Last week was quiet until we got to the weekend, with two events on Saturday night and one on Sunday. And, what they all were!

Centennial Celebration

Peggy and Charles Coates were tripping the light fantastic to the sounds of Ned Fasullo & the Big Band Orchestra when I arrived at the Renaissance Hotel for the Centennial Celebration Gala of the Louisiana Section, American Society of Civil Engineers on Aug. 9. Seems this group of engineers was ready to party!

Welcoming the several hundred guests was Section President Bob Jacobsen. Featured speaker for the evening was Sherri LeBas, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation. Miles Bingham, chairman of the Centennial Awards committee, and committee members Kam Movassaghi, Paul Fossier Jr. and Ali Mustapha presented awards to 15 projects ranging from transportation structures to levees to pump stations and Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

Rudolph Simoneaux III chaired the gala committee, whose members included Steve Johns, Pamela Gonzales-Granger, Nedra Davis, Danielle Welborn, Dina Knight and Jennifer Shortess.

Crystal Carnac

It was a quick in and out at the Renaissance because I had to go check in with the Crystal Carnac Society at its ninth annual LSU Football Prediction Party, hosted this year by Beth and Steve Tope. I also wasn’t wearing cocktail attire (the gala was a black-tie optional event) but rather my Auburn orange and blue. Somebody had to break up that sea of purple and gold, right?

Now to explain about the society. It was formed by Beth, Sharon Pol, Elise Kaufman and LeeAnn Raynor and is composed of LSU alumni and/or Bengal Belle members and their spouses. Everyone fills out what has evolved into an intricate prediction form and the winner gets a year’s possession of the Crystal Carnac trophy. They also get to host the following year’s party.

Can’t wait to see who wins the trophy next!

‘Cutthroat Kitchen’

Jay Ducote and I first met when we participated in the “Meanwhile, Back at Café du Monde” food monologue show with Peggy Sweeney McDonald. He was just beginning to make a name for himself as a food blogger (; now he’s added radio and TV personality, chef and barbecue sauce creator to his job title.

On Aug. 10, he was one of three chefs competing on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Some 200 fans of Jay filled the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar to cheer him on, and while he got cut after the second round (sabotaged by a damn Yankee bearing overcooked chickpeas), he’s still No. 1 in our book.

To view photos, please click here.

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