Clearly motherhood has changed.

One need only cite the endless stream of articles cautioning mothers concerning children’s social and emotional development, how much they should share — it's called “sharenting” — about their children on social media and how better to help children vocalize discomfort. (That last one used to be simple: They cried.)

Thanks to maternal post-traumatic stress disorder, my flashbacks are still fairly frequent, although I completely buried the time our cat fell down the chimney. The cat had no trouble vocalizing discomfort either, so I called the Scott Fire Department. Life in a small town used to be simple too — you called, men would come. The firefighters promptly tied a rope around my 6-year-old daughter’s waist and lowered her down the chimney.

For those gasping, “Oh, my God! How could she? How could they?” and wondering what the statute of limitations is on child abuse, it turns out my daughter was not irreparably scarred by this incident. Maybe it’s the Army in me, but courage is the most valuable thing you can give a child, and you do your daughters — and sons — a disservice if you deny them the chance to be brave.

This is how my daughter recounted the story recently, her exact words some three decades later:

“The cat has been compromised. Copy that.”

“I went in with one in the chamber, eight in the clip. It was a HALO (high altitude, low opening) job, complete darkness. Night vision goggles. It wasn’t Hello Kitty; it was HALO Kitty.”

The Scott Fire Department around 1987. Into the chimney. “She can fit, no one else can,” they said. “Mission Impossible. A pitch black extraction. She’s airborne."

"No cat left behind.”


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate.  She can be reached at Fete@theadvocate.com.

Aioli Dinner

This was the cat’s meow, an absolutely stunning event. Frankie and Charon Harris opened their home to the Aioli Dinner Supper Club, a fundraiser to benefit the arts in education programs of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts. VIP guests enjoyed Champagne, six courses courtesy of chef Ryan Trahan of — where else? — The Blue Dog, and staging Rodrigue’s famous work.

“It’s an honor to carry on his legacy by re-creating his most famous painting,” said Jacques Rodrigue. “The arts can be kept in schools.” Color-coded guests dressed in black and white included Kiki Frayard et famille, Dr. Jay and Therese Culotta, and Marcello’s owner Gene Todaro, who provided the wines and optional take-home bags, half of whose proceeds went to the foundation.

Classical Concert

Elsewhere in black and white, pianist Chan Kiat Lim and bass baritone Shawn Roy had audiences sneaking in early to hear their concert at Angelle Hall. “We’re doing German and American composers,” said Lim. “Clara Schumann, Florence Price — two less prominent women we’re trying to bring into prominence. Now on to Houston.” Arriving early to get a good seat were Drs. Ronnie Daigle and Patricia Cran, and Dean and Mona Burris.

Little GTO

You're really looking fine, and they did. Classical in their own right, nine-piece GTO Party Band played Rhythms on the River to a hefty crowd. We caught up with saxophone and drums member Kyle Deroche and singer Amy Arceneaux during their sound check, and looking fine also were Jim Underwood, Linda Gondron and handsome sports talk host Greg Larnard, who kicked off the proceedings.

Festival Lagniappe

It ain’t over till it’s over. Another Festival International has come and gone, but the memories remain. For instance, breaker Terrance Morgan and his DJ buddies stealing the show at Parc Jam.

Garden Party

Sarah Schoeffler hosted Family Promise for her famous two-day Southern Garden Festival. "We've done this event for 13 years," said Family Promise director Renee Menard.  "It's our 15th anniversary for serving Lafayette families, from homelessness to homeowners to graduating college. We receive no state or federal funding."  Sabra and the Get Rights played, Schoeffler gardened until show time, and enjoying the alfresco ambiance and silent auction were Bill and Louise Ganucheau, Rick and Gretchen Stewart, and Caroline and Kearney Leger, who recently marked their 49th wedding anniversary.

Toast of the Town

The Pavillion welcomed Maddie's Footprints for its annual Toast of the Town Gala. Sponsored by Louisiana Organization for Transplant and Audi, VIP guests were treated to a cocktail buffet of beef Wellington and oysters Rockefeller, the band Louisiana Red and an auction line with everything from Roddie Romero & Wine to an Oryx Hunt. What we loved: The gentlemen in cowboy hats, not the least of which was Armory Outfitters USA's Eric von Wade. If the blade business doesn't work out, there's always Hollywood. Founded by Lori McGrew, Maddie's Footprints assists grieving families who've lost an infant.