The Fêtes Be With You
The Proof was in the “Puttin’’’
Brother Martin High School turned back the pages of glam time for its annual gala, Celebration of the Crest, billing it “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Presented by Regions Bank and staged at the New Orleans Marriott, it took over two huge areas to accommodate all the festive flappers and their fellas. Patrons trod a red carpet with Broadway-style light bulbs to mingle in the hotel’s Preservation Hall and tap a toe to the music of the Sam Colgate Jazz Trio and then moved to the Grand Ballroom.
Decorations — with credit to Cara Velez (wife of Dale Velez, an alum, as are a number of the following) — enhanced the “Ritz” revelry right away, thanks to the arrangements of plumes at the door of each hall. In the Grand Ballroom, the table centerpieces consisted of black top hats with glitter gold bands that were placed atop lighted, clear cylinders with rhinestones at the base. Red carnations and red and black plumes were further table accents. On the stage, there were two French Quarter-type columns and more carnations and plumes. The school’s crest appeared on the stage’s backdrop and in the form of an ice sculpture.
During the lively levity, the 700-plus crowd called on Lady Luck for the raffles and bid on 196 silent auction items and 15 “live” ones with auctioneer Craig Frosch (with wife Jane Ann). Purchasers included Erin and Joe Caruso, Norma and Mike Kimble, Christine and Milton Dureau, Nicole and Chris Laiche, Cindy and Keith Gillies, Bonnie and Mike Pittman, Jennifer and Greg Phillips, Michael Thiery, and Michael Meeks. All the while, everyone relished chef Thorsten Leighty’s cuisine.
Headliners were Chaircouple Missy and Mark Hildretch; Co-Chaircouples Ami and Charles Martinez, Renee and Allen Boudreaux and Kim and Jamie Munoz (all event) and Jodi and P. Lindsey Williams (patron party); and, from Brother Martin, executive Vice President Greg Rando with spouse Bonnie, principal Ryan Gallagher with Kristen, Scott Corrente with Mia, Kenneth Spellman, Janel Quitzau with Peter, Carlos Bogran III with Leigh Ann, Rhen de Lanzac with Kraig, Nick Lagttuta with Marian, Deborah Broussard with Mike, Gabrielle Macaluso with Anthony, Megan Siebenkittel, and Jessica Palazzo with Roddy. Also, Cara and Dale Velez, Craig and Arlene Tafaro, Chuck and Karen Stall and The Benchwarmers, who got the “Ritz” revelers to their feet. Dancing then commanded the bash that rated a host of raves.
In 1946, The Studs Club was formed, recognizing a shortened term for “students.” Currently, the membership of about 50 boasts professionals, who with spouses and guests enjoy getting together, especially at the annual Hall of Fame and Scholarship Award Celebration. The 2017 site for the “social, pleasure and civic club,” was The Crystal Palace.
Guests included Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Malone, Dr. and Mrs. Walter Harris, Sarah Moody Thomas, Warren and Gail McKenna, Paul and Donna Mitchell, Calhoun and Gloria Moultrie, James M. Singleton and Naomi Casteel, Russell and Jean Vappie, Byron and Debra Clark, Russell and Joseline Frank, Stan and Lynne McDaniel, Avive and Denise Reid, Keith and Stephanie Carter, and Mercedes and Esther Pepp.
The program principals, all Studs, were President Raymond C. Brown, James C. Smith, Joseph L. Patin Jr. and Michael B. Bruno. Special recognition went to lawyer/Deacon John M. Blanchard, and, posthumously, Joseph W. Davis, the Hall of Fame inductees. In addition to club president Brown, the officers are Reginald A. Thomas, Meredith W. Johnson, Nelson Alexander, Dwayne K. Pierce, Robert R. Cannon, Kevin Berger and Fred R. Roberts.
Some of the features of the festive evening were the seasonal decorations (described as “gorgeous”), an extensive buffet, and music by BRW and Ms. “T.” For dancing, everybody enjoyed the electric slide, but the favorites were “Midnight Train to Georgia” for the members and “Proud Mary” for their wives.
Shake, Rattle and Revel
Celebrating its 1957 origin, WYES turned back the clock to rock. Held at the WYES Paulette and Frank Stewart Innovation Center for Educational Media, “WYES Shake, Rattle & Roll” started with a patron party, “Viva La WYES,” in the Collins C. Diboll Pavilion, followed by the main event, a 50s-themed sock hop in the Charlie and Janette Kornman Performance Studio, and a Late Night Entry. To judge costumes, celebrity performers Bryan Batt, Becky Allen and Marshall Harris huddled. Winners were Faith Peperone, Kelly Hasney, and Cathie and Alan Weinstein. For the live auction, Chuck Mutz got the “going” gone.
Simone Crouere and Kim Hasney chaired the fun that had Simone and husband Jeff Crouere as top category “All Shook Up” donors, along with McCall Fund-Jonathan McCall and Pat and Henry Shane. Two special singing moments occurred during the patron party: the Big Easy Boys serenaded Paulette Stewart and also sang “Happy Birthday” to Kim Hasney (a Blueberry Hill sponsor with husband Kelly).
They were the movers and shakers, along with WYES President and CEO Allan Pizzato, board Chairman Cleland Powell, Howard Thompson, David Perlis, Barbara Alleman, Penny and Al Baumer (owners of the pink Cadillac used for photos), Patricia and Rick Kirschman, Carmen Waring, Amy Landry, Bonnie and John Boyd, and Michel and Kevin Boudreaux, who teamed with Liz Bordelon to provide the food. Toulouse Gourmet purveyed for the patrons and eleven other generous eateries for Sock Hop. More gratitude targeted Tom Mathis of Symmetry Jewelers and Designers, who created the ring donated by Richard Mathis that was raffled and won by Dianne and Barry Breaux.
Of course, music got its own mention and momentum. Margarita Warren entertained the patrons and DJ by Jim Tapley was tapped for Sock Hop. Bill Haley & His Comets would have approved with gusto.
To benefit A’s & Aces, which provides academic assistance, life skills and tennis to New Orleans public school children, party planners organized “Welcome to State!” and lined up three houses on that Uptown street as the venues. Pam Cooper (with Mitch), Kathleen Waring (with Ben) and Barbara Fitz-Hugh (a top Match Level sponsor with husband Clark) were the individual hosts in their homes. “Great food, wine and community” were offered at the locations, as were enticing auction items. The specialty drink, “The Ace,” was by Neal Bodenheimer of Cure.
Acing the ado along with the above were United States Tennis Association Southern President/master of ceremonies Mike McNulty, sponsor rep Steve Rueb (Dorsey & Company), USTA Southern NJTL Essay Contest winner William Bostick, Southern Championship Louisiana representative player Teah Johnson, and from A’s & Aces, board President Anna Monhartova, executive director David Schumacher, Cindy Hart, Nicholas Crockens (Player of the Year), Elijah Lopez, Jordan Mitchell, and Eadan Waters. For them and the many attendees, tennis was the winner.