The Raising Cane’s River Center Exhibition Hall was awash in a sea of pink Feb. 16 when the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana threw its 30th annual Mardi Gras Ball.
There really are no words to adequately describe the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Ball — at least not words that can be printed in a family newspaper. It is truly an event you must experience firsthand, and I ran into several who were doing so for the first time.
“Washington Mardi Gras one weekend and Spanish Town the next, both for the first time — it’s just too much to process,” an overwhelmed Josh Howard told me.
Reigning over “Drain the Perversion Canal” were Queen Gabby Loubiere and King Daniel Hoffmann, who might be better known as “Golden Boy.” On this night, he traded in his LSU Golden Girl ensemble for a hot pink number. Accompanying the royal couple was Grand Marshal Rudy Tucker.
This year’s theme proved quite inspirational. There were several blind referees, a coach Sandusky, lots of bustiers, fishnet stockings and more pink than you can imagine. Tracy Hudnall, Amanda Ourso and Mindy Babin tried to class up the place with their vintage pink Doris Day dresses and pearls.
Among the thousands getting their pink on were Judy and Gabe Jumonville, Laura and Ken Duhe, Mitzi Miller, Brien Buxton, Michael McDowell, Melissa Parmelee, Ann and Duz Hamilton, Gracie Rigell, Beth Owen, Melina Richards, Nicki Jordan, last year’s queen Jamie Bell, Jerron Jordan, Graham Ulkins, Joshua Hayes, Staci Brimmer, Liz Walker, Lori and Mike Steele, Lou and Chip Coulter and Heather and Jason Day.
Whether you were dancing to the sounds of Tab Benoit and Werewolf, sipping your favorite adult beverage, checking out the table decorations or visiting with friends old and new, it was one fabulous night. Check out our online photo gallery at theadvocate.com.
Heart in Hand
The ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel was packed on Feb. 15 for Manners of the Heart’s annual Heart in Hand Awards Gala. The evening honored members of our community who “choose respect.” Guests were welcomed by the WAFB Morning Team: Diane Deaton, Liz Koh, Lauren Westbrook, Matt Williams and Johnny Ahysen, who was celebrating a birthday that night.
If you’re not familiar with Manners of the Heart, it's the brainchild of Executive Director Jill Rigby Garner. Its mission is to “restore respect and civility in our society by equipping schools, encouraging families and engaging communities in respect-based Heart Education.”
This year’s honorees included LaBelle Aire Elementary second-grade teacher Laurie Taylor, Teacher of the Year; Baton Rouge Center for the Visual & Performing Arts, represented by Principal Candice Hartley and magnet site coordinator Sydney Hebert, School of the Year; Merryville Writing Contest winners Taylor Jackson, a fourth-grader at Highland Elementary, and Jamiah George, a fifth-grader at Glen Oaks Park Elementary. The Champion of Respect award went to iHeart Media.
Among those celebrating the honorees were East Baton Rouge Schools Superintendent Warren Drake, Lettie and Kyle Ardoin, Jackie and Leo Honeycutt, Cyndi and Perry Anderson, Liz Walker and Elise and Nick Garner.
The gala committee included Maureen Andreis, Melissa Grissom, Johanna Landreneau, Crissie Landry, Kristen Macmurdo, Linda Mitchell, Ashley Peré, Sandra and Slater and Jennifer Usher.
As a Valentine’s treat benefiting Preserve Louisiana, good friend Peggy Sweeney-McDonald teamed up with fellow actor Scott Jefferson in a special performance of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” at the Old Governor’s Mansion. Actually, there were two performances, one on Feb. 13 and another Valentine’s evening.
Directed by Perry Martin, Peggy and Scott shared the love affair of the characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, from second grade through college via the love letters they wrote to each other. Making the evening extra special was the fact that Peggy and Scott did a version of “Love Letters” 25 years ago in New Orleans, with Perry as their director. Adding another layer to the performance this go-round was the peek inside the marriage of former Gov. Earl Long and wife Blanche, portrayed by Lynda and Cliff Normand.