Best Steps Forward

“Key” notes

Put up your dukes! Invitations tapped legions of ladies — gentlemen, too — to “Join Saks Fifth Avenue in the fight against cancer,” the Charity Shopping Weekend that charts a portion of proceeds to benefit the cancer research programs of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, a consortium between Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Tulane University, Ochsner Health System and Xavier University of Louisiana. Over the past 15 years, SFA’s Key to the Cure has raised more than $2 million for cancer research in Louisiana.

Saks General Manager and Vice President Carolyn Elder, Penny Baumer and Susan Zackin teamed to chair the 2016 Key that had Sue Singer as the corporate liaison, Sandra Pulitzer (attending with husband Arthur) as the entertainment chairwoman, and a threesome in Meaghan Bonavita, Colette Iteld and Jessica Talbot as the Fabulous Under 40 chairwomen. Dozens filled the 2016 committee.

The Charity Shopping Weekend kicked off with a gala party that amassed 700 attendees, who socially roamed the store’s three floors, where individual attractions held forth, such as supper-by-the-bite from 20 fine eateries, libations (the Goldring Family Foundation and Republic National Distributing Company represented by Diane Franco and Fred Holley) and musical entertainment. Adding the beat to the bash were The Uptown Music Theatre, Chegadao, John Boutee, and the Kristin Diable Trio.

For atmosphere, think pink. The chromatics were rendered via tracker lights on the store’s façade, a spectacular floral creation by visual director Roman Borjas, uplighting, rose bubbly offered by whimsical stilt walkers, and the outfits of a slew of the attendees.

For guest designer, think Rose. That was New Yorker Lela Rose, who presented her Spring 2017 Runway Collection on the third floor. Her looks also outfitted the above Carolyn and Penny. Susan Zackin sported Alexander McQueen.

Among the many rubbing shoulders and swapping personal updates were LCRC representatives Drs. Prescott Deininger with Celia, Augusto Ocho and Richard Granan. From Saks came marketing executive director Steven Putt, executive office manager and stylist Angela Palmisano, and executives Larry Dauterive, Charles Leininger and Colleen Bolling.

Others making “Key” their click were Drs. Oliver and Sissy Sartor, Pam Ryan, Carla Adams, Barbara Arras, Elizabeth Boh, Brenda and Bob Breck, Marianne Cohn, Ana and Dr. Juan Gershanik, Kim Glazer Goldberg, Jane Goldring, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Barbara Greenberg, Anne and Edmund Redd, Betty Kohn with daughter-in-law Millie, Jennifer Lauscha, Lisa Mazzella, Debbie Hirsch Wood, and Shelby Sanderford with brother Brice and bride Adele.

Southern Nights

“800 Years Dominicans Preaching the Gospel” worded the cover of the handsome invitation that gave the religious order’s dates as 1216-2016. The annual gala took place at Messina’s at the Terminal in the Lakefront Airport and featured Michie (Mrs. Thomas R.) Bissell, New Orleans Advisory Board president, for the welcome. Prior Provincial the Very Rev. Thomas M. Condon, O.P., delivered the invocation and, along with Michie Bissell and the Rev. Juan M. Torres, O.P. (called friar), presented the St. Martin de Porres awards to Sister Vera Butler, PBVM, for her outreach Lantern Light ministry at St. Joseph Church serving the homeless and working poor, and Joy (Mrs. Jay) Zainey, a co-founder of faith-based St. Andrew’s Village for adults with “all degrees of development delay.”

Music was by the St. Mary’s Dominican High School Jazz Band, harpist Jeanne O’Connell and the Big Easy Boys. The Rev. Mr. John S. Pippenger, O.P. led the live auction. During the cocktail portion, guests browsed the “silent” enticements.

Black and white linens, the Dominican colors, decorated the tables and Debbie Farge (Convention Plant Designs Inc.) with assistance from Michelle Midkiff arranged the flowers, using white hydrangeas, roses, curly willow and gerber daisies with black centers. Around and about, Grevy Photography snapped party folks.

In addition to the above, the notables were the Revs. (also called friars) Bruno Cadore (master of the order), Orlando Rueda Acevedo, Dominic Izzo, Jorge Rativa and Juan Torres — all O.P. — as well as  Drs. Nicolas and Haydee Bazan, the top table hosts, Jubilee category; board Vice President Dr. Stephen J. Derbes and wife Keith, who sponsored two tables for the students of Father Val McInnes, O.P. Center for Catholic Life at Tulane University; North Carolina resident Fay Beth Wedig with son Eric and his wife, Regina; and further board members in Sandy Sanchez, O.P., Dr. Maureen Wright, O.P., and the roundly thanked gala committee Chairman John Smested Jr.

Beautifying Jefferson

The Metairie Club Gardens home of Robert and Virginia Nelson was opened in fall style for the 2016 Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful Autumn Affair with, as gala chairwomen, Friends President Lucy Thomas, Nora Vaden Holmes and board Vice President Sheila Sparacio. Salvador Sparacio and Bruce Holmes accompanied their wives.

They made rounds with board Secretary Joe Baucum with Cindy, Treasurer Albert Kelleher with Elesha, and board/gala members Holley Haag with Patrick Quinn, Jack Stumpf and Jerri, Ashley Price Swanson, Mary Fay Legnon (of Entergy), JoAnn Christopher and husband Jozsef Toth, Carey Hammett, Dessa Giffin with David (both just back from Paris), Bobbie Gattuso, Michael Whealdon with Mary, Lee Stansberry, Marieanne Arata with David, and Mike Cotter with Kathy, who were thanked for the donation of a beautiful painting to the auction.

A private movie screening for 50 guests at the Theatres at Canal Place and sporting events tickets also vied for bidding attention.

Dr. Arnold and Cecile Lupin, Marla Garvey, Penny O’Krepki, Mary Beth and Greg Rittiner, Ninette Eastman, Katherine and Paul Dastugue, Robyn and Andrew Schwarz and Jefferson Councilwomen Cynthia Lee-Sheng and Jennifer Van Vrancken were noted, too.

All enjoyed food from Bravo, Green Fork and Martin Wine Cellar (also libations) as well as the gala favor of an Elmer’s gift box. Chatter touched on the many projects that gala funds are used for to beautify and landscape public green spaces in Jefferson Parish.