My new sidekick Farren Davis and I had so much fun broadcasting live from the 29th annual Wearin’ of the Green Parade on March 15. Thanks again to sponsors Varsity Sports, Dream Silk Screens, Manda Fine Meats and the Gold & Coin Center. And a special shout out to Byron and Kelly O’Lewis for not only loaning us their iPad but inviting us all over for their party after the parade and our official duties were over.
It was a little hard to crawl out of bed for the 10 a.m. parade after partying with the Best Dressed crowd the night before.
As is tradition, the prior year’s honorees host a cocktail party for the current gang and this year’s was quite the to-do. 2013 honoree Marsha Baker and husband James opened their lovely home for the celebration, which did have an end time but some of us found it hard to leave. The food, catered by Mansurs on the Boulevard and last year’s honoree Justin McDonald, was mouth-watering; the libations flowing (loved my time in the wine cellar); the playlist on target; and the guest list … well, what can I say.
The guests of honor included 2014 Best Dressed Nick Abraham, Rick Bond, Shanna Boudreaux, Kenneth Brown, Dr. Vince Cataldo, Helena Cunningham, Ryan Engquist, Derek Fitch, Cherie Giblin, Jason Guerin, Jenny Gray, Rhaoul Guillaume, Betty Jackson, Jessica Johnson, Anne McCanless, Jennifer McCarthy, Kelly Si lls, Gina Noto Tharp, Greg Tramontin and Meeta Patel Williamson. They will again be the center of attention at the 47th annual “Rock Your World” Best Dressed Ball benefiting the American Cancer Society on April 5 at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium.
Another special guest was local designer Pedram Pasha Taheri, who is donating one of his one-of-a-kind couture gowns for the ball’s silent auction. He was accompanied by three models showcasing six of his looks.
Co-hosting the evening with Marsha and Justin were Jonathan Bruser, Nikki Caldwell, Kitty Calabrese, Patrick Campbell, Amy David, Roy Davis, Daryl Ellis, Casey Gill Gautreau, Jack Harris, Lauren Barksdale Hill, Dr. Khanh Ho, Jack Hunt, Susan Love, Elizabeth McCollister, Lew Parks, Henry Watson, Dr. Rani Whitfield and Dr. Ann Zedlitz.
‘Eyes on the Ties’
Speaking of best dressed, some rather handsome men attired in fashions from Martinez Custom Clothiers were strutting their stuff at L’Auberge Casino on March 13 for Quota International of Baton Rouge’s fundraiser celebrating the new Emerge Center and the Battle Against Autism.
This go-getter group of women were instrumental in starting the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation more than 50 years ago and have again stepped up as it morphs into the Emerge Center to better serve its clients now and into the future. The center is set to open its doors next month.
Walking the catwalk for the cause were Patrick Campbell, David Dellucci, Fred Dent, Brad Dutruch, Daryl Ellis, Eric Lane, Tommy LeJeune, Christopher Loar, Brian McNabb, Al Moureau, Gabriel Murillo, Joe Possa, Trey Quick and C.T. Taylor. Emceeing the style show was Holly Clegg.
Quota members, BRSHF board members and their friends enlisted all manner of celebrities to autograph men’s ties that were auctioned off for the cause. Chef John Folse threw in an autographed chef’s jacket and dinner for six at White Oak Plantation to bring in $1,200. Country music legend Clint Black added an autographed guitar to ear $3,100 for the worthy cause. There were ties from actors Danny Glover, Richard Dreyfuss and Dustin Hoffman; the “Duck Dynasty” gang; and coaches Sean Peyton, Les Miles, Johnny Jones, Paul Mainiere and Nicki Caldwell.
Modeling the ties during the live auction, conducted by auctioneer Danny Moore and emcee John Pastorek, were Ma ry Beth Chevalier, Nell McAnelly, Betsie Miller, Mary Kathryn Rodrigue, Shauna Sanford, Marian Walsworth and the dstruck Dancers.
The evening wrapped up with the drawing for the a Ford F-150 truck donated by Robinson Brothers. It was won by Judith Wolken .
Experience the Difference
The day began at Baton Rouge General Foundation’s Experience the Difference Luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel. This event gives those who help support the hospital a chance to see and hear first-hand how they help save lives. Among those sharing their stories were Jason Shaw and Mike Bitton and, through a video, the family of Marli Allen, Chavon, Ace and Antoine Landry.
Guests also heard from hospital CEO Mark Slyter. Thanking attendees for their gift of time and support were foundation President Beth Veazey and board Chairman Joe Juban.
At the end of the luncheon I was visiting with Paula de la Bretonne, who shared with me some exciting news. Seems she, husband Jack and Dian e and Johnny Tate traveled to Atlanta the weekend of March 8 to see Broadway superstar Audra McDonald, performing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for its annual gala. It was just over a year ago that McDonald performed here in with the Baton Rouge Symphony for its Pennington Great Performers in Concert series and where she met conductor Timothy Muffitt.
According to Paula, McDonald shared with the Atlanta audience that Muffitt was serving as her conductor for the night because her music director was busy with a Broadway production and when she realized he wasn’t available there was “only one person” she wanted and that was Tim.
“She complemented him and the Baton Rouge Symphony several times during her performance,” said Paula. “She even made Tim blush when she referred to him as Dr. Timothy Muffitt.”
Forum 35 anniversary
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since I did the first story on an upstart group of young professionals looking to be more involved in their community, but that’s how long Forum 35 has been around. The current members and a few from the past got together to celebrate at the group’s annual meeting March 12 at the Baton Rouge Gallery. It was a fitting location, since the cultural arts are an area of focus for the all-volunteer organization.
The 2014-1015 board of directors were formally introduced. They include President Eric Dexter, incoming President Kasey Henry, Secretary Kenissa McKay, Treasurer Aimée Pourciau, Vice President of Development Monica Valenciano, Vice President of Individual Membership Melissa Parmalee, Vice President of Corporate Membership Matt Adams, Vice President of Communications Kelly Gylmph, Vice President of Projects Sarah Moran, immediate Past President Jesse Hoggard; and board members Jennifer Dyer, Bryan Fontenot, Jason Hijuelos, Megan Johnson, Ellen Fargason Mathis, Joshua Melder, Candace Temple Parker, Stephen Reilly, John Snow, Jacqueline Stalls, Sabrina Vutera and Jacob Waguespack.
Before heading to the Baton Rouge Gallery, I popped in at the Old State Capitol for the reception prior to author Alan Gauthreaux’s lecture on “Italian Louisiana: History, Heritage & Tradition.”
There were a lot of people with Italian or, more specifically, Sicilian heritage, on hand to visit with Gauthreaux and get a signed copy of his book. There were also lots of delicious smelling Italian delicacies for tasting before everyone filed into the House Chamber for the presentation, which was my cue to head out.
George Washington Ball
Fourteen debutantes and eight Young Patriots were presented at the 55th George Washington Ball hosted by the Galvez Chapter Daughters of the Revolution and the Attakapas Chapter Sons of the American Revolution at the Petroleum Club of Lafayette March 15. The theme for the evening was the Battle of New Orleans.
Stan Hardee Jr. served as ball captain for the festivities, which were chaired by Katherine Hill. Also assisting with the ball were Ed Roy, master of ceremonies; John Francois, head of the escort committee; and Catherine Mestayer, choreographer.
The debutantes included: Victoria Michelle Abshire, daughter of Claire Abshire and Harold Troy Abshire; Emma Claire Cole, daughter of Jenny Cole and James Cole; Emily Elise Daly, daughter of Elise Shelton and the late James Edward Daly; Allison Louise Derise, daughter of Louise Derise and Bryan Derise; Carley Francis Fitzgerald, daughter of Lisa Fitzgerald and Dicky Fitzgerald; Rebecca Lillian Fontenot, daughter of Roxie Fontenot and Kent Fontenot; Jeanne Marie Guidry, daughter of Marguerite Breaux Potier and Keith Guidry; Abigail Elise Jumonville, daughter of Valerie and Joe Jumonville; Lauren Ashley and Sarah Claire Luke, daughters of Tonya and Danny Luke, of Franklin; Juliet Elise Mills, daughter of Sandra and Will Mills; Phala Grace Reed, daughter of Phala Reed and Sean Reed; Lelia Therese Saucier, daughter of Jeanne and Baxter Saucier; and Blakely Elizabeth Summerhays, daughter of Kim and Bob Summerhays.
Young Patriots honored were: Bennett Boyd Anderson III, son of Georgette and Boyd Anderson; William Christian Guidry, son of Marguerite Breaux Potier and Keith Guidry; Michael Philip Haskell, son of Fran and Jeff Haskell; Frank Raymond Lancelotta IV; son of Brenda and Frank Lancelotta III, of Sykesville, Md.; Andrew Joseph LeBlanc, son of Margie and Ned LeBlanc; Grant Thomas Landry, son of Jade and Chris Landry; Justin David Luke, son of Trecia and David Luke; and Alfred Joseph Thomas IV, son of Lisa and Alfred Thomas.
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