Barely recovered from hosting the Miss USA Pageant contingent, L’Auberge Casino & Hotel was again the hot spot in town the night of July 15 with two big events taking place. It was crawling with former LSU athletes and coaches as the site of both the Children’s Advocacy Center’s Celebrity Waiter Event and the Suits & Sneakers ESPY viewing party, benefiting the Mary Bird Perkins — Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.
LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri and his Southern University counterpart, Roger Cador, headlined an all-star cast of local celebrities donning aprons to wait hand and foot on guests at the ninth annual event. Joining them were Southern men’s basketball coach Roman Banks, Miss LSU-USA Ashley Barbier, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, assistant LSU women’s basketball coach Tasha Butts, coroner Beau Clark, former LSU and major league pitcher Patrick Coogan, Metro Council member John Delgado, State Police Commander Mike Edmondson and wife Suzanne, former LSU and NFL player Eddie Fuller, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, Mayor Kip Holden, Southern track and field coach Brian Johnson, Baton Rouge Community College women’s basketball coach Paula Lee, Zachary Police Chief David McDavid, Ryan Maranto, Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles and District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Also vying for tips were Miss Louisiana-Miss America April Nelson, LSU assistant coach Ed Ogeron, former LSU baseball player Michael Papajohn, assistant LSU women’s basketball coach Tony Perotti, Tiger Athletic Foundation CEO Rick Perry, Southern women’s basketball coach Sandy Pugh, former LSU baseball player Ronnie Rantz, sportsman Gary Rispone, Guaranty Broadcasting general manager Gordy Rush, Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi, Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain, TV personality Whitney Vann, LSU Alumni Foundation CEO Cliff Vannoy, former LSU and NFL player Justin Vincent, Neighbors Federal Credit Union CEO Steve Ward , the LSU Golden Girls and Mike the Tiger.
When all the tip tickets were tallied Ward was declared the winner, earning an impressive $1,133. Entertaining the packed ballroom was David St. Romain. The live auction, conducted by Brian Fourroux with help from emcees Bill Profita and Kevin Gallagher of Talk 107.3, featured a trip to New Orleans, the ultimate fishing trip, LSU football and baseball packages, the chance to be a Trooper for a Day and an apron signed by all the celebrity waiters.
‘Suits & Sneakers’
Gordy Rush, Ronnie Rantz and Justin Vincent were splitting their time between the ballroom and L’Auberge’s Stadium Sports Bar & Grill, site of “Suits & Sneakers.” The place was packed with die-hard sports fans who wanted to rub shoulders with the who’s who of the local sports scene while watching ESPN’s ESPY Awards show on the big screens.
Along with Rush and Rantz, commentary was also provided by Guaranty Broadcasting’s Charles Hanagriff, Jimmy Ott, Derek Ponamsky, Jordy Culotta and Matt Moscona; and WBRZ-TV Sports Director Michael Cauble.
The following night had me hanging out with preservationists at the Foundation for Historical Louisiana’s 39th annual Preservation Awards Banquet at the City Club. Serving as emcees for the night were current board Chairman Mark Upton and Chairman Emeritus Doug Cochran. They not only kept things on track but were entertaining in the process.
Also entertaining were my tablemates Bobbie Cary, Angela deGravelles, Darryl Gissel, Mike Rayborn and Cammie and David Norwood. Sometimes, sitting at the back corner table has its advantages.
This year’s honorees included Shell Corp., Corporate Preservation Award for restoration of Ashland-Belle Helene in Ascension Parish; West Baton Rouge Museum, Brick & Mortar Award for restoration of the Arbroth Plantation Mercantile Store, accepted by Julie Rose and Tom Acosta; STR One, Phoenix Award for restoration of the Dupree Apartments in Spanish Town, accepted by Robert Lay and Benjamin Stalter; and Dianne and Ernest Gaines, Preservation Award, for preservation of the church and cemetery at River Lake Plantation, the author’s boyhood home and setting for numerous of his award-winning novels.
It was a three-peat for Weinstein Nelson Developers and Dyke Nelson Architecture. David Weinstein and Nelson took home another Preservation Award, this time for the restoration and adaptation of 440 on Third.
A special Preservation Award was presented to Donna and John Cummings for envisioning and creating the Whitney Plantation Museum in St. John the Baptist Parish. Whitney is the only plantation dedicated to the history of slave life.
Lynda Hrgroder received the foundation’s Volunteer of the Year award and a special video presentation highlighted the 30-year career of FHL Executive Director Carolyn Bennett, who is retiring at the end of the year.
‘Big Baby’ tour
Before the preservation awards, I popped in at Ruffino’s at De La Ronde for cocktails with former LSU basketball and current Los Angeles Clippers player Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who recently returned home for his fifth annual “Booking it with Baby” book tour. He was hosting a VIP reception and dinner for sponsors and partners of the book tour, which had Davis reading to children of all ages at various locations around town.
The guest list included former LSU football coach Gerry DiNardo and wife Terri, Gaye and Mike Hollligsworth, Debbie Anselmo, Mary and Bob Lobos, Terry and Conway LeBlanc.
South of the border
Andrew Miller brought some amazing wines from Argentina, Chile and Spain with him to the wine dinner at Matherne’s July 17. He joked that he’d been in town in early June and it wasn’t quite hot enough so he came back. Those of us lucky enough to taste these new-to-Baton Rouge wines are very glad Miller returned.
My favorites were the Mistinguett Brute Cava, the 2013 Saurus Pinot Noir, the 2009 La Puerta Reserva Blend and the 2010 Familia Schroeder Pinot Noir/Malbec.
Co-hosting the dinner with Miller were Jennifer Carville and John Skidmore, both with Glazer’s Distributors.
‘Party for Randell’
Friends and family gathered at Baton Rouge Gallery July 19 to celebrate the career of veteran member artist Randell Henry. Henry is an art professor at Southern University and is known for his mixed-media collage paintings. Aside from Baton Rouge Gallery, his works have been displayed at the Southern Museum of Art, West Baton Rouge Museum, Dallas Museum of African American Art, the Museum of Arts & Science in Daytona Beach, Florida and the National Museum of Ghana.
Among those taking part in the program, organized by the Rev. Darlene Moore, of Winan United Methodist Church, were Sadie Roberts-Joseph, director of the Odell S. Williams Now & Then African American Museum; Myrtle David, executive director of the DeBose Foundation; Ronald Kennedy, of the Black Artist Network; Jason Andreasen, executive director of Baton Rouge Gallery; and the Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church praise dance ministry.
Follow Pam on Twitter @pamspartyline. Items for Pam’s Party Line must be received by 9 a.m. the Monday preceding the run date. High-resolution digital photos should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hard copy photos should be dropped off at or mailed to The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70821.