Held at the new NOPSI luxury hotel, the annual Louisiana Appleseed Good Apple Gala combined accolades and awareness. The Social Justice honorees were Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, Louisiana Supreme Court; Ken Polite, Entergy Corporation; and Alan Philipson, respective Good Apple awardees for “Access to” Justice, Opportunity and Education. The Pro Bono honorees were Patty McMurray, Baker Donelson law firm and daughter Madison McMurray, University of Virginia Law School; Caroline Crosby and Lillian Grappe, Phelps Dunbar; and Sam Ford, Scott, Vicknair, Hair and Checki LLC. Board member Camille Whitworth emceed the program.
Features included catering by the host hotel and libations from Carte des Vins (and the Donna Fraiche family); jazzy sounds from a NOCCA quartet; the Good Apple Awards done by Rosetree Glass Studio with bases by Studio Inferno; a video by Crista Rock Productions featuring Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Watson of the Lower 9th Ward, who explained how Louisiana Appleseed helped them get correct legal paperwork to save their family home; JCB Creations cookies; “Everybody’s a Winner” wine and bourbon raffles and the Rare Wine Raffle (with Drew Ranier as the donor and Elwood Cahill, the winner); a gift card door prize given by Linda Perez Clark; and strong sponsorship.
Among the many noted were board President Allison Berger Tiller with husband Ben, immediate past president Irving Warshauer with Lynda, Richard Cortizas, Bill Shea, Charles Rice Jr., Michael Schott, Jessie and Beau Haynes, Kathlyn Perez Bethune with Beau, Christy Harowski with Michael, Steven Lane, Judge Rachael Johnson, Arlene Philipson, Polite family members, Sara Ford, Tac Crosby, Harry Rosenberg, Paul Flower, Pilar Ramos, Nathalie Simon, and Judges Rose Ledet, Paul Brown and Keva Landrum-Johnson. Also, Don Abaunza, Jack Weiss, Celeste Coco-Ewing, and LA staff members Christy Kane (executive director), Stephanie Beaugh, Gabe Lehman and Gerren Sias. Most kept the good- time vibe going at the after-party in the hotel’s underCURRENT bar.
Fame’s the Name
The 33rd annual Louisiana American Italian Sports Hall of Fame held its gala — with Elizabeth Schiro Parent as the honorary chairwoman — at the Hilton Riverside. Franco Harris was the national honoree. A 1990 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and remembered for his standard-setting years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he led the Steelers’ charge to four Super Bowl victories. In 2010, Franco became co-founder and majority owner of Eco Product Group LLC.
In the hotel’s St. Charles Room foyer, guests gathered for cocktails and the silent auction. The program began with American Italian Renaissance Foundation Chairman Frank Maselli giving the welcome, Katie Peters as mistress of ceremonies, Sophia Parigi for the national anthem, Brother Martin High School ROTC for the Presentation of the Colors, and the Rev. Frank Carabello, the invocation. Punctuating the formalities was the dinner of winter greens salad, osso bucco and tiramisu, enhanced with arrangements by Federico’s Florist.
After dinner, foundation President Dr. Phillip Cancilleri presented scholarships. Then emcee Peters presented awards to Salvador Anselmo Sr., American Italian Veteran Award; Dr. Frank Culicchia, Dr. John Adriani Medical Award; Mary Perrin, Louisiana American Italian Woman of the Year; and Matt Moscona, Robert Bruno, George Randazzo and Bobby Rydell, the respective Buddy “D” Media, Joseph I. Giarrusso Civic, Joseph Maselli Heritage, and Louis Prima Arts & Entertainment awards. Anthony “Tony” Chimento, Lou Carboni and Louis Cascio were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Franco Harris’s acknowledgment was the penultimate program feature. Joining him was spouse Dana Dokmanovich and son Franco D. Harris.
Noted, too, were special guest/singer Deana Martin (daughter of the late Dean Martin) and husband John Griffeth, Maryann (Mrs. Robert) Bruno, the Tony LoBiancos, Lydell Mitchell, John Viola, Judge Chris Bruno, Frank Bruno, Thomas Bruno, Dominic Impastato, Mr. and Mrs. Franco Alessandrini, Pieter Rossi, Vince Glorioso, Maselli family members, and Drs. Richard Romano, William LaCorte, and Carl Culicchia.
Hail to the Commodore
Carrying on the tradition of 168 years, Southern Yacht Club staged its biennial Commodore’s Ball to transfer the ceremonial flags from outgoing Commodore Scott J. Sonnier to the incoming Guy Brierre, the 69th commodore to lead the SYC since its founding in 1849. He was joined by spouse Pam and their daughters, Catherine and Clare, as well as flag officers: Vice Commodore Richard Provensal with Angie, Rear Commodore Wilson Lagraize with Grace, and Secretary-Treasurer Blaine Gahagan with Joanne.
In-attendance past commodores and their wives or dates were Arthur Wynne and Mary Ellen, Arthur Mann and Lynn, Bill Wright and Alice, Ewell “Corky” Potts and Kay, James Wade and Joy, J. Dwight LeBlanc III with Kathy Haslauer, Julian Richards and Cheryl, and Merlin Wilson and Mary Ellen. Fleet officers included Captain Burt Benrud, Measurer Billy Marchal and Surgeon Dan Harris with Karen, BeBe and Jennifer. From the current governing board came James Haupt with Stephanie, Andy Lovell with Mary, Chris Wilke with Lani, Rocky Sanchez with Christy Carney, and Mont Echols, race committee chairman.
All enjoyed the thematic decorations, centerpieces by Angie Provensal and Mycie Moyer, cuisine by executive chef James Cullen, and the rollicking music of Deacon John and the Ivories.
Two exhibitions, “Clay in Transit: Contemporary Mexican Ceramics” and “Clay in Place: Highlights from the Collection” amassed a crowd to the Newcomb Art Museum. Launching the activity was a VIP reception and curatorial talk with Nuria Rodriguez Sadurni, director of Special Projects at the Cultural Cooperation Office of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Javier Olondo, of AsheSon, provided the music, Arana executive chef Richard Papier catered, Michael’s provided the bar, the Mexican Consulate in New Orleans sponsored a mezcal tasting station, and colorful mixed bouquets embellished the premises. From the consulate came Carlos Ponce, consul.
Making rounds, and all with a professional “title” or two, were Rachael and William DePauw, Jeffery Thurston, Miss Pussycat, Michel Varisco, Jan Katz and Jim Derbes (back from a cruise), Arman Sadeghpour, Dorian Bennett, Felicia McCarren, Susan M. Taylor, Tina Freeman, John Alexander, Kevin Brisco Jr., Jonathan Traviesa, Patch Sommerville, Patrick Coll, Dan Alley, Jenna Turner, Robin and Ann Owens Forman, Belinda Shinshillas, Emilia Oddo, Mead Allison, David Burns, Austin Young, Miriam Taylor, Scott and Lorraine Chotin, Luz Caputto, Frances Swigart Steg (a former student of Newcomb pottery artist Sadie Irvine), Jacqueline Simon, Carol and Tom Reese, and Carmen and Kelly Duncan.