Red and white highlight events
Girls in white dresses and women in red dresses were the fashions called for around town as Baton Rouge’s bachelor organization Le Cercle de Bacchus hosted its 56th annual Presentation Ball and the American Heart Association hosted its annual Go Red for Women Luncheon -— both at the River Center Exhibition Hall.
Sixteen young women were presented at the Feb. 8 ball, emceed by Stephen Toups.
The debs included Camille Grier Beste, daughter of Patti Beste and David Beste, escorted by Michael Bruce; Anne Elizabeth Cooper, daughter of Lauren and Tim Cooper, escorted by Roger Warran Dunn Jr.; Sara Grace Daniel, daughter of Carol and Danny Allen Daniel Jr., escorted by Kevin Anthony Brian; Olivia Dumestre, daughter of Debbie and Chris Dumestre, escorted by Randall L. Hayden; Frances Elise Ewing, daughter of Karen and Chris Ewing, escorted by Dr. Timothy Howard Ewing; Alexandra Frances Gaudin, daughter of Debra and Dr. L. Ben Gaudin II, escorted by Scott Randall Thompson; Lianne Elizabeth Gremillion, daughter of Nancy and Dennis Gremillion, escorted by Michael Joseph Shoriak; and Catherine Janice Helm, daughter of Elizabeth and William Helm, escorted by Milford “Mike” Wampold III.
Also, Laura Johnson, daughter of Patti and James R. Johnson, escorted by Perry Mark Johnson; Frances Jordan Mathies, daughter of Dené and David Mathies, escorted by William Randal Davis Sr.; Gabrielle Nicole Murphy, daughter of Sheila “Ann” Murphy, of New Orleans, escorted by Thomas M. Murphy; Bailey Anne Russell, daughter of Beverly and Rory Russell, escorted by James Hanson Nunnally; Peyton Taylor Simms, daughter of Tiffany and Alex Pucheu, and Luke Simms, of Alexandria, escorted by Jacque Alexandre Pucheu; Stephanie Michele Toups, daughter of Valerie and Stephen Toups, escorted by George P. Waters Jr.; Delia Hooe Walker, daughter of Aza and Tom Walker, escorted by Otey L. White III; and McKenzie Camille Young, daughter of Gretchen and Patrick Young, escorted by John Austin Young.
Bacchus members Hunter Hall and Rob Landry served as ushers for the evening. Mothers’ liaisons were Cheryl Arceneaux, Diane O’Connor and Michelle Wilson.
From downtown I headed out to the Renaissance Hotel for Jump Start Your Heart’s annual Valentines Gala. Proceeds from this event provided free cardiovascular screenings for young athletes for early detection of hypertropic heart disease.
The organization was founded six years ago by Dr. Steven Kelley and wife Danielle, who serves as executive director, after Glen Oaks High School basketball player Shannon Veal died in a game. In addition to Veal, the gala was also dedicated to the late Dutchtown High student Burke Cobb, who lost his life July 19, 2012 while playing sports.
Sharing their stories of survival, thanks to the efforts of Jump Start Your Heart, were Andre Joseph and Todd Foster. Also addressing the crowd was Mayor Kip Holden, and Dr. Daryl Peterson led the evening’s closing toast.
The gala was chaired by Danielle with Donna Lee as her co-chairwoman. Committee members included Agnes Andrews, Jackie Chase, Dr. Pamela Daniel, Ayanna Davis, Shelly Dubriel, Caryn Whiten, Gloria Whiten and Lenell Young. WAFB’s Michelle McCalope was the evening’s emcee.
Shannon Veal’s tragic story was shared by mom Adrianne Veal with the almost 700 women attending the Go Red for Women Luncheon on Feb. 7. Attendees also heard from survivor Roxane Bingham and Mary Leah Coco, who lives with the knowledge that one day she’ll have to have a heart transplant.
While their touching stories brought home the real reason for the event, there were lots of lighter moments. Chief among them was the always-fun style show put on by Macy’s, a national sponsor of Go Red for Women. Strutting their stuff on the runway were Catina Batiste, Brennan and Leigh Boudreaux, Theresa Chauncy, Coco, Elise Gaudet, Whitney Graves, Ashley Hebert, Camryn Holub, Raven Kelley, Madeline McCoy, Jasmine Newsome, Maranda Pourciau, Brianna Reinhardt, Lauren Smith, Lori Smith and daughter Hannah, Katie Spears and Lauren Viator.
The show’s finale was Gwen Cotton’s grand entrance wearing the stunning red gown specially created by New Orleans fashion designer Suzanne Perrone for the AHA Go Red raffle. Gwen, who was escorted by sons Jacob and Sean, was the lucky winner. Yes, we were ALL jealous!
Kristie Genzer served as luncheon chairwoman. WBRZ’s Sylvia Weatherspoon was emcee. Committee members included Coletta Barrett, Nancy Breitenbach, Vicki Brooks, Bridgette Coleman, Jenny Gray, Sabrina Heltz, Sandra Holub, Stephanie Hughson, Debra Lockwood, Kelli Mendoza, Kimberly Mockler, Karen Profita, Letitia Roberts, Missy Rockenbaugh, Johvanna Sampson, Terrie Sterling, Dionne Viator, Carmen Williams and Shivonne Wren.
Also, Del Anselmo, Becky Antoon, Jessica Keich, Catherine Kimball, Jeanine Knight, Barbara Shilling, Lou Walters; Staci Burke, Amanda Cockerham, Patty DePaul, Sherrie Despino, Niki Driscoll, Elaine Ellis, Joan Gegenheimer, Leuna Johnson, Jennifer Marionneaux, Marianne McIntyre, Tammy Messer, Kim Morgan, Erica Setoon, Julie Guelfo Sherrill and Charmaine Williams.
My week started at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza on Feb. 4. Welcoming guests was board President Crissie Head Landry.
Brian Babin, who regularly drops by to entertain the clients of Charlie’s Place with his saxophone, received this year’s Charlie Award. This award is named for three very special Charlies — Charlie Valluzzo, Charlie Lamar and the late Charlie Spera — and was presented by Executive director Barbara Auten and Director of Services Dana Territo.
These two ladies also presented the Rosemary Volunteer Awards, which honors those who have gone above and beyond by dedicating a significant amount of time and service to the organization over several years. This year’s recipients were Harriet Walters, Bill Slaughter and Kelsey Funes.
Recognized for 15 years of volunteering were Dane D’Aquin, Susan DeMers, Dr. Patrick Gahan, Pat Hoffman, Mary Ann Olivier and Carolyn Rubino. Ten-year volunteers included Sue Hughes, Darelyn Marshall, Mae McGuffery and Slaughter.
Former party hopper extraordinaire Carol Anne Blitzer just can’t seem to hang up her party shoes, which works out great for me. I try and get to as many social events as I can, but that’s just not always possible, so it’s nice to know she has my back.
Carol Anne joined more than 325 members and friends of Congregation B’nai Israel on Feb. 8 for its “New York Nosh Night,” enjoying a feast of authentic New York delicatessen food donated by Ziggy Gruber, of Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston.
Gruber is a third-generation deli owner, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who owned the Rialto delicatessen on Broadway in New York City. He came to B’nai Israel after talking with congregation member Jak Kunstler, who co-chaired the dinner with Robbie Rubin. Gruber, whose wife Mimi McCaughey Gruber is from Baton Rouge, said he frequently assists local synagogues because he loves to bring communities together. Serving on the committee with Rubin were Hilary Shaw, Michael Roth, Dany Kaplan, Wendy Lipsey, Julie Suggs and Emelie Alton. Ralph Bender and Chunky Folks were the evening’s bartenders; Max Sager and Luke Shiroda served soft drinks. Also assisting were Rabbi Jordan Goldson, congregation President Marc Sager and office manager Cathy Duplechain.
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