Mission Possible

Superstition had no role here, but benevolence did. It was the 13th annual Gala for the New Orleans Medical Mission Service and good fortune was robust. Generations Hall was the site for the night and the two-tiered partying. A patron party unfolded for an hour and then, for four hours, the gala itself was underway to benefit NOMMS, a non-profit group of volunteers that, among its endeavors, delivers medical treatment and fosters education. More than 25 doctors and 50 nurses volunteer their time for the medical mission trips, one week in length, to such countries as Ecuador and Nicaragua.

Kristie McConnell, Alice Dolese and Sarah Lilly teamed to chair the gallivanting that marqueed Nikki Reyes and Rachel Wulff as auctioneers and Dr. R. Daniel Jacob as board chairman. His wife, Suzanne, joined him and hundreds more for the 2015 Mission Possible.

During the patron party, NOMMS chaplain Monsignor Andrew Taormina gave the invocation and master of ceremonies Frederick J. Mikill II introduced board members Dr. Jacob, Dr. Thomas Kennedy, Dr. Robert Normand, David Richards, Ralph Senner, Eric Tanzberger, Dana Atchison, Holly Pritchard, and Dr. Stan Cowley Jr.

Then there were the awards. Volunteer of the Year laurels were presented by Frederick Mikill to Dan Milham and Matt O’Connor for their many volunteer activities, which included preparing medical materials for missions (there are three a year), participating in the missions, and supporting fundraising activities, and Dr. Kennedy bestowed the Outstanding Corporate Sponsor Award to Greg Baffes, Biomet’s representative.

Flags made the decorative statement, thanks to those of the U.S., Louisiana, NOMMS, and, from the countries served by NOMMS, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Kenya, Costa Rica, and Haiti. Poster-size pictures of smiling patients were testament to the organization’s work.

Features of the fundraiser were numerous and included food, lots of it and good, coordinated by Marie Hasney and Lisa Hasney of Fleur De Lis New Orleans Cuisine/The Catering Connection. Purveying as restaurants were The Besh Restaurant Group, Lakeview Harbor, Reginelli’s, Chateau du Lac, Tewelde’s, and, for dessert, Ambrosia Bakery and Swiss Confectionary.

Food-fueled, guests made their way time and again to the four silent auction tables and the more than 300 choice items, including art, jewelry, and gift certificates. The live auction highlighted a gift certificate for a one-hour ride in a WWII basic training plane; diamond jewelry; and a Rod & Reel Fishing Getaway with air fare. Trips and lodging included Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and New England, while seven nights in a Marigny cottage enticed as a “New Orleans Package.” Moderated by Casey Cadella, the Archbishop Rummel Ambassadors assisted in the new electronic check-out procedure provided by Thompson Auction Service LLC.

Within the lot of 500 attendees were Houstonians Kathryn and Elise Tanzberger, Alabamans Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Johnson, Mary Kennedy, Pam Mikill, Sharon Normand, former state Sen. Fritz Windhorst and Barbara, Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton and Yvonne Lagasse, Christie Senner, Herman and America Gacharna, Lisa Tanzberger, Karen Richards, Julie Hugel, Raymond Massett, and Ken and Edna Centola.

Ultimately, the dance floor beckoned with the songs of the eight-piece Yat Pack band. The vocals ranged from the 1950s to current hits and everyone had a favorite number.

Long Days

“From Winnfield to Washington: The Life and Career of Huey P. Long” labels the current attraction at The Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street that opened a while back with a reception. The exhibition closes Oct. 11, 2015. It “commemorates the 80th anniversary of the death of controversial Louisiana politician Huey P. Long and uncovers details about Long’s life and career beyond the most well-known anecdotes.” Attendees — the members (and their guests) at the preview — were amazed at what they beheld. More than 140 documents, maps, objects and photographs are on view from THNOC’s holdings.

Thanks for significant gifts of material went to David Zinman (The Anna Wynne Watt and Michael D. Wynne Jr. Collection), Joseph M. Mardesich (The Joseph M. Mardesich III Collection), and Rene Steigler (The Steigler Family Papers, a gift of Irma M. Steigler). Although no formal schedule was planned, Stephanie M. Mardesich spoke to those gathered for about 10 minutes, discussing the reason her family chose THNOC to house the above collection. She also presented a congressional certificate from Rep. Janice Kay Hahn of California’s 44th congressional district, the Mardesich family’s hometown, commending THNOC’s exhibition on Long.

Appropriately, exhibition sponsor Kingfish Kitchen and Cocktails provided the evening’s menu of passed hors d’oeuvres (including pulled pork sliders), buffet fare served in The Collection’s Counting House, and dessert. The restaurant, a popular, casual French Quarter spot, salutes the Huey Pierce Long era.

Relishing the “Career” components, along with the nice socializing, were THNOC board President Drew Jardine with spouse Julie, Vice President John Kallenborn, board member Hilton Bell, board member John E. Walker with Martha, the above Irma Steigler with friend Katherine de Montluzin, Penny and Al Baumer, Ann and Dick Strub, Shelby Russ with daughter Caroline, Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, William Abbott, Patricia and Ralph Cox, Susie Hoskins, Marjory Lyman, Andree K. Moss, Nannette Shapiro, Robert E. Young, and Marilyn S. Rusovich.

Also, exhibition curators John Lawrence, Amanda McFillen, and Matt Farah; Stephanie Mardesich and Deborah Ann Mardesich; and Mike and Deborah, donors of the above collection.

The show’s catalogue states “It would be difficult to identify a figure in Louisiana’s political history who combined a popular appeal and national impact more powerfully than Huey Pierce Long Jr. (1893-1935). Known as the Kingfish, Long was a protagonist in a compelling tale.”

Banquet Bonhomie

The Rotary Club of Metairie held its annual Installation Banquet at the Metairie Country Club with the above Dan Milham as master of ceremonies. Tributes included Citizen of the Year to Iftikhar Ahmad, director of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport; Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputies of the Year to Michael Rios (1st District) and Ben Jones (4th District); Rotarian of the Year award to Roy Perrin; and Fast Start award to Clifton Rhodes.

Jennifer Esler, the new wielder of the gavel, was sworn in as president by the club’s first female president, Nancy Richardson Arthur. Joey Nieto, the outgoing president, was accompanied by spouse Brooke.

Breaking bread at tables that were centered by floral arrangements of white roses and hydrangeas were Paula Milham, Skip and Nancy Weber, James and Janice Ray, Bob and Kay Rogers, Lori Ramsey and Chris Sinoway, Dr. Lindhe and Martha Guarisco, Steve and Joy Mogle, Fred and Pam Mikill, Don and Ann Burrow, Harold and Beth Buchler, Larry and Peggy Holmes, Robert and Jamie Heauser, Mettery and Mary Ann Sherry, Robert Shaw, Nancy Miller, Michael Martin, Kaleem and Anna Arshad, and Neal Adler. To mention some of the dozens who support the Rotary organizations and uphold the Object of Rotary.

During the Rotary Club of Metairie’s banquet, many eschewed the “forward” aspects of the club for a quick spell when the entertainers Get Back commanded attention.