What becomes New Orleans legends most? Parties! And two renowned Orleanians, Lindy Claiborne Boggs and Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, were the inspiration for important fundraising. A third event, “Summer Cure,” made health a happening while it hailed a culinary constellation.
“Close (and Clothes) Encounters With Lindy Boggs” remembered the late congresswoman and ambassador to the Holy See, who was also a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, friend and community activist. The mid-afternoon event unfolded in the Garden District home of Renee and Stewart Peck as both a tribute to Lindy Boggs (on the day before the first anniversary of her death) and a fundraiser for Lindy’s Place, a residence for women in transition, that bears her name.
Guests, including Lindy’s journalist daughter Cokie Roberts, responded to the invitation designed by Beth Aguillard that promised participation by vocalists Germaine Bazzle, Leah Chase Kamata and Charmaine Neville; speeches by Leah Chase, Sybil Morial, Phyllis Taylor and the above Roberts; pianistic prowess by Ellis Marsalis and Amasa Miller; food by Café Reconcile, Commander’s Palace (peach cobbler) and the Praline Connection; and floral designs by Joan Morrison Tupper and Millie Stouse Fuselier. Joan’s purple orchid display recalled Lindy’s book, her “memoirs of a Southern woman.” It was titled “Washington Through a Purple Veil.”
Further features included an auction of evening wear worn by the congresswoman/ambassador (and modeled by such lovely volunteers as Tiffany Bennett Leashore); libations from The Wine Seller, Martin Wine Cellar and City Wholesale; gifts from Adler’s; and the opportunity to hobnob with some local luminaries.
Throughout the afternoon, Suzanne Stouse, a relative of the late Mrs. Boggs, was recognized for organizing the event, which she did in tandem with Lindy’s Place executive director Mary L. Smith. Said Smith when the tributes began at 3:10 p.m., “We are so proud that we have the name of Lindy. She spent so much of her life helping the poor (and those in need).” She continued calling Stouse “her left and right arm” in getting the fundraiser launched.
Further gratitude to the chairing Ms. Stouse came from Roberts, who also said her family teased her for traveling to New Orleans in the heat of the summer. On a more serious note, she talked about the redemptive aspects of Lindy’s Place and the roles that justice and humanity played in the lives of her late parents, Lindy and dad Hale Boggs. Sybil Morial iterated those sentiments, saying that Lindy championed human rights with sincerity, passion and, often, a “How are you, darling?”
Noted in the assembly were Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Lois and Jay Van Kirk, Carol Gelderman, Florette Holmes, Mary Morrison, Dr. Julie Morial and daughter Martine Cruz, Lee Roberts (the son of Cokie and Steve Roberts), Phyllis Landrieu (who related wonderful memories of Lindy), Phoebe Ferguson (a Ferguson descendant of the Plessy v. Ferguson case), Gary Bergeron, and Gene and Linda Newton, who represented her adult children, siblings Rini Morrison Marcus and Chep Morrison. Morrison family connections existed for both Hale and Lindy.
And Howard Margot, Stouse’s husband; Margot Stouse, her sister; Chris Bynum, who logged many a volunteer hour; Danielle and Corey Mitchell; auction items purchaser Lynda Woolard; Sharon Litwin; and glamorous Sheila Davlin, who’s renovating digs in the French Quarter. Attendees remembered that Lindy Boggs used to be a resident of Bourbon Street.
Additional Lindy’s Place notables included board Chairwoman Sister Marjorie Hebert, MSC, who also answers to president and CEO of Catholic Charities; Sister Clarita Bourque, MSC, who founded the residence in 1992 “to help homeless, unaccompanied women break their cycles of poverty…” and who was praised by Mary Smith for having “the vision to start Lindy’s Place” ; and Janice Landry, Sister Lillian Pawlik, Verma Scott, Linda Holmes, Tahila Barnes, Charlotte Grab, Brenda Landers, Helise Madden and daughter Annabeth Madden, and Janis Webb.
Thanks to patrons, sponsors, hosts, volunteers. Community partners were numerous, as were the memories that made Lindy’s legacy luminous.
Summer Cure Dinner
For the 13th year, supporters of Susan G. Komen for the Cure New Orleans assembled for dinner.
It’s always a special event, raising money and awareness for breast cancer — and a cure, and showcasing culinary talents near and somewhat afar. The fork be with you!
Touted as the top toques at the most recent event, which took place in La Chinoiserie of the Windsor Court Hotel, were chefs Sue Zemanick from Gauteau’s and Ivy; Ashley Christensen from Poole’s Downtown Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina; Rebecca Wilcomb from Herbsaint; Daniel Causgrove from the Grill Room, Windsor Court; and Lisa Donovan from Husk Restaurant in Nashville. In respective order, they prepared the first, second, third, fourth and fifth courses. All superb!
Joe Briand, “Summer Cure” coordinator, introduced the chefs and the accompanying wines, while Mark Romig stepped in as master of ceremonies. In between the courses, guests headed to the auction tables for the many “silent” enticements.
After dinner, Greg Reggio headed up the lively live auction that included a Theatres at Canal Place movie screening party for 50 people, jewelry (donated by Valobra), signed footballs by sports stars (the Manning family and also Deuce McAllister), travel experience (to Charleston and to Dallas), and dinner and wine pairings. Thousands of dollars were raised for the New Orleans affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which was founded in 1992 by Patricia C. “Pat” Denechaud and the late Dr. Merv Trail. Lisa W. Plunkett and Carin Evans are the respective executive director and affiliate coordinator and Henry Kothmann presides over Komen’s New Orleans board.
As she has done for years, Pat Denechaud served as an event co-chairwoman along with Kristi Post, Dottie Reese and Jordan Teich, whose husband, David Teich, is the Windsor Court’s general manager. Teamed on the event committee were Liz Bodet, Regan Forrester, Tracie Garner, Holley Haag, Joy Walker and Elizabeth Williams.
Noted as part of the “Cure” crowd were Dene Denechaud with the above Pat, Judge Kern Reese (one of the several in-attendance judges) with Dottie, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, Marian Wallis, Lee and Karen Sher, Joy Patin, David Briggs, Valerie Sholes and a host of doctors, including Alan Stolier.
Now they are targeting (and some training) for the Sat., Oct. 25, Komen Race for the Cure in City Park that will feature Rita Benson LeBlanc, Toni Naquin, Tiffany Carter and Mollie Copeland in marquee roles.
The opening reception and keynote conversation for Satchmo Summerfest occurred in the Hotel Monteleone’s Riverview Room with a sold-out crowd of 150, who savored such treats as white truffle mac and cheese, tortellini and Angus sirloin at the carving station, and for the musical menu, the playing of Yoshio Toyama and the Dixie Saints. The keynote conversation was presented by Ricky Riccardi and Scott Wenzel, co-producers of the new Mosaic Records box set, which featured Columbia and RCA Victor recordings of Louis Amstrong and the All-Stars from 1947-1958. Raves have come in for this collector’s item.
Among those assembled for the event, a prelude to the three-day Satchmo Summerfest dedicated to Armstrong’s life, legacy and produced by French Quarter Festivals Inc., were FQFI executive director Marci Schramm and husband Scott Campbell with little daughter Tallulah — their family has just increased with new baby girl Delilah; board president Ann Willis; and Councilwoman Susan Guidry, Dr. Ed and Janice Foulks (back from Venice), Ricky and Margaret Riccardi, Bruce Raeburn, Fred Kasten, Bethany and Eric Paulsen, Norm and Joanie Crosby, Scott Billington and Johnette Downing, Stephen Maitland-Lewis and Joni Berry, Leroy Jones and Katja Toivola, Dr. Connie Atkinson, Jan Ramsey, Lauren “Fleurty Girl” LeBlanc, former Councilwoman Peggy Wilson and Lindsay Southwick from lead sponsor Chevron.
Summing up the 14th festival, which included music, seminars, a Jazz Mass, second-lining, etc. at the Old U.S. Mint or nearby, one of the principals extolled the activity. “The weather was perfect” and “Everybody was smiling.” Way to go, Satchmo!