Patricia Gannon: Decoding the winter coat

Now that winter’s coming on strong, the coat becomes vitally important. Coats take on extra heft as status symbols because no matter what you have on when the temperature drops, all anyone can see is your outerwear. The coat’s a powerful public statement and the one you choose reveals reams to society. For instance:

The peacoat: A navy peacoat telegraphs the world that you’re a wayfarer, the Old Spice Sailor. If you’re male and also own a duffle bag, you have it made. If you’re female, then “Ahoy, sailor” should suffice.

The leather jacket: The most controversial coat of all, so don’t wear it unless you mean it. A black leather jacket separates the Harleys from the Vespas. Gentlemen, it says you like to find ’em, fool ’em and forget ’em. On a woman, it lets others know you’ve been around the block a few times and maybe kicked out a few tail lights.

The full-length leather coat: You work outside The Matrix.

The military jacket: Very trendy for fall. What this projects about you depends on a number of factors, including size. Fit is paramount. Too big, and people will read you as homeless. Tight says you’re a rock star.

The designer coat: You’re rich and you don’t care what people think.

The fur coat: You’re richer and you don’t care what people think.

The trench coat: Long a favorite of the British Army and war correspondents everywhere, the trench coat on a woman means adventuress. I once had a Pierre Cardin trench coat that I wore in Red Square.

I don’t speak Russian, but I’m pretty sure men weren’t asking if I was a war correspondent.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at or at

United Way holds celebration

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — United Way recognized donors for their gifts with a little thanksgiving of their own. Gene and Peggy Fortier opened up their Princeton Woods home to guests and Ruffino’s, who generously provided the spread right down to the host’s favorite wine. A limo shuttle brought VIPs to the door, where many received a personal guided tour. “It was the first lot purchased in River Ranch,” said Gene. “My dream-come-true, and we love to entertain.” We couldn’t agree more, and equally entertaining were Doug and Claire Ashy, accountant extraordinaire John Wright, Robert and Denise Torian, lady-in-waiting Ashley Berthelot, lady-in-leather Therese Culotta, Lourdes CEO Bud Barrow and Ruffin Rodrigue.

Breath of Life goes big

Steve Orlando et famille rolled out the Ritz at River Oaks for cystic fibrosis. Begun in 2011, the fundraiser for a cause has grown from $60,000 their first year to $400,000 in 2012. Orlando’s incentive? “My own granddaughter, Bella,” he said. Presented by Moss Motors, the Allison Companies Breath of Life Gala seeks to find a cure for CF, and guests bid on items from a sleek C250 Mercedes-Benz sedan to an alligator hunt. Making a difference were Sharon Moss, Curtis Roy, Walter and Danielle Hidalgo, Troy Theriot, Simone Pitre, Brooke Nickel, Garnet and Thomas LeMaire and proud dad Stacy Singleton who said, “That’s my boy on the back page of the program.”