Autumnal Outings

Au Clair de la lune

Moonlight! The stuff of dreams. And for years, Magic in the Moonlight, an al fresco dinner, has unfolded in the Botanical Garden of City Park. Hundreds of people break bread under the stars.

For the 2018 revelry, the presenter was The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, while chefs Greg and Mary Sonnier of Gabrielle and Joel’s Catering rated cuisine credit. The flowers were by Pam Hayne and Dunn & Sonnier. Cocktails and auctions, both silent and live, filled the initial hour of the event in the back-lighted Azalea Garden. After relishing the seated dinner in the center aisles of the rose gardens, guests moseyed over to the nearby Pavilion of the Two Sisters for the after-party and dancing to the tune-spinning of DJ Brice Nice.

Teamed to chair the gorgeous gallivanting were Joey Brown (with husband Buzzy), Liz Brown and Jessie Haynes (with Beau). David Waller (with Barbara) presides over the New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation Board of Trustees, which includes, as officers, Rebecca Schultz, Stephanie Feoli, Natalie Finnegan and Laura Shields, as well as two dozen board members. Most were present, as was Paul Soniat, director of the New Orleans City Park Botanical Garden, and such Magic in the Moonlight committee members as Sweet Dupuy, Nina Killeen and Carla Adams. Fred Holley, Anne and King Milling, Margo and Clancy DuBos, Leigh Thorpe, Sybil Favrot, Juli Miller Hart, Dessa and David Giffin, Ted and Susan Bloch also basked in “Moonlight.” So did Vince Giardina and Lisa Romano of Presenting Sponsor, the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Fund, and David Kerstein of The Helis Foundation, the Live Oak Sponsor.

Everyone thrilled to the six live auction offerings, which included a Cal-A-Vie Health Spa Trip in California and an at-home dinner for 10 donated by chef Sue Zemanick, a James Beard Award winner. Five choice items (including artwork by Cleland Powell III) figured in the Moonlight Raffle.

All the while, and after finishing the dessert of chocolate pudding cake, “Moonlight” merrymakers commented on the bash’s biggest bonus: the lovely weather. Mother Nature was another type of Presenting Sponsor.

A Cuban Come-On

For its 36th annual Feast — A Babalu Brunch, Parkway Partners presented “Welcome to Havana” and honored Lake Douglas, Ph.D., a professor of landscape architecture and the associate dean of research and development at the LSU College of Art & Design. He has worked locally with Friends of the Lafitte Greenway and NOLA Parks for All.

Attesting to the theme, the Board of Trade was brightly decorated, with a nod to Old Havana. A classic red car was parked out front to welcome guests; lush greenery was all around, inside and out; courtyard tables were draped in lime satin cloths; indoors, the tables were covered with cream-colored linens surrounded by gold Chiavari chairs; and gold accents abounded. Centerpieces, always a hallmark of the Parkway Partner’s Feast, were tall ornate arrangements, including baby palms, white gladioli, elephant ears, bamboo shoots and curly willows. Fedoras, cigar boxes, coffee beans and floral fans added more touches.

Sponsored by Pigeon Catering, the Intimate Patron Toasting included bubbly and mini grilled Cuban sandwiches, tacos and fried plantains in mango chutney. The main event’s buffet was thematic and extensive, concluded with tiny cupcakes topped with coarse sugar. The Solutions Mojito Bar offered the choice libation. All the while, guests perused the silent auction of 31 exciting packages, gravitated to the Plinko feature and the photo booth, appreciated art by Campbell Hutchinson, and applauded Lake Douglas as the recipient f the Green Spirit Award.

Parkway Partners principals included founder Flo Schornstein and Richard, board president Norma Grace with husband Robert Sternhell, Vice President Kristi Trail, executive director Lanette M. Dumas, committee Chairwoman Lindsey Labadie, City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways Director Ann E. MacDonald, past Green Spirit awardee Michael Karam, Deborah Delahoussaye with honoree Lake Douglas, Linda Newton, Beverly Katz, Lou and Mary Len Costa, Carol Marx, Marjorie Esman, Denise Estopinal, Beth Lee Terry, Nathan Lott, Joann Ricci, Pam Stevenson, Courtney Labadie, Genie Ogden, Zakenya Perry, Ryan Mast and mucho mas. For entertainment, Javier Gutierrez & Vivaz set the stage with New Orleans rhythms, and of course, Latin jazz for the “Havana” happening.

Priory of St. Bernard de Clairvaux

Many gathered recently at Christ Anglican Catholic Church, and later at Austin’s Seafood and Steak House, for the Convent and Investiture Ceremony and Celebration Banquet for the Priory of St. Bernard de Clairvaux of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. They are a “Modern Knights Templar, an Ecumenical Christian and Chivalric Charitable Order,” which espouses, among other endeavors, “keeping the road to Jerusalem open to all people.”

Two new members were invested: Dianne Joachim-Scheppf and Tony Lee Vets, retired master sergeant. Their spouses, Paul and Karen, accompanied them. Eight members were tapped for Long and Faithful Service Awards: Chevalier Blake Aaron Coleman (in absentia) and Chevalaresse Patricia Pascual Marse (both, five years); His Excellency Bernard L. Baisier and Chevalaresses Georgia Dufresne Baisier, Susan DeMarcay Copping, Angelle P. Carlucci and Beth Darden Zeringue (all 10 years as an active member); and His Excellency Chevalier Russ Wayne Copping (20 years).

As they were seated, and enjoying table pleasures and centerpieces by Villere’s Florist, His Excellency Chevalier Jeffrey Peter Agnes (from Milwaukee), grand chancellor of Grand Priory of the United States of America, and His Excellency Chevalier Edward A. Runci Jr., Prior of St. Bernard de Clairvaux (and joined by Dr. Ann Borreson), presided. The former commended the local priory for its charitable activities and continuing work, and the latter, in a final speech, called for peace and harmony.

Luminaries included — and all with many of the above titles — Dr. Marcel de Picciotto (who winged in from France), Thomas Marshall, Dr. Hugh J.F. Robertson, Angelle P. and Marcus Carlucci, Michael and Debbie Carriere, the Rev. Canon John A. Hollister and Debra, William A. Kingman, Warren Marse with Patricia, Scott C. Rye, Reggie Zeringue with Beth and Dr. Alan and Joan Sheen.