The Archbishop Hannan Community Appeal End of Campaign Celebration was hosted by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond at his residence on a recent Monday evening. The reception served as an opportunity to honor the many donors and volunteers who supported the 2018 campaign and to celebrate its success in exceeding the $1.85 million goal. For more than half a century, AHCA has raised necessary funds to support the 30-plus programs of Catholic Charities, which serve the homeless, children and families, seniors, the disabled and many more.
In his address to the assembly of more than 150, Archbishop Aymond acknowledged past chairmen and volunteers; Sister Marjorie Hebert as president and CEO of Catholic Charities; Tommie Vassel as the 2018 AHCA chairman — and the recipient of a gift in gratitude; and Karen and Peter DeBlieux as the 2019 campaign chaircouple. The Archbishop also acknowledged Orville Duggan for 40 years of service to Catholic Charities and his retirement, wishing him all the best.
As guests milled about, they admired the beautiful works of religious paintings, carvings and sculptures as they enjoyed food and drinks by Dickie Brennan and Co. Catering. Those from the past chairing forces were Mr. and Mrs. Byron A. Adams, Joseph C. Canizaro, Mr. and Mrs. Mason G. Couvillon, James T. Hannan, Mr. and Mrs. Clifton D. LeBlanc, Mrs. R. King Milling, Claiborne Perrilliat Jr., Michael O. Read, Mark J. Spansel and Frank B. Stewart Jr.
They caught up on the latest of Robert S. Boh, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Bologna, Eileen and A.J. Capritto, Vaughn Downing, Lloyd E. Eagan Jr., Ann W. Fitzmorris, Kathy R. Hebert, William D. Hoffman, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher R. Holloway, Lisa M. Johnson, John and Silvia Laborde, Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Menard, Demetric M. Mercadel, Dr. Andrew Orestano, Sharon and Mark Rodi, Mr. and Mrs. Brian J. Rotolo, George R. Simno IV, Qiana Wiggins, Valerie Voorhies and Gerald Johnson.
Enjoyed as a simple cocktail reception with “a bunch of people coming together to enjoy good food, drink and company … and all for a good cause,” the fundraiser given by Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights assembled approximately 200 guests on a beautiful spring evening. The venue was The Building on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, just a few blocks down from the birthplace of LCCR and “so many other organizations at the heart of New Orleans’ social justice.” Impressive African American art lined the walls.
Cru, the catering outfit of chef Marlon Alexander, provided a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres, such as chicken satay, crispy polenta bites, Asian beef bites in a lettuce wrap, and goat cheese and fig crostini.
The organization’s inaugural Pascal Calogero Champion of Justice Award was presented to Susan Guidry “for her staunch advocacy in helping change the New Orleans juvenile justice landscape for the better.” Guests also heard from Ricky Hawthorne, formerly incarcerated to juvenile life without parole, whom LCCR helped win a second chance at life.
Figuring on the host committee were Lulu and Bill Freiberg, Holly Friedman with Jonathan, Gary Sernovitz with Molly Pulda, Jake Weixler with Lindsay and Charles Whited Jr. Noted, too, were state Rep. Royce Duplessis, David Carimi and Jacquelyn Lindsey, Gregor Fox and Camille Patti, Chrissy Calogero, Martha and John Landrum, Wendy Hickok Robinson and Nick Marshall, Laura and Sonny Shields, Paul and Laurie Sterbcow, Nandi Campbell, Julienne Van Vliet with daughter Juliet, Duke Williams, Lexie Waring, Larry Pugh and a host of others, who made “Rights” their reason.
Just Wanna Be 'Bayou'
The Holy Cross School Gold and Blue Gala & Patron Party took place at the school with the billing “A Magical Night on the Bayou.” It was chaired by Michelle and alumnus Remy Donnelly with additional alumni Jay Galle as master of ceremonies and Sean Martin (joined by Jenna) as headmaster. Marina Silva and Jennifer Whatley spearheaded the auction and Christopher Keene and Chris Palermo represented the Presenting Sponsor, b1Bank. More sponsorial representation came from alums Steve Donnes, Alvin Able (joined by Virginia Boulet), Joseph Barecca Jr. (with Lanie) and Mark Delesdernier III (with Melanie). Thanked, too, as sponsors were Jorge Lauriano and Albert Pumila.
The patron party was held in the school cafeteria with cypress bar tables and lantern centerpieces featuring colorful floral arrangements. For the main event, the Holy Cross Student Center was transformed into an elegant bayou-themed ballroom with decorations provided by CHL Linens Inc., including cypress dining tables with centerpieces that included lanterns, Spanish moss and candles; table linens in shades of purple and lavender; and wall-to-wall black drapery illuminated with purple lights.
As for the tasty chomps, those during the patrons’ partying came from The Velvet Cactus, which is co-owned by alumnus Scott Dickinson. The bash had purveyance from 15 area restaurants and caterers. The cannelloni, ceviche, crawfish macaroni and cheese and Mardi Gras-themed macaroons were special hits.
Auction ado revved up the fun, thanks to the silent offerings and those in the live portion of 10 led by alumnus Michael Baiamonte. Several of the most coveted, along with their donors and purchasers, were a sapphire and diamond cross necklace (Robert Palacios, Alvin Albe), a Disney trip (the Donnellys, Mary Olivio) and a Saints experience (Gary Osorno and Chase Ororno, Desiree Lisotta). Shannell Franklin was tapped by Lady Luck as the gleeful (and grateful) winner of the Holy Cross Tuition Raffle. Proceeds from the gala event go to the Holy Cross School Boys to Men Fund.
Still others were school parents Rob and Cheri Wolterman, and alumni Rocky Weigand Jr., state Sen Francis Heitmeier, Dennis Robichaux (with Trudy), Tom Besselman and William Zimmermann, who’s also an HCS grandparent, as is Francis Heitmeier. Adding the musical wizardry to “A Magical Night on the Bayou” was Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters. Dancing lured dozens.
Around and About
“A Lyrical Affair” of Lyrica Baroque unfolded in the beautiful home of Andrew and Robyn Schwarz to celebrate Lyrica Baroque’s “tremendous achievements and vision for the future.” Honored were Jonathan McCall and Margaret Shields, who were hailed for “their devoted passion for chamber music in New Orleans and their role in bringing together Lyrica Baroque and the New Orleans Friends of Music.”
“Six Fabulous Homes” were the come-on by the Sacred Heart Alumnae Association for a house tour presented by Engel & Volkers in “One Distinctive Neighborhood.” Lynn and Mike Flynn, Katie and Marc Levy, Margaret and Tre Roux, Sarah and Spencer Ott, Jackie and David Weill and Dr. Joe and Christina Guarisco were the welcoming homeowners. Shortly afterward, the Guariscos welcomed close kin and kith to their home for a pre-“I do” barbecue for the now married Mathilde Semmes and Dr. Bo Stubblefield.
“Please join Susan Gundlach to celebrate 50 years on Philip Street” was the top lettering on the invitation that acknowledged her loving ownership of her stunning home for half a century. Joining Susan to greet guests was her husband, Jimmy Gundlach.