“Roast of the Town” titled the ado at Harrah’s New Orleans Theater, the host sponsor, that was presented by the Delgado Community College Foundation.
Proceeds from the event will benefit scholarships and programs at Delgado Community College.
During the reception, Mellow Mushroom Restaurant in Metairie and Delgado Culinary Arts sated initial appetite cravings. For dinner, Café Giovanni, Acme Oyster House, John Besh Steak House, Mr. Mudbug & 12 Seasons Catering provided dinner fare, while Harrah’s New Orleans and Trinchero Family Estate supplied beverages and wine.
As master of ceremonies, Mike Weldon of WWL Radio was the first slated on the program. The next was Delgado Foundation board Chairman Ashton Ryan Jr. with words of welcome, who was followed by board Secretary Pastor Charles J. Southall III for the invocation and Harrah’s New Orleans assistant general manager Sherri Pucci-Sosa for greetings. Just prior to the dinner, Delgado Community College Chancellor Joan Y. Davis issued remarks.
In addition to Harrah’s, the top patrons, The Port Authority (as they were labeled), included Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association, FFC Capital Markets, First NBC Bank, and Liberty Bank and Trust Company. Subsequent donor categories were titled Pilot House, Maritimers, and Vessel Operators, all befitting the evening’s star, Gary P. LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. He has held the top position since 2001, and under his leadership the port has made great expansions. Honors and accolades concerning him have been numerous over the years, but at the Delgado benefit, he was given another role: roastee.
The Celebrity Roasters included state Sen. Conrad Appel, District 9; C.J. Blache, a partner of Roedel Parsons Koch Blache Balhoff & McCollister; Capt. A.J. Gibbs, president of the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association; Ted Falgoust, former executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission; and former state Rep. Joe Toomy, District 85. Chuckles and laughter accompanied their comments about the Port chieftan, who, a few days later, noted with a smile, “You never know what the roasters are going to say.”
Then it was the honoree’s time in the limelight and he took the floor for the rebuttal. The closing remarks were from master of ceremonies Mike Weldon and foundation board Vice Chairman Leon L. “Lee” Giorgio Jr. Nita Hutter Meins answers to executive director of the board.
More board names to know are Tony Abadie, Jay Batt, Wayne Fontana, Roy A. Glapion, Michael Hecht, George Kleinpeter, Shelby P. LaSalle Jr., Walter Leger Jr., Mike Maenza, Ed Marshall, Kenneth “Jerry” Myers Jr., Rubye E. Noble, Woody Oge, Dino Paternostro, I. William Sizeler, and Robert Weinmann. Most were in attendance for the “roast/toast” fun with Gary.
A live auction closed out the evening and guests were rou$ed for “going, going, gone” to sunset cocktails on a boathouse, a week-long condo stay at the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina, and a golf getaway to Fort Myers, Florida. With the combination of cocktails, dinner, roasting and toasting of Gary LaGrange, and the auction, all agreed that this was a most im-port-ant event!
n Red-Tie One On!
“Light up Fancy Bowtie” was the chief accessory at the recent Celebrity Waiters Dinner given by Archbishop Rummel High School at the Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel. It was the 22nd annual Celebrity Waiters Celebration and marqueed “A Red Letter Evening.” Of course, the above LED bowties were red.
Thirty-eight celeb waiters served the 380 guests — who amassed for dinner, silent and live auctions, and several raffles — with hopes of big tips. The final tip totals determined the overall top Celebrity Waiter.
Red was the operative title and the predominant color, thanks to the red carpet (and snapping paparazzi), tablecloths, and decorations in the ballroom. Overseeing all the colorful atmosphere were Royal Productions President and Archbishop Rummel parents Randy and Lori Gervais. Tuxedo-clad school seniors led the guests to various tables in the hotel foyer, where they could take photos with a life-size cutout of Pope Francis.
Further decorations included hurricane lamps with white candles; wall-to-wall school logos, seals and mascots; and, sported by more than 100 Raider students, the blinking bowties.
Master of ceremonies and WWL-TV sports director Doug Mouton called the dinner to order and introduced auctioneer Chuck Mutz, who led the lively bidding. Top auction items included a George Rodrigue “Blue Dog” print, a week in a Destin, Florida, condo, and front row seats at a Pelicans game — all purchased by Ray and Jessica Brandt. Dominick and Shannon Impastato and Anthony and Stefanie Taffaro also copped some top items. Popular, too, were the dinners up for bidding with Archbishop Rummel President Brother Gale Condit, FSC, and the chaplain, the Rev. Kurt Young.
Headlining the Rummel roster of attendees was Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who mingled with the above Brother Gale, event Chaircouple Paul (an alumnus, as are a few of the following) and Charlene Wetzel, school principal Michael Scalco with spouse Marymichael, Catholic Schools Superintendent Dr. Jan Lancaster, First NBC Bank President and CEO Ashton Ryan Jr. (2014 top Celebrity Waiter) the Brandts, the Gervaises, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, Jefferson Councilman-at-Large Elton Lagasse, Dr. Frederick and Connie Dantagnan, Dr. Charles and Cindy Murphy, and from Kenner, Police Chief Michael Glaser with Angela, and Councilmen Keith Conley and Dominick Impastato with Shannon.
Further names to note were Advancement Team members Brother Gale, Joseph A. Serio, Casey Cadella, Donald Stout, and Paula Bustillo; Student Council President Pierce Bonck; School Advisory board President Lou Reynolds, another alumnus; and chef Donald White. The menu consisted of Caesar salad, bone-in pork chop, and strawberry shortcake, to add the “sweet” touch of red.
All along, the Celebrity Waiters were “working” for tips and guests had the right to ask them to dance the hula, get drinks from the bar, pick up a dropped napkin, sing a song at the table, or sing the Fight Song on stage. At the end of the evening, emcee Mouton announced Todd Murphy, president of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, as the second-place winner. Copping the first place (once again!) was Ashton Ryan Jr.
- Leading Ladies
Promenade Luncheon was the midday merriment for the Leading Ladies Guild of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, which assembled at the Audubon Tea Room for a tasty meal, a fashion show, and extensive Parade of Prizes. Lynn E. Skidmore chaired the event that included her twin sister, Linda Skidmore Forman, who was talking up a trip to Israel. The guild models, who showed fashions from Dillard’s and had make-up by Chanel, were JPAS executive board President Joy Shane (who was a Celebrity Waiter at “A Red Letter Evening”), Lisa Baynham, Veronique Black, Lorraine Cucchiara, Marian Gibbs, Beth Goddard, and Michelle Yenni. Howard Bennett and Jeff Young escorted the models to the runway. Kellie Barnes presides over the guild.
Shrimp and red pepper bisque started the meal and was followed by salmon with dill sauce, and chocolate mousse. Perino’s did the floral centerpieces of spring colors.
Noted, as well, were Richard Buchsbaum, Martha Sassone, Edith Sassone, Sally Johns, Judi Russell, Joleen (Mrs. Ashton Jr.) Ryan, Gloria Esthus, Ginger Crawford, Melinda Bourgeois, Margaret Wagner, Nora Holmes, Susie Baker, and Dennis Assaf, JPAS executive director. Among the individuals he recognized when he took the microphone were elected officials, Hannah Cunningham (100 years old), his JPAS staff (including Valerie Hart) and luncheon Chairwoman Lynn Skidmore and Joy Shane.
Several headliners were asked to draw names from the basket for the Parade of Prizes. A moment of special levity occurred when Billy Nungesser drew wife Cher’s name. He put the slip of paper back quickly and, addressing Cher from the stage, said, “Honey, I’ll buy you something else.”