Concurrently on a Friday evening, Boys Hope Girls Hope held its “Generations of Hope” Gala at the Pavilion of Two Sisters and, downtown, folks partied their fins off at Scales & Ales at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The party tally for both events: just under 4,000 guests.

Hope Hobnobbers

A chairing force made sure that the Boys Hope Girls Hope bash would be the success that it promised. It delivered, thanks to gala Chairwomen Tina Flick (attending with husband Rick), Leanne Cvitanovich (with Tommy), Kelley Flick Good, and Louise Cragin (with Tim). Sally (Mrs. Adrian) Duplantier got the honorary chairwoman billing and, after the festive fact, raved about the event. “It was truly a great party,” she remarked with a smile.

The gala was held in memory of Sally’s late husband, Judge Adrian Duplantier, and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Flick. Hailed, too, were the historical supporters and founders. An inaugural patron party recognizing them, as well as the event sponsors, served as a prelude to the main event. It unfolded for an hour in City Park’s Parkview Terrace.

Julie Ann Connick and Charlotte Hebert co-chaired the gala’s decorations committee. Reserved sponsor tables featured handmade ceramic crowns, which, within a Mardi Gras motif, were filled with white hydrangeas and purple flowers, and placed atop purple, green and gold runners.

Turning to a contemporary focus, all of the tables featured framed “where they are now” news about BHGH graduates, who are enrolled in universities across the country. The non-profit organization helps in-need, academically able children meet their potential by providing value-centered, family-style homes and educational opportunities through college. The mini-updates placed on the tables gave party-goers an insight into the success their support creates.

As “Generations” guests arrived at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park, they were greeted by a live jazz band before proceeding beneath a white tent that was all aglow with hanging lights. Lining the sides were candles. Signage concerning the current BHGH scholars flanked the pavilion’s entrance and multiple oversize, decorative jesters popped up within.

Now for the food! Some of New Orleans’ most cherished eateries — among them, Galatoire’s, Mr. B’s Bistro, Zea’s — sated the collective appetite (and had guests returning for seconds), while Drago’s Seafood Restaurant was back again, grilling their famous charbroiled oysters on site. “A sight to behold!,” commented one avid attendee.

Properly fed, it was time to get serious about bidding. Nine raffle packages, chief of which was the Liquor Barrow (a wheelbarrow filled with top-shelf liquor and wine), enticed the crowd. Marc Hebert assumed the role of host for the six-packages in the live auction, rallying competitive sparks. The party for 30 people at Acme Oyster House even initiated a bidding “war.” They all liked dem ersters.

Mingling within the BHGH brigade were executive director Chuck Roth, board Chairman Sandy Duplantier with Suzie, Steve and Denise Finegan, Julie and Bryan Duplantier, and Mike and Lori Rodrigue. To mention a few of the socializing scores.

Scoring as entertainers were Chief Fiyo and his Mardi Gras Indians, who gave a mid-evening performance; local artist John Bukaty, whose live painting throughout the night produced an original piece that was auctioned in the “live” portion; and the band, Groovy 7, whose energetic renderings ranged from classic pop songs to current hits. Grooviness then set the stage for dancing.

Scales & Ales

One of the 10 parks or museums dedicated to Celebrating the Wonders of Nature of the not-for-profit Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas was the venue for some social wonders when approximately 3,200 guests assembled for the fifth annual Scales & Ales in support of the Aquarium’s conservation efforts and education programs. The excitement of the Aquarium and adjacent Woldenberg Park (in an adult-only setting) was a huge draw. The fin fun was sold out.

Decorations abounded with credit to the décor committee. Hand-made paper lantern jellyfish in various sizes appeared throughout the party; branches spray-painted to look like coral hung “as a long chandelier” from the VIP tent; and more branches, created with an “underwater” look and anchored with rocks in clear glass vases, served as centerpieces.

“Bites & Brews” were part of the party’s come-on. Delicious chomps from 35 restaurants (including Galatoire’s, Phil’s Grill, Red Fish Grill, Mizado Cocina, and Le Foret) and “Ales” from Abita, the exclusive beer sponsor for the event, filled the bill. Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins served tempura fried lionfish with chipotle lime slaw in the above-mentioned VIP tent. In addition, there was the event’s signature cocktail, “Shark Finn Fizz,” featuring Bayou Satsuma Rum, along with seven specialty bars, with, among others, representation from Cordina New Orleans Cocktails, The Rusty Nail, and Plum Street Snowballs and the always-popular “Snowtinis.”

Further features were numerous. The entire Aquarium, in which DJ Brice Nice spun tunes, was open all night and guests flocked to the sting-ray touch pool and the new Maya Reef exhibit. Outside, the Atlanta Showstoppers whooped it up on the main stage, along with the Sirens of New Orleans.

Noted, and connected with major sponsorships, were Qi Wiggins, Cheryl and Jerry Lohfink, Bonnie and Wesley Strong, Suzanne and Steve Dumez, and Darren Williams, who made rounds as did Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy. (His brother, Dr. Thomas “Tom” Kennedy, has recently moved to New Orleans and will be joined by family members. A pulmonary research specialist, Dr. Kennedy is now with the Tulane Medical Center.)

From the extensive Scales & Ales committee came Aimee Bonomolo with fiancé Brian Gibbs, Julie and Wynn Radford, Casey Dietz, Alyssa Fletchinger, and Matthew Sherman with Emily.

Keeping good times going was paramount with this aqueous assembly. Capping off the fun was an after-party hosted by Felipe’s Tiki Tolteca.

Around and About

On Thursday, a brace of new restaurants welcomed eager eaters. At Liberty’s Kitchen’s new location on North Broad Street, sisters-in-law Lulie McDonald and Anne Milling had lunch with a few friends. (Both have husbands, respectively Denis and King, who answered to Rex, king of Carnival, in recent years). Stopping by to say hello was Hardie McDonald, son of Lulie and Denis, and nephew of Anne and King. Hardie is the chef de cuisine/chef founder at Liberty’s Kitchen, a social enterprise that trains young people in culinary skills that can change their lives. Hardie is also a recent bridegroom, having swapped vows with Rachel LeCompte in May.

Hours later, another new venue welcomed crowds. This was the Fulton Street location of Chateau du Lac, whose first (and continuing) location, is on Metairie Road. The new spot is called Chateau du Lac Warehouse Bistro and owners Paige A. Saleun and husband Jacques, the chef, mixed easily, as did restaurant manager Jack Stahl. The occasion was the FACC-CG (French Chamber of Commerce-Gulf Coast) networking event that included, among the dozens, President Eric Belin, board Chairman Henry Battle, executive director Loretta Krasnow (and husband Gary), Jean Cranmer, Bartholomew Wander and a chatting twosome in Dito Patron and Tina Mosley. Enhancing the occasion was the presence of the new French Consul General Gregor Trumel.

View all Nell Nolan: Hopes and H20 photos here.