Last week, we saw red, busted breast cancer and got to rub shoulders with Tigers and the editor of the New York Times. Pretty good, huh?
The Louisiana Art & Science Museum painted the town RED for its 32nd annual gala on Sept. 22. The theme not only coincided with LASM's current exhibit, "The Red That Colored the World," but also honors Baton Rouge's bicentennial celebration.
If you had a red dress in your closet, you wore it on this night. Many of the gentlemen added a red bow tie to their tux for the perfect pop of color. It made for a very glam crowd of several hundred who sipped adult libations, noshed on culinary delights and swayed to the sounds of Ned Fasullo & the Fabulous Big Band Orchestra.
I had fun visiting with Elaine and Ben Meroney, their daughter Victoria and her significant other, Prescott Bailey, a RED committee member; and Ann and Rob Guercio, who were there with daughter Mimi and friends Madeline Bordelon, Kassi Samson and Maddie Soileau. I also caught up with Lindsay and Eric Guerin, Marshal and Tim Gunn, Suzanne Sexton, Scott McKnight, Blake Tolbird, Nancy Crawford, Winnie Byrd, Sue Turner and daughter Susan, Heather Kleinpeter, Keith Dixon and Francelle and Kirk Theriot.
The Advocate teamed up that night with the Baton Rouge Symphony for a celebration on the opening night of its 2017-2018 Masterworks Series. Prior to the performance, featuring violinist Sarah Chang, a Champagne reception was held in the lobby of the River Center Theatre to announced Adore, a new magazine from The Advocate which drops Black Friday — just in time for the holidays. And, it's going to have lots of gift and decorating ideas to make this year the best ever!
The night's other big news came from Paula Pennington de la Bretonne, who announced that Chicago will be the Irene & C.B. Pennington Great Performers in Concert artist for 2018. The concert is March 16. Get your tickets ASAP because you don't want to miss this one!
The day began at the WRKF's third annual Founders Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza. The place was packed. It seems everyone wanted to hear Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times. Baquet, a New Orleans native, was a reporter for The Times-Picayune when he asked Gov. Edwin Edwards what he thought could cost him the 1983 election. EWE gave one of his most memorable responses — "Getting caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."
This year's Founders Award went to the family of Dee Dee Reilly and the late Kevin Reilly Sr. Presented by WRKF board Chairman J. Cullens, it was accepted by grandson Ross Reilly.
BUST Breast Cancer
Too much fun! That's how I would describe this year's BUST Breast Cancer art bra fashion show the night before at the L'Auberge Event Center. It was fun for me because I got to wear a pink wig and serve as emcee for the night's festivities. It was fun for Woman's Hospital CEO Teri Fontenot and event Chairwoman Rose Marie Fife because the event raised money towards purchasing another mammography coach, which provides mammograms to women in rural areas.
Aside from ticket sales and sponsorships, funds were raised via the silent auction and a live auction, which, included among other great items, a week-long stay at the Fifes' Destin condo and dinner with coach Skip Bertman and wife Sandy and coach Paul Mainieri and wife Karen. Helping guests part with their money were Marvin Henderson, Ken Buhler and my buddy, Dixon McMakin.
The show kicked off with the "Queen of Hearts," Mitzi Miller, sashaying down the runway in her own creation. BUST founder Heather Kleinpeter not only modeled this year — "Camille" an alligator design by Leslie Charleville — but also created "Dream Weaver" for model Patti Dowling. But they weren't the ones that captured the judges' attention. After much deliberation, Dr. Mindy Bowie, 225's Liz McCollister, Entergy's Jody Montelaro, interior designer Becky Walker and William Roy eventually had a slate of winners.
Literally hitting it out of the park with "Save Second Base" were designer Katie Cheatham and model Tippy Thomassie, winning People's Choice and Most Spirited Model, respectively; Jessica Comeaux's "Fire & Ice," modeled by Laura O'Brien, claimed Cups of Creativity; Shawn Zeringue's "Time is Money," modeled by Ciara Martin, was declared the night's Most Mammorable. Breast Overall honors went to Ashley Hodges' Bouncing Butterflies, modeled by Patricia Calfee.
Rounding out the show were Johnnie Hunt in Patrice Ellis' "Toasting the TaTas"; Ciara Cambre in Casey Stannard's "Cups for the Cure"; Amber Moreau in Gaye Lynn Ambeau's "Shine On, Sista!"; Tina Kappen in "Winter is Coming"; Christen Losey Gregg in her own creation; survivor Lisa Gilly in Jody Hammett's "Voodoo Queen"; Stephanie Possa in survivor Kris Cangelosi's "Mardi Gras!"; Nina Wagner in Ashlyn Carlino's "Snow Queen"; Jade Prejean in India Rives' "Hey Baby"; Audrey Wascom in Kristen Binning's "with gold, glass, crystals & satin"; survivor Paula Campesi in Mary Evans, Missy Guillot and Scarlett Giambelluca's "Sweet Revenge"; survivor Ann Guercio in David Humphreys' creation; Vanessa Begat in Nikii Nixon-Helouin's "Black Elegance"; Emily Grey in Meg Grey and Mary Lynn Huber's "Lady Justice"; Emily Andrus in Linda Hull's "Shero, Princess of Heros"; Tonia Cabiad in Nita Mulwahah's "Tassels, Diamonds & Chains, Oh My"; Jeanne Trum in Rebecca Stephens' "Boooobs!"; Meghan Humphries in Shell Brown's "War Against Cancer"; Aron Coates in Andrea Duhon Anderson's "Shattered Beauty"; Hannah Levin in M.E. Cormier's "Busty Broaches"; Nicole Green in Bambi Guilbeau's "Bohemian Glitz"; Christina Dorsa in Janene Grodesky's "The Re-Birth of Venus"; Dr. Dawn Vick in Laura Roland's "The Goldies"; Jamie Ray in Tabitha Miller's "Balloon Boom Boom"; and Sharon Field in Becky Gottsegen's "Hold Those Tigers."
The day started with the Bengal Belles and lunch at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium. The place was packed with this group of die-hard LSU fans, who were gearing up for last weekend's game against Syracuse. After a welcome from President Aimée Simon, emcee Gordy Rush called up the day's special guests — Kenneth Miles, executive director of the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes; former LSU softball player A.J. Andrews; and, from the LSU Sports Network, Chris Blair and Doug Moreau.
Miles rightfully bragged that LSU athletes have an 88 percent graduation rate. "That's a 19 percent increase since 2008," he added. "But this facility is nothing without the people. We have SWAG — Students With a Gameplan."
"I feel like I grew up here," said Andrews. "They taught me to dare to dream and to dream big."
Also popping in were Tigers Danny Etling, Will Clapp, David Ducre, Anthony Jennings, K.J. Malone, Aaron Moffitt and Toby Weathersby. They were all vying for the famous Bengal Belle cookies, but I'm pretty sure Gordy rigged the trivia game about Syracuse to make sure Etling walked away empty-handed. But hey, what happens at the Belles, stays at the Belles.
Sail on, Sailor
Thirty-eight years ago, Sailor Jackson and wife Sonya were part of a group of eight of us who moved to Baton Rouge to begin new chapters in our lives. The common denominator was WBRZ; known to us as "Eyewitness Heaven." After an award-winning career at "the Deuce," Sailor went to work for the Secretary of State's office. There he started creating a video history of the state. That eventually evolved into an oral history project, with Sailor conducting some 250 interviews with people who have impacted Louisiana — for better and for worse. Now, he's retiring.
The folks at the State Archives, where he's worked for the past 25 years, threw him a farewell party Sept. 19 that mimicked a reunion of sorts. Former WBRZ co-workers Bob Courtney, Margaret Lawhon and Cheryl Stroy were there. Heath Allen, who was part of the eight and who worked with Sailor in Monroe before moving to Baton Rouge, drove up from New Orleans. Stories were told — some true, some exaggerated, but how much fun we had celebrating our friend.