Nineteen Les Jeunes Amies seniors were presented Dec. 7 at the Baton Rouge Symphony League's Bal de la Symphonie at the Crowne Plaza, where league President Brandi Rinaudo welcomed guests.

Janay Giblin chaired this year's ball with Shannon Lewy as co-chairwoman. Serving as emcee was John Davis, who introduced the debs carrying monogrammed, silver tussie mussies filled with red roses.

Les Jeunes Amies recognized for their volunteer service to the symphony were Lauren Grace Bankston, daughter of Anita Rodrigue Bankston and the late Ray “Chip” Bankston; Elizabeth Claire Barton, daughter of Jennifer and Shan Allyn Barton; Sydney Grace Boneno, daughter of Kimberly and David Joseph Boneno; Cecilia Elise Cashio, daughter of Maria Cashio and Matthew Trent Cashio; Madison Anne Cheatham, daughter of Katie and Steven Cheatham; Sarah Elisabeth Collier, daughter of Mary Margaret Dobson and Richard Lane Collier; Katherine Holland Counce, daughter of Leigh and Christopher Counce; Flora Elizabeth DeMoss, daughter of Nicole and Darren DeMoss; Katelyn Elizabeth Duhé, daughter of Aimé and Charles Joseph Duhé Jr.

Also, Anna Kern Hebert, daughter of Angelle and Daniel Hebert; Alexandra Stevens Hendrick, daughter of Kathy and Neal Douglas Hendrick; Emma Elizabeth Hidalgo, daughter of Andrée and Kelly Charles Hidalgo; Sophie Grace Kronenberger, daughter of Anna Kathryne and Brian Kronenberger; Mary Kathleen Lee, daughter of Kelly and Lester Hughes Lee Jr.; Hailey Danielle Lewy, daughter of Shannon and Lucien Daniel Lewy III; Ashley Kathleen McCarthy, daughter Jennifer McCarthy and Kevin McCarthy; Madisyn Paige McCarthy, daughter of Anisa and Dale Politz, and Trent and Kelley McCarthy; Ashley Elizabeth Rotolo, daughter of Stacy and Robert Stephen Rotolo; and Ashton Renée Wood, daughter of Jessica and Jeffrey John Wood.

Music for the presentation was by an ensemble from the Baton Rouge Symphony and included the traditional first dance by the debs and their escorts to “Moon River,” choreographed by Tranane Lissard. Following dinner and the presentation, guests danced to music by Sugar Shaker.

Christmas Tea

On Dec. 8, I traveled across the river for the Plaquemine Garden Club’s annual Christmas Tea hosted by Marla Bueche at the home of Steele Loubiere. Club President Donna Carville welcomed guests, with Julie Hebert and Bueche heading the decoration team. 

Thirty-one of the club’s elves transformed the beautifully restored Old Turnerville home into a holiday postcard setting for guests, who were escorted up the steps by members of the St. John Catholic School Beta Club. Adding to the atmosphere with holiday music by John Ramirez, husband of club member Sheryl Ramirez.

Her fellow decorators included Stacey Allain, Peggy Alonzo, Melissa Bertrand, Travis Campesi, Lou Anna Canella, Kathleen Cooper, Lucille Distefano, Kathleen Doyle, Jeannine Dunn, Terri Giaugue, Johnette Gourgnes, Gwendolyn Gum, Mary Jo Hymel, Ann Joffrion, Madeline Kessler, Betty LaBauve, Sandra Landry, Bernadine Legendre, Jennifer Markins, Marian Medine, Ramona Perrin, Patty Phillips, Patricia Ramirez, Arlette Rodrigue, Jackie Simpson, Sandi Stassi, Patsy Williams, Bueche, Carville and Hebert.

Home for the Holidays

The holiday fun continued that evening at the Baton Rouge Symphony’s Home for the Holidays concert at Istrouma Baptist Church. Fox44’s Chad Sabadie served as emcee for the evening, which started with Paula Pennington de la Bretonne announcing that the 2020 guest artist for the Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Great Performers in Concert is none other that country music great Trisha Yearwood. Tickets are already on sale for the March 7 performance, so get yours now at

The entertainment for the evening was performances of the BRSO under the baton of David Torns; and the Symphony Chorus under the direction of David Shaler; and featured soloist Amy Bouchard, who thrilled with her performance of “O Holy Night,” “The Christmas Song” and “Grown Up Christmas List.” They were joined by the Livingston Parish Chorale under the direction of Barbara Walker and Melanie Rushing; and the Greater Baton Rouge Interfaith Ensemble under the direction of Everrett Parker. Catholic High School senior Jefferson Koonce was guest conductor for “Sleigh Ride,” making parents Edy and Jeff beam with pride.

‘Back to the CYO’

Dec. 8 began with a stop by Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s CYO Center where music producer and promoter S.J. Montalbano was launching a new two-CD set of recordings he produced and released from 1958 through 1968. Billed as “Back to the CYO,” the site of hundreds of Montalbano-staged dances during the 1950s and ’60s, it was a constant trickle of fans coming to pick up copies of “You’re Never Too Old to Rock ’n’ Roll” and get them autographed by Montalbano. Lee Tillman's rendition of “All These Things” and Lenny Capella's “Cotton Candy” are part of the set along with lots of other hits.

Campus Club

On Dec. 6, I was with the ladies of Campus Club at their holiday luncheon at the Woman’s Clubhouse. The menu, all prepared by club members, featured a delicious gumbo, assorted finger sandwiches and great desserts — this group knows how to cook.

I had fun visiting with Rhetta Sellers, Chris Enright, Christy Harelson, Margie Whitehead, RoseAnn Martin, Joanne Doolos, Barbara Brown and Cindy Snyder.

Trees of Light

The Hilton Capitol Center’s Heidelberg Ballroom was the setting on Dec. 5 for Hospice of Baton Rouge’s annual Trees of Light Gala. It didn’t take long for the Tip Tops to lure guests onto the dance floor.

Among the guests were Ira Paul Babin, Graig Luscombe, Julia Aycock, Diane and Jim Mayer, Dr. Gerald Miletello, Vera Olds, Mary Beth Chevalier, Carol and Jay Little, Melissa and Trey Little, Linda and Ben Lightfoot, and my colleague Terry Robinson with his wife, Samantha.

100 holiday

From the Hilton, I headed down Third Street to the Trademark, where 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge was celebrating the holiday season. Welcoming guests were President Fred Sibley and André Harmon. Among them were incoming President Michael Adams and wife Brunetta, David Wilson, Kathy and Michael Victorian and Executive Director Trey Godfrey and wife Jennifer. This was the first time the organization had officially gotten together for the holidays, and it was a hit. Their gala, always a fun night, takes place Jan. 11 at L’Auberge. 


My first stop on Dec. 5 was Juban’s where members of the Baton Rouge Association of Women Attorneys were gathering for their annual holiday get-together, organized by Jan Reeves. I enjoyed visiting with Jan, BRAWA President Mary Roper, state Supreme Court Judge Toni Higginbotham and daughter Whitney Greene as well as Kristina Shapiro, who by the time you read this will be married to Jerry Dodson. Congrats, y'all!

Furniture retailers

For 54 years, members of the Greater Baton Rouge Retail Furniture Dealers Association have gotten together to celebrate the holidays. This year’s dinner took place on Dec. 4 at the Baton Rouge Country Club and was  organized by President Gerard Ruth and wife Selma. It was nice to catch up with longtime friend Marla Reeves and to meet her fiancé Lester Bezet and the gang from Southern Signature Accents — Melane Landry, Erin Landry DeRouen and Storm Lantrip Jr.

'All Things Louisiana'

Before joining the furniture party, I stopped by the Governor’s Mansion where Gov. John Bel and Donna Edwards were hosting an open house for members of their staff, friends and family of the 400-plus Louisiana National Guardsmen on active duty. Not only could guests get photos with Louisiana’s first couple, but with Santa, too. 

CASA open house

The headquarters for Court Appointed Special Advocates was a hive of activity on the night of Dec. 3 for its annual holiday open house. The thank-you event for its dedicated volunteers doubled as a shopping trip for kids who might be on your Christmas list. Who knows better what youngsters want than the people who work with them everyday?

It was the perfect solution for former longtime board member Sandra Adams, who got her purchases wrapped by the mothers and daughters with the National Charity League.

Women United

Earlier on Dec. 3, Capital Area United Way board member Kris Cangelosi, who chairs its Women United group, hosted an informational luncheon at Juban’s for a go-getter group of women. Women United has been around for a while, but Cangelosi and veteran members Michelle Hardy and Ginger Goudeau are hard at work trying to strengthen the group and get more women involved.

Aside from these three, attendees also heard from CEO George Bell, who gave some insight into the impact Women United has had on CAUW. “You know they say if you want something done right, ask a woman,” he quipped as we all added an “Amen!”

If you’d like more information on Women United or CAUW, visit

Email Pam Bordelon at