Always numerous in attendees, the annual fete de Noel of Ladies Leukemia League Inc. included its usual legions at the Hilton Riverside. Various tallies were suggested, but the assembly easily passed the 1,000 mark. The top names to know were LLL President Anne Favret for the welcome; event Chairwoman and “co” in Joy Hocke North and Christy Saladino for introductions; mistress of ceremonies Camille Whitworth of WDSU-TV; and Janet Patterson for the invocation.

Fay Doucet announced the Light the Tree of Hope donors (with Dillards and Peoples Health as the top names); Ana Eller and Rosalie Edwards made the presentation to the 2014-15 LLL grant recipients Stephen Gottschalk, M.D.; Zhiqian Qin, M.D., Ph.D.; and Sean M. Post and Jinsheng Weng, both Ph.D.; and Dillard’s presented the fashion show with a special performance by Jesse Hill.

Further Fete features counted the three-course lunch that started with salad and concluded with three mini dessert selections (such as squares of egg nog cheesecake), the Parade of Prizes, special raffles, door prizes, and the centerpieces. Inspired by the invitation designed by Tracy Wisehart-Plaisance of ice skaters of yore on a silvery-blue frozen pond, the table decorations were created as a pair of vintage ice skates, trimmed in fur and tinsel, and artfully placed on an “ice-pond” mirror. Elsewhere in the Grand Ballroom was a huge Christmas tree, all aglow.

Among the countless individuals supporting the annual fundraiser (for which 2015 reservations are already starting to take place) were Brewster Stalter, Michael and Nikki Norvell, Emma Norvell, and raffle winners Hellen Kelly, Polly Gleichenhaus, and Roberta Corcoran. Also, Maria Winn, Richie Kernion, Carey Kernion, Stephen Kernion (who changed into a red suit, black boots, and a white beard and chuckled “Ho, ho, ho”), Kathy Zimmerman, Pam Lupin, Charlotte Bollinger, Becky Allen, and Gayle Delaney.

(Several within the massive audience did double midday time and stopped by the concurrent, sold-out Christmas Luncheon for Priests at The Roosevelt Hotel. The top organizational names to know were those of Lauren Lagarde, Ann Heslin, Pattie Hron, Liz Broekman, Chrissy Carmody, Allison Talley, and Cindy Nolan.)

Back at the Ladies Leukemia Luncheon, the Dillard’s Fashion Show was the thrill it is each year. “The Best of Broadway” titled it and nine scenes with show titles (starting with “A Chorus Line” and concluding with “White Christmas”) riveted every eye. And “aye!” Mr. Bingle then bounded down the runway to add to the overall elation. Always a touching moment — some eyes were dabbed — Ochsner Hospital for Children presented two children, Emily Grace Peters and Kanrie Sylve, and a young adult, Kelsey Sparks, who’ve battled leukemia and are in remission. They, too, took to the runway, garnering effusive applause. The last to appear — and he did in a St. Nick of time — was a red-suited jolly fellow to “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

Torch of Liberty

All hail! The Anti-Defamation League chose Tom and Gayle Benson and Dr. Gerald and Joan Berenson as the 2014 A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award winners. Award recipients of the prestigious honor are people “who care not just for themselves today, but for the children and grandchildren of tomorrow” and translate that into action. “The Bensons and the Berensons are an inspiration for us all,” said Nancy Timm, South-Central Regional Board Chairwoman of ADL, which was founded in 1913 and “is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.” Allison Padilla-Goodman is the director of the region.

Dennis Lauscha and Joyce Pulitzer presented the award to the Bensons, and Dr. Keith Ferdinand and Margot Garon, to the Berensons. The four presenters were also the co-chairmen of the event that unfolded at the Hyatt Regency on a Thursday evening with hundreds of attendees. Cocktails for one hour preceded dinner and the program.

Whereas guests smiled about the coincidence of the two couples’ B-B names, Tom and Gayle and Gerald and Joan were regarded as A-listers.

Making Tracks

Opened in 1835, the St. Charles Avenue Line of green streetcars, the nation’s oldest, has been added to the National Historic Landmark list by the U.S. Department of the Interior. To both recognize that designation and to celebrate, the St. Charles Avenue Association and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority held a press conference at Howard Avenue at Lee Circle, and then moved Uptown to a reception hosted by IberiaBank on the corner of St. Charles and Louisiana avenues.

The Streetcar Celebration Committee included Chairman Tommy Westervelt, Anne Redd, Gwathmey Gomila, Susie Hoskins, Lou Hoffman, Bobby Hassinger, and Ted LeClercq (who marveled about how they came together as a team in the 10-year pursuit of the designation), all from the St. Charles Avenue Association; Margaret Beer, IberiaBank; Lyn Tomlinson, former association president; Deslie Isidore and Patrice Mercadel, both from RTA; and Scott Hutcheson, senior adviser to the Mayor for Cultural Economy.

In addition to them, those noted raising glasses of cheer at the reception were IberiaBank CEO Daryl Byrd, SCAA President Camille Strachan, Beth Hassinger, RTA Commissioner Barbara Major, Nicole Hobson-Morris of the State Historic Preservation Office, and Laura Shields with Sonny. Others rubbing shoulders at the reception, which included a slew of taste treats (such as mini “BLTs”), a festive Christmas tree, a trio of students from NOCCA, flowers by Dunn and Sonnier, were Laura Claverie, Hunter Hill, Karl Hoefer, Cleland Powell, Chris Lebato, Sally and Bill Reeves, Diana Parham, and others who praised the long, green line.

  • Metairie Woman’s Club

For the annual yule logging of the Metairie Woman’s Club, Carrel Epling opened her home on the Metairie lakefront for the festivity. Her co-hostess was Irene Klinger, and both extended welcoming hands. In attendance were 10 past club presidents, including current gavel-wielder Judy Wood (with Buddy), Beverly Hughes, Irene Rogillio, Ginger Crawford, Marguerite Ricks (with Charlie), Colleen Landry (with Elgin), Iona Myers, Polly Thomas (with Bob), Sue Rooney (with daughter Peggy) and Melanie Rose.

Within the Epling home, an antique collection of Nutcrackers lined the stairway, a Christmas tree dazzled, Mr. Bingle Teddy Bears were omnipresent, and festive lights and greenery completed the holiday scene. Add to that visual excitement that of the appetite. The buffet included fruit and cheese, roast beef and pork, pasta primavera, and a suite of suites, including Italian ice cream cake, cookies and candy.

Mingling and reveling in the Christmas camaraderie were Ways and Means Chairwoman Rubye Noble Evans (with Bob), who reported that the year’s fundraising efforts were very successful. The three recipients of the club’s generosity (as chosen by the membership) were Covenant House, East Jefferson General Hospital Infusion Center and Raintree Services.

Happy for that news, as well as the seasonal salute, were Rita Blessing, Fran Puig, June Prados with Wilfred, Marcie Mayeaux, Elsie Manos, Linda Sharp (with Ed), Kit Lipps (with Fred), Betty Corbeille and scores more MWC merrymakers.