Vine Times

“You can go home again” underscored the socializing at the recent Amazing Grapes 2015 event, which was chaired by Elise Merlin and Pierce Young, with Tricia King and Stephanie November as the auction chairwomen, and a bunch of banks, Whitney, Fidelity, Iberia, First NBC and Gulf Coast (Bank & Trust Company), as the auction sponsors.

The affirmation as to the “home” return was that the event was brought back to one of the hosting house museums, the Hermann-Grima House. The latter, along with the Gallier House, were the two beneficiaries and combined as the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses. Their education programs will receive proceeds.

Kicking off the activity were the tastings of more than 60 wines from around the globe by James Moises and Bizou Wines in the courtyard of the Hermann-Grima House, followed by cocktails and a gourmet buffet by Broussard’s Restaurant. Zaid Ammari and the Broussard’s staff partnered with Amazing Grapes in designing a new layout for the annual vinous event. The gate separating the two courtyards, those of HGH and Broussard’s, was thrown open for the evening.

Impressive vintages and rare bottles of wine were up for heady bidding in the silent and live auctions. Garnering “live” lucre were bottles of 1990 Chateau Margaux, 2010 Opus One, and 1990 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion.

As for the culinary delectables, Broussard’s provided such yummy appetizers as fried oysters with bacon and brie on puff pastry and duck liver mousse on crostini, and then a buffet of Angus beef tenderloin, spinach and wild mushroom-stuffed cannelloni, and Bananas Foster. Barbecued shrimp and grits were served out of the Hermann-Grima House’s 1830s kitchen.

“Grape” groupings included Max Merlin and Tom Young with their co-chairing spouses, the above Elise and Pierce, who were, in turn, joined by their parents, Elise and Pierre Lapeyre (for Elise) and Pierce and Hans Jonassen (for Pierce). And HGGHH board Chairwoman Stephanie Carroll with Ken, incoming President Caroline Ferguson with Buck Taylor, and Charlie King and Pete November with the above Tricia and Stephanie. Joining them, too, was Stephanie’s mom, Brenda Stephens.

From Bizou Wines, and in addition to owner James Moises, were representatives Karen Hanchey, Damien Abrusley, Amanda Berg, Mary Katherine Kitchings, and Jeff and Meghan Januszek.

Still others within the Grapes-scape were Trent Verges with Katie Mularz, Beth Ribblett and Kerry Tully, Kim Austin and Jim Runge, Stephen Dickey with spouse Vera, Colleen Kuhn and Gerry, Lori Sander and Angie Roy, and Paul Queyrouze with Melissa. Each set represented key sponsors.

From the Historic Houses board came Melissa Steiner with Jerry, emeritus member Kristen Dry and husband Gene and Eileen Powers, and Sallee Benjamin with Tom. To mention a few. Others with important connections were Grima descendant Jeff Bernard with Erin and Hermann descendant James Reiss with Erica. They mingled with dozens more, including Chris Caire with Heidi Sherman, and Billy and Amy King.

Goldring-Woldenberg Donors

The Windsor Court Hotel was the site for the night when the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans held its fifth annual Goldring-Woldenberg Major Donor Dinner to fete and thank those donors. Fifty-seven major donors to the Federation attended.

A black-tie affair with elegant touches of centerpieces of white roses and tulips, the dinner was underwritten and hosted by Darryl and Louellen Berger and the hotel with wine and liquor provided by Alan and Diane Franco and musical entertainment by Deborah Mintz. An arugula salad started the gourmet treats that continued with baked sea bass and a chocolate mousse bomb.

Headliners included Federation President Morton Katz with Carole, event Co-Chairmen Dr. Michael and Lynne Wasserman and Sidney and Joyce Pulitzer, the above Francos – Alan is the immediate past Federation president, incoming President Dr. Edward Soll, Annual Campaign Co-Chairmen Joshua Force and Cathy Glaser with spouses Mara and Dr. Charles, Julie Wise Oreck with husband Marshall and mother Carol Wise, Dr. Gerald and Joan Berenson, Bissingers three in Allan and Nancy and Marjorie, Hugo and Lis Kahn, Dr. Juan and Ana Gershanik, and siblings Morris Bart and Vivian Cahn with spouses Cathy and Richard.

Generosity was certainly to the fore. The event was open to those who had made a minimum household gift of $10,000 to the 2015 Annual Campaign.

Historical Hobnobbing

The Jefferson Historical Society of Louisiana held its 34th annual Founders’ Day Banquet at the Chateau Golf and Country Club in observance of the 190th anniversary of the legislative establishment of the parish of Jefferson. Dinner sponsors were the above society and the Jefferson Parish Historical Commission. Mary Grace Curry, Ph.D., was the mistress of ceremonies.

Among the features were the attendees’ reciting of Thomas Jefferson’s daily prayer; pledges given to the U.S., Louisiana and Jefferson Parish flags; a proclamation from Parish President John Young that was presented by COO Jennifer Van Vrancken Dwyer; and a dinner of gumbo, stuffed chicken breast or trout amandine, potatoes and steamed green beans. Red roses with baby’s breath centered the tables.

The figurative spotlight was trained on two speakers. The guest speaker was Kenner Mayor Michael S. Yenni, who spoke about the city of Kenner, emphasizing its history and plans for the future, and Society President G. Leighton Ciravolo, who gave a “State of the Society” address. He was joined by father John and sister Lisa.

Also present within the banquet brigade were event Chairwoman Victoria Currault with cousin Jo Ann Sens and spouse Alex, Commision Chairwoman Dr. Mary Curry with John Portero, Charmaine and Angelo Rini, Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer and Cherreen, Gretna Mayor Belinda Cambre Constant and Ronnie, Judge Clarence McManus with wife Barbara and son Brian, Parish Councilman Paul and Lynn Johnston, and Kenner Councilmen Keith Reynaud and Dominick Impastato with Donna and Sharon.

And, Drs. Bernard Eble and Susan Weaver Eble, Dolores and Harry Danos, Frank and Schlise Borne, Terrytown Fire Chief Bruce Mills and Judy, Edmund and Marty Ernewein, Dr. Craig Bower and Elizabeth, Kathryn Fowler, and Ruth Limjuco, retired ambassador with the Philippine Foreign Service, and son Antonio.

A birthday celebration needs a cake and one was duly prepared. The ceremonial cutting of the parish’s birthday cake was done by the above Commission Chairwoman Mary Grace Curry and Society President G. Leighton Ciravolo.