Dates with Designers
Each year, Longue Vue House & Gardens holds its Essence of Design Symposium, starting with an exquisite patron party followed the next day by a luncheon and lecture. Usually, a book-signing, too.
For 2017, the symposium presented the prominent interior designer Richard Keith Langham, who has worked with such luminaries as Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis, Pat (Mrs. William F.) Buckley and Academy Award-winning actress Hillary Swank at their residences. Color and comfort are prominent in his stylish rooms. The second speaker, Rebecca Vizard, is known for her innovative use of rare and beautiful textiles. Both speakers had books to sign after the luncheon.
Headliners included Symposium Chairwomen Suzanne Krieger and Kathy Weidner with respective daughters Katie and Adele, Friends of Longue Vue President Louis J. Aubert, new LV executive director Maria Pote with husband Brad, current board President Carol Reese with Thomas “Tom,” incoming President Wayne Woods with Gwen, board member Suzanne Dumez, Sarah Vizard with mom Rebecca, editor-in-chief and founder of Flower magazine Margot Shaw and Friends of Longue Vue. Among the latter were Carol Hall, treasurer and symposium auction chairwoman, with John; Joann Christopher; Erin Fleming; Dianna McCurnin with Pat; and Dave Maher with Jane.
At the 5-7 p.m. reception held at Longue Vue, guests enjoyed the easy flow through the Great Hall, Wine Cellar (for bourbon and a charcuterie board) and Front Room. The passed hors d’oeuvres were by Brennan’s. Adding to the ambiance was soft lighting in the house and a cappella renditions by Sarah Quintana. A wine pull and a live auction (including a Wine Cellar dinner for 12) added further delights.
The next-day luncheon at The Cannery featured auction items, choice selections from The Shop at Longue Vue, the welcome and introductions, a Ralph Brennan Catering & Events luncheon of salad, Gulf fish and chocolate doberge cake, the talks and the book signings. All thanked Presenting Sponsor the J. Edgar Monroe Foundation.
A Night of Blue
“Music, food, open bar and auction celebrating our First Responders” beckoned from the invitation in colors of black, white and blue issued by Crimestoppers GNO for its “A Night of Blue” at Generations Hall. John A. “Jay” Batt Jr. and Kathy Zetzmann (with Robert) chaired the patron party, which featured The Royal Boys Choir. Then came the main event and, during the evening, more than 500 people amassed, most wearing blue. Proceeds will support the Youth Crime Prevention Programs.
Entertainment was manifold, thanks to musical contributions by Rockin’ Dopsie, Charmaine Neville, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Kermit Ruffins, James Andrews and the Bucktown All-Stars. More than 30 fine restaurants offered delicious eats; the silent auction lined up guests for bidding on 125 creative packages and items; Richard CPAS LLC and The Schafer Group Ltd. were the Captain sponsors (the top listing); and the honorary chaircouples were Jefferson Sheriff Joseph “Joe” and Lauren Lopinto and New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael and C.C. Harrison. Former Sheriff Newell Normand (who received a tribute) and Shawn chaired the bash, and Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris and Paige Roberts were the committee chaircouple.
More mastheaders were Crimestoppers President and CEO Darlene Cusanza with Sal, Sheriff Randy Smith, Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser, Pam and Kern Schafer, Tommy Fonseca, Christine Vinson, Bob DeFelice, Tod Smith, Caryn and Todd Rodgers, Greg and Rhonda Elder, Dr. Jeff Elder and Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.
In keeping with the chromatic theme, the decorations were bunches of white, blue and black balloons that were placed throughout and tables with glass bowls holding blue twinkle lights, all for a bright “Night.”
The Netherlands Nod
“I am so surprised. I didn’t expect this.” So said Constance “Conny” Charles Willems at the end of a memorable evening. During the course of the reception and program held in the Opera Guild Home, she was honored for her 28 years of service as honorary consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Miami-based consul general, Gerdine Sneller, came in for the event, but the surprise visitor was Ambassador H.E. Schuwer, whose presence was a top secret until his arrival at the ceremony. He also invested her as “Ridder” (knight) in de Order of Oranje Nassau for “special, personal merits for society.” Yet another recognition came from Deputy Mayor of New Orleans Brooke Smith.
In her prepared words, Conny Willems addressed Consul General Sneller, economic officer Esther van Geloven, Consular Corps Dean Greg Beuerman, consular colleagues, business leaders, members of the Dutch community and her successor, Deirdre McGlinchey, and Deirdre’s family. Thanks were extended to Michael Olivier, Caitlyn Cain, Quentin Messner, Cedric Grant, Sandy Rosenthal, Tommy Lofton, the Netherlands Government (for her opportunity to serve Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for 28 years), Rudy Aguilar, Richard Aguilar, Woody Norwood, Ellen (Mrs. Dermot) McGlinchey, Susan Fullmer, Linda Simpson, Adrienne Parnell, the Holland Club, Eric Gossiaux, Max Winkeler, and her husband, Casey Willems, the “consul’s consort.” She called him her love and best friend and praised his tireless work for the consulate. “Deirdre,” she concluded, “I am glad you are my successor.”
Flowers in orange (tulips, peonies, roses and more) from Ambrose Garden embellished the gorgeous rooms of the Opera Guild Home, and Ralph Brennan Catering prepared choice items, including “bitterballen.” Meanwhile, congratulations flowed to Deirdre and to the radiant Conny.
A 40th salute
Tulane’s Biomedical Engineering Department, one of the oldest in the country, celebrated a milestone 40th anniversary with a series of events, most notably a gala dinner in the Audubon Tea Room. University President Mike Fitts gave a presentation outlining the department’s history and accomplishments. The dinner’s highlight was Steve Gleason’s presentation about his journey and goals and how biomedical engineering enables him to function. You could hear a pin drop.
Master of ceremonies department Chairman Dr. Donald P. Gaver (with Bernice) spoke about the rebirth of the department and future opportunities. He then paid tribute to past Chairmen Drs. William Van Buskirk (with Joy), Cedric F. Walker and Richard T. Hart (with Sylvia). Awards were given to Steve Gleason, Dr. J. Monroe Laborde as the outstanding alumnus, and Dr. James Korndorffer for extraordinary service to the department.
More notables were Paul Varisco, Dr. Eric Ehrensing with Sarah, Kathleen McCulla, Dr. Robert Bruce with Ann, Sabrina Johnson, Scot Ackerman, Kevin Dellsperger, Maria Oden, Stephanie Kute, Samir Ghadiali, Crawford Downs and Marta Villarraga.
The meal and music were by Audubon Tea Room Special Events (with event planner Vivian Eppling) and the centerpieces by Fat Cat Flowers. It is locally owned by Tulane alumna Diane Mouton.