St. Jude Dream Home

Builders Bryan and Sylvia McLain revealed their latest giveaway house at a grand opening in Broussard. Located in The Reserve subdivision at 103 Habitat Ridge Drive, the home caused its own traffic jam as fans turned out for tours. “We donate the lot and build the house,” said McLain of the out-of-the-way location. “And we try to help a new development at the same time.” Taking in the 3,700 square feet of four bedrooms, as many baths, pool with fire bowl, sleeping pods with swinging rope beds, air-conditioned garage and more were artist Garnet LeMaire, Townsquare talent Tracy Wirtz and Pam Begneaud, and Dominique Gabriel, who said, “I’m prayin’ to God I win it.” Who could blame her, the paint alone was heaven. Begun in 1991 by a Shreveport physician, the St. Jude Dream Home giveaway helps children with catastrophic diseases defray the cost of care.

In stitches

And they were, at designer Raoul Blanco’s reception and house party for beading expert Robert Haven from New Hampshire. The Lesage-certified, retired faculty member of the University of Kentucky is in Lafayette on extended stay to impart techniques from the 130-year-old embroidery house in Paris and described it like this over cocktails, “A dance of the hands, executed with the grace of the waltz and the precision of the tango. The left hand does 98 percent of the work, all underneath the fabric.” Although Paris said it couldn’t be done, he completed the year-long Lesage course in just 8 weeks — no challenge for a 13th-generation Yankee. Also certified by the Royal School of Needlework in London where the Her Majesty’s embellishments are maintained, Haven goes to Toronto twice yearly, is halfway through producing a book on techniques in tambour embroidery, and thanks to stints in Japan, can kabuki up a costume with all the adornments. Lucky Jennifer LeBlanc on hiatus from the legislature got to try on textiles fit for a queen — the rest dined like kings.


Bob and Judy Dunn invited hopeful Acadiana Symphony Orchestra supporters over for their Raffle around the World announcement party the first week in May. The purpose of the raffle was to raise funds for the symphony’s music and education programs, and the winner will spend 10 days and nine nights aboard The World, the largest private residential ship on the planet — or so they say — a 12-story combination yacht and floating vacation condominium complex. The World cruises around the globe, spending time in exotic ports and allowing residents to explore their new neighborhoods every few days. Party guests enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres, while the winners, who declined to be disclosed as such, enjoyed a whole lot more.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at or at