Welcome to November! Did you remember to "fall back" with the end of Daylight Saving Time?
I don't know about you, but I definitely needed to gain an extra hour today. October is one of the busiest party months of the year and it went out with a bang.
'Betting on a Cure'
This year's Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Wine Opener had a casino feel — Vegas-style showgirls welcomed guests to Sullivan's Steakhouse Oct. 29 for the 15th annual fundraiser. Once there, they were handed wine glasses and a list of the wines being poured inside the main dining room by reps from Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits. In the bar, Champagne was bubbling and Sullivan's trademark Knock Out martinis were being shaken, not stirred. Assisting Sullivan's chef Leighton Carbo with the heavy hors d’oeuvres were chef Don Bergeron, City Pork Brasserie & Bar and Mansurs on the Boulevard/French Market Bistro.
This event has an amazing committee, a dedicated group of women and a few men who step up to ensure everything is top notch. Sullivan's general manager Leo Verde, as always, was making sure everything was perfect and that everyone was having a grand time. He did have a moment early in the evening. The niece of "Aunt Pat," the anonymous donor who last year wrote a check for $1 million to the foundation, came up to thank him for all he's done since the event has been at Sullivan's. He in turn thanked her for her family's generosity and asked if she'd like to see the check (you know, the big ones used for photo ops) that he kept kind of like a good-luck charm. Let's just say that was an emotional moment for both that won't be forgotten anytime soon.
Every year the Young Lawyers Section of the Baton Rouge Bar Association challenges local law firms, law school students and associate members to cook up their best dish and Belly Up With the Bar. This is a competitive group, and everyone wants to win the prizes.
On Oct. 27, 35 teams, their co-workers, family, friends and colleagues gathered at Live Oak Arabians for all the festivities. While we table-danced to the sounds of Storywood, judges Franz Borghardt, Patrick Mulhearn, Karen and Bill Profita, Robert Ruffino, Jacob Talley, William Wells, The Advocate's Red editor Matt Sigur and I sampled several adult beverages and some of the best grub served up in several years. After much deliberation, we finally came up with the winners. Drum roll, please. Best Grub first place went to Scott Law Firm's Korean Barbecue Tacos (my absolute favorite of the night); Best Grub second place to Baker Donelson's "Classy Cajuns" for their Red Beans and Rice Arancini, Pickled Okra Remoulade and Andouille Garnish; and Best Grub third place, Breazeale Sachse & Wilson's "Bistro Breazeale" for its Langoustine Mac et Fromage (my other favorite); Best of Show, which includes not just the food but presentation and booth décor, went to the Kean Miller team's Brunch & BM’s with KM and its Shrimp and Grits with Bloody Marys.
We weren't the only ones casting votes. Taking home bragging rights as the People's Choice Food was the Chili and Fixin's served by Hammonds Sills Adkins & Guice. The People's Choice Elixir was Taylor Porter's Fiesta with the Best-a Pinarita.
'Spirits of Louisiana'
The No. 1 event on Oct. 26 was the "Spirits of Louisiana" Gala at the Old State Capitol. Spirits meant two things — the ghosts said to inhabit the building and the libations brewed here in the state. Definitely a winning recipe!
To enlighten guests on the alleged ghosts, a short movie played downstairs. Upstairs, the rum and whiskey were flowing as guests sampled some of our state's best distillers' offerings. Naturally, you can't have an event this close to Halloween and think some people aren't coming in costume. Close your eyes and envision 20-something ghouls and goblins doing the wobble. It was quite the night.
Among those celebrating were Secretary of State Tom Schedler, Harriett Miller, Jackie and Leo Honeycutt, Karen and Bill Profita, Whitney Vann and Robert Schneckenburger, Paula and John Davis, Marsha Shuler, Karen Rowley, Barry Erwin, Nancy Crawford, Sugar McAdams, Mitzi Miller, Donald Chube and Marketa Walters.
Stop No. 2 that night was the Manship Theatre Gallery, where the American Institute of Architects Baton Rouge was celebrating its 2017 Rose Award winners with the exhibit "Building Ideas: The Making of Architecture." This is the highest honor the AIA bestows and the winning projects are on display through Nov. 27. Admission is free.
They include Gold Rose projects — The Moon at 631 Desire St., New Orleans, Holly & Smith; 200 Laurel St., Chenevert Architects; and Eunice City Lake Recreational Facility, Hoffpauir Studio; Silver Rose projects — 500 Laurel St., DNA Workshop; Lee High Magnet School, GraceHebert; and Felicity Church Renovation, Coleman Partners.
Architecture is all around us and many times goes unnoticed. But if you're looking for a way to pass a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, take a walk downtown and really look at the architecture of its buildings. You'll be amazed and inspired.
The night started off at an outdoor reception for Mid City Redevelopment Alliance's Legacy Lights at the Main Library. Previously this event was a luncheon, but I kind of like the move to early evening. It added a touch of elegance to the festivities.
Executive Director Sam Samuels and board President Rex Cabaniss presented two years of awards after last year's floods derailed this event. Receiving the Rev. Mary Moody Lifetime Achievement Reflections Award were 2016 honorees Steve Carville, chairman of the Milton J. Womack Construction, and Gwen Hamilton, interim CEO of the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority; and 2017 honoree the Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade. The Community of Caring Award went to 2016 honorees Capital One, represented by David Mullens, and Providence, represented by Karen Holder; and 2017 honoree Habitat for Humanity, represented by Lynn Clark and Karen Kilgore.
The week began celebrating with our local business community. I think maybe it was a sign of events of the past year that three recipients of the Better Business Bureau's Douglas Manship Sr. Torch Award for Ethics in Business were construction-related. And, considering the only ones getting any ink have been those who were anything but ethical, it's kind of nice to shine a spotlight on three who set the bar high.
Winning in the 1-10 employees category was G.W. Oliver Construction Inc.; Garcia Roofing & Sheetmetal Inc. won in the 11-99 employees category; and Premier South Roofing & Sheetmetal won in the 100-299 employees category.
Hancock Whitney Bank won in the 300-plus employees category. St. Joseph's Academy student Molly Shepherd received the Youth Torch Award and accompanying $1,500 scholarship, established by Steve Lousteau in memory of his late wife, Amber. Also recognized at the dinner was Julie Stalls, who is retiring after 34 years with the BBB.
Jay Ducote, host of the "Bite & Booze" radio show and a finalist on Food Network's "Next Food Network Star" was the evening's speaker. "I love calling Baton Rouge home," he said emphatically. "We're the melting pot of Louisiana culture — where all of Louisiana comes together, including the traffic."
He challenged attendees to embrace the Capital City's culinary scene. "We don't have to chase New Orleans or Lafayette. We have a group of young chefs that are doing amazing things here and they are passionate about what they're doing," said Ducote. "We need to embrace that."
Challenge accepted, Jay!