• Pearls of Pride and Promise

In the Mary and William McCaffrey Ballroom of Xavier University, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter, held its 11th annual cotillion. It was titled “Pearls of Pride and Promise.”

Launching the levity were mistress of ceremonies Charlene Larche-Mason, along with chapter President Kathy Cobette Saloy, event Chairwoman Brenda Brock Williams and Co-Chairwomen Allison Lee and Brittany Reed. Dwight Fitch was the pianist, Kim De Large sang, and Christy Lagarde-Spears and LaShanda Prevost choreographed.

Gracing the cotillion were Miss Pearl Bailey Morgan Perkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Edward Perkins, and escorted by Mr. Marcus Andrew Suttleff, son of Malcolm Anthony Suttleff and Lisa Margaret Suttleff; Miss Pride Jourdan Jo’Lan Rogers, whose mother is Tracie M. Ellsworth and escorted by Christopher Saleem Wilson, son of Saleem Wilson and Tamika Points-Hampton; and Miss Promise Candace Nia Smith, daughter of Clinton T. Smith Jr. and Kelly D. Smith, and escorted by Landon Eric Tillery, son of Lionel E. Tillery and Tasha L. Tillery.

Additionally, there were six debutantes. They, their parents, their escorts and their parents were deb Faith Danielle CarterOthello W. Carter and Scherell K. Expose, and Hayward John Expose Jr., Hayward John Expose Sr. and Carla J. Expose; and deb Lloren Averi LawrenceAlton Van Lawrence Jr. and Avis D. Lawrence, and Justin Xavier Brown, Alvin Freddie Brown Jr. and Monica A. Brown.

And deb Angele Marie McClain Ronald Paul McClain and Lisa Lewis McClain and Dennis James Robertson III, Dennis Robertson Jr. and Dielda Robertson; deb Carolyn De’Cole PaytonKrystal De’Cole Payton (her mother), and Malik Maurice McKay, Adrian M. Colar and Chandra N. McKay; deb Kaila Cierra Ashanti RentasMichael Jerome Darnell Rentas and Tiffany Marie Scott, and Marcus Honore Keith, Christopher Keith and Kim Keith; and deb Faith Marie SmothersMajor Smothers and Veronica Duperon, and Malek Jordan Marine Jr., Mark Marine, Shawn Zografos (stepfather) and Angela M. Zografos.

Each “Miss” and deb had a charitable organization. (A portion of the funds submitted by the debutantes goes to the charity of their choice.)

Completing the cortege were the eight princesses, starting with Ivy Princess Semaj Taylor Brisco, daughter of Demond M. Brisco Sr. and Candice K. Williams. The remaining seven and their parents were Amiyah Brunette AdamsMr. and Mrs. Troy McCormick; Riley Elise BrownMr. and Mrs. Tyrone Anthony Brown; Skyler Madison GivensRonald T. Givens and Alisha M. Hayes; Janai Monae LoweMr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Lowe Sr.; Paige Christina Parent Avanna L. Parent (her mother); Mia Lillian ThompsonMr. and Mrs. Carl E. Thompson II; and Makailah Aliya WilliamsMonchel Williams (her mother).

In 2015, Myrissa Alon Mitchell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Mitchell, reigned as queen. Amber Davillier sponsored her.

White backdrop drapes, flanking green panels, decorated the ballroom, as did large glass vases atop pedestals with green ribbon and pink and green flowers. Dinner was served in the lobby area outside the ballroom, offering, along with salad, pasta, jambalaya, chicken and finger sandwiches, the delights of AKA cake. The signature pink and green colors (also on the printed program) appeared in the tablecloths. The vases held yellow, white, blue and green blooms.

During the course of dinner, dancing and photo-taking occurred.

Dignitatries included visiting AKA chapters and members, notably Brenda Brent Williams, Wanda Anderson Davis, Samantha J. Adams, Brianna Williams, Janice Montague-Myles, and Vallarie Woods.

A highlight of the annual cotillion is the distribution of awards. Tapped by Mia Mosby were the above Alton Van Lawrence, Malek Jordan Marine Jr., Angele Marie McClain, Bailey Morgan Perkins and Kaila Cierra Ashanti Rentas. Further highlights were the peer support enjoyed by the debs, the focus on future scholastic and career achievements, the Cotillion Waltz and the beauty of the event.

  • Hibernians Hobnobbing

The Napoleon Ballroom of the Hilton Riverside Hotel housed the 140th annual banquet given by the Ancient Order of Hibernians to honor Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland. “Cead Mile Failte! (A hundred thousand welcomes!)” greeted the crowd. Opening and closing the program with prayer was the Rev. Patrick Collum, AOH state chaplain.

The Irish National Anthem was sung by Kathleen Kingsmill Olsen, accompanied by the Marine Forces Reserve Band (which also entertained during the cocktail hour); Don Brannan introduced special guests from the armed forces; Loyola University Choir sang some Irish songs at the banquet and the noon Mass at St. Patrick’s Church; Muggivan School of Irish Dance was represented by Irish dancers; and the Eddie Veatch and Gary Benoit Orchestra played for dinner and dancing. Judge Dennis Waldron (accompanied by Pam) served as master of ceremonies.

Capturing the figurative spotlight after an introduction by John McCrossen was Hibernian of the Year Raymond William “Randy” King (with Dee Dee). He is a member of the Republic of West Florida Division of the AOH. In accepting the honor, he reminded all of the AOH motto: Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.

Further headliners were Louisiana State AOH President Judge James Kuhn (with Cheryl) and National Vice President Judge James McKay III (with Marie), who also answers to Honorary Irish Consul for the State of Louisiana. Joining in the top ranks were Philip Hannan Division of the AOH President John Fitzmorris III with Rose, James Walsh with spouse Yvonne LaFleur and son John, Dr. Miljana and Ivan Mandich, Michael and Marta Butterworth, John Fitzmorris Jr. with Kay, the Mickey Landry clan, David and daughter Christine Anderson, the John Van Vrancken clan, Richard and Judy Burke, and Pat Carecca.

Also, Ladies AOH President Liz Rafferty, AOH Treasurer B.J. and Joan Eckholdt, the Art Kingsmill family, and Ione and Pat Powers, the day’s birthday boy. He was born on St. Patrick’s Day and all joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.

  • Golf Goodness

No green jackets for these dutiful duffers, but they sported another kind of green: that raised through altruism. Playing on the TPC of Louisiana in Avondale were 132 golfers in the 24th annual Volunteers of America GolfStar Classic, which provides essential fundraising for the organization’s adoption program. The Presenting Sponsor was Jay Trusheim, Prudential Financial professional, offering P&C through Liberty Mutual Insurance. Many others were sponsors, and more than 150 individuals and companies donated to the dinner and silent and live auctions, which stirred up big bidding for coveted items.

Winners included Closest to Par for Keith Kettenring, Bryan Delph and Pat Roth, respectively holes 3, 14 and 17; Longest Drive, Jacob Chapman; and winning foursomes Angela Antill, Casey Stavinoha, Andrew Walcavich, and Chris Bernard, third; and Scott Mouledous Jr., Justin Ranger, Bryan McCaulley, and Cody Walker, second.

And for the first-place accolades, Dave Frady, Scott Scheffy, Ryan MacMaster, and Robert MacMaster. Each foursome won a free round of golf for four, each at a different golf club.

Supporting the links largesse were President and CEO of VoA Greater New Orleans James LeBlanc; board member and GolfStar Classic Co-Chairwoman Christy Howley Connois; another co-chairing force in Paul Graff; and Wayne M. Baquet Jr., VoA Society member, and President and CEO of Imperial Trading Company, among other titles.

Golfers received a cooler bag compliments of Liberty Mutual and a goodie bag full of snacks from Imperial Trading. Golfers and nongolfers alike had the opportunity to win a 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250. Congratulations galore went to Ken Gautreau, the lucky raffle winner, who purchased his ticket the morning of the golf tournament.