Food seemed to be the predominant theme at last week's events, but then so much of life here revolves around breaking bread (or boiling up crawfish) with friends and family.
The LSU Museum of Art hosted a Geaux Arts Dinner on June 17, featuring a scrumptious meal created by chef John Folse. The night also included a lively live auction of some tempting items and a wine grab for $25 per cork. Manning the pull was buddy Peggy Sweeney McDonald and husband Jimmy, whom I enjoyed getting to visit. I also was able to catch up with Cary Saurage, Laura Lindsey and husband Wendell, and Executive Director Daniel Stetson and wife Catherine.
The day before started off at a lovely luncheon hosted by Community Coffee at the Louisiana Culinary Institute. The cause for the celebration was the donation of a $2,500 check to the LCI Foundation, proceeds from a coupon giveaway the company did with Hoffman Media, publishers of Cooking magazine. Charlie Ruffolo, who handles public affairs for LCI, shared that the funds would be used to help feed the homeless. During last summer's flood, LCI fed 6,300 people displaced by the disaster thanks to support from Hoffman Media, whose video of what was happening here went viral and inspired others, like Harry & David, to step up as well.
The challenge to the student chefs was to create a four-course lunch using Community Coffee products, and boy did they! They had also created beverages for the Cooking magazine spread, and we got to select the winner. A tip of the toque to Murial Woodard for her blackberry lemon tea!
Members of the Baton Rouge Irish Club and their friends got together at the Baton Rouge Gallery later Friday for its annual Bloomsday celebration, which commemorates the fictitious events in famed Irish writer James Joyce's novel "Ulysses." The club also presented two awards and a scholarship that evening.
This year's Crystal Harp Award went to Deborah Walker, and the Emerald Shamrock to Brandon McDonald. Celtic harpist Rebekah Northrop, who entertained the group, received the Celtic Society of Louisiana's Joan Abbott Memorial Scholarship. All three were presented by Bloomsday coordinator Allen Kinney.
In addition to Northrop's performance, the night's entertainment included a skit featuring Karen Root as Joyce's widow, Nora, who encounters two musicians backpacking through Switzerland. Portraying the musicians were Brian Breen and Pete Dawson. Together they regaled attendees with tales of the revered author and sang a repertoire of his favorite Irish songs. What a fun way to kick off the weekend!
There was much to celebrate at the Dancing for Big Buddy wrap-up party at City Club on June 15. This year's extravaganza raised a record $320,748! Co-chairmen Erica Mercer and Rock Rockenbaugh were wearing big grins as they shared the good news. Part of that total included a record $67,920 in online donations. That's a huge increase from the $12,000 that had been raised when the "Smack Talk" luncheon was held four weeks before the event. In a little side bet between the chairmen, the guys raised more than the ladies, so they're going to celebrate later on — maybe even let their wives join them.
"It's more about what you did than what we did," said Rockenbaugh.
After another big thank-you from Executive Director Gaylynn Mack, Star Dancers, judges, sponsors and producer Lin Holdridge were presented with gifts of appreciation. But the most fun for all of us was getting together with this group one more time.
So, kudos to this year's dancers — Brittany Allphin-Smith, Marsha Baker, Aaron Bayham, Dr. Rebecca Boudreau, Donald Chube, Courtney de la Bretonne Hart, Ashley Frugé, Jeff Johnson, Nial Patel, Chris Jones, Drs. Tatiana and Samir Patel, Chad Kenny-Possa, Vanda Refermat, Amanda Rothrock and Ann Tillage.
It's a date!
Before heading downtown for Big Buddy, I popped in at the Crowne Plaza, where Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital was hosting its Mother-Son Dance. DJ Bob Blanchard had the tunes cranked up and a few little boys already were showing off their moves on the dance floor when I arrived. Something tells me it only got crazier as the evening wore on.
Serving on the committee chaired by Lauren D'Amico were Jessica Alonzo, Cheri Ausberry, Mary Jackson Barham, Lesley Beckers, Kate Becnel, July Bondy, Rebecca Butler, Melissa Campbell, Camille Conaway, Katie Dallimore, Christina Ellender, Gwen Engquist, Chaille Estorge, Melissa Ferachi, Elizabeth Fourrier, Lisa Gilly, Lauren Haddox, Quanah Hall, Abby Hamilton, Tracy Hamilton, Mary Hamilton and Rebecca Harrod.
Also, Lauren Hensgens, Carrie Madge Higgbotham, Cristyn Hodges, Tara Grace Jones, Katherine Landry, Jennifer Leaycraft, Jeanne McCollister McNeil, Erica Moffat, Mollie Montelaro Tamara Palmer, Mukti Patel, Jessica Phillips, Julie Robert, Shannon Smith, Sarah Smith, Morgan Tomlinson, Mimi Tompkins, Kim Wampold, Sharon Wesberry, Katie Williams, Meeta Williamson and Catherine Wilson.
An Evening with the Delta Debutantes
Nine young women were introduced to the community at the Baton Rouge Delta Development Corp. and Baton Rouge Delta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority's "An Evening with the Delta Debutantes" Presentation Tea on June 11 at the Baton Rouge Delta House. Guests were officially welcomed by corporation Chairwoman Shirley L. Henderson and alumnae chapter President Karmen R. Davis.
Terrie C. Butler, alumnae chapter acquisitions chairwoman, introduced this year's coterie of debs: Tia LaGene Collins, daughter of Laurdus and Edward Collins Sr.; Nkemdilim "Ndili" Grace Cook, daughter of Dr. Janet W. Cook and Gregory Cook; Shayla Nikole Hastings, daughter of Lawrence and Cachanta Johnson and Robert W. Hastings; Kristian DuJuan Howard, daughter of Kenneth and Tynita Howard; Kristen Alexis LaMotte, daughter of Dr. Lance C. and Kimberly H. LaMotte; Kennedy Rebekah Morgan, daughter of Gabrielle B. and Warren E. Morgan Jr.; Darian Me'Chel Shorts, daughter of Darryl and Jeffernier Shorts; Tamiko Terraz Stroud, daughter of Tamiko F. and Ira L. Garrison, of Donaldsonville; and Taylor Elizabeth Torrence, daughter of Sandy and Travis M. Torrence Sr.
The tea was chaired by Monica L. Davis. The debs will be formally presented at the Grand Cotillion on July 22 at the Baton Rouge Marriott.
Pearls of Elegance
Six debutantes and four "Little Pearls" were presented at the Mu Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority's Royal Cotillion on May 27 at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium. Offering words of encouragement to the young women were Barbara W. Carpenter, 21st international president, and Adell Brown Jr., retired executive vice chancellor of the Southern University Agriculture Department.
Iz’janae Lailah Brown, daughter of Melissa and Emmitt Pugh, was chosen as queen of the cotillion. She was escorted by Khristopher Grace.
Princesses included First Princess Sarah Gabrielle Douglas, daughter of Deidre and Reginald Douglas, escorted by Joshua Miller; Second Princess Trinity Kalise Perry, daughter of Evette and Eric Wilson, escorted by Brandon Vincent; Third Princess Markeisha Destiny Collins, daughter of Nicole Collins, escorted by Devontae Collins; Fourth Princess Keandra Irielle Bouvay, daughter of Lois Bouvay, escorted by Rodney Franks; and Fifth Princess Markayla Dy’ja Collins, daughter of Nicole Collins, escorted by Marteece Coverington.
Hannah Faith Robinson, daughter of Mecala and Frank Robinson, was chosen as the Little Miss Pearl of Elegance. She was escorted by Cameron Wilson.
Her fellow Pearls included First Princess Raynah Elise Hardy, daughter of Cristan and Ronaldo Hardy, escorted by Josiah Hardy; Second Princess Jazaiah Kamille Davis, daughter of Jasmine Johnson and Ronald Davis, escorted by Jeremiah Drewery; Third Princess Addison Ruth Papillion, daughter of Leslie Moncrief and Adam Papillion, escorted by Aaden George.
Gracie Nell Perkins was choreographer for the cotillion. Co-chairwomen were Constance Carroll and Geraldine Simms. Assisting were committee members Ada Allen, Nelda Augustus, Sonya Brown, Pamela Brue-Johnson, Miltonia Butler, Colleen Collins, Cora Collins-Smith, Brenda Davis, Delores Converse, Deidra Douglas, Sadie Kay, Sheryl Lott, Mazie Malveaux, Betty Munson, Euphemia Renée Smith, Fannie Terrell and Sulithian Williams.