Night Notes

A Celebration 300 Years in the Making

The annual Odyssey Ball to benefit the New Orleans Museum of Art went to the mother tongue of the city’s founder and billed the 2017 bash “l’Odyssee.” It was followed by “A Celebration 300 Years in the Making” to tout the city’s forthcoming Tricentennial. Duncan family members Carmen and Kelly, Shaun and Foster, Kitty (nee Duncan) and Stephen Sherrill were joined by Sweet and Ben Dupuy to chair the gorgeous romp that had IberiaBank as the Presenting Sponsor. From 7-9 p.m. and situated on the museum’s grand staircase in the Great Hall and flanked by a zillion balloons, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra played, while people chatted. Ensuing entertainment was by the Jep Epstein Trio and special guest DJ violinist Timothee Lovelock. Football fans had a television area (replete with tailgating goodies: hot dogs, sliders, bourbon tasting) to follow the LSU game. All the while, the auction activity created bid business.

Noshes came in several forms, passed hors d’oeuvres, gumbo, crawfish Monica risotto, sushi, shrimp and grits, beef tenderloin kebabs, and mini desserts, with cuisine credit tapping 1718 Events/Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Taittinger Champagne added charming effervescence.

Names to know — and faces to note — were those of the four chairing couples and Montine McDaniel Freeman Director Susan M. Taylor. Michael J. Siegel presides over the museum’s board that includes as officers and executive committee members Sydney J. Besthoff III, Stephanie Feoli, Suzanne Thomas, Elizabeth Monaghan, Janice Parmelee, Rob Steeg, Poco Sloss, and Julie Livaudais George, immediate past president. Lynda Warshauer is the chairwoman of the NOMA Volunteer Committee. Board members Justin T. Augustine III, Margo DuBos, Thomas F. Reese, James J. “Jimmy” Reiss Jr., Kitty Sherrill, Susu Stall, Frank Stewart Jr., and Brent Wood were also noted, as were countless others in a comely crowd of 550. Last year, Susu and husband Andrew Stall made their merry mark as Odyssey chaircouple.

All admired the "l’Odyssee” event design by Z Event Co., the lighting and projections by See Hear Productions and the flowers by Roland Monteleagre, Urban Earth. Days before, Greer and David Monteleone opened their home for the Sponsor Party of levels $5,000 and above.

The Waring Family, along with the Sherrills, the Zemurray Foundation and the Pain Intervention Center, figured in a top sponsor category. Answering to Waring were Lexie and Will, Kathleen and Ben, Calais and Patrick, and Peter, who was joined by Patricia Souler. Then there were Katherine and Robbie Saer, Ken and Margaret Saer Beer, Suzanne and Steve Dumez, Louisette Brown and George Dunbar, Drs. Tarun and Rupa Jolly, Melanee and Steve Usdin, Tim Fields and Chris Bergeaux, Marshall Hevron, Cathy and Rivie Cary, Lori and Kevin Frischhertz, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Judith Young Oudt, Bob and Norris Williams, Sarah and Patrick Vance, French Consul General Vincent and Yuanyuan Sciama, Kathleen and Charlie Van Horn, Cathy and Morris Bart, Elizabeth Boh, former museum director E. John Bullard, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Sally Richards, Gail and Ned Bergin and hundreds more, who hailed the 300 bannered years and those to come.

A Hundred Bottles of Wine on the Wall

Carnivale du Vin titled the tremendous ado put on by, and to benefit, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. On the eve of the gala dinner in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the foundation held the seventh Boudin, Bourbon & Beer 2017, one of the South’s top food and music festivals, where dozens of chefs put their own spin on the Cajun sausage to raise money for children’s charities. There were more than 5,000 attendees.

“Wonderful World of Wine,” the upscale dinner's title and theme was rendered chromatically via aubergine and pewter. At the entrance to the Empire Ballroom, floral arrangements topped decorative wine barrels, while gates suggested the arrival at a vineyard. In the ballroom, and during the Bacchus Reception (the socializing after the Champagne Reception by G.H. Mumm), silk linens of aubergine were placed on the auction display tables and the dining tables. The stunning centerpieces were by Johnny Lopez of Perfect Presentations and the Wendell Brunious Band played. The crowd loved the Fats Domino numbers. Chefs Scott Conant, Larbi Dahrouche and Rick Moonen prepared the Bacchus menu with Merry Edwards billed as the Honorary Bacchus.

The later Krewe du Vin five-course palate pleasures, designed by the culinary students at NOCCA, came from Emeril Lagasse and his chefs de cuisine, with dessert by Jacques Torres. Once again, Sunny Anderson was the mistress of ceremonies.

A highlight within the dinner’s highlight, the live auction, was the sale of a rare bottle of 2015 The Setting Wines Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that sold at $350,000 and “shattered a world record for the most expensive single bottle of wine sold at an auction.” DawnMarie Kotsonis was the repeat auctioneer extraordinaire of the 22-plus lots and Michael Haney, the auction lot reader.

Relishing it all were Emeril Lagasse (chef/proprietor of 14 restaurants in various states, national television personality, and author of 19 cookbooks) and wife Alden, Paul Chevalier, Bridget Harrell Bender, Suzanne Pride Bryan, Grace and Ken Evenstad, Dan Kosta, Mark Romig and David Briggs, Susan and George Wortham, Bill and Mary Hines, Kathleen and Terry White, Julie Breeden and Bill Goldring, Fred Holley, and about 580 more. Four stars from the original cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” teamed as The Midtown Men to kick up the audience’s adrenaline during their nostalgic music making.

When all was said and counted, the 13th annual fundraising weekend (the record-breaking Boudin, Bourbon & Beer and the Carnivale du Vin) raised $3.5 million for children’s charities. A tip of the toque!

Piano Plaudits

The Musical Arts Society of New Orleans held Nocturne XV, A Celebration of Piano (and dedicated to the memory of Richard Goula), in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Featured was American pianist Spencer Myer Bronze (2003) and Gold (2008) medals recipient of the New Orleans International Piano Competition. His program included selections from Haydn, Chopin and two rags from William Bolcom. As a courtesy of Hall Piano Company and Robin and Bruce Crutcher, a recent compact disc of Myer-recorded Bolcom rags was presented to each guest.

More select features were the cocktail reception prior to the pianism and the dinner (salad, roasted chicken, chocolate tart) afterward for 209 guests. June and Ken Cognevitch, Anne Gauthier and Susan Lafaye did the centerpieces, and Tiffany Adler, of Adler’s, designed lapel pins.

MASNO Masterheaders were President Anne Gauthier with Sanford Pailet, President-Elect Keith Lescale with Henrique Paraizo, Secretary Elissa Bluth with Ed, executive director Cara McCool Woolf with Vance, artistic director Daniel Weilbaecher, and event Chairmen James Farrow, immediate past president, and Susan Lafaye.

Sponsorial thanks went to Mary and Henry Kothmann, Alan and Julia Gandolfi, Steven and Gina Kinchen, Steinway & Sons, Ron Biava, Paul and Terri Maassen, and the Ritz-Carlton. Then there were Hristo Birbochukov, Andrea and Archie Brown, Mary Chapman Albert and Doug, Joan Coulter, Kathan Dearman, Wilfred Delphin, Arthur and Darlene Dickerson, Jep Epstein with Tiffany Adler, spouses Joni Jensen and Bruce Regeczi, Fred Kasten, Allan and Toni Ledbetter, Emel Songu Mize with Ranney, spouses Julie Nice and Herb Larson, Barbara and Thomas Sands, Casey and Chris Zainey, Anne Bradburn, Richard Dowling, Diane and Charles Dupin, Raymond Gitz, Dustin Gledhill, Edward Levy, Robert Pope, Larry Watts, and Robin and Dale Williams.