, while assorted miniature French pastries added the sweet touch.

Making their “Promises” rounds in a crowd of 300 or so were Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans President and CEO Michael G. Griffin, foundation Secretary Guy Curry, DOCSNO Vice President of Mission Integration Sister Bonnie Hoffman, Services board member Dr. John Estrada, Children’s Hospital President and CEO Mary Perrin with husband Dr. Keith Perrin, and, from Liberty Bank (one of the five Reverence Sponsors), President and CEO Alden McDonald and spouse Rhesa.

Making their dance floor rounds were dozens, who responded to the musical call of Boogie Falaya and made their night moves.

  • Home for “House”

As it has done since Hurricane Katrina and the federal flooding, the First NBC Bank and its grand lobby housed the annual gala of Neighborhood Development Foundation, which “has been educating homeowners since 1986,” helping them with their “rights, responsibilities and privileges.” Fred J. Johnson Jr. is the foundation’s CEO. Going by its initials, NDF, the organization states it is “proud to be a member of Combined Federal Campaign.” The 2015 levity, titled “Faces of Affordability,” was the bash’s 20th anniversary.

Leading off the VIPs were the event’s chairing names, state Rep. Walt Leger III and former NDF executive director Rosalind Peychaud, who were accompanied by their spouses, Danielle and Joseph, as well as First NBC Bank President Ashton Ryan Jr. Also, City Councilman-at-large Jason Williams with family members, Councilman Jared Brossett, the Brian Lawlors, Louisiana Housing Corporation director Fred Tombar, the Nick Harrises, Mizel and Rachel Scott, the Lebron Josephs, Carey Shea, Rosalind Washington, Sheryl M. Howard, Ed Marshall, master of ceremonies Norman Robinson, and scores more, many of whom, as patrons, assembled in the bank’s handsome third-floor board room.

Down in the historic and massive lobby, the main event unfolded, embellished with lovely spring decorations. They were arranged by past NDF board member and constant supporter Brenda Richard-Montgomery. Colors of bright yellow and blue cloths topped the tables, which were set with white flowers. Further accents were yellow and blue balloons on the stage and, at the party entrance, a grand-scale depiction done by Signs Now of one of the Hoffman Triangle homes. Located in Central City, Hoffman Triangle is well on its way to becoming a neighborhood, providing home ownership to first-time buyers.

A twist to the gala’s silent auction was the billing “NDF Marketplace,” where, instead of the items going to the highest bidder, “all items went to a first-come straight sale.” Items included some coveted away trips, staycations, artwork (again, the generous Terrance Osborne) and event tickets. Meanwhile, Marie’s Fleur de Lis Catering provided tasty shrimp and grits, crawfish pasta, pork roast and Caesar salad. Gina Brown provided the musical menu and interacted with the partygoers all night.

Of course, two decades was to the fore and they were recognized with confectionary delights. A huge 20th anniversary cake with the NDF statement was the ultimate treat.

Colonials

The Louisiana Colonials held their Spring Luncheon at the Southern Yacht Club, where the natural beauty of the lakefront on “a perfect spring day” was a major asset. Contributing, too, to the good time was the luncheon fare of turtle soup, a main course of shrimp-stuffed avocado and crème brulee.

Much of the discussion at the event concerned the objectives and purposes of the organization, which perpetuates the memory and spirit of the men and women who were identified with “the colonization of Louisiana before its cession to the United States of America” in 1803. Louisiana Colonials preserves authentic records of the colonists and aids and assists in the preservation of historical buildings, documents, relics, and works of art of that epoch.

Breaking bread were LC President Bonnie Cook, along with four former presidents, Amie Seba, Kathleen Morgan, Arthemise Gros and Leda Sobon, and officers Suzanne Browne, Alice Martin, Patty Millan with mom Marie Curry, and Judy Ahrens. Still others were siblings Theodore Autin and Jo Ann O’Neil from Gulport, Mississippi, and a trio of Carol(e)s, whose surnames are Schexnayder, McPherson and Gloger.

n Around and About

“All Aboard the HMS Lancaster” headed the invitation for a reception aboard “The Queen’s Frigate” extended by Commander Peter Laughlin and Houston-based British Consul Andrew Millar. Lifting a glass of cheer and enjoying the 7-9 p.m. socializing on a recent Sunday evening were Gary LaGrange, Beth Goddard, Kathy Slimp and Michael Valentino, Mark Romig and David Briggs, Shauna (Mrs. Dave) Grissett, and Eugenia and Tommy Lind, who made a conversational threesome with the ship’s Robert Strachan.

The previous evening, Pat Denechaud, who represents Canada in this area, invited guests for a reception aboard the HMCS Athabaskan, a Canadian ship and one of the three vessels deployed to help relief efforts after Katrina. Thousands of others visited these and the other four ships that were docked on the riverfront during NOLA Navy Week.