Homes for the Holidays

Party dress was readily apparent. All the touches of finery were in place for the nod to Noel: sparkle, fabric, ribbons, bows. Outfitted also in seasonal splendor were the guests.

The showplace Audubon Boulevard home of Mary Clare and Danny Conwill had open doors for the 40th annual Holiday Home Tour Patron Party of the Preservation Resource Center. Perrier Party Rentals did the lighting, Ambrose Garden the flowers, Ralph Brennan Catering & Events the purveyance, and New Orleans Banjos + 2 the spirited sounds.

During the following two days, more doors were opened at the Garden District homes of Cynthia and Rich Ashman, Boo and Sid Charbonnet, “Friends of the PRC,” Ed and Laura Moise, W. Howard Moses, Luna and Darryl Saunders, Dr. Troy Scroggins Jr., and Dr. Michael L. Wheelis for the homes on tour. Trinity Episcopal Church’s Bishop Polk Hall served as headquarters, while the home of the Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Association charmed crowds as the Bonus House.

Elizabeth Bush and Adele Ralston shone as the overall event chairwomen, sharing limelight at the Conwills’ with Patron Party Chairwomen Jennifer Charpentier and Anne Long. Regions Bank (and scores more) rated gratitude for sponsorship. Within the sponsorial fold were spouses Katie Witry and Todd Riche, Marshall Hevron, Chip Gardner, Thomas P. “Tommy” Westervelt, Conlee Whiteley, Neal Morris, Julie Burlingame, and Scott Howard of Regions Bank with Janet.

Milling, too, were PRC President Julie Habetz with Scott, Vice President Will Hales with Catherine, Secretary Peter Trapolin, at-large officer Randy Opotowsky (additional at-large officers are Edgar L. Chase III, Tricia King, and Anne Morse), executive director Patricia H. “Patty” Gay, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd with sister Peggy (both chatting with Monsignor Christopher Nalty), Janie Blackmon, Jeanne H. Boughton, Leslie P. Bouie, the Shaun and Foster Duncan, Ben and Sweet Dupuy, Charles King with the above Tricia, Jill Pipes with Minor, Graham M. Ralston with the above Adele, Richard Roth and Mary Martin, Hal Williamson (one of the former past PRC presidents there) with Dr. Dale LeBlanc, and Anne Redd with Edmund. Post patron hobnobbing, the Redds raised a glass of cheer at the home of Dr. Howard and Joy Osofsky for a seasonal gathering.

Many more — the total was at least 450 — rubbed designer-clad shoulders at the Conwill home in support of the PRC and its promotion of the preservation, restoration and revitalization of New Orleans’s historic architecture and neighborhoods. Being neighborly, the party pack wished one another “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”

Mayflower Merriment

The elegance of presentations and young ladies in long white dresses occurs with formal force around this time of year. One of the first in the very recent season was the Triennial Mayflower Cotillion, which took place at the New Orleans Country Club and included Naomi Ellen Schulz Mann, daughter of the late founder (Malcolm A. Schulz) and surgeon general of the national society. Further notables at the cotillion were Mara Kerstine Schulz Coiron (sister of Dr. Naomi) with Jack, society governor general Lea Filson with Ron, Judy Swan (of Ohio) with Phil, Lydia Habliston Toso Ozenberger with Larry, Robert Stickney with Jean, Julie Abadie with David Gooch, John Beaumont with Sylvi, and Caroline-Kerstine Ellen Mann. Recalled in history were the Mayflower Compact and Roll Call, which recognized the descendants as their ancestors were announced.

Dr. Willard Kenneth Mann Jr., spouse of the above Dr. Naomi Mann, was the master of ceremonies; Lance Uhde the florist; Adam Emory DeGenova, son of Drs. David and Kristi Soileau DeGenova, the sergeant at arms; and Jimmy Maxwell and his orchestra the music makers. Post presentation, a traditional Pilgrim breakfast occurred.

Stepping into the spotlight as Mayflower coterie debutantes — along with the names of their parents, escorts and ancestors – were Misses Madison Scott McQuaigMr. and Mrs. Scott William McQuaig, Malcolm Christian Schulz III, and ancestor Richard Warren; Margaret Manette Martha Power (escort Benjamin Stickney Morrison) and Caroline Elise Beatrice Power (escort William Chase Thompson Power) — Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Douglas Power of Illinois, and ancestor William Bradford; and Ashley O’Neill MonaghanMr. and Mrs. Joseph Monaghan III, Lt. Commander Donald Richard Toso Jr., and ancestor Richard Warren.

Balancing the coterie were ladies in waiting Misses Katherine Michelle Bickham, Elizabeth Catherine Miller, and Cecelia Frances Zimmermann, whose respective parents are the Mark A. Bickhams, the Steven E. Millers, and the Paul Zimmermanns – and the squires, James Raymond Villa, Serguis Elmore Centanni, and Blake Linden Giacone.

Also, damsel Catherine Marie Zimmermann (daughter of the above Zimmermanns) and senior page John Colby Shannon; and flower girl Lucy Jane Toso, daughter of the Patrick Jonathan Tosos, and junior page Aidan Steffens.

Parents of the above young men escorts are Dr. and Mrs. Malcom Albert Schulz II, the Campbell Cary Morrisons, the Powers, Dr. Donald Richard Toso and Mrs. Ozenberger, the Jack A. Villas, John and Dr. Eva Blanche Centanni, the Brad Linden Giacones, the Jay Laird Shannons, and Mr. Peter Steffens and Mrs. Karen Thibodeaux. History to the fore.

Patio Planters

The well decked halls of Muriel’s at Jackson Square was the venue for the recent Patio Planters Jazz Brunch. It was also steps away from the spot where Patio Planters, the garden and social service club of the French Quarter, sponsored the huge Caroling in Jackson Square two days ago. Thousands of carolers assembled.

For the brunch brigade, the numbers tallied 117, all admiring the restaurant’s 12-foot Christmas tree and many other festive accents. The Planters’ members and friends relished the menu with such favorites as grits and grillades, eggs Benedict and pecan praline bread pudding. Lots of mimosas and sparkling wine were among the liquid accompaniment.

Delighting the ear was the unamplified music by Jerry Christopher’s Big Easy Jazz Band. “It’s wonderful,” said one partygoer, who reflected the sentiment of the lot, “We can hear good music (and dance) and also talk.”

Further features were the auction, which was captained by Norman Many to offset the cost of the Caroling in Jackson Square’s songbooks, and the awarding of the Daisy Todd Award. It was given by Patio Planters President Stephen Swain to Samantha and Robert McRaney for their generous support and volunteerism. Each year, the McRaneys open their Vieux Carre home all day long for food and drink to accomodate the 80-plus White Elephant volunteers.

Within the festive flock were door greeters Frances Salvaggio, Craig Schexnayder and Celia Collins (with Jeff); Wanda McGinn, Fran Flurry and Nancy Pomiechowski, whose outfits were Rudolph red; seasonally dapper Douglas Barden and Ott Howell; Bob and Janice Phelps with son Douglas and daughter Marie-Page; past Presidents C.J. Blanda, Adrienne Hartsock, event Chairwoman Barbara Richmond, Lea Siegel, Sam Poche with Eddie Selby, Janice Foulks with Dr. Ed, and Thomas “Tom” McGinn with the above Wanda; and Jim and Marilyn Kitto, Al and Susan Guillot, Dee and John Lynott, Susan and Keith Revels, Gunter and Evelyn Preuss, Dr. Gordon and Lana Konrad, George and Josie Markey and dozens more, who celebrated the 69th Christmas of Patio Planters with festivity and joy.