Kudos and Curtsies

Champions All

The New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation held its 2018 Champions Gala, an official Tricentennial Event, in the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club of Yulman Stadium, Tulane University. “Business casual” was the attire.

Louis Lauricella and Norma Jane Sabiston teamed to chair “Champions,” — and made welcoming remarks with foundation executive director Annie LaRock, while Monica Pierre served as mistress of ceremonies. Lauricella is the chairman of the NORD Foundation board, which includes Vice Chairman Ernest P. Price Jr., Secretary Sabiston, Treasurer Melissa Y. Duhon, and directors Robert S. Boh, Richard F. Cortizas, R. Justin Garon, Lawrence C. Gibbs, Mark Hatfield, Scott P. Howard, Cooper A. Manning, Brandon T. Nelson, John W. Sibal and Judge Byron C. Williams (ex officio).

More top names to know were those of the honorees. Hailed were Branford Marsalis, Legacy Tribute recipient (and interviewed by Delfeayo Marsalis); the Coaches of “Harrell University,” Unsung Heroes, with a tribute by Delvin Breaux; and, in memoriam, Johnny Brechtel and Morris F.X. Jeff, Wall of Fame Distinction, with Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson and Jolene Jeff accepting the posthumous award. Chevron, Delaware North and HMSHost were the award sponsors.

Guests were impressed by all the decorative touches, such as the lighted and reflected colors of the NORD Foundation logo, ribbon boards that recognized the many sponsors, and TV monitors in the Glazer Family Club that issued further thanks to sponsors and showcased different aspects of NORD. Throughout the evening, guests relished cuisine from six providers, bid during the auction and turned an attentive ear to the music by T-Ray the Violinist; NORD teacher Gregory Jones on the guitar; NORD participant/pianist Zoe Nisse; and Branford Marsalis playing a piece by Samuel Barber alongside Dr. Hezekiah Brinson.

Within the crowd of 350 were Mayor Mitch and Cheryl Landrieu, as well as Connie Jo (Mrs. Louis) Lauricella, NORD Commission CEO Vic Richard, Bryan Batt, Ellis Marsalis, Derrick P. Henderson Sr., Sterling Jones, James Short, Richard Elphage, Jean McGee, Glen F. Bell Sr., Juanita Breaux, Robert Kelley, Buzz Clarkson, Mike Fitts, Todd Matherne, Archie and Olivia Manning, Lauren Buggs, Cheri Ausberry, Henry Coaxum, and Councilman James A. Gray II and wife Ernestine.

'Pearls' Social Luster

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter held its 13th annual Pearls of Pride & Promise Cotillion at the Crystal Palace in Harvey with, as co-chairwomen, Brittany Reed, mistress of ceremonies; Rhonda Goode-Douglas, welcoming words; and Micaela Bowers, The Occasion and, later, closing remarks.

Miss Beverly Anne Smith, whose mother is Suzette Smith, reigned, following in the 2017 royal footsteps of Miss Maya Taylor Sevalia, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sevalia. In the 2018 cotillion court, smiles were flashed by Miss Ivy Princess, princesses, debutantes, second and first maids Daijah Monet Jeanmarie and Morgan Lauren Thompson, and royal page Carter Larche Mason. Shalani Taylor danced ballet; awards Chairwoman Shantrell McGill Johnson gave presentations and acknowledgments; chapter President Michaela King did the royal toast; and chapter members performed the Grand Curtsy. The Cotillion Waltz was danced by the 2017 queen, along with then debutantes and princesses, along with their fathers and escorts. The 2018 ones followed dancing suit to the music of Dwight Fitch and Curtis Jackson.

Decorations in the three-chandelier, columned ballroom were a gold bench and white hydrangeas. Each debutante held a nosegay of pink roses and green ribbon. Her majesty’s flower-embroidered gown was accessorized with a silver mantle with the name of the sorority.

Notables were the queen’s guardians Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Baquet; stepfather Darnell Hudson; Outstanding Escort Colin Johnson; Paris Vincent, Ann Coxen Mitchell awardee; Michaela Zeno, Miss Congeniality and Spirt of AKA; Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Mason; and the Rev. Leonard Vincent Sr., the Most Spirited Dad.

A week prior to the cotillion, and at the Algiers Auditorium, Beverly was honored by her maternal aunt and uncle Arkesha and Wayne Baquet at “A Date with the Queen: Her Royal Highness, Beverly A. Smith.”

As they were at the cotillion, taste treats were extensive, concluding with a cake decorated in pink, white and gold, and topped with a crown and pearls. Randy Jones, DJ Ram, got the tunes spinning; mistress of ceremonies Charlene Larche Mason and Laci Rouzan Blondell introduced the queen in the presentation, which also had participation by Tanyeka Green Servick, Linda Austin, sponsor Cree Merriman-Jourdain and other members of the queen’s family; and her majesty caught every eye in a pink-and-white striped dress. Suzette Smith, who gave a loving mother-daughter expression, chose a mode of light pink.

Partygoers included many of the cotillion’s luminaries, as well as Gabriel Virdure, Sean Blondell, Lanette Rousseve, Kathy Saloy, Amber Davillier, Tracy Tinguee, Shewayn Watson, and Linda Landry, all paying homage to a radiant Beverly.

Saluting Scholarship

The Audubon Tea Room was the setting for Loyola University New Orleans’ Scholarship Donor Dinner, which was preceded by a twilight reception in the Tea Room’s adjacent garden, where a trio from Loyola’s School of Music entertained with jazzy standards.

Within the Tea Room, embellishment came from Adrian’s Christian Flowers, and the use of hydrangeas, dendrobium orchids, kale and river rocks. Soup, shrimp cakes and bread pudding formed the tasty menu.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Christopher Wiseman, Ph.D., gave the welcome; current Loyola Law School student The Very Rev. Jose I. Lavastida, S.T.D., the invocation; and, for the testimonials, scholarship recipients Latoya Dequair Thomas and Emily Browder spoke. In his last Loyola Scholarship Donor Dinner as Loyola president, the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, SJ, Ph.D., lauded the donors for providing life-changing scholarship funds. The Rev. James C. Carter, SJ, Ph.D., as president emeritus gave the benediction.

Noted in the assembly — some from out of town, some on the board of trustees — were Loyola board Chairman Paul Pastorek with Kathy, and Anne Gauthier, who co-chairs the Faith in the Future Campaign, and Sanford Pailet. Also, Pauline and Allain Hardin, Frank Peragine, Sean and Laura O’Keefe, Sally Duplantier with son David and his wife Melanie, Michelle and Daniel Daigle, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Bobby Savoie and Lori, Robert Bordes with Suzanne Emerson, Tom Kloor with son Dr. Steven, Joy and Joy Barreca, Jim and Pinet McBride, and Steve and Schezy Barbas. And, Carol and Dr. Roland Waguespack and her sister, Jane Gisevius; Krasna Vojkovich with son Frank and daughter Mary Lynn Cvitanovic; and Gaudin family members in Beth (Mrs. Felix), Pete, Myra and Charley, who were celebrating the new family scholarship established in their honor by their children.