Patricia Gannon: On mothers and daughters

It’s good that society honors Mother’s Day, because there’s precious little else devoted to the female end of things.

The mother-daughter dilemma has never been the subject of scrutiny compared to father-son sagas. Patriarchal to the core, movies, novels, history and civilization all celebrate masculine bonds. From the moment Eve got a bad rap until Terms of Endearment, where Shirley McLaine and Debra Winger get raked over the emotional coals, there’s been little to mull over about female kinship.

However there is one, lady Madame de Sévigné, who stands out. A French aristocrat of the 17th century, her priceless correspondence has not only left us a detailed and accurate portrait of the high society of her time, but an enduring look at the mother-daughter mystique.

Although she counted among her closest friends the major players of her day, including the king, the bulk of Madam de Sévigné’s letters were devoted to her one and only daughter, the Comtesse de Gringnan. They contain rich and lively narratives of life at court as well as a mother’s solicitous love and devotion. She wrote a thousand times to her daughter over 30 years despite the fact the daughter rarely replied, and they argued often to the point of estrangement over children and other domestic flaps. Vain and frivolous, Comtesse de Gringnan’s extravagant existence generated more than a few money problems, yet she remained the absolute apple of her mother’s eye despite many maternal bailouts and daughterly indifference.

In 1696 while tending her daughter, Madame de Sévigné fell ill and died, and history offers a lesson to be learned here.

While sons may follow in their father’s footsteps, daughters will kill you.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@cmail drop.com or at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

New group takes the stage

Stagebackers, a new organization devoted to underwriting actors and theater in Lafayette, unveiled themselves at their own cocktail meet n’ greet in the Kings Road home of Don and Tish Johnson. There was Champagne in front and plenty more in back as guests arrived to the music of Cypress Winds and Alice Wallace. “Our main purpose is to raise funds for different theater groups and help them financially as need rises,” spokesperson Mitu Dasgupta said. “With financial help, they will be able to produce quality programs, which they sometimes can’t, not because of lack of talent, but because of lack of finances.” Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry and Select Wines sponsored the event, and helping on their end were Mitchell and Sandy Landry, Mike Huber, Sandy Wilcox, board members Elizabeth Bernard, Michael Myers and Mike Castille, a mustachioed Mike Crochet, cabaret ladies Rose Cormier and Bria Hobgood, and Carolyn French, who said, “The only thing worse than being talked about in Lafayette is not being talked about in Lafayette.” That would be correct.

For they are jolly good fellows

So many Taureans, so little time. Jennifer LeBlanc staged a private birthday party for her friends and their guests, and all agreed it was the best present ever. From the table settings to the martinis, no one could ask for more, especially with Giorgio Floridia and Antonella Minardi in the kitchen. If you’ve never been catered to Italian-style, you don’t know what you’re missing. Among the lucky recipients of LeBlanc’s largesse were the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s marketing director Aaron Martin, designer Raoul Blanco, radio god Don Allen, Penny Edwards, and yours truly, all with birthdays within a week of one another, and Kathleen Gannon, Matt Halfaker and Michael Scarborough, who have already put in their party request for next year.

705 Does Derby Day

There were more hats than at the queen’s garden party as Lafayette’s young civic lions turned out en masse for Be Social’s Derby Day. “Last year was a big success, so 705 asked for a block of tickets,” Adam Chapman said. “It’s a sell-out event.” Watching the ponies warm up over mint juleps were Christy and Patrick Labauve, Derrick Hines, Jamie Dugas, Patrick York, Skyra Rideaux and her mother Yvette Schelvin, Zachary McNeal, Brian Hebert and Ria Laseter. What we loved: Laseter’s black and pearls, Hines’ bowtie and cap, Patrick Labauve’s Tom Ford-take and seeing the young dress up. 705 is an organization for leaders seeking to grow professionally through volunteerism and community engagement.

Acadian Village hosts politicos

Stumping away. Supporters of Keith Stutes gathered in the pavilion at Acadian Village for some politicking. A three-piece Cajun band provided the down-home feel, while Stutes glad-handed the guests and made rounds. In the mix were co-chairmen and former U.S. attorneys Donald Washington and Mike Skinner, event organizers Dianne Carlisle and Christy Reon, Judge Susan Theall, legal eagle Frank Neuner and young Natalie Piccione, who brought her parents, Kirk and Brenda. Stutes runs his race for DA in November.