Our Lady of the Lake Foundation board Chairman Julio Melara and hospital CEO Scott Wester turned calling bingo numbers into a comedy routine at the second annual Black-Tie Bingo event at L’Auberge Event Center on Nov. 28. There’s nothing like getting adults to play games from their childhood to make for a festive evening. Before offering the night’s blessing for dinner, Sister Martha Ann Abshire quipped, “How appropriate that the Catholic hospital is hosting a bingo event.”
The foundation staff came up with some interesting configurations for the games, including a top hat, bow tie and Champagne glass. To break a tie in one game, a hula hoop competition was held. Winners Julie Forbes and Joli Bryan enlisted the assistance of proven hula hoopers Whitney Graves and Joli's hubby Thomas Bryan to tackle the challenge. Both were so good that L’Auberge boss Kim Ginn agreed to give them both the prize — dinner and a two-night stay at any L’Auberge property.
Good buddies Beth and Steve Tope asked me to join them at their table. I also got to chat with Carol Keppinger and her new beau, Dr. Roberta Vicari, Bill O’Quin, Kathy and Ed Baker, Krystal and Victor Howell, Vivian Frey, Sherry Melara, and foundation staffers Teddie Hessburg and Kelly Hurtado.
The night started off at the City Club, which was hosting its Ladies Champagne Holiday Kickoff Tea. The place was packed with some of the city’s most go-getter women, which included hostesses Mary Kay Brown, Barbara Anne Eaton, Elizabeth Eaton, BeBe Facundus, Tanja Foil, Pat Felder, Helen Graf, Cynthia Graves, Vicki Kellum, Karen Profita, Lois Saye, Sarah Margaret Smith and Susan White.
I also enjoyed visiting with Gracella Simmons, Marci Blaize, Beverly Brooks Thompson, Adelaide Russo, Cassie Felder, Peggy Wooley, Fairleigh Jackson, Sugar McAdams, Susan Eaton, Linda Grace and Susan Rolfs.
As I was heading out the door enroute to L’Auberge, I ran into Cyril Vetter, who was a bit gimpy and walking with a cane. Seems he had a gym accident but is on the mend.
Arts in Medicine
The first night of December had me popping into three places, the first being the Manship Theatre Gallery, where the Baton Rouge General was hosting an opening reception for its sixth annual Arts in Medicine exhibit. One of the artists whose work was on display is Monica Miceli, who proudly showed off her painting to sisters Sandra David and Carmen Ruiz. Among those checking out all the work was the hospital’s chaplain Paul Davis and wife Gayle.
Catching a quick glimpse of the pieces was George Bell, who worked at the General before becoming CEO of Capital Area United Way. He was gearing up to play trumpet with his band in a holiday concert later that evening at the Manship.
Stop No. 2 was the Country Club of Louisiana home of Sarah and Gilbert Griffith, where two 4-feet drummer boys were standing sentry. I wanted to steal her Christmas tree and bring it to my house!
Visiting as we sipped and nibbled were Carolyn and Nick Hebert, Tereasa and Andy Olinde, Dee Gerald, Pug Gussman, Toni and John Cisneros, Betty Jackson, Millie Harris and Robin Hebert and mom Dottie Whittington.
The last stop of the night was the annual Christmas party hosted by Karen and Bill Profita. I think they may have broken the attendance record this year with well over 300 guests filling their home and courtyard, even spilling out onto the back patio.
Among those attending were Congressman Garret and Carissa Graves, state Rep. Franklin and Tanja Foil, Commissioner of Administration Jay and Cathy Dardenne, East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilman Matt Watson, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul and BRPD spokesman L’Jean McNeeley. I also enjoyed catching up with Mary and John Boston, Karen and Ken Duncan, Susan Ross and Arthur Metrailer, Tom and Kathleen Sylvest, Colleen and Stephen Waguespack, Elaine and Mike Cammarosano, Brien Buxton, Melissa Parmelee, Fairleigh Jackson, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald and Jimmy McDonald, Joanne and Juan Carrillo, Suzanne and Jim Horton, Helen Graf, Cordell Hayman, Sherry Dispenza, Michelle Southern, Lisa Boudreaux-Lecoq and husband Chris, and Roxanne and Gil Leachman.
It was a night to remember!
Plaquemine Garden Club
Sunday had me heading across the river for the Plaquemine Garden Club’s annual Christmas Tea. This had become part of my holiday tradition for 25 straight years now. Aside from the camaraderie and friendships made, it’s a way to get some great decorating ideas.
Sandra Landry opened her home for the event, which had club members transforming the house room-by-room with Christmas decorations featuring live plants — many from the members’ own backyards. Sandra welcomed the several hundred guests with club President Sheryl Ramirez and tea co-chairwomen Janet Bryant and Patricia Ramirez.
Showing off their decorating talents were Peggy Alonzo, Pam Baron, Gwen Baxley, Misty Bertrand, Brenda Blanchard, Barbara Breaux Marla Bueche, Katheryn Campesi, Travis Campesi, LouAnna Canella, Lucille Distefano, Jeannine Dunn, Terri Geaugue, Verlee Guilbeau, Gwendolyn Gum, Mary Jo Hymel, Madeline Kessler, Bernadine Legendre, Carol Ann Marionneaux, Marion Medine, Mary Lou Medlen, Janelle Nadler, Jeannine Panepinto, Linda Panepinto, Ramona Perrin, Patty Phillips, Tracy Ramirez and Sandy Stassi.
Krewe of Cypress
Also happening across the river in Plaquemine was the Krewe of Cypress’ Debutante Presentation Ball on Nov. 24 at the Carl Grant Civic Center. Introduced by emcee Bert Allain were:
Grace Mercedes Acosta, daughter of Tara and Erik Acosta. She was escorted by her grandfather Charles Bujol, who presented her along with grandmother Janet Bujol.
Aimée Claire Burleigh, daughter of Jaymee and Steven Burleigh. Escorted by her father, she was presented by her parents and grandmother Brenda Zito.
Jacquelyn Leigh Dupont, daughter of Jeanie and Danny Dupont. She was presented by her parents and escorted by her father.
Mia Angelle Grant, daughter of Tracy Barnes, of Lake Charles, and Robert Grant. She was presented by grandmother Peggy Grant and father, who also served as her escort.
Taylor Whitney Hurdle, daughter of Tricia and Brady Hurdle. Escorted by her father, she was presented by her parents and grandparents Patty and Andrew Major.
Olivia Francis Ledet, daughter of Ragan White and the late Bradford Ledet. She was escorted by her stepfather, Kynan White, who presented her along with her mother.
McKenzie Ali Richard, daughter of Sandy and Cliff Richard. She was escorted by krewe member Bill Nadler and presented by her grandmother, Paulette Palermo.
The ball was chaired by Morgan Allain and Vanessa Moore. Cecil Boudreaux and Tommy LeBlanc were the night’s Champagne servers.
Two quick stops earlier in the week of Nov. 25 were to the Knock Knock Children’s Museum’s Pie Challenge fundraiser, which had LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri taking one in the kisser from 7-year-old grandson Holden Roth. When Holden asked "Knock, knock who's there?" and coach replied "Me!" Holden let the pie fly.
“Look what you did to Poppa!,” exclaimed Mainieri, who, with the help of wife Karen, wiped whipped cream from his face. And, judging from the way Holden threw that pie, he might one day be pitching on one of Poppa’s teams. Be sure and check out the video at theadvocate.com.
Before heading to the museum, I popped in at Our Lady of the Lake Foundation where members of the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society board were handing out money. President Lisa Boudreaux-Lecoq was all smiles as she presented foundation CEO Kelly Hurtado with a check for $25,000 to help fund a childhood obesity program done in collaboration with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Fighting childhood obesity is one of the missions of BRES, which raises funds through its three main Fête Rouge events.