Bold Nights!

Art Smart!

One of the most exciting annual art auctions — to benefit a fine cause — occurs during the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s O What a Night! Most recently, the on-premises partying honored as Opus Award recipients Coleman E. Adler II, CEO of Adler’s Jewelry and an Ogden board member, and internationally recognized artist John Alexander, whose South-inspired work is in the Ogden’s permanent collection. Ogden board Chairman Charles Urstadt and David Bernard and Christa and Matt Schwartz served as event chairmen; Robbie Gordy of Christie’s was the auctioneer for the 22 lots; Ware M. Porter, Ware & Co., did the décor; and Justin Devillier, executive chef and owner of La Petite Grocery and Balise, and Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette, teamed to feed the flock. The former did the dinner and the latter two, the patron party. The glam gallivanting is described as “an unparalleled celebration of Southern art, culture and cuisine.” Yep!

Two days prior to “O What a Night!,” the Patron Party Preview unfolded at the Troy Scroggins and Keith Malvitz residence.

The evening of the bash, guests gathered at 6 p.m. for cocktails and the silent auction sponsored by New Orleans Auction Galleries. After that initial round of shoulder-rubbing, it was on to huge tent and the presentation of the Opus Awards and appropriate tributes, dinner (tomato braised beef short ribs and Parmesan rice grits figured prominently), the live auction and entertainment by D Play Band and Jeremy Davenport. The top donors, Underwriters, were La Petite Grocery and Balise, as well as the above “Night!” Co-Chairmen Urstadt and Bernard. Listed in the Sponsors category were Coleman Adler II, Coquette, Goldring Family Foundation, Gregory Holt and Lucy Burnett, The New Orleans Advocate, New Orleans Auction Galleries, Roger Ogden and Ken Barnes and Sazerac, Inc.

Among the fab features were the Tricentennial-themed décor with powder blue chromatics; Ogden Museum lapel pins from Adler’s; centerpieces by Pick-a-Petal; and more music by Trandafilka. Relishing all the activity were Simon and Shelly Gunning, Bill Goldring, David Kerstein (The Helis Foundation) and Geneva, James Surls, Matthew B. Moreland, Kevin Kelly, Pat and Henry Shane, Allison Kendrick, Anna Beth Goodman, Alexa Georges and Jerry Armatis, Parker Roy, Karen Solomon, Gregory Saunders and a host of others. William Pittman Andrews is the museum’s executive director.

Up for the auction were works by L. Kasimu Harris, Doyle Gertjejansen, Susan Worsham, Jim Blanchard, George Dunbar, Elizabeth Bick, Ed Whiteman, Eudora Welty, Raine Bedsole, Ashley Pridmore, Fritz Bultman, Aron Belka, Birney Imes, Mallory Page, David Gamble, James Surls, James Flynn, Margaret Evangeline, Gregory B. Saunders, Michael J. Deas and Betsy Eby. The 22nd lot was a support-package for research and scholarship.

The lots produced lot$! The auctions raised over $300,000.

Vive le Vieux Carre!

“Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future” was scripted as part of the Emprint Moran invitation sent out by the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, which goes by VCPORA. Announced was a tricentennial tout to commemorate a brace of birthdays: VCPORA’s 80th and the Crescent City’s 300th. The Cabildo was the venue; Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, the Presenting Sponsor; and Ann M. Mason, the sole sponsor in the Champagne category. In the following Burgundy were Virginia Boulet and Alvin R. Albe Jr. and the Richard C. Adkerson Family Foundation. The next, Bordeaux, listed Gregory Holt and Lucy Burnett, Jamie and Monique Coleman and Jaeger Foundation.

Mastheading the gala committee of well over 100 were Brenda Moffitt and Carol Allen, who rated raves. In addition to those co-chairwomen, other significant names are VCPORA officers Rick Normand (president), Jill McGaughey, Kate Simister and Anthony Rotola. Executive director Meg Lousteau is bidding goodbye with a move to Houston.

Highlights of the event put on by “the oldest preservation advocacy organization in the state of Louisiana” were entertainment by Delfeayo Marsalis and his Quartet; Creole Cuisine Concepts purveyance; and some amazing auction items. The “silent” enticements were dozens and dozens, and the live ones, exemplary. James Michalopoulos and his Michalopoulos Gallery gave a $12,000-valued painting of the Beauregard-Keyes House and three donors, respectively Robert Merrick, Brigitte Fredy and Les Amies de VCPORA, donated trips to Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Paris, France; and Normandy, France. Mark Romig stepped up to get the going, gone.

All the while, New Orleans was duly hailed with lots of happy hobnobbing.

Social Scouting

At the recent Distinguished Citizen Award dinner given by the Southeast Louisiana Council Boy Scouts of America at the National WWII Museum Freedom Pavilion, Raymond J. Brandt was the 2018 honoree. He was joined by his wife, Jessica.

Mingling, too, with a number as past honorees, were Frank and Paulette Stewart, Bill and Cindy Metcalf, Jim Letten, Robert “Bob” and Sheryl Merrick, Tim and Anne Burke, Terry Alarcarn, Joe and Debra Exnicios, Sam and Jennifer Fradella, Otto Candies Jr., Andrew Todd, Tony and Marina Gregorio, Paul E. Gregoire, Ph.D., for the invocation, Charles Nelson and about 30 Scouts and Scout Leaders.

Villere’s Florist did the patriotic-themed centerpieces; artist Joe Deffes did a sketch as a gift for Brandt; Hancock Whitney sponsored the reception; and Capital One Bank and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Exnicios were the sponsoring Life Scout Investors. All enjoyed the menu fare of roasted pear salad, beef tenderloin and roasted vegetables. After the program, which had as presenters Carballo, Scout executive and CEO of SLCBSA, and Tony Gregorio, University of New Orleans Foundation (and tapped for the introduction of honoree Brandt), guests collected around the coffee and dessert stations.

Boy Scout Council President Jim Letten served as the master of ceremonies and Joe Exnicios as the event chairman. The Distinguished Citizen Award Committee listed Boysie Bollinger, Lynne Burkart, Chad Dufrene, Jimmy Fitzmoris, Torrey Hayden, Ryan Moore, Newell Normand, Bill Oliver, Ken Pickering, Pat Talley and Barbara Windhorst, as well as the above Exnicios, Letten, Bob Merrick, Bill Metcalf, Frank Stewart, and Todd. Known for the Ray Brandt Auto Group, the honoree, a New Orleans native, and honor graduate of St. Aloysius, holds three degrees from Loyola University: BBA, MBA and JD. He and his wife created a family foundation to foster education for the under-privileged, among other causes.

Capping the encomiums and formalities were the Victory Belles, who added joyful notes to the evening’s agenda.