The French Quarter Business Association held its installation and awards dinner, tapping those involved with the commerce of the Vieux Carre; Louisiana Appleseed honored “outstanding community members who have shown tremendous generosity and commitment to pro bono excellence”; and the Dinner to Benefit Research in Urology came under the aegis of the Louisiana State Health Sciences Center, the UroTigers Alumni Society and LSU Foundation.
Attendees trekked, in turn, to the Royal Sonesta Hotel, the National World War II Museum’s Stage Door Canteen and the Basin Street Station for the respective activities. Bonhomie served as a base.
Approximately 233 guests dined on fare from a handful or two of area eateries at the French Quarter Business Association’s Installation and Awards Dinner, where auction action added ever more agenda items. Bids mounted for an original Todd White painting donated by Galerie D’Art Francais, a dinner for 10 at Broussard’s (the donor) and a collection of fine champagnes donated by RCI Entertainment LA.
Installed as 2015 officers were FQBA President Robert Watters, Vice Presidents Timothy Spratt and Nancy Tusa, Secretary/Treasurer Reed Neelis, at large C.E. Adler and Zeid Ammari, and board Chairman Jeremy DeBlieux. Brittany Mulla is the executive director. Nancy Parker, Fox 8 News, was the mistress of ceremonies and Sidney D. Torres IV the special guest speaker.
From the City Council came Jason Rogers Williams, Nadine M. Ramsey, Jared C. Brossett and James Austin Gray, while Bill Nungesser made rounds as past Plaquemines Parish president.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of the Fleur-de-Lis and the Ambassador awards. The first befell Bob Simms, who was accompanied by his wife, Norma, as he was hailed for his involvement with the 8th District New Orleans Police Department in order to improve public safety in the Quarter. The Ambassador Award tapped a member organization that furthers, and goes above and beyond, the goals of the association. Take a bow, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, whose Zeid Ammari accepted the award on behalf of the company.
The Core of the Matter
At the Good Apple Gala, laurels were won by Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer LLC, with Mike Ecuyer picking up the award; Jennifer Barriere and Lee Reid, of Adams and Reese LLP; Andrew Graeve and Kyle Wallace, of Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver LLC; and Amy Duncan, of the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. Guests assembled first for a patron party and then the two-hour gala, all at the National World War II Museum’s Stage Door Canteen. The catering was by the American Sector restaurant and the music, the jazzy excitement of Dr. Michael White.
This was the sixth anniversary of the event that honors “Good Apples,” attorneys at law and law firms that donate hundreds of pro bono hours to advance the mission of Louisiana Appleseed. It recruits professionals to donate their time to “solve problems at their root cause” and has as its goal the advancement of social justice “by effecting change at the policy, or systemic, level.” Phillip A. Wittmann heads up the board as president and Charles S. Weems III, Irving J. Warshauer, Allison Berger Tiller, Martin A. Stern, Mark H. Samuels, Betsy Regnell, Drew Ranier, Carlos Mickan, David A. Marcello, William H. Hines, C. Caroline Fayard (past board president and sponsor), Celeste Coco-Ewing, Linda Perez Clark and Elwood F. Cahill Jr. answer to board members.
They made rounds, as did Ben Tiller, sponsors Kathleen and Michael Schott, sponsor the Helis Foundation (represented by Jessie Schott Haynes and husband Beau), legal fellow Jeannine Sullivan with husband Saun, Jan Mickan, Lynda Warshauer, Louisiana Appleseed Executive Director Christy Kane, and program Director Tara Richard with husband Keith Hinson.
Adding to the accolades were a slew of characteristic features. The Good Apple Awards were custom designed and hand crafted by James Vella, of Vella Vetro Art Glass; the invitation and signage were done by Carter Jahncke Perrilliat, of MOCA Graphics; Drew Ranier, of the Ranier Law Firm, donated the vinous pleasures for the Rare Wine Raffle (which had Phil Wittmann as the lucky raffle winner); and Mark Samuels generously gave a door prize of a Basin Street (Records) CD collection.
In all of this good will, there were the actual just desserts. The party favors were individually wrapped “apple” cookies by JCB Creations.
Gay and Chris Winters and Gigi and Richard Vanlangendonck teamed to chair the Dinner to Benefit Research in Urology at the Basin Street Station. The party was ultimately situated at the top level of the building that, on its ground level, serves as a tourist information center, a museum and a gift shop. The party venue’s dining room had stupendous views of the Vieux Carre and the city. Dark linens topped the tables that were set with silverware, programs and gifts, while numerous chandeliers added to the ambiance with warm yellow lighting. The floral touches came from white lily and white branch arrangements placed in tall glass vases.
Passed hors d’oeuvres were followed by the three-course served dinner of classic turtle soup, filet mignon and a dark chocolate tart with sea salt caramel ice cream by Ralph Brennan Catering. The music was a movable feast. Guests first turned an attentive ear to the Pfister Sisters, who played downstairs for the cocktails and appetizers, and then upstairs in the dining room to the Joe Torregano Trio.
Fun banter and a lively auction of sports goodies, restaurant meals, hotel stays and jewelry were further attractions. When it was time for the speeches and tributes: Dr. Harold A. “Tony” Fuselier Jr. (with Ann) stepped forward for the welcoming words and thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Robert Alexander, Dr. Sam Harrison, the above Dr. and Mrs. Vanlangendonck, Friend & Co., Adler’s, Dr. and Mrs. James J. Leonard, and Kathleen Boh. After he was introduced, the above Dr. Chris Winters announced the honorees, the aforementioned Drs. Alexander, Harrison and Leonard, and discussed the purpose of UroTigers. It funds resident original research and presentations.
Among those relishing the evening’s many aspects were Mr. Camille and Jackie Cutrone, Michael and Kalen Falba, and Drs. Valentine Earhart with Diana, Christopher Roth with Katy, Ryan Kirlin, Aaron and Karen Martin, Joseph and Karen Ortenberg, Steve Lacour with Sarah, Clay and Bonnie Boyd, Scott Delacroix, Lester Pratts with Samantha, and Eric Laborde with Betsy. Their souvenir for the evening was a beautifully wrapped, purple embossed luggage tag from Adler’s. Travels, anyone?