The Praised Pack!

A Strasser Salute

A Walt Handelsman cartoon headed up the invitation for a seated dinner honoring Peter Strasser, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Louisiana. Given by Dathel and John Georges and The New Orleans Advocate/Gambit team, the celebratory event unfolded at Galatoire’s 33 Bar and Steak, starting with cocktails at 6 p.m. After the initial hearty mingling, dinner followed an hour later in the Balcony Room overlooking Bourbon Street. At that point, the hearty mingling was more confined and sedentary.

Both John Georges and Dathel were seated at the main table along with the honoree and his spouse, Stephanie Strasser, Bill Goldring, John Casbon, Joel Chaisson with Sandra, Eric Rommal and Leonard Carollo.

From the hosting forces came Advocate publisher Dan Shea and spouse Stephanie Stokes, editor Peter Kovacs with Ruth, Leslie Browning, Martha Carr, Gordon Russell with Stacy, Stephanie Grace and Edwin Curry. Gambit representation came from, among others, Clancy and Margo DuBos and publisher Jeanne Exnicios Foster.

They swapped news with Tim Francis, Harry Rosenberg with guest Walt Green, Charles and Linda Teamer, Dottie and Kern Reese, Tom Winingder with daughter Deborah Peters, Andree and Jay Batt, Greg and Suzanne Rusovich, Bob Brown, Michael Simpson and Bing, Vinny and Karen Mosca, David Meyer and Amy Gajda, Alden McDonald, Joe Lopinto and Lauren, Jack Capella, Kenneth St. Charles and Lori, Howell and Katie Crosby and Newell Normand and Shawn Bridgewater. Almost all answered to a community title or two.

Salad Maison was the first of the four courses on the dinner menu. Then came turtle soup au sherry, petit filet Bearnaise and Gulf fish meuniere amandine, and a dessert of banana bread pudding. During the brief formalities, Dan Shea welcomed the assembly and host and Advocate owner John Georges introduced U.S. Attorney Strasser, who talked about the importance of free speech. Steve Scalise, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip (who was honored at a similar dinner at Galatoire's a while ago) also spoke for a bit.

Others, and again a titled throng, accepting the dinner invitation included Terry Alarcon, Scott Ballard, Walter Becker and Laurie, Brickford Brown and Matthew Calvert, Eddie Castaing, Paul Connick with guest Steve Wimberly, Flozell Daniels and Charmel Gaulden, Tim and Ellen Doody, Greg Guidry with Cathy, Louis Gurvich, Scott and Susan Illing, Bill and Karyn Kearney, Arthur and Brenda Lawson, Edwin A. Lombard, Danny and Nina Martiny, Keith Naccari, Madeleine Landrieu and Paige Sensenbrenner, Scott Sternberg and Jay Zainey with Christopher Zainey.

All extended congratulatory wishes to honoree Peter Strasser, an alumnus of the University of Virginian (bachelor of arts) and of Washington and Lee University School of Law (juris doctor); a retired Navy Reserve Captain, JAGC; and a former partner at the Chaffe McCall law firm. He was sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana last month on Sept. 10.

Vital Volunteerism

Take a bow, Debbie Albert, Ann Duffy, Ann Heslin, Todd Matherne, Diann M. Sanborn, Carol Short, Alfred E. “Ted” Stacey IV and Allison Giffin Talley! They were the 2018 honorees as the 48th annual St. Elizabeth’s Guild Volunteer Activist Awards Luncheon, all recognized for outstanding volunteerism in our community. Recognized, too, were Carol M. Porter and Mark C. Surprenant as Hall of Fame 2018 inductees. The top three donors were Angel Wings Foundation, Phyllis M. Taylor and J. Edgar Monroe Foundation.

The Empire Ballroom was the site for the midday event that supports the guild's five children’s programs — Padua House, St. John the Baptist Head Start, Cornerstone Kids, Isaiah 43 and Therapeutic Family Services — serviced by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. St. Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, who cared for the poor at the city gates, is the guild’s namesake and the guild’s logo uses her crown.

Program principals included master of ceremonies Mark Romig, guild President Kathi Zimmerman, national anthem singer Irma Thomas, Archbishop Gregory Aymond for the invocation, luncheon Chairwoman Ana Eller (with Kim), entertainers the Harry Hardin Trio (patron party) and the Big Easy Boys (luncheon) and community notables modeling in the Dillard’s fashion show. More excitement came from the silent auction, raffles and the 350-item Parade of Prizes.

Meanwhile, guests chatted as they enjoyed a luncheon menu of salad, grilled Joyce chicken breast and a deconstructed Black Forest cake. As a nod to the tricentennial, cute centerpieces incorporated French accents.

More luminaries included fashion show coordinators Nancy Colomb (with Kevin) and Erin Shea Stahnke — in absentia Joan Ingram was hailed as the former coordinator; reservations Chairwomen Cindy Wooderson and Laurie Nodier; and Catholic Charities President and CEO Sister Marjorie Hebert, also a fashion show model. And Niki Garner, Kristina Gibson, Shacidy Hadley-Bush, Cindy Paulin, Rudy and Suzette Herpich, Kathy Mitchell, Russ and Sandra Herman, Sonda Stacey, Anton Heine, Elizabeth Heslin Morrison, Mary Louise Heslin, Morgan Packard Griffith and Jonathan and Lynn Kernion. Attesting to both the celebratory and munificent spirit of the luncheon, when the Big Easy Boys played “Sh-Boom” with lyrics “Life could be a dream,” Carol Short and Russ Herman got up to dance.

Cultivating a Garden

The 18th annual American Cancer Society Ball, the Belles & Beaus Ball, was marqueed “Garden Splendor: A Place Where Hope Can Grow.” Chaired by the appropriately surnamed Shannon McCloskey Able, the ball took place in various venues of Mardi Gras World. Volunteer Activist Ann Heslin will chair it in 2019.

Spotlighted as Belles were Dr. Rabia Cattie, Dr. Rupa Jolly, Lisa Picone Love, McKenzie Lovelace, Monica Mullooly, Jessica Schulman, Dr. Tammuella Singleton, Dr. Kathleen “Kate” Sullivan, Allison Tiller and Delia Young. And as Beaus, Glen Boyd, Dr. John Gordon, Michael Hecht, Dr. Brian Moore, Dr. Jody Morris, Jim Nelson, Jim Perrier, Dr. Danny Raines, John Reagan and Dr. Ravi Tandon. Several were patrons.

Once arrived in the Grand Oaks Mansion, guests enjoyed a Beer, Bourbon and Bubbles Garden, lush foliage, a lighted circle bar, gobos, and light effects in green, blue, white gold and silver. Around and about, 10 floral companies provided eye-catching arrangements; 40-plus restaurants purveyed, such as 12 Seasons Catering and Southern Hospitality; a photo booth snapped souvenir shots; the Javier Guiterrez Duet played for the patron party; and top auction items animated by Black Tie Auctioneer Chuck Mutz counted artwork (Terrance Osborne and Becky Foss, etc.), sports items, a Luca Falcone custom suit, and a rocking chair donated to the Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge, a “home-away-from-home” for those needing help and hope while traveling to New Orleans for cancer treatment. Friend & Company donated the gorgeous high-end raffle ring.

Making “Garden” their social tilling were host/emcee Fox 8 anchor Lee Zurik, Patrick Able with Shannon, Genie and Edward McCloskey, Jay and Carla Adams, Ryan Messina, Donna Kay Berger, Amy and John Robertson, Kenny Rubenstein, Corbett Scott, Nickie Candies, Katherine and Beau Raymond, Cheryl Lemoine and hundreds more, including kin and kith of the honorees. To add musical momentum throughout the night, the Bucktown All-Stars rose to the “Garden Splendor” occasion.