n U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Count them! 1,734 Marines, sailors, family members, distinguished Marine supporters of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, and guests. And they filled the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Riverside for a massive birthday salute.

Count them! 239 “candles” to celebrate the birth of the Marine Corps on its anniversary. The theme for the 2014 celebration was “The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer.”

For the grand event that started with an open reception in the hotel and concluded with bonhomie and boogieing, the dress code was military evening dress “B,” tuxedo, and long evening gown. After the cocktail hour, the official ceremony began with a band concert; message from J.F. Dunford Jr., general, USMC, commandant of the Marine Corps; and further formalities, such as a speech from Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, commander, Marine Forces Reserve; a march-on of the color by the Marine Forces Reserve color guard; and the presentation of the 2014 “guest of honor,” the above Non-commissioned Officer (a group of people and not one specific person).

The dinner menu commenced with a mesclun greens salad for everyone, followed by a choice of filet or vegetarian ravioli. The tables were decorated with fine cloths, flowers, and lighted tall-glass centerpieces filled with purple beads. A memento picture frame containing a message from Gen. Mills was at each place setting.

Among the hundreds hobnobbing were Gen. Mills and spouse Pat; Coordinator General of the Mexican Marine Corps, Contralmirante Rafael Martinez Lopez and Mrs. Lopez; Capt. Tellis Bethel, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and spouse Teri; Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey; and former Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson.

A brace of the evening’s many highlights were the double-layer birthday cake — cutting it are the oldest and the youngest Marines; and the music. It was provided by the Marine Band New Orleans, DJ Beat Walker, and DJ Captain Charles for the post-ceremony dancing. Semper Fidelis!

n Habitat for Humanity’s Hobnobbing

Bannered “A Reunion of Friends” and hosted at home by Katie and Howell Crosby, a celebration occurred to honor and thank previous and current New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity board members. Martha Pearson, NOAHH grant manager and artist, did the invitation.

Every eye turned to the harvest-theme centerpiece of squash, roses, lilies, mums, and pumpkins; every taste bud to the Southern Hospitality catering; and every ear to jazz vocalist Betty Shirley accompanied by pianist William Thompson.

Of course, the general excitement came from the assembly itself, who promote the mission of NOAHH to build houses in partnership with sponsors, volunteers, communities, and homeowner families. Milling about were Katherine Harmon, Guy and Dale Williams, Philip and Evelyn Clinton, Bill and Alice Wright, Ron and Sally Forman, Shaun Talbot, Dennis Kehoe, Philip Monteleone, G. Wogan Bernard, fairly recent newlywed Brandin DuBos (vows were exchanged with Susan Kenney), Rose Lo, NOAHH executive director Jim Pate, chief advancement officer Marguerite Oestreicher, board Chairwoman/hostess Katie Crosby, and former NOAHH notables Rob Worley, Allen Bell with Jeanne, and Andy Lee.

According to the above Marguerite, the gathering included “friends who worked on behalf of NOAHH both before and after Katrina, many of whom were seeing each other for the first time in years.”

All the President’s People

On a recent Thursday evening and at the Windsor Court Hotel, the New Orleans Bar Association’s Presidents’ Award was presented to Russ M. Herman. The award is the Association’s highest level of recognition and hails both professional excellence and service to the community. Conferred upon awardee Russ was a golden fleur-de-lis award with three plumes symbolic of community service, and high moral and spiritual standards. He is the father of three children and grandfather of four.

Applauding him were respective Tulane and Loyola law school deans David Meyer and Maria Lopez, Judge James Dennis of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, and Louisiana Supreme Court Justices Marcus Clark and Jefferson Hughes, retired Judge Moon Landrieu (U.S. 4th Court of Appeal), retired Justice Harry Lemmon with wife Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon of U.S. District Court, past NOBA Presidents Phil Wittmann and Pat Vance, President-Elect Walter Leger Jr. with son state Rep. Walter Leger III, and executive director Helena Henderson.

NOBA President Mark C. Surprenant extended the opening remarks and presented Russ Herman the 2014 Presidents’ Award. The 2013 recipient was Harry Rosenberg.

Beaming throughout the ceremony was Sandra Herman (the former Sandra Smith Thompson), Russ’s wife. According to the printed program, “they are still on their honeymoon.”

Installation Brunch

Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg, attending with spouse Abby Streusand, was installed as the new spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel and Community Center in Metairie at a brunch in the Audubon Tea Room.

Among many of the festive features were the Federico’s Family Florist autumnal arrangements, Jackie Gothard’s smaller floral bouquets, Edward Gothard as master of ceremonies, music by Panarama Jazz Band clarinetist/soloist Ben Schenck, and the live painting done by Alex Harvie that was raffled off and won by Michael Katz.

Ethan Linden, rabbi of Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation and one of the many rabbis in attendance, gave the blessing prior to the start of the kosher dairy brunch.

Mastheading the midday meeting and greeting were event Chairman/Beth Israel President Bradley Bain, immediate past President Alexander Barkoff and wife Eva Jacob Barkoff, Gail Chalew, Richard Katz, Shirley Watsky, Rabbi David Posternock, Irwin Lachoff, Leo Golubitsky, and Myron Goldberg, who were members of the installation committee. So were the in absentia Hal Ungar and Josh Gertler.

Further attendees within the gathering of 160 were Jefferson Parish President John Young, Morris and Cathy Bart, Bill and Susan Hess, Yehuda and Sara Halper, Sharon Pollin, and Rabbi Greenberg’s mother, Lisa, and mother-in-law, Risa Streusand.