Celebrating Life and Location
At a recent luncheon, what did Mary Lynn Alltmont, Lee Baraldi, Elaine Deshotel Dick, Susan T. Hankel, spouses Kevin McConnell and Leila McConnell, Dr. Alfonso Vargas, Katherine D. Vicari and Kathy Walsh have as a common denominator?
All are cancer survivors. And to recognize them — and give hope to others — they were hailed as “Indomitable Spirits” at the recent Cancer Crusaders’ annual Celebration of Life Luncheon at the Marriott. For this, the 17th event, Crescent River Port Pilots’ Foundation was the top sponsor; Brenda Higgins (with Glenn) and Mickey Rodriguez (with Herbie), the 2017 CC co-presidents; and, as chairing forces, Charleen Boos and Dawn Miller (luncheon committee), Celia Deininger (auction), and Katie Abboud and Susie Baker (Parade of Prizes).
Master of ceremonies Richard Buchsbaum gave the welcome; Irene Rogillio, the invocation; and the co-presidents, remarks. Then the 2017 honorees were introduced. Other program points were the introduction of past honorees, a toast, a check presentation by 2016 co-Presidents Dianne Breaux and Diane Hollis, and several numbers by acclaimed soprano Sarah Jane McMahon, who was accompanied by Kristin Alvarado. Her “What a Wonderful World” put a nice spin on the socializing.
Among those noted were Jim Miller with Dawn, honoree liaison Cheryl Cabes, Henry and Mary Kothman, MeMe Arnoult, Tom and Carol Lee Rappold, Gregory and Stacey Ricks, Dr. Prescott Deininger with Celia, and Cindy Wooderson. Celia and Cindy are co-presidents elect. And, Dr. Augusta Ochoa, Lynne Creel, Joan Ingram, Jean Rice, Mona Louviere, Tracey Hammill, Lisa Baynham, Gloria Parish, Pam Clower, Virginia Eckholdt, Suzette Herpich, Barbara Lawler, Sonda Stacey and countless others. In addition to some of the above, Linda Camnetar, Debra Bush, Susie Baker, Debbie Albert and Constance Albert are 2017 CC officers.
A salad of field greens was the first menu item. It was followed by herb roasted chicken and a trio of desserts. The centerpieces were two white orchids in ceramic vases. All the while, auction ado lured the crowd to its 185 items. Faye Haley was among the pleased and successful bidders. Winners of various prizes were Lucy Ruffino (a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry necklace), Linda Daigle (Secret Parade of Prizes) and the above Diane Hollis (Southwest Airlines tickets). Of course, the biggest winners were the day’s honorees, and all those who preceded them as such, the Crusader Parade’s Cancer Survivors.
“Dinner, Dancing, Auction” were promised — and delivered — at the annual Ozanam Inn Century Club Gala that unfolded at Poppy’s Crazy Lobster Bar & Grill overlooking the Mississippi River and the Crescent City Connection. IberiaBank was the Presenting Sponsor; Glazer’s and Republic National gave bar donations; Tim Alexander provided the photo booth and props; Austin Sicard & The Medics set the night to music; 60 silent-auction items (including artwork by Simon the Painter) made bidding a joy; and Poppy’s Crazy Lobster chef Peter Isaac fed the flock. “The staff … made sure everything was perfect and we were all happy,” said a gratified guest. Four more groups purveyed.
Thanks aplenty tapped a slew of supporters, including hosts/Poppy’s owners A.J. and Anna Tusa and the Port of New Orleans, as well as the 10 restaurants, which contributed as a solid lot to the Restaurant Raffle. Dori Soroe beamed as the thrilled winner.
A worthy threesome was honored: Dr. Henry A. Gremillion (with Mackey) and Dr. Steve Nelson (with Julie), professors respectively from the LSU schools of Dentistry and Medicine; and Dr. L. Lee Hamm III, dean of the Tulane School of Medicine. The universities hold weekly dental and medicine clinics at Ozanam Inn for anyone in need.
Noted, too, were mistress of ceremonies Alexandra Cranford (with husband Aaron Yohn), retired Archbishop Alfred Hughes for help with the presentation of awards to the honorees, Dr. Jack Andonie, Ozanam Inn Board President Claiborne Perrilliat with Jeanie, Anthony Restel, Daniel Maurin, Megan Eustis, Meghan Donelon, Natalie Barnes, Dr. Mary Coleman and Steve, Nicholas Gates, Lauren McMahill, Ryan Chan, Spencer Brown, David Lyle, Lishunda Franklin, P. Kevin and Nancy Colomb, Dr. Jenny Herman, Dr. Robert and Gwen Barsley, Thomas and Stacy Horn Koch, Clyde Raymond, Gloria Herzog, Bruce James, Diane and John Morrow and family, Erin Shea-Stahnke, Anne Bailey, St. Vincent de Paul Society Executive Director Deacon Rudy Rayfield, and Ozanam Inn Executive Direcetor Clarence Adams and Marie. Mother Nature added nice lagniappe, a pleasant evening. Riverfront dancing was a result.
A Night in New Bohemia
Who could resist the bash’s title? It was chosen by the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates for the 2017 gala because of the location, The Michalopoulos Studio on Elysian fields Avenue. The theme and title was inspired by the location, Faubourg Marigny, which became the next “Bohemia” after the Vieux Carre.
Patrons gathered first and enjoyed food by “our wonderful neighbors” at Angeline and by chef Alex Harrell; patron gifts by Monique and Jamie Coleman of jars of honey harvested from their French Quarter apiary; a speak-easy bar featuring Old New Orleans Rum; Cecile Savage’s music; and contributions by gallerist Lorraine Dauw.
Then it was on to the gala itself with food from eight generous establishments, two full bars, music by DJ Vinsantos, and silent and live auctions of covetable items with Taylor Eichenwald leading the latter. For the “live” portion, a Michalopoulos painting was a top item, and creator/host James gave a moving speech about how he values his studio’s neighborhood. Two more enticements were one-week stays in the Loire Valley of France and southern Utah.
Luminaries were VCPORA President Rick Normand, executive director Meg Lousteau, Vice President Jeff Morgan, gala co-Chairwomen Jill McGaughey and Grace Wilson Birch, Junior Chairwoman Annie Irvin, honorary gala Chairman James Michalopoulos, Alvin Albe and Virginia Boulet, Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association President Allen Johnson, John Maloney of Moran Printing, Melissa Gibbs, Shane and Russell Levy, and Al Groos, general manager of the Royal Sonesta Hotel. All supported VCPORA’s mission to educate visitors, citizens and public officials on the Vieux Carre as a “living neighborhood.”
Sydney J. Besthoff III is the first-ever recipient of the new award that bears his name: The Sydney Besthoff Legacy Award, or The Sydney, that was established by the New Orleans Museum of Art and presented to him in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden for his outstanding contributions to the arts. The museum’s Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman director, hosted the al fresco event that was also a birthday celebration acknowledging him as a new nonagenarian.