Happy Highlights

A Thomas Tout

The National WWII Museum’s Freedom Pavilion was the venue for good vibes when the Southeast Louisiana Council Boy Scouts of America and a number of leaders of Greater New Orleans honored Warner L. Thomas as the 2017 Distinguished Citizen. Barbara Windhorst and Bill Oliver chaired the event.

Thomas, the president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, assumed that role in 2012 and, as CEO, has been responsible for the system’s overall strategic growth and development. Ochsner is Louisiana’s largest nonprofit health system.

From 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., guests assembled at the reception, where the Victory Belles performed. Master of ceremonies WWL meteorologist Dave Nussbaum, an Eagle Scout, opened the formalities with a welcome and remarks. The Color Guard was led by Scouts, as was the Pledge of Allegiance and the Scout Oath. Then Council President Jim Letten delivered remarks, followed by those of Windhorst and Oliver.

Several videos were shown throughout the evening, one at the time of dinner. Then the chairing duo of Windhorst and Oliver presented the award to Warner Thomas, who acknowledged with gratitude his honor. (The 2016 honoree was Jose Suquet.) Ernesto Carballo, Scout executive and Council CEO, delivered the closing comments. Lots of applause occurred.

Once again, the Victory Belles entertained and a dessert social capped the activity that included the likes of Bob and Sheryl Merrick, Joe and Debbie Exnicios, Dottie and Charles Nelson, Bill Hines, Richard Zuschlag, and Jimmy Fitzmorris.

Ritzy Revelry

“We’re Putting on the Ritz” bannered the Roaring Twenties-themed party given by the Christian Brothers Foundation at Magic in the Park XXIII. A gala and auction amassed the crowds at the City Park campus, many arriving as patrons (and costumed) in the Founder’s Courtyard. There, The Deluxe struck up the music and Nicole Allen and Amy Piacun — joined by husbands Duke and Chris — answered to patron party chairwomen. Brother John Mai, F.S.C., greeted guests and took photos.

Teamed to chair the auction were Lisa Devlin, Judith Graffeo (with Pete), Cindy Mandina (with Rob) and Anjanette Tournillon (with Todd). Other headliners were Christian Brothers School President Joey and Lisa Scaffidi; Carol Couvillion, operations executive and event chairman for the foundation; and Edwin A. Ellinghausen III, foundation president.

The above Cindy, along with Steve Pettus, Michael Pettus, and Petra Guste gathered and presented food from 29 generous restaurants and caterers, “friends” of the school. Bruno’s Tavern, Brown-Forman, Dixie Beer, Trinchero Family Estates and Southern Eagle were tapped for libations. As for the bidding, 253 auction items created a buzz.

More notables were City Park Campus principal Michael Prat and Rachael, Canal Street Campus principal Richard Neider, CBS Corporation Board Chairman Rocky Daigle, Ken and Ashley Zito, Margaret McFarland, Beth and Wayne Traina, Ray Radetich, Joseph Taranto, Gretchen McDaniel and Jonathan, Lyndi Ainsworth, Keri Landry, Amy and Kelly Burke, Brother Laurence Konersmann, F.S.C., Allison and Robert DeViney, Katie Blanchard, Zoey Reed, Trisha and Michael Wells, and about 570 more, who raved about the “Roaring” decorations, hoped in the raffles, delighted in the performance by “CBS Lost in the Park” and got a dancing groove on to The Mixed Nuts.

Fun, “Rabbit," Fun

STAIR — Start the Adventure in Reading — used “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter as the theme for its annual bash, which was booked at the stunning Garden District home of Liz and Terry Creel, who also chaired the honorary committee. Most appropriately, the family’s pet rabbit was present.

James P. Raymond Jr. Foundation was the Presenting Sponsor, while Entergy and The Tesson Foundation were those at the Publisher Level. Their funding, along with that of other sponsors and proceeds from the gala itself, will, as was billed, “ensure a future of endless possibilities for all little rabbits.”

More features of STAIR Affair were Nola Flora arrangements, cuisine from seven generous eateries, and entertainment by Jimmy Maxwell on the piano, along with that of Felix and the jazz trio, The Cats. Merry meow-sic! For the silent auction of 100-plus items, bidding was lively for a baseball cap signed by Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning; a game jersey signed by Saints’ safety, the in-attendance Vonn Bell, an event sponsor; diamond hoop earrings donated by Wellington and Co.; and tickets to events at the Saenger.

Mastheaders within a gathering of about 180 were STAIR Board President Carroll Bernard Feiling and husband Greg, Vice President Bart Dornier and Kay, James P. Raymond Jr. and Anne, Tiffany Tesson, former home hosts Kerry and Chris Bruno, Treasurer John and Shelley Galbraith, Anderson and Michelle Baker, Sandy and Mackie Shilstone, Sidney and Ken Lawder, former home host Sydney Thornton, and Sara and Allan Woodward. Veronica M. Reed is the executive director and figured on the committee roster as did Gabrielle Bethancourt, Kenya Campbell, Alex and Anne Fuselier, James Hibbs, Denise Holmes, Victoria King, Mary Lou O’Keefe, Francis Palumbo, Margo Price, Heather Rankin, Lauren Ryan, Stella Shackelford, Tiffany Harvill, Bonnie Shoemaker, Danielle Trezek, and Sara Woodard. All espoused the mission of STAIR to improve reading skills and self-esteem of lower elementary students. And in the words of Potter, “If I have done anything ... to help small children ..., I have done a bit of good.”

New Perspectives

Isidore Newman School Arts Department and the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation in collaboration with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Consulate of Mexico presented New Perspectives, an intercultural arts experience that explores contemporary visual arts and music of Latin America. Visual artists Gustavo Duque (Colombia), Belinda Flores-Shinshillas (Mexico), Carmen Mariscal, Piki Mendizabal (Cuba) and Cristina Molina, the five Hispanic contemporary artists in the “NP” exhibition, all show their common home-country nostalgia, but now showcase “their place of migration with a new perspective.”

A related special reception unfolded at the beautiful home of Cristina Wysocki, a native Spanish speaker from El Salvador, who was joined in hosting by Kathryn (curator of the Isidore Newman Reynolds Ryan Art Gallery) and Jeff Scurlock. Yet another role for Cristina was that of the food preparer. She did it all herself.

Joining in were NOHHF President Ileana Suquet and Pan American Life Insurance Group CEO Jose, Consul of Mexico Carlos Ponce, Carmen and Kelly Duncan, NOHHF executive director Raul Fonte and spouse Helen Flammer, Luz and Salvador Caputto, Andrew Rodgers, Maricarmen and Carlos Aldana, and Matilde Alberny and Michael Alford with their respective artist spouses, Gustavo and Belinda.

Artist Carmen Mariscal flew in from her home in Paris and was joined at the reception by her sister, Isabel Prieto, wife of LPO Director Carlos Miguel Prieto.