It was a packed house on Feb. 15 for Catholic Community Radio’s fifth annual Jazz & Jam Chef’s Brunch at the Crowne Plaza.
This year’s featured chef was Peter Sclafani, one of the city’s most awarded chefs and, most recently, the king for Karnival Krewe de Louisiane’s Mardi Gras ball. He graciously shared some of his kitchen secrets on sharpening knives, dicing an onion and peeling a tomato, as well as the recipe for shrimp and grits, which was served at the conclusion of his entertaining demonstration. As he told us, “cooking should be fun.”
Helping make the morning so entertaining was Sclafani’s sidekick, Kathleen Lee, co-host of “The Catholic Underground” show with the Rev. Christopher Decker, who has quite a sense of humor. She said cooking chicken nuggets fits more in her wheelhouse and had us all laughing at her confessed lack of kitchen knowledge throughout the presentation.
The event also featured a live auction of a Sclafani-prepared dinner for five with Bishop Michael Duca in the “back room” of Phil’s Oyster Bar. Someone bid $1,000, but then Eddie Rispone said he’d pony up $5,000 if it could be dinner for 10. Sclafani graciously agreed to the proposal and to honor the $1,000 bid for the originally proposed dinner. A win-win for everyone!
Adding a cherry on top the morning was visiting with my tablemates, who, in addition to the bishop, included Catholic Community Radio President David Dawson and his wife, Lisa; volunteer Sara Landreneau Kleinpeter; FranU President Tina Holland and her husband, Pete; and FranU staff Judith Roberson and Cory Williams.
There’s a new guy in charge at the City Club — general manager David Coughlin, who brings 30-plus years of experience to the job. Several of us got to visit with him at a meet-and-greet on Feb. 12 at the monthly Women of the City networking happy hour. Deborah Todd, Marshall Grodner and I had fun talking wine with David, who has some exciting plans for the club’s wine society.
It was also fun visiting with Missy Epperson and Jack Laws as well as exchanging greetings with BeBe Facundus, who was arriving as I was heading out.
Cannonballs for Kayne
Earlier on Feb. 15, I joined several members of the Bengal Belles and their fearless leader Aimée Simon; the Vintage Band from Tigerland, made up of Tiger Band alumni; and Kirsten Finley and son Keagan as they spread some Carnival cheer with patients at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.
Everyone was there as part of Cannonballs for Kayne, the foundation started by the Finleys and their son Kayne after he was diagnosed with a rare, cancerous childhood brain tumor. Kayne, who lived in Florida, fulfilled a dream and came to LSU in 2017 and quickly endeared himself and his family to the school and the Bengal Belles. Kayne lost his battle that November, but his family is still very much a part of the LSU family as well as the OLOL Children’s Hospital, where he received care while he was in Baton Rouge.
There were goodie bags, Mardi Gras beads, second-line umbrellas and music, which we all know heals the soul. Everyone was sporting a smile — even those patients for whom it was a struggle.