Levity! Camera! Action!
A Go for the Glam
The cocktail napkins at the patron party said it all: “Dress like Coco, live like Jackie, act like Audrey and laugh like Lucy” With a due tribute to the legendary Chanel, Kennedy (also Onassis), Hepburn and Arnaz, a tone was set for glamorous gallivanting.
City Nights-Hollywood Nights themed the annual fundraiser for the Parents’ Association of Country Day School, and those who amassed for the patron partying and the later main event were ready for their social close-ups. Held in the modern, Hollywood-style home of Rania and Hicham Khodr, the patron party, chaired by Rania and Kim Abramson, drew well over 300 “Nights”-goers. Both of their husbands, Hicham and state Rep. Neil Abramson, attended, as did new Country Day head of school Matt Neely with Erica, and Franco Valobra, a board member, as are a number of the following, and Nancy. They were especially thanked for donating diamond and gold butterfly earrings from Valobra Master Jewelers that were given as a door prize and won by a thrilled Ann Sinnott.
NOLA Restaurant, owned by Emeril Lagasse and the Khodrs, and with representation from Chris Wilson, David Slater, and chef Phil Buccieri, did the catering, while Sucre purveyed the sweet treats. Champagne and caviar were duly relished as guests listened to piano music, admired arrangements from Tommy’s Florist, and perused the home’s artwork that included an Andy Warhol “Marilyn Monroe” and an “Audrey” by Ashley Longshore. The art “made the party truly feel like we were in the Hollywood Hills,” commented Kim.
Attending, too, were Eleanor and Ian Carney of Lightwire Theater, who provided two actors in dramatic light-up costumes. As “soldiers,” the costume-clad actors escorted ladies down the house’s front steps to the shuttle for the evening’s main event.
At the entrance to the school, a large gold Oscar statue stood, greeting the crowd who arrived for the Auction Party chaired by Elesha Kelleher and Ashley Price Swanson. All the thematic decorations came from Z Events and Jacquie Hood and hordes of hobnobbers donned old Hollywood, glamour-era outfits. More features were the scintillating sounds by Musical Fantasy; food by café b, Felix’s Restaurant, Galatoire’s, and Marigny Brasserie and Bar; and drinks from Sazerac Company, Crescent Crown and Diane and Alan Franco. As for the auction action spearheaded by Heather Hays, Kathleen Kazour and Gina McMahon, a week-stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (donated by Rachael and Christian Gambel) drew big bucks.
Among the “Nights” brights were Parents’ Association President Leslie Fawer, Country Day board President Andy Weinstock, Dan Shea and Stephanie Stokes, the Gambels, Kris and Paul Viguerie, Melanie and Mickey Loomis, Ryan and Sara Gootee, Boo and Sid Charbonnet, Ramona and Will Seemann, Robyn and Andrew Schwarz, Julie and Paul Kitziger, John Kazour with Kathleen, and 370 others, who made “Hollywood hooray” their say.
Film Me to the Moon
The gardens of the Wilkinson-Bruno home were set for the New Orleans Film Society’s “Midnight in the Garden Gala” by event planner Lacey Wood, who arranged decorative trappings courtesy of Lovegood Event Rentals and Mardi Gras productions. Two giant chandeliers hung from the majestic oak that framed the stage for the lively auction; fire twirlers, snake charmers and human peacocks led by Trixie Minx added more dazzle; and Dunn and Sonnier added flowers to complement the lushness of the garden. And then there was the moon.
Guests grazed on the fine fare of at least 10 restaurants and, properly fueled, bid on a dozen film-connoisseur items helmed by auctioneer Adam Marcus. Two tickets to the Los Angeles premiere of the flick, “Book Club,” and a VIP tour of the “NCIS” set with a chance to appear in a non-speaking role were sure-fire enticements.
Stars in attendance included Lynn Whitfield, Tina Lifford and Nikoletta Skarlatos. Party luminaries included hosts Joseph “Joe” and Stephanie Bruno, Alexa Georges and Jerry Armatis, Alex and Krista Glaser, Scott Niemeyer, David Bernard and Charles Urstardt, Sidney Barthelemy, Lisa Barthelemy, Karen Solomon, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Mackie and Sandy Shilstone, Linda Novak with Adam Marcus, CeCe and Trevor Colhoun, Jason Waguespack and Jeffrey Morgan, Nicelle and T.G. Herrington, Katherine Cecil and Emile Dumesnil, and Seth Bloom. From the New Orleans Film Society came board President Valerie M. Grubbs, Alexa Georges (a former president), executive director Fallon Young, and 2018 gala co-Chairwomen the above Nicelle, Martine Chaisson and Elisabeth Sereda.
Setting the night to music were cellist Helen Gillet and later DJ MUSA, who spun sounds to transport the listeners from firm to film fantasy.
What does the beauty of the South evoke? According to Jefferson Beautification Inc., it was a certain elegance created for Parkway Promenade XXVII at Chateau Country Club. Event Chairwoman Mildred Zorick- Congemi (husband Louis Congemi was unable to be present) held out a welcoming hand to arrivals at the soiree, which was billed “Southern Elegance” and will benefit JBI’s parish-wide projects. Kay Andressen and her committee embellished the premises accordingly.
Further features included artwork by honorary Chairman and internationally known artist James Michalopoulos (with Tatianna Macchione), as well as the white magnolia canvas backdrop for the band that was purchased by Michele Shane L’Hoste, gala corporate chairwoman, and husband Randy.
JBI CEO Joy Shane and executive director Beulah Oswald-Soto presented the Frederick Law Olmsted Award – named for the father of modern landscape architecture – to the family of the late Carol Vincent Charvet in recognition of Mr. Charvet’s longtime support of JBI. In the live auction, conducted by Henry and Pat Shane, Avery Charvet was the exuberant winning bidder of a Michalopoulos giclee titled “Spezia.” A Savannah-Charleston travel package had JBI President Sharon Hannahan as the “winner,” and the Michalopoulos-donated “1718 Tricentennial Blend” bottle of rum was bought by Paul Schott. The popular “Pick a Prize Tree” featured 67 gift certificates and was an immediate sell out. Other raffle items generated more excitement.
A sit-down dinner featured the fine cuisine of the country club, and an addition to the wine and cocktails was the Rum Tasting Station provided by the Michalopoulos Old New Orleans Rum Distillery.
Also within the Promenade pack of 360 were Frank and Rozanne Dutreil, Pat and Joe Starnes, Dr. Henry Andressen with Kay, Mario and Bridget Henderson, George and Maitee Gomez, Ronnie Schmidt with fiancée Courtney Clement, Stacy Shane Schott with the above Paul, spouses Jennifer Bernard and Mark Allen, Myrtle Dubea with son Rick and daughter-in-law Terry, Debbie and Tom Mora, Jeanie Shiber and Carl Selenberg, Connie Casey, and Charlie and Debbie Settoon. They and scores more delighted to the popular sounds of The Get Back Band, which, post-dinner, packed the dance floor. A bit of lively lagniappe came from Debbie Mora, who joined the band to sing a rollicking rendition of “Proud Mary.”