n Show and Telly
Parting is such sweet sorrow. And for a beloved television show, the solution was partying.
Presented by Latter & Blum Companies, “Downton Abbey: Going Out in Style” played on both “departure” as the show its quietus made (with a happy ending) and “dress.”
For the glamorous gallivanting held at the Old Metairie home of Lisa and Trip Ludwig to benefit WYES New Orleans – the station that for six years aired Masterpiece’s British “Downton Abbey” series (described by a guest as “the most elegant soap opera, ever!”) – period attire or black or white tie was preferred. Everyone obliged.
Cuisine was by Celebrate! Catered Events by Windsor Court, libations came courtesy of Goldring Family Foundation and by Uncorked, and Deacon John and the Ivories blessed the lively music making. The chairing couples were Louellen and Darryl Berger, Patricia and Vernon Brinson, and Mary Wyatt and Kerry Milano, whose committee counted 92 “Abbey” fans. Among them were the Awards Committee’s Alan Philipson, Cleland Powell, and Anne Redd.
In addition to the caterers and the Goldring Family Foundation, the top Kings and Queens Sponsors, there was the Dukes and Duchesses category, with the Patrick Family Foundation as the name to know and Debby and Bobby Patrick as representatives.
Amber lighting bathed the façade of the Ludwig home in front of which was a vintage Rolls Royce, similar to one on the TV show, with a chauffeur in period livery. Guests queued up for photos ops by the vintage vehicle, as well as in front of the Highclere castle backdrop (the location used in the series as the seat of the Crawley family, Downton Abbey). Lining the red-carpet walkway, the lawn and the front steps were a myriad of candles for a lambent glow. In the back of the residence, guests milled within a tented area.
In addition to the Bergers, Brinsons, Milanos and Ludwigs, the gala galaxy included WYES President and general manager Allan Pizzato with Sharon, Chairwoman Katie Crosby with Howell, WYES laureates Paulette and Frank Stewart (Chairman’s Award), President’s Award recipient Paul Spencer (of the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation) with Barbara, Petricia and Waid Thompson, Sheryl and Bob Merrick, the above Cleland Powell with bride Claudia (they got married in October), Kaylea and Hunter Hill, Karen and Marc Leunissen, Pam Masson, Mary and Bill Hines, Crickett and Andrew Lapeyre, and Pam Richmond Burck.
Also within the Crawley crowd of almost 300 were Mary Clare and Danny Conwill, Charlotte Bollinger, Pixie and Jimmy Reiss, Sammy Steele, Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, Lynne and Hugh Uhalt, Tommy Westervelt, Cathy and Rivie Cary, Adrea Heebe, and Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold, who commented after the festive fact, “The party was magnificent! So much fun. And a really great crowd, too.”
In the shadows, but dearly ensconced in the hearts of the hobnobbers were regal dowager and matriarch Lady Violet, Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, Anna and Mr. Bates, and, in a new light, Thomas Barrow. Others, as well, penned and brought to life by series creator Julian Fellowes, who surely would have been gobsmacked by “Going Out in Style.”
n Dancing with Degas
“Une Soiree Magnifique” to benefit the New Orleans Ballet Theatre certainly lived up to the adjective of the gala’s title. Magnificent, it was!
The setting was Danielle Kavanagh’s home and park area in Old Metairie, where the flow was both inside for dining (and admiring the beautiful Dunn and Sonnier flowers) and outside for performances.
The Etoile Patron ado was the first party pirouette, during which were specialty cocktails and food, musical entertainment by Giselle Bonfaire, Ballerina tableau by the Schramel Conservatory of Dance and, as a patron gift, an original print by Nurhan Gokturk.
During the hour-later “Vignette, Cocktails and Food,” the performances were “Le Conservatoire” with the conservatory’s Pro-Track dancers and NOBT dancer Blane Mader, and “Gaiete Parisienne” with NOBT dancers Diogo DeLima, Lisa Keller and Shayna Skal. The Ed Barrett Trio added scintillating sounds.
Within the “Soiree” constellation were hostess Danielle Kavanagh, honorary Chairwoman Marie Louise Schramel, NOBT board President Benjamin Allen, Artistic Director Gregory Schramel, Associate Artistic Director Marjorie Hardwick Schramel and Executive Director Andrea Moreno. Mingling, too, were committee Chairwomen Suzanne Phelps with Ashton, Jane Davis with daughter Blair, Sara Ruffin Costello with Paul, Vesta DeYampert Fort, Sweet Dupuy with Ben and Donna Maselli with Joseph. They chatted with Valerie Besthoff, Simon and Nadine Blake, Basi and Michael Carbine, Adrea Heebe, Susu Kearney (husband Mike was Rex on Feb. 9), Kira Orange Jones, and about 100 more, who’ve since noted June 25 and 26 for NOBT Summer Solstice as they savor the recent social staging of “Une Soiree Magnifique.”
n London in the Crescent City
Lodging and levity were the festive focus when New Orleans native Lauren Gurvich King and Sara and Paul Costello hosted a dinner at the Costellos’ handsome Garden District home to celebrate “London in New Orleans” and to introduce The Beaumont, a luxury hotel in London’s tony Mayfair district that’s owned and run by Jeremy King, Lauren’s English husband, who’s known as one of London’s top restaurateurs.
Rain provided the atmospheric touch for the thematic city and fresh pre-spring flowers and fan palms were New Orleans niceties. The cuisine by chefs Donald Link and Mitch Arens nodded to both cities.
Among the diners — all especially grateful for the goodie bags provided by Lauren containing pertinent books and gift certificates — were Katherine Cecil and Emile Dumesnil, John D. and Melissa Phipps Gray, Alexa Georges and Jerry Armatis, Anna Beth and John Goodman, Sean Cummings and Gena Taranto, Jill Dupre and Josh Mayer, CeCe and Trevor Colhoun, and Dathel and John Georges. Of course, there was music and filling that tuneful bill were the Treme Brass Band on the front walkway and pianist Jeffrey Pounds, and his ’40s sounds, in the living room.