Lighthouse levity

Arnaud’s Restaurant in the French Quarter was the site for the social “light” presented by Postlethwaite & Nettterville. The beneficiary was Lighthouse Louisiana, formerly Lighthouse for the Blind, whose president, Renee Vidrine, attended with husband Larry.

Guests responding to the 6:30 p.m. invitation arrived at the Vieux Carre gustatory landmark, where, according to a party principal, the “décor struck the romantic chord Arnaud’s plays best, with touches of ivory and gold in the famed Count’s Room.” The traditional jazz stylings of The Gumbo Pot Trio added musical momentum.

More features of the event were the sumptuous treats the restaurant is known for — and some new ones; a wine pull offering 100 chances to win bottles of wine ranging from $22 to $120, and in celebration of Lighthouse’s centennial year, the person who pulled number 100 got a bonus bottle valued at $100; and a silent auction. The items included beautifully glazed ceramics painted for the party by visually impaired people, who are receiving services at Lighthouse Louisiana.

The highlight of the evening was the pottery created by Lizzie Fair, who, prior to losing her eyesight three years ago, sold her works in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and Palmer Park art market. After receiving services at LL, she’s back at work. Party guests met her and listened attentively to her testimony. Her oyster platter and dipping cups — purchased by Lynne Burkhart — fetched the highest bid of the evening.

Among those making rounds, all the while enjoying the Arnaud’s food, were Lighthouse board Chairman Curtis Eustis and spouse Celeste, event Chairwoman Katy Casbarian, the above Vidrines, Erica and James Reiss, and Saints players Ryan Griffin, Tim Lelito and Austin Johnson. Also, Dottie and David Haydel, Connie and Tommy Kitchen, Suzanne Mestayer, Sallee and Tom Benjamin, Ruth and Ginny Kullman, Wallace Landry III and Michelle, John Morgan, Pam and Bill Ryan, Terry Schellhaas, Laurie and Jeff Young and about 165 others, who espouse LL’s “Vision Beyond Sight.”

Fine feathered friends

Arguably the “brightest” bird in the ornithological spectrum is the peacock, and for Lutheran High School’s annual Gryphon Gala, the 38th, tribute was so paid. “Gryphons Are … Proud as a Peacock!” titled the partying at Atonement Lutheran Fellowship Center. Early birds arrived at 4 p.m. for the invitation-only pre-reception. An hour later, the silent auction began, followed by dinner and the later verbal auction. “Dressy chic” stated the attire for the “Peacock” pack.

Among the notable names and attendees were honorary Chaircouple Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Saacks, gala Chairwoman Arlene Jones (who was joined by husband Lonnie) and alumni of 1982, the honored class. Included in the number were Jan Schindler Knecht, Karla Feliu Yent, Heidi Hill, Julie Taglauer and Lisa Emboulas Farrell.

Others included board President Kay Blackwell with Warren, LHS Principal Carol Christen, assistant Principal Janice Schaff with David, Steve and Kathy Koester, Bonnie Saacks, Granville and Rachel Morse, Tony and Janis Filiberto, Robie Pettey, Diana Bulot, Linda Kraus, Mitzi Loughmiller and auctioneer Gary Crane and assistant Kurt Jostes, who also emceed. A note of sentiment underscored the gala that was dedicated to Paul Mancuso, a longtime teacher and guidance counselor at the school, who died last year.

Among the many features of the “Peacock” partying were the tasty menu that included blackened chicken and white chocolate bread pudding; musical entertainment during dinner by Sherman Bernard and the “Ole Man River” band; and the decorations. Multicolored draperies surrounded the silent auction booths, painted wooden cutouts of peacocks (by Joe Taylor and the LHS art students) furthered the theme, and two hanging screens displayed a PowerPoint account of the verbal auction. Art work donated by the French Art Network, a Five Happiness “Feed Me” buffet party, a signed Saints football given by the Scott Pages, and a diamond bracelet donated by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Akin were among the 35 choice items in the bidding bonhomie.

Bright minds

Alumni from the New Orleans metropolitan area of New England preparatory schools gathered recently at the Versailles Boulevard home of Benjamin Karp, a graduate of St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, for their quarterly meeting. The group’s mission is networking, recruiting, promotion of member schools and civic contributions to the community.

Assembled, too, were Robert Barnett, an alumnus of Phillips Exeter Academy, in Exeter, New Hampshire; Stephen Higginson, an alumnus of Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts; and Jonathan McCall, also of St. Paul’s School. The above Rob Barnett represented the 10 members of his family who have attended Exeter, including father William “Bill” and Rob’s two sons, Will and Zach, both of the class of 2013.

And Exeter alumni Michael McNamara (also of the 2013 class) and Jeff Rutherford, St. Paul’s alums Dixon McPhillips (whose father was Exeter ’72) and Robert Weinmann, as well as Angelica Jarvenpaa, of Phillips Academy Andover in Andover, Massachusetts, and Sarah McLaughlin, of Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut).

Founding dates of the prep schools range from 1778 (Phillips Andover) to 1890 (Choate Rosemary Hall). Local representation predated all of them. Rob’s wife, Lisa Zaccaria Barnett, is an alumna of Ursuline Academy, which was established in 1727.

Those in attendance enjoyed wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres, while engaging in their usual, lively discussions of old prep school activities and rivalries.