A busy week kicked off Sept. 26 with Woman’s Hospital’s annual BUST Breast Cancer event. It's one of numerous events I've covered over the 25 years of party hopping across the greater Baton Rouge area. It's been a blast, and I've had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people and getting to know about the good our nonprofits do to help those in need.
Thank you all for making this a dream job!
BUST Breast Cancer
It’s amazing to see how much BUST Breast Cancer has grown since founder Heather Kleinpeter started the event more than 10 years ago. It has become one of Woman’s Hospital’s biggest fundraisers, and artists scramble to be included in the art bra competition. In a fabulous twist from previous years, all of this year’s models were breast cancer survivors and so were a few of the artists.
Heather and fellow judges Dr. Michael Haley and Dr. Taylor Theunisson had the arduous task of picking the winners at the event staged at L’Auberge Event Center. Taking the honors were artists Denise Bowie and Elizabeth Murphy with model Paula Campesi for Most Mammerable; artist Jane Evans Lundin with model Megan Spencer for Cups of Creativity; artist Lexi Polito with model Kate Stark for Breast Overall; and Tonja McMillian, whose bra was created by Casey Stannard, for Most Spirited Model.
The night also included a zippy live auction with auctioneers Marvin Henderson and Ken Bhuler that raised an additional $18,750 to help Woman’s mobile Mammography Coaches keep providing mammograms to women in underserved areas.
Forty — that’s how many pots of jambalaya me and my fellow judges had to taste Sept. 27 at Dow Chemical’s Jambalaya Throwdown. The judges included Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi; Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso; Clerk of Court Amy Patin; Dow retiree Barry Carville; Riverdale Specialty Meats owner Josh O’Dwyer; and, from Capital Area United Way, President George Bell, Kyle Bove and Ashley Montagnino.
And the winners were, drumroll please, first place — Glycol I’s team of Fred Williams and Richard Moore; and second place — the team of Benny Breaux, Bryan Palmer and Kyle Dierolf from TES Zone and LHC3. The first-place team will represent Dow at CAUW’s Jambalaya Jam in downtown Baton Rouge on Oct. 11.
Dow’s contractors also stepped up for the competition. First-place bragging rights went to the Turner Industries team of Chan Chambers and Joey Letulle. Second place to Triad’s team of Josh Gautreaux and Edward Young.
Just as we wrapped up the tasting, the skies opened up with what old-timers call a gully washer. It turned the trip back to Baton Rouge into an hourlong venture.
Cap Beer Fest
The rain had managed to slow down to a light drizzle, but a fallen tree limb had Cathy Coates and hubby Brian Hales without electricity mere minutes before guests arrived for the “bring a bottle” party for the Animal Alliance’s upcoming Cap Brew Fest. Other than the sticky humidity, it didn’t put a damper on the fun. We ate by candlelight from a menu that, luckily enough, was meant to be served chilled. And, about 45 minutes into the party, the lights came back on and ceiling fans began to do their thing. It was great way to wrap up the day.
Political strategist Mary Matalin was the featured speaker Sept. 28 at WRKF’s sold-out Founders Day Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza. With the Brett Kavanaugh hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee going on, there was no way to avoid talking about the situation. As Matalin defended her friend, a woman from the back of the room stood and shouted, “I believe her!” A few minutes later, when Matalin referred to the victim, Christine Blasey Ford, a woman from the other side of the room called out, “It’s victims, with an s, not victim.”
Things were tense for a while but Matalin ended by thanking the first woman for standing up and speaking out for something she believed in.
The luncheon honored Matalin’s and husband James Carville’s good buddy Cyril Vetter, who stepped in when the public radio station was floundering to serve as interim station manager.
Later in the day, the WRKF luncheon still had people buzzing at a cocktail party hosted by the LSU Roger Ogden Honors College at the lovely home of Barbara and Brian Haymon to honor Matalin, who was accompanied by her husband.
Many of the guests at the gathering were also at the luncheon, including Vetter, Cordell Haymon, Robert Schneckenburger and wife Whitney Vann, Dianne and Kevin Knobloch and Chrissy and Charles Landry. The guests also included John Turner and Jerry Fischer, Virginia and John Noland, Alison and Ty Hingle, Mary Nell and Jake Netterville, Robin and Mark Hebert, Sandy and Gary Young, Leslie and Scott Berg and — I’m so happy you're back in town — Gina and Keith Short.
The last stop on the 28th was Cat Haven’s 17th annual Cat Tales & Cocktails “Go Wild” poolside party at the Crowne Plaza.
Decorations chairwoman Ann Guercio had filled the pool with large floating giraffes, flamingos, tigers and such, lending a playful tone to the evening. The night’s entertainment was the band Stormy, which played some great music from my era. While no one actually got up and headed to the dance floor, there was lots of “chair dancing” going on as folks visited and noshed on the Caribbean-inspired hors d’oeuvres.
I enjoyed visiting with the Ann and family — husband Rob and daughters Merritt and Mimi — as well as with Cindy Berggreen, Connie and Steve Wagner and Lynn and Tommy Guillot.
On Sept. 30, the party patrol began at the LSU Faculty Club, where St. Alban’s Episcopal Church was celebrating its 90th anniversary at a Roaring ’20s Gatsby-inspired dinner. It's believed to be the oldest Episcopal chapel in the United States built on the campus of a public university.
Ed hadn’t arrived before I had to leave, but I did get to visit with Michael Robinson, Don Boutté, the Rev. Drew Rollins and Erma Hines. Thank you to the kind gentleman who loaned me his umbrella so I could go to my car and get mine. After all, there was one more stop to go.
I was then off to a fabulous Supper Club event hosted by Country Roads publishers Ashley and James Fox-Smith at the West Baton Rouge Museum in Port Allen. The night’s theme was “Baton Rouge Blues on the ‘Gold Coast,’ ” a reference to the wealth of blues musicians who played in the many African-American clubs in West Baton Rouge Parish.
The festivities began in the museum’s way-too-cool, real-life Juke Joint, where Smokehouse Brown and Miss Mamie were holding forth. After about an hour, James rang the dinner bell to call everyone to the tented table area for the scrumptious dinner prepared by chefs David Crews and Stewart Robinson, of the Delta Supper Club in Cleveland, Mississippi. My tablemates included Jerry Fischer, John Turner, Helen Pope and Dr. Evelyn Hayes. Also making the trek across the river for the fun were Heather and Jason Day, Johnny Palazzotto and Kathy and Charlie Cole.