We Found Our Thrill
The Domino Effect came to musical reality at the recent Opus Ball of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, when “A Tribute to Fats Domino” titled the tuneful to-do. Presented by Yulia and John Houghtaling and the Gauthier Family Foundation (and chaired by Anne Gauthier), it took place in the Armstrong Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel. Seventy-three people figured on the committee.
In addition to the above presenting sponsors, the top sponsors, those in the “Whole Lotta Lovin’ ” category were Paul J. Leaman Jr. and Marilyn V. Dittmann, Jones Walker and Pan American Life Insurance Group. The next two sponsor sets continued with category titles of Fats Domino songs: “My Blue Heaven” included Doug and Mary Albert, Joseph C. and Sue Ellen Canizaro, Ms. Jeanette Davis-Loeb, Ana and Juan Gershanik, Angela Hill and Dr. Irwin M. Marcus (who continues to get congratulations galore on reaching the age of 100), Hugh W. Long and Susan L. Krinsky, Sheila and Dwight McGhee, Paulette and Frank Stewart and Dr. and Mrs. Richard L. Strub. Figuring in “I’m Walkin’ ” were the Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation, Herbert V. Larson and Julianne Nice, Mr. and Mrs. Juergen F.A. Seifert and the Patrick Taylor Foundation.
It was “sittin’ ” for the program that featured a menu designed by Paul Paboudjian and Tom Siedel of a tasty roasted red pepper and tomato bisque, braised beef short ribs with lump crab cake, and dark chocolate panna cotta. As centerpieces, black containers held a bed of greens with white roses, chrysanthemums and chamomile topped with cutouts of musical notes.
Slipping away from the dinner tables (and before), guests visited the silent auction, chaired by Carol Hall (with husband John) and Deborah Alciatore-Empey, with its enticing staycations, restaurant certificates, a bottle of Dom Pérignon 2006, and, as for some of the art, a clay vessel by Julie Silvers. In the live ado, the attractions and their donors were a Saints experience (the Gershaniks), a hand-painted, jewel-encrusted violin (Patti Adams), and a week-stay at a Watercolor, Florida, condo (Anne Gauthier) with Paul Leaman, Byron and Suzanne Scott, and Dwight McGhee as the respective buyers. A fourth entry was “Conduct the LPO” for the April 16 concert in City Park. Purchased by Angela Hill, she said that her husband, Irwin Marcus, would be the conductor.
Shortly before 8 p.m., the program started, with, moments later, LPO music director Carlos Miguel Prieto conducting the two-part program. It included Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and Jerome Kern’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” which rendered a few moist eyes. But not from smoke. From sentiment.
Then it was tempo time for the Fat Man. Vocalist and “Piano Prince of New Orleans” Davell Crawford, drummer Adonis Rose and bassist Marc Brooks joined in for a Domino gamut that ranged from “Blueberry Hill” to “I’m Walkin.’ ” Fleet of foot were dancers Alexander Rowe and Nathalie Gomes-Adams, who went from a slow jitterbug to one with alacrity. Several times, couples got up to join them on the dance floor.
Among the LPO luminaries, which included most of the sponsoring forces, were Sanford Pailet with Anne Gauthier, CEO James Boyd, board President Ranney Mize and spouse Emel, Sybella Loeb, Valerie Besthoff, Dennis and Carol Woltering (with Angela and Irwin), Penny and Alvin Baumer, Barbara Beckman, Ann Owens, Mary and Joseph Biundo, Barbara and Thomas Sands, Dr. Stephen and Nancy Hales, Lorraine and Scott Chotin, James “Jay” Gulotta and Susan Talley, Dr. Bob and Sharon Weilbaecher, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Diane LaPlace, Dr. Bernard Jaffe, and Gerald Sellar and Veronica Costanza.
Post-dinner music was by Jasen Weaver (bass), Mike Esneault (piano) and Willie Green III (drums). All the while the Domino Effect of menu, mingling and music, lots of music!, prevailed.
Fest and Fillmore
For lovers of music festivals, food and spontaneous fraternizing, the French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron and produced by French Quarter Festivals Inc. is a “must.” Thousands of related revelers will hie to the Quarter from April 11-14 to get their fill.
To launch the fun, Fillmore was the word. The FQF presented by Chevron held its gala fundraiser, “An Evening with Nicholas Payton,” at the Fillmore New Orleans, starting with a patron party with entertainment by The Nayo Jones Experience, followed by the 8 p.m. bash. For that, there was an open bar (courtesy of Abita Brewing Company and Brown-Forman), dinner (mini crawfish pies with Fillmore rémoulade, Fillmore shrimp and grits, Windsor Court desserts, and more), table flowers donated by The Plant Gallery, a silent auction of exciting entries, and drumming by Mardi Gras Indians. A Tribe Called Gumbolia second-lined throughout the event and took the stage for a powerful Mardi Gras Indian set. Headliner Nicholas Payton, a Grammy-winning trumpeter, then regaled the crowd of 600 fans. All were also dazzled by the hip, new Fillmore venue.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Vice President Mark Hatfield and renowned vocalist Irma Thomas were the honorary co-chairmen. Guests of note included Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico public affairs representatives Leah Brown (with Martin Irons) and Anna Simpson (with Chuck), Abita Brewing Company’s Leo Basile, French Quarter Festivals Inc. President and CEO Emily Madero with Mario, Teddy Graziano of Brown-Forman, Crescent Crown’s Dwight and Carolina Lia Barnes, Omni Royal Orleans General Manager David Bilbe, WWL-TV President and General Manager Tod Smith with Kenya, 2019 poster artist Ayo Scott, and 2019 Festival artists Corey Henry, John Boutte and Irma Thomas. All are prepping for the best of the fest.
KIPP and Kin
Co-chaired by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Walner, Doug and Jennifer, and with a committee of 29, KIPP: New Orleans Schools presented its 2019 gala at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside with the host hotel and Hammond’s Transportation as the Summa Cum Laude sponsors. Individuals in the next two categories were Risa Kaplan and Kelt Kindick, Lauren Hitt and Adam Hawf, the John Landrums, the Leo Marshes, Henry Lambert and Carey Bond, and the Louis Shepards. KIPP serves 5,200 students across 11 public schools. At the gala, more than 100 of them participated.
Noted were masters of ceremonies Stormi Coleman (KIPP Leadership) and Tyra Perkins (KIPP Morial); KIPP speakers Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise (CEO KIPP New Orleans Schools), alumna Enrinique Little, and high school students K’Shaun Smith and Kassie Dolliole; and performers KIPP Believe College Prep Concert Band with band director Keith Hart, KIPP Renaissance High School Legacy Chorale with choir director Je’Marcus Welch, and KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band with band director Lester Wilson. Everyone enjoyed a three-course dinner of Caesar salad, beef short ribs, and bananas Foster doberge. The centerpieces of calathea plants were by FAIT NOLA.
Much of the celebration, which honored KIPP faculty and staff, was the opening of a new building in Columbia Parc in partnership with the Bayou District. It is the first building owned by a Charter Management Organization.
Applauding all the activity were the Walners, Toya Barnes-Teamer and Roderic Teamer, Janet and retired Judge Stanwood Duval, Donnell Bailey, Sherice Clark, Foofie and Darrah Schaefer, Charlotte and Jack Sawyer, Judge Kiva Landrum, Judge Jane and John Milazzo, John and Martha Landrum, Tyrone Walker, Calvin Mackie, Greg Tillery, James Dabney, the John Renthorpes, Erin Burns, the Karl Connors and scores more.