“I feel so humbled. It’s been an honor to join with this group of volunteer leaders in serving the YMCA and the community.” So said G. Pratt Provosty, who was honored on a recent Thursday evening as the C. Allen Favrot Humanitarian of the Year. Awardee Pratt felt right at home with the assembly, people whom he’s worked with for years in the YMCA, and with the venue. It was his home. He and spouse Nicole opened their lovely Uptown house for the cocktail buffet.

Marvin Benton, longtime member and volunteer at the West St. Tammany YMCA, and joined by spouse Theresa Dupras, was hailed as the Mildred Wild Volunteer of the Year. Both he and Pratt received enthusiastic ovation.

Teamed to put on the event were the YMCA of Greater New Orleans Board of Trustees, and the YMCA advisory boards of Belle Chasse, East Jefferson, and the above West Tammany. Also, key community leaders.

Among those gathered to celebrate the 164th year of the YMCA of GNO were YMCA President and CEO Gordon Wadge and spouse Mary; the Provostys — Pratt is the outgoing board chairman; incoming YMCA board Chairman George Wilson with Nell; past Chairwoman Karen DeBlieux with husband Dr. Peter — they first met and fell in love as teenagers at the Y and “are still going strong decades later”; outgoing long-time board member Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman; YMCA emeritus board member Dick Piner with Dorothy “Dot”; another outgoing board member Neel Fallis with Debbie; board member Paul Kavanaugh and Jennifer; and community philanthropist and award namesake C. Allen Favrot.

Newly inducted YMCA board members present were Dr. Felton Winfield with Danielle, Meg Vitter Greene with Brendan, Tricia Vise with John; and Dr. Claudia Medina.

A visual point was the vase of stunning white lilies that decorated the kitchen table. Etc! Catering purveyed, offering such taste treats as lump crabmeat, mini muffalettas, deviled eggs, tuna tataki boats, chicken pasta carbonara, flank steak and spinach salad.

Some of the chatter during the course of the hobnobbing was about award recipient Pratt, who served on the board for 14 years and chaired it twice. He has been a Corporate Cup sponsor and volunteer of the YMCA’s Blue Heron Golf Tournament, and has recently volunteered with the adult literacy program. Furthermore, he and Nicole have started the Pratt-Kritikos Family Fund, using two maiden names: Pratt was that of his late mother (nee Anne Pratt) and Kritikos, that of Nicole.

Right before the formalities, Nicole darted upstairs. “Where are you going?” someone asked. She replied with a smile, “to get our children.”

They looked on with great pride. When the program was over, and in his parting words as board chairman, Pratt symbolically turned over a wooden gavel engraved with the name of his successor, George Wilson.

Major Donor Dinner

Concurrent with the YMCA reception was the 2016 Goldring-Woldenberg Major Donor Dinner in the Palm Court of the Windsor Court Hotel. Attendees were those donors who have made a minimum household gift of $10,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans’ 2016 Annual Campaign, which is co-chaired by Lisa Heller (with Mark) and Dr. Juan Gershanik (with Ana). More thanks tapped underwriters Louellen and Darryl Berger and the Windsor Court Hotel.

Salient features of the socializing were the pianism of David Torkanowsky, wine and liquor provided by Alan and Diane Goldring Franco, the centerpieces of roses, and the prandial pleasures of a Bibb lettuce salad, grouper and crème brûlée.

Along with the Bergers and the Francos (Alan is a past JFGNO president), were federation president Dr. Edward Soll with Karen, immediate past President Morton Katz with Carole, siblings Morris Bart and Vivian Cahn with Cathy and Richard, and about 56, who made giving a generous statement.

The Bounty of Burns

Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-96) could not be there in person, but his spirit permeated the socializing. On a recent Saturday night at the Southern Yacht Club, the Caledonian Society of New Orleans celebrated the 42nd Burns Supper. His portrait lorded over the levity, as an atmospheric accent along with the red roses with heather and thistles arranged by Lance Uhde and the Celtic harp playing during cocktails by Laurie McConnell.

Additional notables were mistress of ceremonies Christyn Elliott with Michael, society President Wendy Grubb (with Robert) for the welcome, and David Grissett (with Shauna) for the blessing. Choices for the dinner’s main course were grilled salmon or prime rib and, as always, the Haggis Procession was a highlight. The acclaimed Scottish dish was heralded by piper Cameron Hall, Beverly and Gene Hall, and John Urquhart. Richard McConnell III, husband of the above Laurie, gave the “Address to the Haggis.”

Using Burns’s tale, “The Twa Dogs,” as an inspiration, society President Glenn Raby delivered the “Immortal Memory”; 50th anniversary celebrants Drs. Austin and Jane Sumner gave the “Toast to the Lassies” and the “Response to the Laddies”; and, for departed society members, Trudy Burkart read a list of their names; and Robert Grubb piped “Flowers of the Forest” in their memory.

Also enjoying all the activity, including spirited Scottish dancing, and later ballroom, were Mona Bond and Jim Goff, the Rev. Don and Sally Rice, Rich and Mary McConnell, Andrew and Nancy Weir, Jeffrey and Karen Farmer, Dr. Hugh Robertson, Alvin and Vickie Castay with son Steven, Randy Richardson with Lisa Gourgues, and Charles “Tex” Stevenson. In the warmth of Burns fellowship, the dinner ado concluded with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”

  • Around and About: The EllePO

Allain C. Andry III, the author of the popular children’s book “Louie the Buoy” was in musical clover on a recent Sunday afternoon. For the most recent Family Concert of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which is in its 25th anniversary season, the world premiere of Tucker Fuller’s new musical score set to the book was played. Music director Carlos Miguel Prieto led the nautical adventure as conductor and Carol Sutton narrated.

Within the audience that included Dr. John and Mary Lou Ochsner, who were seated with newlyweds Eli and Judith Tullis, were the three children of Allain Andry and spouse Judy, plus eight of their nine grandchildren, and one of their two great-grandchildren. The latter, called Elle, short for Eloise, is the daughter of the Andrys’ granddaughter and her husband, Tippins (nee Crosby) and Wilson Gandy. Their home is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

At the conclusion of the premiere of “Louie the Buoy,” Prieto brought two little girls up to the stage. One was 4-year-old Elle. He asked her if she had ever conducted a symphony orchestra.

He then turned the orchestra over to her and with true musical feeling and youthful gusto, she led the orchestra. The audience went wild when she finished. (Some folks even shed a sentimental tear or two). Not only did author Allain delight in his great-granddaughter’s limelight, but he was the birthday boy and had “Happy Birthday” played for him with everybody singing.