Three events made youngsters the festive focus. With Superior Energy Services as the Presenting Sponsor, Stuart Hall School for Boys staged “Speakeasy Knight,” its 31st annual auction, at the Lakefront Airport Terminal, while concurrently, Jewish Children’s Regional Service held its gala, “Jewish Roots of Music,” at the Hyatt Regency. Five days later, KIPP New Orleans Schools Gala was to the fore at the Hilton Riverside with “Power to Lead.”

Speakeasy, Bid Loud

With patrons answering to “The Big Cheese,” “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Gangsters and Flappers,” and a décor that touted Roaring Twenties glamour, Stuart Hall’s retro revelry promised, and delivered, a good time. CHL Linens was credited for the design of the bash, starting with the patron party’s table decorations of crystal and feather centerpieces. Johnny Lopez, of Perfect Presentations, added elegant rose and hydrangea floral arrangements to the ambiance.

Top patrons were treated to a seated dinner catered by chefs Brian Larson, of Clancy’s, David Slater, of Emeril’s, and Chris Lynch ,of Café Atchafalaya. Messina’s, which is located in the Lakefront Airport Terminal, did the purveying for auction guests.

The auction itself was two-tiered: silent and live. In the former were 138 “silent” packages, including a dedicated art and jewelry board, along with 50 raffle items. For the oral action, there were trips to covet, such as jaunts to Chicago with a round of golf; Los Angeles with tickets to the Ellen DeGeneres Show; Snowmass, Colorado; and Destin, Florida. Jewelry, too, as well as a “Trifecta Dinner” with the above chefs at the home of Dennis and Jennifer Lauscha and donated by the Lauschas, Movers & Shakers Bartenders, and the school’s PK4 classes.

Headliners included The Big Cheese patrons Mr. and Mrs. Kevin R. Avin — she’s Tootie and he’s the headmaster — Karen and Peter DeBlieux, Mr. and Mrs. Elie Khoury, and Drs. Trey Sands and Carin Sanchez; Auction Chairwomen Ashley Nolan Maguire, Kristin Shannon and Cate Cummins Stag (with husband Michael); and Patron Party Chairwomen Mary Larson and Mandy Romig with the above chef Brian and Mandy’s husband, Clint Romig. Others lined up as chairing forces were Jo Ann Friedrichs, Kimberly Rooney, Suzanne Phelps, Penny Shannon, Jane Bensel, Brady Cunningham, Elizabeth Ehrensing, Lori Frischhertz, Shawn Haddad, Michelle Lyon, Katherine Sauska and Lynda Thibodaux.

The committee of 73 was AW-some, ranging from Cherie Albro to Lynn Wessel.

Others relishing the Terminal/Twenties tout were SH board President Dr. Roland Waguespack III and Jessica, the Eric Skrmettas, the John Van Vranckens, Mike Dowling, Michael and Dr. Renee Hulefeld, and Mr. and Mrs. Andre Mouledoux.

Within the framework of “Speakeasy Knight,” another voice resonated. That was the vocalism of Cristina Perez, who with her band, delivered sultry, jazzy sounds for the night-trippers.

Jewish Roots of Music

Tracing its origins back to 1855, the Jewish Children’s Regional Service “provides need-based scholarships to Jewish youth in the form of college aid, Jewish summer camp grants, and assistance to children with special needs.” Last year, JCRS reached more than 1,500 youths across seven mid-South states.

Additional numbers occurred at the recent gala when 475-plus patrons enjoyed a cocktail reception, a seated dinner and a stupendous musical program. The evening honored Elias and Beverly Klein, the Cahn family (and James and Marie Cahn and Richard and Vivian Cahn), the Woldenberg and the Goldring foundations (and Alan and Diane Goldring Franco and Jeffrey and Walton Goldring), and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Centerpieces were designed by JCRS officer Jim Pfeifer of Little Rock, Arkansas, and featured Jewish-themed record albums, such as “There is Nothing Like a Lox,” by Allen Sherman.

Showtime was eagerly awaited. It was produced and directed from the piano by Harry Mayronne, who was accompanied by Mark Brooks on bass, John Reeks on reeds and immediate past JCRS President Bruce Miller on drums. Vocalists included Chris Wecklein, Tory May, and Mary Viguiera. Hank Greenwald, whose grandparents were raised in the former Jewish Orphan’s Home (which became JCRS in the 1940s), narrated, and Bruce Katz, WVUE meteorologist and former JCRS college aid recipient, emceed.

Jon Broder wrote the script of the musical program that brought to life a “rehearsal” featuring numbers by famous Jewish artists and composers and made famous by Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler and Allen Sherman. Applause was thunderous.

Audience luminaries (in addition to the honorees) included JCRS President Leon Rittenberg III with Heather, incoming President Marc Beerman with Angela, and honorary officer Sara Stone with son Harvey, daughter Carol and Carol’s husband Patrick McNamara.

Also, and some were in from away, Tracey and Mike Dodd, Amy Gainsburgh Haspel and John, Sandy and Sarah Cohen, Don and Ann Meltzer, Neil and Hannah Kohlman, Leah and Neil Elenzweig, David and Lisa Gurievsky, Dr. Gerald and Joan Berenson, Charles and Natalie Cohen, Janice and Louis Stern, Ken Klein and Beth Hershberg, Keith and Stephanie Adler, Brian and Lisa Katz, Sibyl White and a host of friends, and JCRS executive director Ned Goldberg with Wendy.

“What a beautiful evening,” said the above Vivian Cahn after the festive fact when song and spirit fused within an anniversary celebration of 160 years.

A 10th Tout

KIPP New Orleans Gala at the Hilton hailed a decade at its “Power to Lead” fundraiser, which had three purposes: to recognize and celebrate 10 years of KIPP leadership; educate the community about the schools and the students’ plans to attend college — “We are expecting 90 percent to attend a four-year college in the fall,” said a KIPP spokesperson; and to recognize the faculty and staff of at least five years.

Ambrose Garden incorporated a suggestion of the school colors, as well as those of the invitation, in the centerpieces of pale orange roses and hydrangeas. Prandial chromatics were many, starting with a salad of Bibb lettuce, tomatoes, blue cheese and pepper jelly vinaigrette. Subsequent courses were the braised baby short rib blade and a dessert of flourless chocolate cake with a piece of candy that read “KIPP New Orleans Schools.”

Presenters included emcees/KIPP students Lance Pike and Brandi Sylve, KIPP NOS executive director Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, and KIPP co-founders Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg for the keynote address and how KIPP New Orleans is one of the most successful charter school organizations in the city.

KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth was featured along with senior student Ronald Henderson and the music makers. Two school bands played during dinner and the evening concluded with a performance by the Alumni Band, all directed by Kelvin Harrison. At 9:30 p.m., during a joyous musical moment, gala-goers were waving white napkins, second-line style.

Mastheading the listing of sponsors were Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Rosenthal, along with the hosting Hilton and Hammond’s Transportation. Further significant names — and attendees — were KIPP NOS board members and their spouses, such as Florencia Polite with Kenneth, Gwathmey Gomila with Fritz, and Steve Usdin with Melanee. Also, Jodi and Peter Aamodt, Mary Kay and Gray Parker with daughter Elizabeth, Sheila (Mrs. Britton) Sanderford with daughter Shelby, Ruth and Larry Kullman with KIPP teacher/son Freddy, Caroline Calhoun, Stephen and Nancy Hales, Stephanie and Joe Bruno, Judy and Allain Andry, Becky and Simon Finger, Margaret Beer, Jim Mounger, Susan Hess, Ben and Elise Allen, and Councilwoman Stacy Head with friend Courtney Murphy.

One of the most meaningful statements came from the above KIPP Renaissance High School senior and former KIPP Believe College Prep student, Ronald Henderson, who acknowledged the love and support he got from his KIPP family. They “believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Around and About with the Younger Set

Songs were in the air as Amy Alvarez and Jefferson Turner performed “Let’s Get Away from It All,” a musical road trip at Mid-City Theatre.

After the audience applauded that duo, the focus of attention turned to the daughter of Amy and husband Stuart Lob, Maggie Lob, who was seated on the front row. It was her seventh birthday and the audience sang a rousing “Happy Birthday” to her.

The following day, Fête Française was the bannering of Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans for its annual free-admission street fair. “La Beauté est Partout (Beauty is Everywhere)” was the 2015 title.

Among the hundreds noted were Nathalie Gomes Adams (a can-can dancer) and husband Craig Adams and their two little ones; Jamie Coleman with daughter Jane Owen; Aurelie Champvert; Margie and Dick Roniger; Isabel (Mrs. Carlos Miguel) Prieto with little son Carlos; and spouses Jacqueline de Lerno and Arnaud Dieudonne and youngsters Trevor and Tess, who’ve recently moved to the Crescent City — home town for Jacqueline — from Paris.