Motown Momentum

“A Musical Night with the Sybarites” marqueed the merriment purveyed with retro gusto by the women’s organization, the Sybarites. Founded decades ago by five local ladies, the organization made dancing their reason to revel. At the most recent event, that call was heeded with glee.

Rosy’s Jazz Hall was the site for the lively night for which members and guests donned dressy casual, or for fun, musical modes. Sybarites President Dana Hansel, attending with husband Steve, greeted guests with a smile, and “I’m disco.” Lots of others followed note-worthy suit.

The scintillating sounds started at the entrance where four brass players welcomed the arrivals, who relished the valet parking. Once within, the party spread out with three major focal points. First, and at the entrance, was the atrium and bar area, where Sybs and their pals queued up for specialty drink The Sexy Sax. It was concocted with vodka, apple schnapps, “sweet ‘n’ sour,” club soda and limes.

The second area, and the largest, was the stage room, where BRW made Motown the beat and food stations attracted the crowd. Outside, and under tenting, the Jon Bauer Quintet played amazing jazz in the courtyard.

Decorations all around were traditional, thematic and whimsical. Before folks entered the coat check environs, there was an upright “alligator” playing a saxophone. Adding more visual fun were the John Travolta cut-out reminiscent of “Saturday Night Fever”; a Louis Armstrong head surrounded by musical instruments and two large vases of Sybarites’ signature white plumes; and, all around, red or white roses in short silver vases.

Scores of partygoers mingled, including Vice President Colleen McLeod and Marty, decorations Chairwoman Karyn and Gregor Hoffman, past Presidents Susan Ordemann with date Webb Offutt and Jennifer St. Paul with Tanker, Sheila and James Favrot, Kathy Singleton with date Ben Bagert, Ann and David Williams, Jamie and Del Agnew, Karen and Reid Senter, and a Couvillon trio including Susan with Peter Abadie and her daughters-in-law, Mia and Jennifer with Scott and Mason. Several of the above — Jennifer, Karen, Kathy — added help and creativity to the decorations.

The food was sybaritically sumptuous. Passed hors d’oeuvres included oysters Cordon Bleu, tuna sashimi canapes, and crabmeat tarts – to mention a few, and at serving stations, there were roasted veggies, bronzed pork tenderloin, New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp with grits, and turkey breast.

Dozens of “Musical Night-ers” made rounds, including Jimmy and Karen Baldwin, Cathy and Andy Burka (who love to dance), Dessa and David Giffin, Ed and Cindy Bush, Ben and Kris Capshaw, Nicette and Glenn Goodier, Irene and Tom Lutkewitte, Nell and Barry Mabry, Pam and Cedric Martin, Pat and Henry Schonberg, Sharon and Pat Talley, Melanee and Steve Usdin, and Wendy Beron. (Husband Thomas was away on a business trip.) “It was such a fun party,” said Wendy after the festive fact. “A great venue and really good music.”

As the band and the decibels revved up, people took to the floor for BRW’s groove. When they played hot numbers, such as Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” dancing dominated.

n Fellows Fettle

At 7:35 p.m. on a recent Saturday evening, Susan M. Taylor, the Montine McDaniel Freeman director at the New Orleans Museum of Art, strode to the lectern for a welcome and a much-anticipated announcement. Assembled were the museum’s Fellows, a special donor group, who were there for the annual dinner and announcement of the Isaac Delgado Memorial Award. “This is one of my favorite annual events,” began Susan Taylor, who then related many of the successes of NOMA in 2014, citing various exhibitions, and the just-earlier installation of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Five Brushstrokes,” a 20-foot-tall, painted aluminum sculpture done in Pop art style, that now stands in front of the museum.

Flanking Taylor, who stood at the base of the staircase in the museum’s great hall, and placed atop the columns by the steps, were huge floral arrangements in urns of white and salmon blooms. Other flowers bedecked the individual tables and were attributed to the design of Kim Starr Wise.

In showing her appreciation for the work and generosity of the Fellows, director Taylor remarked, “On behalf of NOMA, on behalf of the staff, thank you.

Her next words focused on the awardee, who was referred to in the past tense. “He was a force in cultural, medical and military areas,” she began, then continued with his roles as physician, philanthropist, and collector. “I present this award to the late Dr. Ralph E. Lupin,” she said and his wife, Pam, and son Jay, stepped forward to accept the tribute. “Thank you,” said Jay, “NOMA was always one of my father’s passions. With much gratitude, and in his memory, I accept the award.”

Nearby were Sybil and Blair Favrot. Last year, Blair accepted the award for his cousin, H. Mortimer “Tim” Favrot, who was not able to attend.

From there, guests headed to their individual tables for the dinner by Joel Catering.

Headliners included NOMA board President Julie Livaudais George and husband Ted, Walda and Sydney Besthoff (whose names grace the adjacent sculpture garden and who were instrumental in getting the above Lichtenstein piece) and daughter Valerie, former museum director John Bullard and Catherine Burns Tremaine, Wayne Amedee and Dawn Dedeaux, Ellen and Mac Ball, Penny and Alvin Baumer, Gail and John Bertuzzi, Rosemonde and Carlo Capomazza di Campolattaro, Donna and Ben Rosen, Joni and Thomas Diaz, George Dunbar and Louisette Brown, Pia and Malcolm Ehrhardt, Ann and Tony Fuselier, and Stephen and Nancy Hales.

Many slipped away during the cocktail portion for a quick tour, or re-visit, to the “Kongo Across the Waters” exhibit. Just outside it, and coursing several walls as a chromatic cynosure, is the 150-foot “Forever” mural by Odili Donald Odita. It features 87 colors.

Other festive Fellows were Anne and King Milling, Brenda and Michael Moffitt, Mary Lou and John (also Johnny) Ochsner, Tia and Jimmy Roddy, Robyn Dunn Schwarz and Andrea Schwarz, Orlin and Shirley Trusty Corey, Jude Swenson and guest Louana DeMatteo, Robert and Pamela Steeg and many members of the Lupin family, who were congratulated on Ralph’s recognition.

  • Around and About

Looking elegant in a blue dress and smiling nonstop was Rubie C. (Mrs. Bryan) Bell, who surrounded herself with her many generations of family members and dozens of friends to celebrate her 90th birthday. Guests gathered in Bishop Polk Hall of Trinity Episcopal Church to hail the happy occasion and to wish Rubie well in her new city. She has moved to San Antonio to be nearer to family. For more than 50 years, she and her late husband Bryan lived in the Garden District.

On Wednesday evening, the Paul Tulane Society of Tulane University held its induction ceremony and dinner in the Audubon Tea Room. Society membership is “awarded to those individuals and organizations who have made gifts of $1 million or more to the university.” The invitation to the event was extended by Tulane President Michael A. Fitts and the Board of Tulane.

The 2015 inductees were Brad and Kylene Beers; E. Pierce Marshall Jr., Marshall Heritage Foundation; Eugene J. Miller Jr., Ph.D.; Susan and James McCulloch; Bernard Osher, The Bernard Osher Foundation; Martha McCarty Wells, and, all posthumously, Joseph A. Breaux, Dr. Dean Baker Ellithorpe, Jane (Mrs. Eugene J.) Miller and Edward Simon.