May the “Spirit” Be With You
“Past. Present. Future” was scripted on the invitation under the bash’s title: “The Spirit of the Vieux Carre Gala.” Presented by the Vieux Carre Commission Foundation, it was in celebration of the launch of new programming to educate “the craftsmen and caretakers who will carry the cultural heritage of the French Quarter and City into the future.” Appropriately, the giving levels were so-titled, starting with “Master Craftsman” and “Plasterer.” In the first category, the names to know were Jeffrey M. Poree (Jeff Poree Plastering) and Darryl Reeves (Andrew's Welding & Blacksmith Shop). They were honored along with Stewart Farnet, founding director emeritus, who was accompanied by son Clay, daughter Aimee Farnet Siegel and brother Marcel Farnet; and the Very Rev. Philip G. Landry, rector of St. Louis Cathedral.
Sydney Anderson, president of the VCCF’s board of directors, co-chaired the gala along with Juli Miller Hart and Elie and Daniela Khoury, who opened their spectacularly renovated home and courtyard for the VIP sponsor party two days before. Founding VCCF President Darryl Berger and wife Louellen answered to honorary chaircouple.
Renowned as the oldest building in the Mississippi valley, the Old Ursuline Convent was the site for the socializing. Patron party guests entered through the sanctuary of St. Mary’s Church before enjoying full access to the Convent building and its current Tricentennial Exhibit. Guests then exited into the courtyard, which was decorated with flowers, candles and strung lights. Cuisine came from Galatoire’s and Antoine’s (both, patron party) and seven other generous purveyors, while Martin Wine Cellar provided the vinous accompaniment. Musical deserts came from Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes & The Louisiana Sunspots.
Notables included VCCF Vice President Kathryn Brennan McLeod with Gordon, education Chairwoman and Secretary Susan Klein with Paul, and Terry Dufrene and his wife, Lynette. Board members included Marviani Ammari, Nadine Blake, Vieux Carre Commission Director Bryan Block and husband Jeff Keller, Rick Blount with Lisa, David Dalia, Matthew Emory, Daniel Hammer with Klara, Lary Hesdorffer, Anne Morse with Jimmy, Peter Moss with Maryann and Rebecca Rau.
Other notables were District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer with Bobby, Mary Elise Schlesinger (regional director for U.S. Sen. John Kennedy), VCC Chairman Nicholas Musso and wife Temple Stephens, Daniel Taylor, Priscilla and John Lawrence, Brobson Lutz and Kenneth Combs, Bryan Drude and Carlos Trujillo, Bob and Kathleen Edmundson, Bryan Francher and Daniel Brockhoeft, Edward Bonin and Rene Fransen and scores more, who hailed the “visionaries of the past, the keepers of the present, and the forgers of the future.”
It was a 15th anniversary tout — and toot! — as St. Peter Claver presented Jazz Extravaganza in the SPC Music Hall, preceded by a VIP reception hosted by St. Peter Claver Catholic Church Pastor the Rev. J. Asare-Dankwah and supervising producer Mary Elizabeth Delatte Andry, who was assisted by the JE Committee. Dooky Chase Restaurant and Byrd House Catering provided fine food, Adrian Christian Flowers did yellow rose corsages and boutonnieres, and pianist Theron Lewis plied the keys.
“Down in the Treme” titled the show, which headlined trombonist and vocalist Glen David Andrews, soulful R&B group Real Love, and Naydja Cojoe, blues, jazz and R&B singer. Forming The Almighty O’Jays — Men in Black, were the Revs. Asare-Dankwah, Henry Davis, Daniel Green and Emmanuel Mulenga, assisted by Nathaniel Brooks Jr., Cornelius “CC” Celestine and Rene Fleury. Chris Severin directed the SPC Jazz Orchestra.
Limelighted, too, were celebrity masters of ceremonies Warren Bell Jr., Duke Carter II and Shelby Latino, and the celebrity bartenders, Timothy “Tim” McConnell, Dr. Dwight McKenna, Kweilyn Murphy, Bill Rouselle and Tod Smith. Still more excitement came from Lagniappe Live: Naturally Nawlins, which featured Treme Brass Band, Mardi Gras Indians, Tambourine Lady and, making the evening complete, Jazz Extravaganza Secondliners.
A Belief in Action
The National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section honored Susan G. Hess as the recipient of the 2018 Hannah G. Solomon Award during a recent luncheon in the New Orleans Marriott. Kim Sport had the 2017 honor. Having made an impact on a wide variety of community organizations, Hess has recognized community needs and created solutions. She was joined by husband Bill Hess, among many others.
Attendees milled around at a reception, enjoying various cheeses and Sue Singer’s homemade chopped liver. Autumn flower arrangements in straw baskets decorated the tables.
Section President Barbara Kaplinsky both opened and closed the formalities; Rabbi Matthew Reimer (Temple Sinai) gave the Hamotzi, the Jewish blessing before the meal; and luncheon committee Chairwoman Kathy Shepard presented the award to Susan Hess. Additional key guests were Section Vice President Sarah Covert, Susan Kierr, Ina Davis, Dana Shepard, Mimi Schlesinger, Miriam Waltzer, Loel Samuel, Nancy Timm, Liz Yager, and such past Solomon Award recipients as Joan Berenson, Florence Schornstein and Marjorie Bissinger. All hailed Susan as they supported NCJW and its Jewish values, especially those that improve the quality of life for women, children and families by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
Now called “annual,” the second Top Chef Reconcile amassed folks for a culinary competition fundraiser to benefit Café Reconcile’s program. A patron party started the on-premises Sunday socializing with the “Peppery Finnish” as the specialty cocktail and hors d’oeuvres by CR executive chef Eugene Temple. An hour later, it was general admission and a welcome and introduction of the teams by event Chairman Derrick O. Martin, whose committee included Maria A. Newman Carrere, Scot Craig, Leslie Doles, Missy Duhon, Jennifer Kelley Killian and Jamie Roy. Café Reconcile Executive Director Gerald Duhon made remarks. Later was the final voting for the culinary teams and the drawing for Emeril Lagasse’s Carnivale du Vin tickets, and presentations of the Judges’ (Susan Ford, Tod Smith, Justin Devillier) and Peoples’ choices.
Six teams participated with a professional chef, a “home cook” fundraiser and a Reconcile program alum. They were, in that order, chef Lina Green, Karen DeBlieux and Shania Washington; chef Lenora Chong, Ann Duplessis and chef Irvian Bakare; chef Jason Lambert, Lee Reid and chef Delvin Davis; chef Rita Bernhardt, Jack Saux and chef Chris Okorie; chef Corey Jacobs; Liz Creel and Duane Shelley; and chef Edgar “Dook” Chase, Ursula Rochon and chef Mike Jones. Each team created a dish using “Jazzmen Rice.” More features were the jazz trio performers and flowers by Kim Starr Wise Floral Events.
From the Blanton family came Al, Hamilton, Reese and CeCe, who mingled with Wil Jacobs, Jessica Reid, Rob Charbonnet and Dr. Trudy Raiford, Bruce Hoefer, Rita Hubbard with pals Wilma Longstreet and Rhea Lucien, Dr. LaKisha Mamon, the Rev. Anthony McGinn, SJ, Jimmy Doles, Nancy and Jesse Adams, Vanessa Van Vrancken, Glen and Giselle Armantrout, Diane Labouisse, Carey and Richie Kernion and Rita Lambert, Carnivale du Vin winner. And the award winners? Team 6, Chase, Rochon, Jones, for sweet and savory calas, Judges’ Choice; and Team 5, Jacobs, Creel, Shelley, for raising the most money.