The Live Oak Arabians horse ring was totally transformed Oct. 27 for the Sizzlin’ Soirée, hosted by the Stabiler Foundation, formed by local restaurateur Wayne Stabiler and wife Lucy, to benefit the Navy Seal Foundation.
From the chandeliers hanging from rafters to the sheer drapes and hundreds of white lights, it all made for a spectacular backdrop for the elegant dinner of beef tenderloin and lobster served with fine wines.
Explaining what the Navy Seal Foundation is all about was retired Seal Capt. Evin Thompson. He said he was writing his resignation letter the day before 9/11, but, instead ended up heading to the Middle East.
His talk was followed by a jaw-dropping live auction, conducted by Whitney Vann and Gordy Rush, that brought in $51,000 for a custom-designed rifle that featured the name of fallen Seal Team 6 Chief Special Warfare Operator Nicholas Cheque. Combined with the rest of the bids, an impressive $82,600 was raised.
The night wrapped up with dancing to the V-Tones, who Whitney and I got to sing with on “Mustang Sally.”
I found myself partying with some of the same folks Oct. 28, when the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation hosted its 16th annual Price LeBlanc Lexus Wine Opener at Bin 77 in Perkins Rowe. This year’s event honored Leo Verde, whose generosity has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help find a cure for CF.
On hand to congratulate Leo were wife Laure, event founders Carla and Dan Jumonville and daughter M’Elaine Jumonville, Lexus General Manager Todd Ledet and wife Rena, Kris Cangelosi and husband Guy Blanchard, Cheri Giblin, Alison and Ty Hingle, Donna and Jerry Jolly, Trish and Kevin Kimball, Dr. Henry and Ann Manning, Cissy and Ralph Stevens and Beth and Steve Tope.
‘Spirits of Louisiana’
A busy Oct. 25 started off at the Old State Capitol and its Spirits of Louisiana gala. Before I scrambled to my next event, I spent some time visiting with buddies Mary Durusau and husband Barry Erwin, Harriett Babin, Diana and Paul Burns, Debbie and John Daniel, Catherine and Chris Harrell, Catherine and Danny Heitman, Liz and Kevin Harris, Sara Lemon, Laura Lindsey, Sugar McAdams and Brandon Parlange.
Then it was on to the City Club for the 60+1 Masquerade Ball. Most members and guests were sporting masks and were decked out in their finest, making for an elegant evening. Eliciting oohs and ahhs — aside from the scrumptious spread and libations — were the 18th-century attired female stilt dancers.
Among the guests were Pat Alford, Carroll and Bill Benedetto, Dr. Frederic and Susan Billings, Carol Anne and Sid Blitzer, Jon Blumberg and daughter Leila, Jill Craft and husband Jim Shannon, Roy Powell Davis, Debbie and Julio Dumas, Barbara Anne Eaton, BeBe Facundus, Linda and Fred Grace, Cynthia and John Graves, Cindy and John Hill, Marshall and Tim Gunn, Dr. Charles and Elise Kaufman, Anne and Manuel Martinez, Jill Roshto, Jennifer Root, Sue Rainer, Lois Saye, Betty and Harvey Schwartzberg, Jan and Roger Shaw, Gracella Simmons, Deborah Todd, Margaret and Mark Upton and Peggy and Bob Westerman.
The last stop on Oct. 25 was Karnival Krewe de Louisiane’s Coronation Social held at Gerry Lane Chevrolet.
Reigning over all the festivities to come are King Matt Saurage and Queen Wendy Haspel Lipsey. Their moms, Donna Saurage and Susan Lipsey, were among the handful of founders of the krewe 32 years ago. And, when these two were teenagers, they were paired up when both were presented by the krewe. It’s going to make for a fun Mardi Gras season.
Joining Matt and Wendy on the court are Duchesses Dr. Jennifer Greeson, Lisa Guarisco, Shelton Jones, Sharon Poirrier and Mary Ann Yeargain; and Dukes Preston Castille Jr., John Everett, Jordan Piazza, David Richardson and Stephen Waguespack.
This year’s debutante coterie includes Lauren Ashleigh Baronet, Ella Grace Bollinger, Rylie Caroline Brown, Juliet Claire Fontenot, Alayna Agnes Landry, Lee Ann LeMarie, Hannah Marie Loy, Lindsey Elizabeth Lutgring, Elise Marie Marchand, Margaret Ann Miller, Alexandra Macé Nelson, Jessica Susan Robinson, Lauren Michel Saunders and Anushka Singh.
Fox 44’s Chad Sabadie conducted the night’s live auction, which included a chef’s tasting at Ruffino’s Restaurant and an Alys Beach vacation. Krewe President Marilyn Starks announced the theme for the krewe’s Feb. 15 is ball is "Circus de Louisiane."
The week's parties started on Oct. 23 with the Better Business Bureau’s 18th annual Douglas Manship Sr. Torch Award Banquet at the L’Auberge Event Center. Welcoming guests was board chairman Mike Benson, who introduced the BBB’s new CEO, Carmen Million. Clarence Buggs served as emcee.
Eric Lane, who was board chairman when Jim Stalls was hired as CEO almost 25 years ago, presented the retiring leader with a special award for his years of dedicated service. “We owe this man a debt we can never repay,” said Lane.
Also getting awards of recognition were this year’s Ethics in Business honorees: Dale Buys Houses Now, 1-10 employees; AccuTemp Services, 11-99 employees; Taylor Porter Brooks & Phillips, 100-299 employees; and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, 300-plus employees. Catholic High of Pointe Coupee student Olivia Beauvais received the Youth Torch Award and its $1,500 scholarship.
Speaker Roger Cador, Southern University's retired baseball coach, had us all ready to fight the good fight by the time we left, after buying his new book, “Against All Odds,” and getting it autographed.
In the middle of all this fun, I found myself immersed in food. First judging the Baton Rouge Bar Association’s 20th annual Belly Up With the Bar event, which was held at LSU’s John Parker Coliseum on Oct. 26. Joining me in the arduous task of picking winners were fellow judges Kevin Black, Go Ya-Ya’s; retired Judge Bob Downing; Brianne Dupré, Republic National Distributing Co; Brian Dykes, Bin 77 and Baton Rouge Epicurean Society; and Steve Tressitt, Outback Steakhouse.
The night’s big winner was the team from Baker Donelson, which served up a delicious Fried Boudin and Corn Maque Choux. It not only tasted good but the presentation was spot on. Best Theme honors went to the “Justice League,” better known as the East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney’s Office. Bragging rights for Best Law School went to Southern University Law Center’s team’s gumbo.