There weren’t too many events on last week’s calendar, but the quality of those that were more than compensated for the quantity.


Forum 35 seems to have hit its stride with the Uncorked events. De la Ronde Hall, now being operated by Ruffino’s Catering, was packed for the June 19 tasting benefiting Dreams Come True and the projects of Forum 35.

A diverse crowd of wine aficionados sampled the offerings of South American whites featured. I must confess, they were not to my liking — quite sweet or a heavy grapefruit lingering on the palate — but they seemed to be going over well with the younger wine drinkers. Does this mean I’m getting old?

About midway through the festivities, Dreams Come True board President Max Himmel thanked Forum 35 for helping to raise money to help a Dream Child realize their dream. Former dream recipient Abigail Ragusa shared how much having her dream come true helped her get through the dark days of chemo treatment.

When all the votes were tallied from the blind tasting, the team of Wine Not?’s (Brett Billot and Amy Devillie) New Age White was declared the winner and left them with a sizable stash of wine to start their own cellar.

Arts Council honors

Two days before, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge handed out awards at its annual meeting at Ann Connelly Gallery. The election of board members was also on the evening’s agenda. Community volunteers Leonard Augustus, Toni Hawkins, J.H. Martin and Cliff Barton were honored for their tireless efforts with Laurel Street Palooza and Flash Mobs, the Debbie Allen Dance Project and FestForAll, respectively. Speaking of the Debbie Allen Dance Project, the Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Foundation was recognized for its continued funding of this amazing partnership that brings dance to students who might not otherwise experience it. Local artist Kelli Scott Kelly received the prestigious Michael Crespo Visionary Award, presented by Catherine Saurage and Laurie Saurage on behalf of their husbands’ uncle, Carey Saurage, who funds the award.

Before turning over the gavel to successor Brian Haymon, outgoing board Chairman Ralph Stephens and CEO Eric Holowacz shared some highlights from the past year. Holowacz, who just completed his first year on the job, touted the increasing number of partnerships established with the likes of Digital FX, Cox Media, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools,Tipitina Foundation and the Arts Council of New Orelans.

Leading the Arts Council over the next year with Haymon are Vice Chairwoman Emilie Alton,Secretary Yoland Dixon and Tresurer Michael Loveless. Welcomed as new board members were Alkis Tsolakis, Dima Ghawl and Scott Ritter.

Partying with Peter

My week of partying ended on a personal high. As a young teen, I had a huge crush on Peter Noone, lead singer of Herman’s Hermits. I knew all the words to all their songs and had, at one point, 40 photos of various sizes plastered all over my bedroom walls. I was even the president of the Union Springs, Alabama, Herman’s Hermits Fan Club. So, when I found out they were coming to the Manship Theatre on June 21, I knew I just had to be there (thank you, Layne!). Since it was just a few days before husband Jim’s birthday, I asked him to come with me … with fair warning that things might get a little crazy.

Jim wasn’t the only one celebrating a birthday that night, either. Former board President Ralph Bender celebrated the big 6-0 in fine style with a group of friends and coworkers. Needless to say, we all traveled back to our youth and sang and danced along with Peter — looking as dreamy as ever — and the Hermits. They still sound great, too. Check it out at

Follow this link to the photos.

Follow Pam on Items for Pam’s Party Line must be received by 9 a.m. the Monday preceding the run date. High-resolution digital photos should be emailed to Hard copy photos should be dropped off at or mailed to The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Events will run no later than four weeks after they have taken place. The date, place of the event and a contact name and daytime phone number must be included. Photos will be used at the discretion of The Advocate.