The seventh annual Jewel of Madisonville gala and auction benefiting St. Anselm Catholic Church was July 19 at the Castine Center in Mandeville. St. Anselm is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the parish, including the 2009 completion of its beautiful church in downtown Madisonville.

Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues provided the entertainment, and the ballroom was decorated with black linen and gold lamé accents. Centerpieces varied between floating white roses in clear vases, to sparkling, crystal beadwork suspended in tall luminaries.

More than 50 local restaurants provided dishes and beverages to patrons throughout the evening with specialties such as crawfish Monica, smoked salmon and crab cakes, and Death by Chocolate cake.

Highlights of the event included a raffle for a 2014 Buick LaCrosse, donated by Rainbow Northshore, a spinning “Wine Wheel,” a martini bar with hand-painted glassware, and an auction table filled with donated jeweled rosaries, religious icons and hand-carved crucifixes.

Monsignor Frank Giroir serves as pastor for the church and chairman of the event. The Rev. Gary Copping is the parochial vicar. Deacon Jack and Debbie Glover and Deacon Abner and Fatima Guillory along with permanent diaconate candidate Patrick and Kelly Wellmeyer were also in attendance at the stunning gala.

The church will celebrate its jubilee with an anniversary Mass to be led by Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Sept. 6 at 4 p.m.

‘Smart Women Make It Happen’

The Women of Infinite Possibilities presented its annual Smart Women’s Day Out recently at Vintage Court in Covington. WIP gathers regularly to provide opportunities for women to build relationships, learn about and support community needs and explore the ideas and options of their own personal “infinite possibilities and legacies.” Regular meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at Grace Disciples of Christ Church in Covington.

The theme for this year’s event was “Smart Women Make It Happen.” Featured speakers for the daylong retreat included chef Leah Chase, talented singer and entertainer Lena Prima, performer Irma Thomas, the charming Rosemary Clement, businesswoman Kim Walker and entrepreneur Angelle Albright. Nearly 200 women gathered in the beautiful ballroom at Vintage Court to share ideas and celebrate new friendships.

Smart Women’s Day Out is the annual fundraiser for WIP. Proceeds from this year’s event help support the group’s 2014 “Legacy Partners”: the Covington Food Bank; Hope House — Children’s Advocacy Center; Hospice Foundation of the South; NAMI St. Tammany; and Puppets with a Purpose — Keep Mandeville Beautiful.

Officers within the organization include Pemmie Sheasby, president; Susan Shaffette, vice president; Connie Varuso, treasurer; Mimi Richard, secretary; and Jax Frey and Sandra Silfer, past presidents. For information on joining the Women of Infinite Possibilities organization, visit or

Missie Arata Noel is the society and features writer for the St. Tammany Advocate. She can be contacted by email at