Lighting up the holidays
Baton Rouge is all decked out in its Christmas best. Mayor Kip Holden threw the switch lighting up our Christmas tree in downtown’s Town Square on Dec. 6, a night filled with holiday activities for the young and young-at-heart.
As part of its holiday tradition, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana hosted an open house at the Old Governor’s Mansion. This grand dame of a building was holiday ready thanks to LUBA Workers Comp, which each year sponsors the decorations. What a wonderful gift to all who pay a visit to “Huey’s White House” over the holiday season.
In the ballroom, Santa and Mrs. Claus (aka Clif and Mary Murphy), accompanied this year by one of their elves, posed for photos with visitors while finding out what was on their Christmas wish list. I didn’t get to visit with Santa, but I did enjoy visiting with Ann Edelman, FHL Executive Director Carolyn Bennett, Leo Honeycutt, Bill Brian and LUBA representative Mike DePaul and his lovely wife, Patty.
I took a stroll from the OGM through all the hoopla at the Town Square to the Shaw Center for the Arts, where the LSU Museum of Art was unveiling Keith Sonnier’s “Tetrapod Wall” in the Lamar Advertising Atrium. It’s a really cool neon structure. In fact, Executive Director Jordana Pomeroy, husband Edward Pennick, local artists Richard Landry and Kelli Scott Kelley and Fairleigh Jackson and I were all discussing the almost lost art of neon and how the once-common letterpress is now a form of art. So, go check out Sonnier’s piece when you’re downtown experiencing the Festival of Lights. Visit downtownbatonrouge.org for more info.
That Friday actually began with the LSU Campus Club’s annual holiday get-together. Sylvia Duke rolled out the welcome mat at her home for the scholarship brunch. Recipients of Campus Club’s two scholarships are Katie Bonnecaze, granddaughter of club member Barbara Franklin, and Danny Adler Jr., grandson of club member Mickey Adler. Needless to say, these proud grandmas were sporting big smiles.
Now, this is a group known for its cooking and this event was no exception. Under the guidance of co-chairwomen Edith Babin and Nancy Hammatt, the committee pulled out all the stops dishing up grits and grillades, mushroom quiches, four different recipes of brandied fruit and a plethora of other yummy goodies.
Tribute to Excellence
As busy as Dec. 6 was, Dec. 4 was equally hectic. My first stop of the evening was the Arthritis Foundation’s Tribute to Excellence Gala at Boudreaux’s, which always looks so pretty during the holiday season. This year’s Tribute to Excellence Award was presented to my good friend Holly Clegg by her husband, Mike. I didn’t get to hang around for the actual presentation, but I’m sure it was most special.
Also honored at the gala were Laura Rempert Kraeuter, Volunteer of the Year; Elizabeth Vowell, Laurie Smith Anderson Award; and Dr. Stephen Lindsey, the Master of Rheumatology.
Serving on the committee were Madelyn Brown, Barbara Couvillon, Elaine Ellis, Sharon Furrate, Sharon Holder, Barbara Johnson, Laura Kaiser, Melissa Kaiser, Kraeuter, Caroline Messenger, Carolyn Pittman, Mary Ann Rau, Emily Riecke, Kim Wambagans and Executive Director Karen Kennedy.
Trees of Light
Stop No. 2 was the Hospice of Baton Rouge’s kicked-up-a-notch Trees of Light celebration. This year’s event was truly a “night of music,” — featuring the Rev. Greg Daigle, accompanied by Jan Grimes, singing a repertoire of beautiful Christmas carols followed by Ned Fasullo & the Fabulous Big Band Orchestra.
The tree standing sentry outside the Old Governor’s Mansion, where the event was held, is filled with hundreds of sparking white lights. Each light is placed in memory or in honor of a loved one to benefit Hospice, the area’s only nonprofit hospice.
From downtown, I headed out to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center where the Lake’s Foundation was hosting its annual meeting/holiday party in the lobby of the new Heart & Vascular Institute. Everyone was already in full celebratory mode by the time I arrived, and rightfully so. Seems the long-anticipated free-standing OLOL Children’s Hospital is closer to becoming a reality.
“Do not give up the faith and vision that this hospital will become a reality,” Sister Kathleen Cain told the hundred or so guests. I know I have faith — Charlie Valluzzo and Roland Toups have agreed to chair the capital campaign.
Executive Director John Paul Funes and hospital CEO Scott Wester thanked everyone there for their support for the Children’s Hospital and the Heart & Vascular Institute and the success of last year’s collaboration with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. They also presented a gift of appreciation to outgoing foundation board member Ed Miremont for his dedication and leadership.
The day began with the very dedicated group of individuals who volunteer as reading and math friends and more in our public schools at Volunteers in Public Schools annual holiday get-together at VIPS headquarters. If you can spare a couple of hours a week, give them a call at (225) 226-4700. From the camaraderie and smiles I witnessed on the faces of these volunteers, you’ll be glad you did.
Krewe of Gabriel
Over in Lafayette, 17 debutantes took their formal bows at the Krewe of Gabriel’s Fall Presentation Ball on Dec. 7 at the Frem Boustany Convention Center. Presiding over the evening’s festivities were ball Chairman Dr. Michael Judice and krewe Commodore David Koke, who had the honor of presenting the young women with their krewe medallions.
As they were introduced, the debs were presented nosegays of pink roses by their sponsors. Jim Venable served as advisor.
This year’s debutantes are Nina Allen, daughter of Linda and Clay Allen; Amy Babineaux, daughter of Lisa and Joel Babineaux; Ginnie Bech, daughter of Michelle and Martin Bech; Caroline Blanchet, daughter of Rachel and Thomas Blanchet; Gracie Boustany, daughter of Michele and Ron Boustany; Colleen Broussard, daughter of Kim and Dr. Richard Broussard; Camille Courville, daughter of Kelly and Glenn Courville; Elizabeth Domingue, daughter of Leslie and Richard Domingue; and Elise Dunaway, daughter of Michelle and Dr. Lige Dunaway.
Also, Grier Gossen, daughter of Carla and Greg Gossen; Ashley Kathryn Herrera, daughter of Allison and Juan Herrera; Ann-Riley Lane, daughter of Marianne and Clif Lane; Margaret McCarron, daughter of Mari and Dr. Ken McCarron; Stephanie Montesano, daughter of Stacey and Bruce Montesano; Carly Pelletier, daughter of Andrea and Charles Pelletier; Lauren Schoeffler, daughter of Jeanne and Todd Schoeffler; and Lauren Stuller, daughter of Ceci and Matt Stuller.
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