• Piggy Bucks

Squeal for 20 years and the fun and frolicking of the Cochon Cotillion presented by Bridge House/Grace House and the Krewe of Pork and Beads. Prior to the swine time at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World (Eastbank), a Court Party with delish catering by Southern Hospitality unfolded to piggy perfection at the home of James Carville and Mary Matalin, the 2016 king and queen. Smokin’!

Then, moving through the Pig Easy, the police-escorted motorcade arrived at Mardi Gras World for the Beads bash spearheaded by fundraising captains Gregory “Greg” and Suzanne Rusovich with Arlene Rome, Tiffany Truxillo and Brian McDonald as event captains. As top donors, the Event Sponsors were three foundations: Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown, Goldring Family and Woldenberg Family. Others enjoyed such Frenchy hoggy names as Cochon, Sanglier and Pourceau.

The ball — costumes, piggy please! — takes the form of a Mardi Gras ball spoof and for the 20th romp, clowns were a major mode. His majesty James and her majesty Mary led the in-house parade and all hailed them, the lard (despite his slim physique) and lady in charge.

Among the Pork-zilla’s many features were the Mardi Gras colors used to cover the tables, thematic uplighting, food from more than 40 restaurants (including Cochon Butcher), floral centerpieces donated by NOLA Flora, large topiary balloon arrangements (thanks, RSVP Decorating Inc.), a silent auction of 80 items, a raffle for Southwest Airline tickets, caricatures, psychic readings, face painting, John Bukaty’s live painting of the bash, and the Kendra Scott booth and its 75 mystery boxes (at $50 each), which sold out, with all proceeds directed to BHGH, in less than two hours.

But that’s not all. The ELS Show Band had audience members going hog wild, as did the Pussyfooters and the Double Step Cloggers. No one was boar-ed!

Among those banking on the bacon, which included some former royalty, were Steve and Dana Hansel, Edmund and Anne Redd, Barbara Gaiennie, Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi, Bill Mimeles, Robert and Eugenie Duvic Suggs, Ronal and Jill Serpas, Stephanie Haynes and Seton Jenkins, Robert and Maureen Spencer, Bruce and Karen Katz, Angela Hill and Irwin Marcus, Dennis O’Hara, and BHGH staff Else Pedersen (CEO), and respective executive directors of development and clinical services, Kevin Gardere and Michelle Gaiennie.

A “huge success” labeled the Cotillion at which swine and dine, with porcine royalty, made fundraising fabulous. Oink, oink!

  • Sidereal Salute

Same night, different site! Sights, too, because the thrust was on the “Stars.” Billed “Les Étoiles de la Nouvelle-Orléans,” the annual gala benefiting the Alliance Française de la Nouvelle-Orléans looked to the firmament while appreciating whom and what we have right here: “The Stars of New Orleans.” Promised —and delivered — were “Fantaisie, Cuisine, Amour.” Sigh!

Norma Grace (with Bob Sternhell) and auction Chairwoman Shauna Storey Grissett (with husband Dave) chaired the bash that was booked at Purloo in the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Everyone said “merci” concerning the complimentary valet parking. Additional thanks went to The French Library for sponsorship of the patron party.

Upon entering the party premises, patrons were greeted by fire dancers for a thrilling prelude before they wandered the museum and sipped specialty cocktails crafted by Purloo. Aerial dancers performed above, while Helen Gillet played enchanting, Gallic tunes. At a significant moment, the call was to the table for a special four-course dinner created by executive chef Ryan Hughes. Dessert was a chocolate marquise.

Among the many indulging in these prandial pleasures were Consul General of France Gregor Trumel and spouse Ingrid, Alliance Française director Aurelie Champvert with Maurice, Christine and Price LeBlanc, Katrina Greer, Michael Harold and Quinn Peeper, Julia and Cedric Walker, Michael Boucree and Ivan Griffin, Terry and Rand Voorhies, Pamela and Philip Bonner, Barbara and Edwin Beckman, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Dottie and Charles Nelson, Ginny and John Lovell, and Dessa and David Giffin. Several served on the gala committee and currently serve on the 28-person AF board.

Further delights were the floral touches by Dunn and Sonnier, and the auction items, both silent and live. In the former category were tickets to cultural activities in the city, as well as gift certificates to restaurants and to JW Marriott properties in the South. The live auction had folks vying for a Provence house stay, a Blue Dog print, and a private dinner at the Trumel residence. There was also a raffle with its coveted alligator belts from the Louisiana Tannery and an Hermès scarf just brought in from Paris. Those who give, get. Shauna Grissett, who has logged “beaucoup” hours over the years setting up the galas’ auctions, won it.

Smiling, too, were auction purchasers Marianne Burns/Angela Crowder and John and Lilian Mullane (the house stay), the LeBlancs (the dinner at the consul general’s), Katrina Greer (the Napa Valley trip) and Anne Abbott (the Blue Dog print). Chien-sational!

  • A ‘Tosca’ Toast and Test

Same night, yet another site! The Women’s Guild Home of the New Orleans Opera Association housed the hobnobbing for the Opera Club Dinner. It was hosted by Dr. Charles and Diane Dupin, who greeted the black-tie brigade at the door, along with OC President Bruce A. Gordon and Melissa. The “Tosca” theme was established immediately (acknowledging the Association’s last opera of the 2015-16 season) with a “test.” Symbolic props associated with the opera were on a hall table.

Additional decorations were vases of roses with Italian flags on the burgundy clothed tables and a silver vase of red roses on the buffet table.

Ralph Brennan’s Catering provided a menu that began with cioppino and concluded with tiramisu. Dinner conversation was ever so lively.

Stars from the opera shared the conviviality. Jennifer Rowley (Tosca) related her great experience working in the Crescent City; Scott Hendricks (Scarpia) graduated from LSU; and Justin Lee Miller (the sacristan) hails from here.

Milling about were maestro Robert Lyall, Emmet Geary, Dwayne Littauer, Margie Breeden, Laura Donnaway with Robert Logreco, Brenda Reilly, Eleanor and Phil Straub, Barbara and Tom Sands, Robert Pope, Judith and Robert Patout, Jayne Weiss, Dr. Hugh Robertson, Knowles French, Annette and Jerry Hudson, and Betsy and Dr. Patrick Dowling.

Pascal Valcasara’s jazz trio entertained. Really entertained! Responding to the lively music, a number of couples cavorted on the improvised dance floors near the grand piano, the adjacent solarium and even the entrance hallway.

  • Around and About

A brace of gatherings in the Garden District embraced fun and festivity. Elegance, too, in the case of the dinner party given at an area site by Catherine Burns Tremaine. Joining her to dine under an exquisite tent were her son, Atwood Collins, and his spouse, Cindy; John Bullard; Dr. John and Mary Lou Ochsner; King and Anne Milling; Wayne Amedee; Tony and Kathryn Chauveaux; Dawn DeDeaux; Shirley Trusty Corey; Susan Taylor and husband Paolo Meozzi; and a few dozen more. Terry Cambise Wedding & Event Consulting teamed in-attendance chef John Folse, Ambrose Garden, Luminous Events, Scriptura, Dr. Michael White and pianist Dreux Montegut for the gorgeous gallivanting.

Days later and at Commander’s Palace, Juli Juneau had her annual Jazz Fest Ladies’ Hat Luncheon, beckoning her friends to “Put on your hats, gloves and frocks.” “Creative, stylish, unique, beautiful” described many of her pals, who relished the idea of Dutch Treat. Included were Maria Huete, Mary Flynn Thomas, Stephanie Burks, Donna Horowitz, Colleen Monaghan, Miranda Restovic, YaDonna West, Nancy Mellon, Claudia Baumgerten, Lisa Doss, Sandra Dartus, Diane Lyons and others too chapeau-ed to note.