Summer events all seem to fall on one day
While multiple events on the same day are quite the norm in the fall and spring, summer tends to be slow. So, you’d think event planners could manage to spread things out instead of having them all on the same night, wouldn’t you?
Ha! They had me running all over Baton Rouge on July 11.
I stopped long enough to catch my breath at my last stop — the Children’s Advocacy Center’s sixth annual Celebrity Waiter Event & Silent Auction. Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar was hopping as the celebrity waiters vied for tips from guests. Top tip-earner this year was Baton Rouge Police Chief DeWayne White. Right behind him was Baton Rouge Community College women’s basketball coach Paula Lee, followed by LSU gymnastics coach DD Breaux.
LSU football coach Les Miles popped in midway through the evening to present Executive Director Sharon Pol with a $5,000 check. It was a portion of the $50,000 he received from Liberty Mutual Insurance after being named the 2011 Coach of the Year to distribute to nonprofits of his choosing.
Also donning aprons for the cause were Visit Baton Rouge President Paul Arrigo, state Rep. Regina Barrow, artist Tony Bernard, Southern University baseball coach Roger Cador, former LSU baseball player Blake Dean, musician Michael Foster, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, LSU swimming coach David Geyer, Eagle 98.1 sports director Charles Hanigriff, Southern University track coach Brian Johnson, Mature Woman Now editor Nicole Johnson, Tiger Rag editor Ben Love, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri, EBR District Attorney Hillar Moore, Southern University women’s basketball coach Sandy Pugh, Tiger Athletic Foundation CEO Ron Richard, LSU diving coach Doug Shaffer, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres and the LSU Golden Girls.
The live auction portion of the evening was handled by radio gurus Matt Moscona, 104.5 ESPN Radio, and Bill Profita, Talk 107.3.
Before heading out near LSU, I popped in at the Baton Rouge Little Theater where Volunteers in Public Schools was having its annual benefit performance of BRLT’s summer musical. This summer’s production is “South Pacific,” which got a big thumbs-up from co-worker George Morris in his earlier review.
VIPS’ evening got under way with a silent auction and hors d’oeuvres, packing the theater’s community room with those eager to not only support this worthwhile organization but also to catch what promised to be, as the song says, an “Enchanted Evening.”
My first stop of the evening was St. Luke Episcopal Church for the Young Leaders Academy graduation. Celebrating their completion of this program, whose mission is to help develop the leadership abilities of young African-American males and assist them in becoming productive citizens, were Frederick Antoine, son of Rosie Antoine and Herman Robinson; Jaylon Banks, son of DeJuan and John Banks; Ofari Berry, son of Constance and Darrell Berry; Armando Frank Jr., son of Stacy and Armando Frank Sr.; Christian Gaston, son of Linda Gaston and Jimmy Gaston; Tyrone Payne, son of Neteka and Cedric Mitchell, and grandson of Ora Payne; and Chance Stribling, son of Tina and William Stribling.
Payne spoke on behalf of his fellow graduates; Errin Gaines and Armando Frank Sr. spoke on behalf of the parents. Featured speaker for the ceremony was 1st Circuit Court of Appeal Judge John Michael Guidry.
A reception was held in Pope Hall following the ceremony.
The day began with the ladies of La Capitale Chapter American Business Women’s Association at their annual Hats Off luncheon at Juban’s Restaurant. Once again, buddy Diane Deaton and I had the arduous task of picking the three winners. Since we found it almost impossible, we added a fourth.
First place wasn’t too hard a decision. I mean, it takes a lot of chutzpah to get up wearing a Vegas showgirl-style headpiece to shake your booty and sing your own ditty to the tune of “I’m Sexy & I Know It.” So, kudos to you, Sue Froeba! Hats depicting the touching tales of a father’s patriotism and raising three children born with birth defects earned second- and third-place honors for Mona Laird and Melissa Cobb, respectively. And Shirline Boudreaux’s hat showcasing how she spends her days now that she’s retired was just too cute not to acknowledge, so Diane and I gave it an “honorable mention” because we were the judges and we could.
The day’s agenda also included the installation of officers, which was conducted by outgoing President Yvonne Dupont with assistance from ABWA District II Vice President candidate Gaylynn Devine, of Houston. Tapped to lead the chapter were President Christy Artigue, Vice President Karen DeRouen, Recording Secretary June Lyle, Corresponding Secretary Traci Adams, Treasurer Elise LeBlanc and Assistant Treasurer Dana Watt.
Wednesday started off with lunch, but Tuesday got under way with breakfast. The Knock Knock Children’s Museum hosted a Community Progress Update breakfast at the Baton Rouge Gallery for stakeholders. Among the biggest news shared was that the board’s “Founding Member” campaign exceeded its goal of raising $1.5 million. That puts this exciting project one step closer to groundbreaking phase.
From the ideas kicked around at last year’s community get-together, drawings from the final stages of the museum’s design development stage were unveiled by the project’s architectural firms: C7A of Cambridge, Mass., and locally based Remson Haley Herpin Architects. The more I see and hear about the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, the more excited I get. What a feather in the city’s cap this is going to be!
‘Suited for Success’
Former LSU Tiger standout and NFL champion New York Giants team member Corey Webster returned to Baton Rouge on July 12 to host a charity event launching his foundation’s newest community effort, “Suited for Success.” Joining Webster for a celebration at Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge were several other former Tigers.
The mission of “Suited for Success,” a partnership with the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs, is to “motivate, inspire and empower” students through a specially built image- and character-building model as well as to empower college students during their junior and senior years to mentor students ages 8-16.
‘You Are Sunshine’
“You Are Sunshine” author Shirley Porter and husband Jim opened their home for the Sunshine Foundation’s Summer Wine & Cheese Party July 13. Special guest was East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, who will be honored at the Sunshine Foundation Gala for Kids on Nov. 13 at the Renaissance Hotel. Other special guests included last year’s honoree, the Rev. Chris Andrews, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Kitty Kimball and judges Toni Higginbotham and Suzan Ponder.
The evening featured a drawing for “A Day Of Sunshine” package that included goodies from Cole’s Florist, Fleming’s, The Forum, Bumble Lane and Russo Ross. All proceeds help print Porter’s book, “You Are Sunshine,” which is distributed each year by the Louisiana National Guard to kindergarten students throughout the state.
Kay Collier was in charge of the party. Assisting her were Mary and Jason Alford, Stephanie Arceneaux, Vickie Brand, Olive Guerin, Charlene Harp, Becky Harris, Kay Kirsop, Mary Lynne Langlois, Sheri Robinson, Lois Saye, Donni Shields, Diane Tate, Jeanne Triche, Kelly Wahlheim and Matthew Wallace.
Some exciting news for music lovers was announced in the Big Easy earlier that afternoon. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and native son Harry Connick Jr. celebrated with officials from BR, Louisiana Public Broadcasting and others at a reception at the Old U.S. Mint following a press conference announcing their partnership to produce a TV tribute to both Louisiana’s indigenous music and its economic drivers of the past 200 years. The show, set to premiere in December, is underwritten by BP and produced by LPB.
Personally, I can’t wait to hear the “bevy” of Louisiana musicians singing their own version of “You Are My Sunshine,” which was originally recorded by Gov. Jimmie Davis. In addition to Connick, the lineup includes the Marsalis family, Tim McGraw, Irma Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Buddy Guy, Zachary Richard, Trombone Shorty, Buckwheat Zydeco, Rebirth Brass Band, The Zion Harmonizers and Better Than Ezra.
Author/journalist Chris Rose, whom I met and shared a table with at a “nutria dinner” hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries several years ago, is scripting vignettes highlighting the state’s major industries including agriculture, ports and waterways, oil and gas, and tourism.
For the past 50 years, members of L’Assemblée Française have gotten together to celebrate Bastille Day, July 14. This year the group, whose members dedicate themselves to the appreciation and promotion of the French language and culture, pulled out all the stops for the anniversary celebration.
It began with a late afternoon Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral observed in French by the Rev. Paul Counce and Msgr. William L. Greene. Special guest for the event was French Consul Jean Claude Brunet, of New Orleans. Prior to the ceremony, he was presented official proclamations from Gov. Bobby Jindal, represented by state Sen. Dan Claitor, and Mayor Kip Holden, represented by Constable Maj. Reginald Brown.
Following Mass, L’Assemblée Française members and guests trekked to the Baton Rouge Country Club for a Quatorze Juillet Moulin Rouge soirée. The evening featured Christine Renaud, portraying French chanteuse Édith Piaf, accompanied by Louis Wendt ; Elaine and Wallace McKenzie performing selections from “Gigi”; and a rousing can-can finalé choreographed by Renée Chatelain and featuring the “Manship Theatre Danseurs.”
Lillie Petit Gallagher served as chef de la celebration. Assisting her were President Anne Boussert, Mary Belleau, Madeleine Campbell, Louis Curet, Heck Olinde, Carol and David Goldsmith, Andrea Grenier, Diana and Ted Jambon, Jackie O’Quinn and Kathleen Young.
Dancing for a Cause
We just have to give a shoutout to Advocate photographer Heather McClelland for her “Most Stylish” performance in The Arc of East Ascension’s Dancing for a Cause July 14. She and partner Van Vo brought down the house with their cha-cha to “Beggin’” by Madcon.
You go girl!
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