Mother Nature showed her ugly side April 4 just as the Baton Rouge Symphony League’s Mad Hatter’s Luncheon & Fashion Show was getting underway at the Renaissance Hotel. I doubt the valets have ever worked so hard. 

Veteran league member and symphony volunteer Sue Rainer was recognized as this year’s honorary chairwoman. She was presented a beautiful bouquet by Mad Hatter Hypolite Landry.

The bad weather didn’t stop luncheon-goers from pulling out all the stops to dress for this year's theme, Symphony of the Sea, and the hat competition. I’ve been judging hats for over 20 years, and I think selecting this year's winners may have been the toughest.

The theme proved quite inspirational, especially for groups. There were so many extraordinary groups that fellow judges Anne McCanless, Pauline Zernott, Ashley Sexton Gordon, Rosalind Tuminello and I decided not to give the individual award for Most Outrageous, instead bestowing it on the Kleinpeter Mermaids, who were over the top from head to toe.

The group Fifty Shades of Blue won the Making Waves award, and league President Edy Koonce and 29 of her buddies, known as the Fish-a-licious, got our votes for Running a Tight Ship. Most Beautiful Hat honors went to Candace Mula, and Lacy Kojenski was proclaimed Best Ensemble.

Before the hat competition winners took a trip on the catwalk, models strutted their stuff in evening wear and furs from Raffaele’s, followed by swimwear and casual looks from Lukka.

Betsy Barnes served as emcee for the event, which was chaired by Nicole DeMoss with Charlotte Smith as co-chairwoman. Rounding out the committee were Shannon Lewy, Kelly Lee, Courtney Morel, Janay Giblin, Shannon Hultberg, Andrea Lanehart and Jana Smith.

School House Rock

Also on the party hit parade April 4 was City Year’s School House Rock Gala at the Capitol Hilton. This year’s event honored the Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation, represented by Executive Vice President of Philanthropy Jan Ross. The evening’s other special guest was Michael Brown, CEO of City Year Inc., which he co-founded with Baton Rouge’s own Jennifer Eplett Reilly.

Jennifer was there that night but missing in action for photos (she does hate to have to her picture taken), but I did get to visit with her husband Sean Reilly, Layne McDaniel, Coletta Barrett, Ann Connelly, Tina Holland, Susan and Marvin Borgmeyer and Whitney Vann and husband Robert Schneckenburger, who served as host committee chairmen.

Monochrome at the Mansion

My last stop on the very busy 4th was the Old Governor’s Mansion for Of Moving Colors’ Monochrome at the Mansion fundraiser. Welcoming guests were artistic director Garland Goodwin Wilson and board chairman Jeff Rome.

I got there just in time to catch the performance by OMC’s dancers Gabi Danna, Julian Guillory, Lauren Hebert, Anne Marie Herring, Sarazen Knight, Courtney Landry, Breana Lathers, Caroline Martin, Rebekah Prudhomme, Christina Russo, Rebecca Sawyer, Carrie Tatum, Rachel Vierck and Roxi Victorian. Afterward, the Michael Foster Project had everyone hitting the dance floor.

Dancing at the Mansion

I was back at the Old Governor’s Mansion on April 5 for more dancing, this time for the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s Dancing at the Mansion fundraiser. Getting everyone in a toe-tapping mood was a jazzy performance by Team Leonard, a band of folks who love dancing with Leonard Augustus for a variety of causes. I’m fortunate enough to be on the team but a stress fracture has me sidelined, so no dancing in my immediate future. It was great to exchange air kisses with Leonard, Chad Sabadie, Ryn Jones, Wendy Lipsey and Aimée Russo Mounger, as well as chat with Veronica Mosgrove, co-artistic directors Molly Buchmann and Sharon Mathews, Monique Scott-Spaulding, David Norman, Mary Lynn Langlois, Gary Miller and Ralph Ostermann.

Traci Thompson was honored as Volunteer of the Year. The night ended with everyone dancing to the sounds of The Issue.

Art League

Jo McWilliams’ “Red Lotus” painting was chosen as the Purchase Award winner at the Baton Rouge Art League’s 69th annual exhibit on April 6 at the Rural Life Museum. It was one of 118 works on display; 30 done by league members.

Aside from checking out the art, I enjoyed getting to chat with Margie Fabre, who had a painting in the show, as well as with Sara Lemon, Laura Simpson, Pat Alford and, for the third time in a week, Alice Kronenberger, Diane Gilbert and Kathleen Cangelosi. And, as interesting as the art was, the floral arrangements done by decoration co-chairwomen Lauren Tucker and Alice Fresina were absolutely stunning.

Also serving on this year’s committee, chaired by Susan Smith, were Lilly Birdwell-Bowles, Monica Bishara, Evelyn Brown, Susie Carpenter, Kris Holder, Sharon Keaton, Joette LeBlanc, Janice Levy, Sandra Roccaforte, Kathy Stone, Claire Yeargain and President Rita Wallace.

Red Stick Soirée

Minutes before the Friends of City Park’s Roaring Red Stick Soirée was about to get underway on April 6 at the Baton Rouge Gallery, there were three very loud pops and the lights went out. Seems a rather large tree limb fell across an electrical line shorting out a transformer. That didn’t, however, dampen the celebratory mood of organizers or guests — at least not for long.

The Patsies were able to rev up their amps and get everyone dancing. Bistro Byronz, DiGuilio’s, Juban’s, Kalurah Street Grill, Parrain’s and Rock-n-Sake provided the eats. Joining in the festivities were Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and her right-hand man, Darryl Gissel. Among the things everyone was celebrating were the golf and croquet tournaments, which took place that morning. Dana Oatley Brown and Allison Modicut served as co-chairwomen for the soirée.


Follow Pam Bordelon on Twitter, @pamspartyline.