Friends who don't live here often remark how Louisianans can always find a reason to party. Who am I to argue? We can make the anticipation of baseball into a party for more than 850; we throw a white-tie ball for young women coming of age; and with little prodding, we join our friends from other countries in celebrating their culture.
The LSU baseball faithful turned out in droves to get the autographs of this year's team at the Tiger Athletic Foundation's First Pitch fundraiser Jan. 29 at the Crowne Plaza. Talk about your pep rally!
Guests rubbed shoulders with players, Mike the Tiger and coach Paul Mainieri as well as bid on some amazing packages in a live auction conducted by former baseball Tiger Ronnie Rantz and Bill Franques. Getting guests to part with their hard-earned cash were auction prizes like traveling with the Tigers to Houston for this year's football season opener against BYU; fishing with coach Mainieri, wife Karen and Dudley and Gary Rispone; and duck hunting with host Richard Lipsey and a member of Mainieri's coaching staff at the world famous Oak Grove Hunting Club.
Of course, there was the rah-rah speech by coach, who predicted great things for this year's club. Adding fuel to "get me to Ohama" fire were players like Alex Lang, Russell Reynolds, Brennan Breaux and Todd Peterson. It's gonna be a fun time at the Box!
Another 800-plus crowd filled the Raising Cane's River Center Exhibition Hall the night before for the 59th annual Le Cercle de Bacchus presentation ball. Welcoming guests were President Christian Walther and ball Captain Eric Reimsnyder Jr.
Stevie Toups, a past president of the young bachelors' club, served as the night's master of ceremonies, introducing this year's 15 debs, which included his and wife Valerie's daughter, Shelby McCall Toups, who was escorted by another former president, George P. "Geordy" Waters Jr.
Also taking their formal bow were Mary Catherine Barrow, daughter of Dr. Gray and Teresa Barrow, escorted by Grant Stephen Conway; Natalie Wren Bell, daughter of Lynda Ramsey Trout and Thomas Bell, escorted by Stanton Pendrey Gibbens Jr.; Claire Yvonne Bienvenu, daughter of Yvonne and Michael Bienvenu Sr., escorted by David Mark Bienvenu Jr.; Brenton Elizabeth Buckles, daughter of Courtney McGraw and Jonathan Buckles, escorted by Dr. Brent Rhodes; Catherine Adele Gauthier, daughter of Cynthia and William Gauthier, escorted by James Randolph "Randy" Gray; Emily Grace and Hannah Reed Hyman, daughters of Lea Anne Batson and Mike Hyman, escorted by Carl Andrew Babon and Emmett Edward Babon Jr., respectively; Sarah Elizabeth Karam, daughter of Amy and Bernhard "Hab" Karam, escorted by Michael Joseph Busada; Mary Michael Quinn, daughter of Dr. Michael and Michelle Quinn and the late Laura Juneau Quinn, escorted by Adam Ellington Quinn; Elizabeth Ann and Madeline Lucille Ragusa, daughters of Michelle and Jeff Ragusa, escorted by Chad David and Eric Stumpf, respectively; Charlotte Elaine Russell, daughter of Beverly and Rory Russell, escorted by John Ryan Guerin; Melissa Ruth Sadler, daughter of Sandy and Chris Sadler, escorted by Mason Chambers Joseph Ibert; and Madison Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of Peggy and Patrick Thompson, escorted by Scott Hubert Frugé.
Following the presentation, everyone danced to the sounds of Flow Tribe. Mothers' liaisons were Dene Mathies, Tracey Kelleher and Sara Gummow.
Always a special night for the honorees, their family and friends, this year struck a chord with me, as well. Among the debs were the daughters of several Bacchus members with whom I've worked with over the past 23 years. My how time flies!
Year of the Rooster
From downtown, I headed out to Sherwood Forest Boulevard and Hunan's Chinese Restaurant where a packed dinning room of more than 100 were celebrating the dawn of the Year of the Rooster. I got there just in time to see the "lion" hongba work the room to get "fed." Not exactly sure what guests were feeding him but Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome did her part in appeasing the beast. Also joining in the celebration were first gentleman Marvin Broome, Susan and Marvin Borgmeyer, Nadine Russell, Carmen Williams and former Mayor-President Kip Holden and wife Lois, who I just missed seeing.
The menu, as explained by organizer John Hu with the Baton Rouge Chinese Association, was a 10-course extravaganza featuring brewed duck, scallops, crispy shrimp, crispy golden fish and more, all to "symbolize a perfect new year (10 for 10)."
The day began at a brunch celebrating the founding of Delta Sigma Theta sorority hosted by the Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter at Oak Lodge Reception Center. Special guests for the event were 50-year member Alma Wright Cherry and 25-year member Gay M. Story, of New Orleans.
Welcoming the honorees and other guests were chapter President Karmen R. Davis. The awards were presented by first Vice President Yolanda Martin Singleton and second Vice President Tisha R. McKinney. The celebration concluded with the communal singing of Delta's sweetheart song.