Blooms and Benefits
The Queen Scene
Flower power with a royal touch showcased the attractions during the five-day Art in Bloom at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Fusing florals with the museum’s current exhibit, “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes,” the theme evolved: “Queen of Arts: Celebrating 30 Years of Art in Bloom.” It unfolded in partnership with IberiaBank, along with the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation as the top sponsor.
To launch the levity, a patron and preview party at NOMA rounded up the merry masses, who were greeted by AiB Co-chairwomen Courtney LeClercq and Leslie Gottsegen, whose committee included 50 women. Further leadership came from The Garden Study Club President Elly Lane, NOMA Volunteer Committee Chairwoman Anne Redd (also on the committee) and NOMA Montine McDaniel Freeman Director Susan M. Taylor. The New Orleans Advocate was a media sponsor.
For the partying, 31 eateries and drinkeries, as well as caterers, fed the comely crowd of 1,100 as they swapped news and perused. There were more than 100 exhibitors in categories of Creative Designs, Exterior Designs, Garden Clubs, Ikebana, Movers and Shakers, Professional Florists, Tablescapes, and Young Artists. Three auction boards generated bid business, while Kohlmeyer and Co. entertained.
Among the notables were IberiaBank President and CEO Daryl Byrd and Kara Van de Carr; Louisette Brown and George Dunbar, whose artwork, “Rouville No.62,” graced the covers of the invitation and the program, and was the prominent feature in the gala’s silent auction; Mary and Robert Lupo; and Jimmy Gundlach and spouse Susan, née Jones, who just celebrated a big birthday. Also, Julie and Ted George, Pixie and Jimmy Reiss, Marion Bright, Liz and Poco Sloss, Caroline Calhoun, Kia and Christy Brown, Dee and Nat Phillips, Susu and Andrew Stall, and Mary and Bill Hines.
Acclaimed restaurateur and the author of “The Flowers of La Grenouille,” Charles Masson, and fashion designer Lela Rose were party attendees, as well as the featured speakers the following morning for AiB’s lectures in the Stern Auditorium. From there, guests made the short trek to the Pavilion of the Two Sisters for the soup-salad-cheesecake luncheon by Ralph Brennan Catering & Events and the Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show of the Lela Rose Fall 2018 Collection. Many then returned to the museum to get full floral reign of “Queen of Arts.”
For almost two decades, the Legacy Donor Foundation has presented Soul Revival to raise money and awareness for its “mission of saving the lives of those waiting for transplants” through education about organ, eye and tissue donorship. The 2018 fete returned to the Brower home after a hiatus of one year. “It was wonderful to have it back in the beautiful Uptown home of Lauren (née Brennan) and George Brower,” said LDF executive director Nicole Labadot, who attended with husband Ryan and his parents, Suzanne and Joe Labadot.
A Brown brigade chaired the bash: Joey and Buzzy and his nephew, Christian and spouse Elizabeth. From the Brower family came Geordie and Sally Brower, and Lindsey and Brad Beard with son Brennan. Further notables were board Chairwoman Casey Pellerin Westguard, Claudia and Cleland Powell, Kate and Dr. Scott Tucker, Labordes four in Peggy and Jack and Dr. Eric and Betsy, Leigh Ellan and Chris Puckett, Mara Haseltine and Gregory Smith, Dr. Carol and Neal Meyer, Ansley Seaver and Carter Marshall, Caitlin and Hyder Brewster, Liz Drumm (LDF), and Dr. Ana Hands from Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant.
As patrons milled about, they grazed on the charcuterie display by Dickie Brennan and Co. Catering. For Soul Revival, a slew of restaurants fed the flock, who sipped the signature drink, Soul Comfort. Music filled the air, thanks to the Progressive Baptist Church of the Rev. Willie Gable (a LDF board member) and its Gospel Choir, the Jenn Howard Band, and DJ Rob Nice, who beckoned dozens to the dance floor.
In summing up the event Joey Brown reflected, saying, “The evening was filled with fabulous food, soulful and invigorating music, fun with friends and family, and most of all the celebration of life.” Amen!
Mercy Endeavors Senior Center is located in the Irish Channel/Lower Garden District and provides low-income seniors with daily recreational activities, two daily meals, transportation to medical appointments and more, thus encouraging them to live life to the fullest. Moving the seniors around is vital and to that end, the sixth annual fundraiser was billed “Jazzin’ on the River: Get on the Bus.” Funds raised will help purchase a new bus.
To house, host and decorate the on-premises partying, a tent in the back patio, lighting and lanterns were provided by Party Rentals Delivered; multicolored Neon signs by New Orleans Neon spelled out “Jazzin” (with the “J” as a saxophone); and Bad Ass Balloon Company added balloon buoyancy.
Sam the Oyster Man purveyed some of the best charbroiled bivalves in town, while several restaurants offered delicious noshing. More features were the 36 auction items, chief of which was a Beau Rivage getaway purchased by Justin Roubion; the drink of the night, a vodka punch called Tito’s Bus Booze; and the live jazz music for dancing by Phillip Manuel & Special Guests.
Making rounds were ME executive director Sister Jane Briseno, RSM, board Chairman Judge Christopher Bruno and Kerry, Dennis and Helen Roubion, Patricia and John E. Unsworth, Joy and John Stockmeyer, Susan Guidroz, Bunny Hinckley, Lenel B. Romero, Susan Sternberg, Dana and Juan Rueda, Carmelitta Favorite, and Rachel Roubion and Lori Wynne. To name a few, many of whom helped sponsor “Bus.”
Temple Sinai “dines and dances through the decades” billed the on-site event chaired by Susan Hess (who was joined by Bill) that honored Jennifer and Jack Benjamin Jr., Amy Gainsburgh-Haspel and John Haspel, and Pamela and Rob Steeg in the Teal & Stephen Goldring Pavilion. David Bernard was the master of ceremonies of the celebration that started with a patron party with hors d’oeuvres from Galatoire’s and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, along with Sue Barton’s chopped liver; a seated dinner — Sue Singer made the food arrangements with Marriott, and table decorations were thematic and time-period musical instruments; the recognition of honorees; the dessert buffet; and the decade-related entertainment by emcee Bernard. Using a slideshow of Temple Sinai from the 1940s through the ‘90s, he evoked those times via wigs and costumes to introduce period musical presentations. A dance from each decade followed. Tapped as entertainers were Harry Mayronne, Angie Z, and Shane Lecocq and Fiona McDonald.
Enjoying the redux revelry that concluded with general dancing were Goldrings Jane, Walton and Jeffrey — the Goldring Family Foundation was the Super Sponsor, as well Dr. Leah and Rabbi Matthew Reimer, Regina and Luis Zervigon, Andrea and retired Rabbi Edward P. Cohn, Caroline and Bob Brickman, Max Nathan and family, Amy Reuben and Marc Behar, Jody and Peter Aamodt, Ariane and Kevin Rung, Herbert Barton with the above Sue, and Josh Danzig. For all, the past became a party presence.