No matter how hard everyone tries, seems there’s just no escaping having multiple events fall on the same night every now and then. Such was the case May 9 when Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, the Boy Scouts and Louisiana Public Broadcasting all held their major fundraisers.


I love discovering new nooks and crannies of the Capital City and that was certainly the case as I made my way to the OLOL Children’s Hospital Fiesta! at the home of Gerry and Don Daigle. Their architectural gem of a home was the perfect party spot for this annual soirée that traditionally draws several hundred guests. Aside from the fact that it’s a very worthy cause, one of the main draws is getting to rub shoulders with LSU football coach Les Miles and wife Kathy, who serve as honorary chairmen every year. Coach also donated the Tiger fan experience at the LSU vs. Florida game for the live auction … can’t you envision hanging out on the sidelines with the Mad Hatter?

Also on the auction block were a Florida vacation, teal hunt, private Scotch tasting with the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady and a chef John Folse catered dinner. The night also included a silent auction of numerous tempting items including original artwork by Tony Bernard, Helen Bolin, Jo Busse, Dr. John Clifford, Michelle Conques, Claire Crawford, Marita Gentry, Emily Monros Godfrey, Sarah Griffin, Hannah Lane, Samantha LeBas, Keith Morris, Tarfeeq Muhammad, Derek Patterson, Katherine Rutledge, Christopher Turner and Henry Watson.

Keeping things in a festive mood were tasty margaritas and other cold libations courtesy of Mockler Beverage, Hymel’s Seafood Restaurant and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola, and fiesta cuisine provided by Blend, Boudreaux’s & Thibodeaux’s, Serrano’s and The Edible Event. Desserts and coffee were donated by Ambrosia Bakery and Community Coffee Co.

Sherri Pocorello and Cherie Lemoine co-chaired the event. Committee members included Lauren Albarez, Leila Blumberg, Tanie Bush, Jackie Graugnard, Lauren Smith Hensgens, Angelle Hill, Chris Jackson, Kristen Landry, Gretchen Mayer, Shelley Mockler, Sharon Pol, Erin Reynaud, David Richardson, Heather Kleinpeter Savoy, Cathy Sherburne, Elyn Thurmond, Dr. Roberta Vicari and Lauren Villa.

‘A Night of Character’

My first stop of the evening was the Istrouma Area Council Boy Scouts of America’s annual “A Night of Character” dinner at LSU’s Rural Life Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the council’s Character Program, which allows at-risk youth to fully participate in Scouting in collaboration with the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority.

Welcoming guests were Scout Executive Eric Howell and event chairman Rob Dille. Like the Fiesta!, this event featured some very tempting live auction items including an LSU football package, deer hunt, cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, and artwork. Manning the kitchen for the evening’s dinner was chef Folse, who also lent emcee Jay Grymes a hand at one point during the auction.

Also serving on the committee were Val Browning, Lee Burns, Ryan Girouard, Dayna Gremillion and Charles Spencer.

Louisiana Legends

These two events prevented me from attending this year’s Louisiana Legends Gala, which took place at the Old State Capitol. Prior to the gala, the legends, their families and Friends of LPB board members were fêted at a VIP reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

The 2013 Louisiana Legends included Kitty Kimball, of New Roads, retired chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; O. Delton Harrison Jr., of Shreveport, philanthropist and arts advocate; C. Paul Hilliard, of Lafayette, independent oil and gas producer, and arts advocate; Ellis Marsalis, of New Orleans, renowned jazz musician and educator; and Glen Post, CEO of CenturyLink.

Planned Parenthood

To celebrate its 21st anniversary Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast hosted its inaugural “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” awards reception May 8 at the Shaw Center for the Arts. As explained by Louisiana State Director Melissa Flournoy, the awards recognized elected officials and community advocates who have demonstrated a “commitment to forwarding public policies and programs that improve the lives of women and families.”

Honored were state Sens. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb and Karen Carter Peterson, state Reps. Jared Brossett and Patricia Haynes Smith, and Baton Rouge women’s advocate Maurice Durbin.

Silver Magnolias

Speaking of people who have blazed a path … Ten years ago the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge began honoring women over the age of 70 who made a positive impact on the community by their volunteer involvement. They call this special group of trail-blazing women Silver Magnolias, and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the honor, 10 women were honored at the Silver Magnolia Tea May 10 at the Governor’s Mansion. Welcoming guess were council President Lois Folse.

This year’s honorees included Estella Lee Square Banks, Grace Bielkiewicz, Joan Houghton Bonds, Lee Caplan, Elizabeth Dent, Bobbye Heath, Lynn Kopfler Robbins, Melba Moye, Mildred “Winnie” Penson and Delores Spikes, who was represented by Tanya Freeman, co-chairwoman of the event. Patsy Wilkerson served as chairwoman and presented each honoree with a silver tray. Gwen Hamilton, assistant chief administrative officer with the Mayor’s Office, presented each with a proclamation.

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