Spring into Action

All Fore One!

Presented by The Lemoine Company, Sugarplum Ball 2019 of Children’s Hospital bore the bannering “Puttin’ on the Glitz.” Golf was a major motif and the sponsor categories attested to that: Hole in One featured the LSU Department of Pediatrics. Subsequent ones were Eagle, Birdie, Par, Bogey and Double Bogey. The invitation, which was done in fairgrounds green, white and black (lettering), incorporated several renderings of golf flag sticks, as well as the location, the Sugar Mill on Convention Center Boulevard, and the suggested dress for men: “Black tie or white dinner jacket.” Ladies opted to put on the sartorial “Ritz.”

Lisa Ballay and Karey Haslauer co-chaired the bash, reaping lots of compliments, with the teamwork of a gala committee of 150 women. All were aligned to benefit the cause: The Children’s Hospital Pediatric Simulation Center, which “will provide hands-on-learning to residents, medical students and other health professionals through the use of innovative pediatric robots that simulate real-life patient scenarios.”

Johnny Lopez, of Perfect Presentations, provided the lush landscape that included centerpieces, floral entrances, garlands and archways to create a golf oasis. The décor was done by ELEMENT and included custom boxwood hedges.

Now from atmosphere to appetite. Gala cohorts gathered nearly 40 of the city’s best and “most iconic” restaurants to showcase their culinary creations. During the VIP pre-party, patrons enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres from the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group. Additional taste treats throughout the evening were alligator sliders, shrimp and grits, oyster Rockefeller soup, cannelloni and pastries. Libations flowed.

Then there was the silent auction of choice items, including an 18th-century French walnut buffet from Wirthmore Antiques, a week-long stay donated by Evans Valerie at a villa in the Caribbean island of Nevis, and two Cypress Suite tournament passes to the 2019 Zurich Classic. The Valobra Jewelry Raffle featured a diamond bangle-style bracelet valued at $15,000. The musical worth came from the Harry Hardin Jazz Trio, which got the glitz and golf-filed evening off to a swinging start, and, later on, the main stage mastery of Karma.

Teeing up for the purposeful play were Children’s Hospital President and CEO John Nickens IV with spouse Marye, LCHC Health CEO Greg Feirn and Sarah, Charles J. Ballay with Lisa, Lt. Gov. Billy and Cher Nungesser, and from the Lemoine Company, President and CEO Lenny and Christine Lemoine, as well as Will and Candace Lemoine. Also, Dr. Raymond Watts, Brian and Amanda Ballay, Ben and Ashley Gootee, William and Wynonia Lazaro, Brent and Denise Buford, Dottie and David Haydel, state Sen. Arthur Lentini and Nancy and Franco Valobra.

One of the choice attractions was miniature golf, which rallied scores of gussied-up duffers for more fun. And for that, the proof was in the “Puttin.’ ”

Vernal Vibes

The Sybarites Spring Party, described as “Cocktails, Dinner and Dancing,” unfolded in The NOPSI Hotel. That was also the cue for the invitation’s party pitch: “Come feel the heat and light up the night! The power we’re supplying, it’s electrifying!” The location was the former headquarters of the New Orleans Public Service Inc., which opened in 1927 as the city’s utility company.

Founded in the late 1950s by a festive fivesome, the Sybarites now consists of about 200 women, whose purpose is “to make merry and have fun.” The name comes from Sybaris, the ancient Greek city in southern Italy that was founded in 720 BC, where pleasure predominated.

Pleasures of the palate at the Spring Dance abounded, thanks to passed hors d’oeuvres, small “entrée” courses, a display of dips and chips, various food stations, duck salad, and dessert enticements. Sybarites members Jennifer St. Paul and Elizabeth Woolverton created colorful centerpieces of gerbera daisies, roses and lilies.

Among the vernal revelers were President Lisa Puckett Sinders, Vice President/President-elect Helen Read Young and Tim, Treasurer Mary Stewart Smallpage Bailey and David, Winnie and Mark Brown, Kris and Ben Capshaw, Yvette and Michael Semmes, Beth and Clifford Favrot, Dessa and David Giffin, Laurie and Shelby Friedrichs, Julie and Scott Habetz, Sarah and George Young, Kendall and Ben Hales, Tammy and Scott Crabtree, Christy and David Kearney, Christy and Beau Read, Cynthia and Jeremy Schreiber, Bridget and Bobby Bories, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Young (she’s the daughter of a founder), and former presidents, Ann Yoder Swayze, Carli Tessier with Frank and Irene Lutkewitte with Tom.

The musical momentum came from show band BRW and lead singer Billy Kennedy. “Disco Inferno” got a bunch of dancers to the floor, followed by “Celebration.” When “Ladies Night” played, it was a lively testament to the distaff jubilation.

McGehee Mambo

To welcome Kimberly Field-Marvin, Ph.D., the 12th headmistress, the Louise S. McGehee School choreographed “McGehee Mambo” as the annual fundraiser, starting with a patron party chaired by Marcie Gardner and alumna Carter Jahncke Perrilliat at the nearby home of alum (and birthday girl) Katherine Waters Gelderman and husband Tony. The Gumbo Trio entertained and The Sirens then led a second-line parade to the school’s Prytania Street campus and the grounds of the Bradish Johnson House for the main event chaired by Caitlin Brewster, Dorian Stone and Leslie Tallant. Features, billed as a welcoming “All Things New Orleans,” were myriad, including music by Lagniappe section, Mardi Gras Indians, a Sally Richardson-chaired live auction with Ruthie Winston as the auctioneer, cuisine from chef Todd Pulsinelli of Warbucks Restaurant, Lucky Dog weenies, sno-balls, beignets and signature cocktails. Plus, trips down school-days Memory Lane. A number of reunions were occurring over the weekend.

“Mambo” mavens were Parents’ League President Mimi Wilson with husband Kris; Hyder Brewster, Robert Stone and Rick Tallant with Cailtin, Dorian and Leslie; Claiborne Perrilliat and Cres Gardner with Carter and Marcie; and Ron Scalise with his wife, Sally Richardson. Mike Marvin made rounds with headmistress Kim. Both were greeted with heartfelt enthusiasm.

Others relishing the colorful, Louisiana-decorated environs were board Chairman Richard Currence with alum Mathilde, Janine and Paul Dunn, Dani and Mike Batten, Tricia and Bernard Perez, Catherine Makk, spouses Bethaney Vincent and Rick Buchsbaum, Dr. Andrea O’Leary and Dr. Eric Royster, Hannah Dietsch and Michael Balascio, Ben and Sweet Dupuy, and about 430 others. Brown Forman/Woodford Reserve and The Dunn Family figured in the top sponsoring category, Signature Sponsor.

Special highlights were those in the live auction. Julie and Patrick Babin bought a trip to Umbria, Italy, while Christian Blessey honored the birthday of his wife, alum Karen, with earrings from Wellington & Co. The McGehee “Adventure” with the headmistress was sold three times. New this year was the tuition raffle at McGehee or Little Gate. The thrilled winners (and parents of two daughters at the school and a son at Little Gate ) were “Where Y’At” sponsors Jen Kitner and Mark Mintz

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