Inspired by the Metairie Park Country Day School’s edible garden, the most recent City Nights fundraiser was “A Farm to Table Feast” featuring chefs David Slater of Emeril’s Restaurant (which just celebrated 25 years), Alon Shaya of Shaya, and Mark Uddo of Country Day. More table tributes came during the 139th annual Banquet of the Ancient Order of Hibernians with Aidan Gill as the honoree, and the gala Centennial Celebration Dinner of the Stuart Clan. The prandial pleasures unfolded, in turn, at Country Day, the Hilton Riverside, and the Orleans Club.
With words of Shakespeare in the invitation, “Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast,” Country Day guests proceeded to combine conviviality and good eating during an on-campus evening that started with a patron party with appetizers by David McCelvey of Frankie & Johnny’s, Patti Constantin of Constantin Catering, Byblos and Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak. The main partying started an hour later and dinner was served, conventionally, at 8. More excitement was generated by the open bar by Sazerac, an online auction, chances to win an exquisite necklace donated by Valobra Jewelry and Antiques, music by blues guitarist Marc Stone, and “one of New Orleans’ best supergroups,” The New Orleans Suspects featuring “Mean” Willie Green and Reggie Scanlan. “Saturday night garden party” was the suggested attire and the beneficiary, the Country Day Parents’ Association. The in-attendance Dede Redfearn is the president, succeeding Ashley Bright.
Savoring the Country Day Edible Garden outing and its gustatory perks were event Co-Chairwomen Diane Franco and Hannah Kohlman with husbands Alan and Neil, and additional chairing forces in Reecee Lanier (patron party) and Charlie, Sharon Rivas (auction), Harry Hardin (music), Jacquie Hood (decorations) and Lilach Taylor (online). More notables within the “Feast” flock of 400 were head of school Carolyn Chandler, Dathel and John Georges, Brian and Lisa Katz, Virginia Weinmann, Evelyn and Pete Kissel, John and Elizabeth Schwing, Stephanie Stokes and Dan Shea, Kim and John Rogers, Eric and Gigi Linquest and scores more. Thanks galore targeted the contributing Veterans Ford, Sucre, French Truck, Event Rental, Maurice’s, Michael’s Catering, Gracious Bakery, and Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company.
The seating was family-style with guests taking a place card and sitting where they chose. The décor featured white table cloths with butcher paper accents, white flowers of various types, vintage china, and “festoon” lights. Signs around said “Glad you are here.” Everyone was.
St. Patrick’s Day Banquet
The Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Riverside Hotel was the venue for the hobnobbing of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, which commenced formalities with an invocation by the Rev. Patrick Collum and patriotic tributes. The Irish National Anthem and the Star-Spangled Banner were sung by Kathleen Kingsmill Olsen accompanied by the Marine Forces Reserve Band, which also entertained guests during the cocktail hour. Louisiana State AOH President Joseph Casler made welcoming remarks, as did Honorary Irish Consul for the State of Louisiana, Judge James F. “Jim” McKay, national AOH vice president, who was accompanied by his wife, Marie. He wished everyone Happy St. Patrick’s Day and introduced honored guest Mary Lou McDonald, who serves in the Irish Dail (Parliament) representing Dublin and is vice president of Sein Fein Party. Judge Dennis Waldron, joined by spouse Pam, stepped forward as master of ceremonies.
Breaking bread and enjoying the St. Paddy bonhomie were James and Yvonne LaFleur Walsh with son William — the Walshes were the recent parents of the bride when radiant Elizabeth Louisiana Walsh swapped vows at St. Patrick’s Church with Dennis Groome Lambert; Dr. Miljana and Ivan Mandich; John Fitzmorris Jr. with Kay; John Fitzmorris III, president of the Philip Hannan Division of AOH; and members of the Mickey Landry, John Van Vrancken, and Matt Ahearn clans. The latter, Matt, who was joined by spouse Alba, is the director of the Irish Cultural Museum in the Vieux Carre.
Representing the AOH Tangipahoa Division was Judge James Kuhn with Cheryl. Others were Richard and Judy Burke, Ronnie and Kay Burke, Ladies AOH President Liz Rafferty, Pat and Ione Powers, the Art Kingsmill family, and Kevin McKay. For starters.
They were seated at tables decorated with Gerber daisies to enjoy the banquet’s fare of Leitrim salad, maple-glazed Mullingar pork loin and Irish chocolate molten lava cake. Further features were performances by the Muggivan School of Irish Dance, and music during dinner and afterward, for dancing, by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra. Monsignor Frank Giroir of St. Anselm in Madisonville gave the benediction.
Always a highlight of the event, the laureling of the Hibernian of the Year draws applause galore. Casey Gill, who flew in from London to honor her dad, introduced him. Mom Kathleen Gill was also in attendance. The Dublin-born Aidan Gill, a successful businessman with several eponymous men’s stores in the city, has been active in the Irish community in the Crescent City. He was heaped with congratulations.
A Happy One Hundred
The second oldest literary club in the New Orleans area that has been in continuous existence, the Stuart Clan, is celebrating its centennial year and to launch the proceedings, members held a celebration dinner at the Orleans Club. It was founded by Judith Hyams Douglas and named in honor of author Ruth McEnery Stuart. Programs are arts-educational.
Headliners were Stuart Clan President Christina Fay with husband John, Centennial Chairwoman Cindy Woessner (a former president) with Dr. Billy, and dinner Chairwoman Mary Myrick Langlois, the birthday girl. During cocktails, John Rankin provided pleasant background music. Additional features were the red roses, heather and mixed green table decorations by Susan (Mrs. Richard J.) Kartzke and Sara (Mrs. W. Borden) Wallace; the commemorative pin designed by member India (Mrs. John N. IV) Stewart; and the birthday cake by Maurice’s French Bakery, which incorporated the pin’s logo.
Making 100 their tribute were immediate past President Adrienne McFaul with Louis; past Presidents June (Mrs. David W.) Aiken, Joan (Mrs. W. Mente) Benjamin, Wendy Hills with John, and Libby Adams with Mark. They in turn mingled with Clan cohorts Joella (Mrs. James M. III) Burlingame, Keith Derbes and Dr. Stephen, Cindy (Mrs. Stanley E. Jr.) Ellington, Sallee and Thomas Benjamin, Pamm and Seph Dupuy, Cinci and Eddie Geoghegan, Linda and Ben Guider, Libba and the Rev. Henry McEnery, Ginger (Mrs. David) Olson, Karen and Frank Profumo, Elizabeth and Emile Wagner. To name a few.
Some conversation concerned the retrospective exhibit using the Clan’s archives that the Tulane Library Special Collection will have in the fall to be chaired by Susan Kartzke. Another chairwoman, Libby Adams, will head the committee to select the recipient of the Centennial Literary Award. All within the framework of SC’s 100 — and counting — years.
Around and About
A gala luncheon took place in Gallier Hall on Tuesday for the International Association of Francophone (French-speaking) Mayors. As they arrived, the mayors and their parties were welcomed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Tom Cochran of the U.S. Department of State. After lunch (and the very tasty Fleur de Lis braised short ribs), select individuals assembled for addresses by Mayor of Paris/Association President Anne Hidalgo and by Quebec City Mayor/Association Vice President Regis Labeaume. A full schedule of activity then awaited.
Later that day, Peggy (Mrs. John P. “Jack”) Laborde was hailed as the Junior League’s Sustainer of the Year at a tea in the home of 2008 honoree Susan Read Johnson. Accolades for Peggy were myriad, as were birthday wishes to the in-attendance Jack.