Wow, talk about time flying. I moved to Baton Rouge 40 years ago and have been covering our city's social scene for 25-plus years. Thank you John Spain and the Manship family for bringing me here all those years ago and to everyone here for making this small-town Alabama gal feel so welcome. Now, let's get to the parties.
The Charity Ball Association fêted this year’s debutante coterie on May 22 at a French Picnic at the Baton Rouge Country Club. Welcoming guests were President Stephanie Grand and tea co-chairwomen Carol Regan and Amber Saia.
The debs are Mary Caroline Dansky, daughter of Rachel and David Dansky; Katherine McCall D’Armond, daughter of Teri and Tom D’Armond; Anna Katherine Garrett, daughter of Rachel and Paul Garrett; Mary Brandon Harrell, daughter of Catherine and Christopher Harrell; Katherine Farley Hudson, daughter of Danelle and Thomas Hudson; Julia LeBlanc, daughter of Jean Ann and Burton LeBlanc; Anna Marceline Mayeaux, daughter of Lisa and Paul Mayeaux; Laura Charlotte McKernan, daughter of Shannon and Gordon McKernan; Grace Ann Nader, daughter of Holland and Breaux Nader; Anna Brandli Roberts, daughter of Brandli Wiemer Roberts and Paul W. Roberts; Amanda Mary Solomon, daughter of Anne and James Solomon; Lura Elizabeth Stabiler, daughter of Mary and Warren Stabiler; and Kelly Clare Stephens, daughter of Karen and Anthony Stephens.
The 13 young women will be presented Dec. 28 at the association’s annual Le Bal de Noel at the Crowne Plaza.
The Knock Knock Children’s Museum also was in the party spirit on May 22 for the second KNOCKturnal Nights: Grown Ups at Play. This year’s theme was Havana ohh-Knock-Knock, which meant everyone donned their most tropical island-inspired attire for a night of not acting their ages. Vintage 1950s cars stood sentry at the museum’s entrance. Inside, a couple of scientists from Dow created some interesting cocktails with a large canister of liquid nitrogen — hey, the museum is all about hands-on learning.
This was only the third week on the job for Knock Knock’s new Executive Director Peter Claffey, who sported a big grin all night. He said earlier that he was impressed by the community’s passion and support for the museum, and events like this one are more than ample proof.
Among the partygoers were Staci Duhé, Cate Heroman and Kelli Stevens, three of the museum’s founding committee. That group also includes Aza Bowlin, Kelli Harton and Cricket Gordon. As a community, we own them a huge thank-you!
May 22nd began at the Flower Lovers Garden Guild’s annual luncheon at Mike Anderson’s Seafood Restaurant. Guest speaker for the event was Lois Holden, wife of former Mayor Kip Holden. She shared how flowers have always been a part of her life, from a young girl admiring her mother’s green thumb to Kip wooing her with bouquets — something she said he still does after 33 years of marriage.
“Flowers bring people together,” said Holden, who ended with three challenges to guild members and guests: keep learning, keep going, keep growing.
President Juanita Horton recognized the group’s "Roses," members who are 90 or older. They included Eva Fields, Joyce Harrison, Mildred Terry and a 99-years-young Doveal Essex. Lena Baker was recognized as the “Flower of the Year” by Horton but was unable to attend due to illness.
Continuing a very full May 22, the second stop of the day was the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s annual meeting. Police cordoned off the portion of Sixth Street in front of Cocha Restaurant for the primarily outdoor celebration. After welcoming guests, CEO Renée Chatelain invited everyone to walk to the corner of Sixth and Main. There, we spied Terreze Williams dancing down the sidewalk picking balloons along the way until she reached a fabulous Tree of Life mural on the side of the building directly in front of Cocha.
The mural is a still-in-progress project of the Arts Council’s Block Beautification, which involves artist Taylor Jacobsen and families of RISE (Rehabilitating Individuals through Strategic Encounters), a program of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
Williams wasn’t the only one in the spotlight, though. Renowned stained-glass artist Sam Corso received the Michael Crespo Arts Fellowship, which is underwritten by local art patron Cary Saurage. The award was presented by Catherine and Laurie Saurage, the wives of his nephews, Matt and Hank.
Chatelain also updated everyone of the success of the Ebb & Flow Festival, the soon-to-be-launched Flow BR app, the council’s impending move to what's known as the Triangle Building and the results of a research study funded by the Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Foundation on the effect of arts education on academic achievement; social and emotional health; and classroom behavior in the state.
The lovely women of Trianon, the auxiliary to the ARC of Baton Rouge, once again invited me to share in their annual luncheon, which was held May 23 at the Bocage Racquet Club.
Outgoing President Carroll Benedetto put a unique twist on things when she introduced the newly elected officers for 2019-2020. President Rose Ann Martin received a Hershey bar, the longtime recognized “leader” of candy bars, and another one with almonds because “you have to be a little nutty to take this job.” Vice President Melissa Ferrari got a Nestles Crunch, for when she’s called on “in a crunch” to preside over meetings. Recording Secretary Chris Enright was presented with an Outrageous candy bar, since her job will be to keep accurate minutes and “will not get home and think who made that outrageous remark.” Corresponding Secretary Sandra Fox got a Butterfinger, since she’ll “need butterfingers” for her job. For Treasurer Linda Michelli, it was a Payday, which was pretty self-explanatory. Historian Adele Noonan, who turned 90 in April and is now my idol, was presented an Almond Joy because she'll have “the joy of preserving this year’s achievements and accomplishments.” And Parliamentarian Trish Sedlin got Life Savers, for being a “lifesaver when questions arise about proper procedures.”
Before calling it a wrap, Benedetto announced that this year’s Holiday Luncheon will take place Nov. 1 at Drusilla Catering.
Big Buddy wrap-up
One of downsides of Dancing with Big Buddy is that once the show’s over you don’t see the new friends you saw on a weekly basis anymore. You start rehearsals in January and spend a couple of hours a week with your professional dancer and other rehearsing Star Dancers in the same studio space until the big night, which was April 27. So, any excuse to get everyone back together again is golden.
Truly and Chris Remson, who were the No. 1 fundraisers with $35,000, opened their home May 23 for the official Wrap-Up Party. Co-chairwoman Monique Scott-Spaulding shared the good news that this year’s event raised almost $305,000 — the second highest amount in the event's history. Star Dancer Sarah Fautheree raised $34,267 and Sherry Mockler brought in $31,600 plus. It was the first time in the 13-history of the event that the top three Star Dancers brought in more than $30,000.
And that wasn’t the only record set — the table challenge raised $16,799 for the Little Buddies.
Adding their thanks were event Co-chairman Leonard Augustus, who served as choreographer for several of the Star Dancers, and Executive Director Gaylynne Mack.
Ten of the Capital City’s go-getter women were honored at Business Report’s annual Influential Women in Business on May 21 at the Crowne Plaza. The ballroom was packed with movers and shakers, many past honorees, as well as more than a few gentlemen there to cheer them on.
The honorees were Stephanie Cargile, public and government affairs manager at ExxonMobil Baton Rouge; Jennifer Eplett Reilly, founding chairwoman of New Schools for Baton Rouge and co-founder of City Year Inc.; Dima Ghawi, career coach, motivational speaker and author; Camille Manning-Broome, president/CEO of Center for Planning Excellence; Robyn Merrick, vice president for external affairs at Southern University; Caroline Roemer, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools; Donna Saurage, sole manager of CCC Holdings/Community Coffee Co.; Kathy Trahan, president/CEO of the Alliance Safety Council; Raedtha Vasquez, a partner at Jones Walker; and Colleen Waguespack, founder/owner of Fig & Dove.