Three fine fêtes filled the calendar on a recent Sunday in April, giving the day social “showers” of conviviality. More festive “flowering’’ will fill up the May days.
- Men about Town
Well over 400 partygoers assembled as they have for years at the Omni Royal Orleans for the annual Dansant of the Townsmen Inc. and its 62nd anniversary. The exemplary attendance combined with the sounds of the Clark Knighten Band 4 x 4 became music to the ears of the organization’s officers and membership. Filling those ranks were Townsmen President Charles Kennedy Jr. escorting Laura Lipps, Vice President John C. Charles Jr. escorting daughter Lauren, Secretary-Treasurer Howard L. Rodgers III with spouse Belinda, Dansant Chairman Sidney Fauria Jr. with spouse Vaughn and Chaplain Anthony DeCuir with spouse Saraphine.
Mingling as members and their wives were Carl Baloney Sr. with Geri, Dr. Joseph Bouie Jr. with Leslie, Earl Brown Jr. with Michele, Dr. Emmett Chapital Jr. with Jovita, Michael Dukes with Sylvia, Preston J. Edwards with Rosa, Bryan Fulton with Conchetta, sergeant at arms Leon R. Fulton with Alma, Dr. Roy Marrero with Charmaine, Judge Ronald Sholes with Valerie, and Woodrow J. Wilson with Paulette. Also, a Wright brace in Messrs. Walter F. Wright and Wayne E. Wright, keeper of the seal.
They and their guests circulated to the food stations for the delights of steam round of beef, roasted turkey, ham and beverages. Thanks were directed to the hotel’s staff for the preparation.
Among the many guests were the Clarence Ancars, the Calvin Tregres, the Wayne DeLarges, Alden and Rhesa McDonald, the Edgar Chases III, the David Bocages, the Thomas Hydes, the Charles Webbs, the Clarence Wilsons, Cornelius and Dr. Karen Lewis, Howard L. Rodgers IV and Dr. Lovie Lewis Rodgers, Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred Duplesssis, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, state Sen. Wesley Bishop and St. Charles Parish President Nancy Robottom.
Credited for doing “an excellent job” of music making, the band generated one of Dansant’s annual highlights, the line dancing. Those numbers, capped by the electric slide, brought the remaining sedentary set to its collective feet.
- Muses and Mediterranean
They were definitely on the invitation list, answering to Euterpe, Terpsichore, Thalia and Melpomene. That foursome figures as almost half of the nine Greek Muses and bronze statues of them that are being spearheaded by Jefferson Beautification Inc. to grace the gardens surrounding the Jefferson Performing Arts Center. Sponsorships of the statues have been available and a bronze plaque will recognize the sponsor(s). The fabled nine were goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences (and even gave their names to a series of New Orleans streets) and offered inspiration in those subjects.
Hellenism was certainly to the festive fore during Jefferson Beautification’s Parkway Promenade XXV, which was titled “Cruising the Mediterranean.” It took place at Chateau Golf and Country Club and honored the top sponsors of Parkway Promenade over 25 years. Patrons gathered for an hour and then general partying continued for three.
Guests — who enjoyed Mediterranean cuisine, an open bar and dancing to the Get Back Band — sported colorful “Greek” or “cocktail” attire.
In addition, there was the live auction with a giclee by renowned artist James Michalopoulos (bought by Raymond Smith) and a Bahamas cruise donated by Travel Central (bought by James Favrot); complimentary photos at the TapSnap Booth; “Spin the Wheel”; “Barrow of Booze”; raffles; ensemble contest; and the door prize.
Event Chairwoman Joy Shane and JBI President Beulah Oswald-Soto recognized honorary Chairman James Michalopoulos and corporate Chairman Michael Hollis; members of the first Promenade Committee, participating garden clubs and top sponsors; and Frank Nicoladis (with Peggy) of NY Associates Inc., a sponsor of each Promenade since its inception. Recognized, as well, were statue sponsors Jeri Nims (the Robert and Jeri Nims Foundation), Joe and Tiffany Caldarera (J. Caldarera & Co. Inc.) and Michael Hollis (Hollis Companies), respectively, for Terpsichore, Euterpe and Thalia. Melpomene awaits a statue “suitor.”
Awards tapped Dr. John Ochsner and the Ochsner Health System, recipients of JBI’s annual Michael J. Yenni Award (an oil painting by Gretchen Armbruster) and a pair of couples: Dr. Henry and Kay Andressen and Henry and Pat Shane (the guest auctioneers). Lifetime achievement awards, they bore the name JBI Frederick Law Olmsted.
Anne Favret and Debbie Settoon created a Mediterranean ambiance in the country club’s grand ballroom with Roman columns, Greek statues, cruise backdrops, trellises, flower carts, and more statues. Each table for the sit-down dinner was centered with beautiful bromeliad arrangements, which were used later for prizes.
Noted within the sold-out crowd of 350-plus were Mary Lou Ochsner with awardee Dr. John, JBI President-elect Debbie Settoon with Charlie, Secretary Charlotte Ruiz, spouses Kay Donnelly and Dr. Joseph Rumage and, from Jefferson Parish, President Mike Yenni and Councilmen Paul Johnston and Ben Zahn with their wives, Michelle, Lynn and Dawn. Also, Lisa Baynham with mom Rita Blessing, Pat and Joe Starnes, Jefferson Chamber President Todd and Keri Murphy, the Caldareras, spouses Kim Bernadis (the Greek statues sculptor) and Kevin Cook, Jeri Nims with Michael and Carolyn O’Hare, Frank and Peggy Nicoladis, and Greg and Christine Cantrell.
And then there were the Mediterranean Ensemble Contest winners. Take a bow, Debbie Mora, Grace Hagen, Diedra Edwards, Clifton Rhodes and the foursome of Dr. Andressen, Rusty Bang, Jerry Fucich and Dr. Robbie Gaffney for the Best Male Ensemble.
- Adieu ‘Downton’
British Afternoon Tea it was for the Daughters of the British Empire, who held “A Fond Farewell to ‘Downton Abbey’,” the wildly popular PBS television series that has recently left the air. The Pavilion of Longue Vue House & Gardens was the site and “a glorious spring day” the bounty of Mother Nature. “Sold-out” described the affair.
State President Martine Lowe welcomed members and guests, whose numbers included “DA” costume judge Patricia Gallagher — the winner was Monique Singley, who was accompanied by Paul Verlander; former City Councilwoman Peggy Wilson with DBE member friend Dr. Jane Sumner; and DBE officers and members Jean Benard and Beryl Mundee (also event co-chairwomen), Betty Calzada, Heather Cavanagh for the thematic decorations, Jeanne Cline and Winona Gibbs. And, answering to kitchen crew and hostesses, were Cynthia Parham, Hank Parham, Gary Benard, Elba Hickey, Debbie Cox and Margaret Friloux. Enjoying the purveyance of the members and of The English Tea Room in Covington were “Rose Girls”— costumed Bonnie Slaughter and daughter Collette Acosta. A raffle and door prizes were further attractions.
Answering to Marigold Bostock-Wilson decades ago was attendee Margot McNeely. During WWII, she was among the Wrens, who worked at Bletchley Park and succeeded in breaking the German Enigma code. She was one of the founding members of the DBE in Louisiana, which was chartered in 1959.
Present, too, but only in cut-out form, were the show’s Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Mary, and beloved butler Carson. Bye, bye!
- Around and About
April magazines have recognized several Orleanians. Architectural Digest, which has Jacqueline Terrebonne as the design projects engineer, included a piece scripted by Mimi Read (“A Simple Plan”) and one titled “Hidden Treasure” about the Uptown home of architect Lee Ledbetter, who wrote the text, and Doug Meffert.
In the “What I Love About Me” spread in Marie Claire, probable Jazz Fest-goers were cited. Sighted, too. They were Juley Le, Natalie Legendre, Hannah Alford, guest editor Mikasa Famorca, Brianna Nowlin, Nicole Ralston, Ali Vasquez, Laura Paulsen, Ashley Boudreaux and Tonia Salas. For later fun, they head to Frenchmen Street, “the place to be on a Friday night.”