Downtown BR hops on perfect party night
Downtown Red Stick was red hot the night of Oct. 5. There was the usual kick-off-the-weekend crowd and the fifth installment of the oh-so-popular Live After Five street dance party combined with two huge fundraising galas.
50 years with LASM
Louisiana Art & Science Museum celebrated its golden anniversary with a packed house of supporters and friends. The place was jiving to the sounds of Ned Fasullo & the Fabulous Big Band by the time I arrived. Sue Turner, one of those credited with saving the former train station that now houses the museum, was resplendent in her gold ensemble. I also enjoyed visiting with Diane and Johnny Tate, Marianne and Bobby Freeman, Leslie and Scott Berg, Pat and J.H. Martin, Dusty Manson, Lindsay Chustz and Eric Guerin, Sharon Furrate, Terry Serio, Jackie and Leo Honeycutt, Barbara Anne Eaton and Max Ish.
Miss Louisiana, Elizabeth Connor, was showing off the three Roberto Coin Primavera 18K, yellow gold woven flexible bracelets donated by Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry for the evening’s raffle. They joined the many tempting items up for bids in the silent auction helping raise money to fund the various programs and exhibits at LASM.
As we all shopped the auction and swayed to the music, we nibbled the culinary offerings and sipped the libations of Baton Rouge Coca-Cola, Bonanno’s Fine Catering, Margo Bouanchand Inc., Brew Ha Ha, Churchill’s Cigars & Elixirs, CC’s Coffee, The Edible Event/The Blend, DiGiulio Brothers Italian Café, Heirloom Cuisine, Mockler Beverage, Portobello’s Café, Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Texas de Brazil, Tsunami and Whole Foods Market.
‘Wigs, Martinis & Bow Ties’
Before trekking down the hill to LASM, I stopped off at the Shaw Center for the Arts, where La Capitale Chapter of The Links was hosting its second annual “Wigs, Martinis & Bow Ties” gala benefiting Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge. Robyn Merrick had to speak before I realized who she was as we met up outside. She was sporting a sassy “Diana Ross” wig that was just too cute. Not all the women were wearing wigs, but most brought a wig to be donated to Cancer Services for women undergoing cancer treatment.
And, while the evening was about having fun, there was a serious side to the festivities, too. The evening was dedicated to last year’s gala chairwoman, Lynn Dickerson, who lost her battle with cancer just before the 2011 event. It also paid tribute to the late Judge Ralph Tyson, husband of Link Patricia Tyson. Judge Tyson died of cancer late last year.
Paula Clayton chaired this year’s gala. Assisting her were Belinda Barron, Arminta Bolden, Rebecca Cureau, Doris Dawson, Erma Hines, Lois Holden, Soundra Temple-Johnson, Joyce Metevia, Ashley Shelton, Patricia Tyson and Lenell Young. Jacqui Vines is president of La Capitale chapter.
My first stop on this lovely Friday night was the Pennington Biomedical Conference Center, where the LSU Campus Club was holding its first event of the season. Spouses joined members for the gathering of friends old and new. Kathy Baker was in charge of the event.
Members of the Woman’s Club took a historical stroll down memory lane with representatives from the World War II Museum at their first meeting of the season Oct. 4. Traveling from New Orleans to deliver what was an educational and emotional presentation were Ronnie Abbard and WWII veterans Tom Blakey and Bert Stolier. Blakey, who fought in the European Theater, worked for Higgins Industries building the famous Higgins boat. Stationed in London, he shared the three things the Brits said were wrong with the Yanks — “We were oversexed, overpaid and over here. To which we replied the Brits were undersexed, underpaid and under Eisenhower.”
Stolier served in the Pacific Theater and was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941. He later found himself and Capt. Isaac Kidd floating in the Pacific. Kidd didn’t make but Stolier did. “I spent two days in the water and you know what I did?” he asked the women. I sang — “Smile, though your heart is aching, Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, I sure hope a mermaid comes by …”
“The mission of the museum is about telling stories,” said Abbard. “We asked ordinary men and women to save the world, and they did.”
The Woman’s Club coffee wrapped up just in time for me to scoot down Government Street to Boudreaux’s for the Cenikor Foundation’s Celebrate Recovery Community Luncheon. The moving testimony of graduate Peggy McKnight and her three-decade battle with drugs and alcohol earned her a standing ovation from the luncheon attendees, more than a few of whom were dabbing away tears. Also addressing the audience was former Livingston Parish Sheriff Willie Graves, who spoke about the connection between substance abuse and crime, faith and recovery.
Mayor Kip Holden assisted Cenikor Foundation CEO Bill Bailey in the presentation of awards to: The Shaw Group, represented by Zach Boudreaux, Business Partner of the Year; Mae Belton, Community Leader of the Year; Moo and Martin Svendson, Philanthropists of the Year; and state Sen. Sharon Weston-Broome, Elected Official of the Year. WAFB-TV’s Diane Deaton served as emcee.
‘Let the Dogs Out’
Watching the sun set from the pool deck of the Hilton Capitol Center was the perfect way to end the day. A cool breeze blew across the Mississippi River as guests began arriving for the Companion Animal Alliance’s “Let the Dogs Out” benefit dinner. Galatoire’s Bistro executive chef Kelley McCann and staff manned the Viking Cooking School Outdoors to prepare the feast for the lucky 50 diners getting a preview of things to come once Galatoire’s reopens its new location at Perkins and Acadian Thruway in time for the holidays. I enjoyed visiting with co-hostess Marty Engquist and Melissa Anderson as well as getting to meet the chef’s proud mom, Leslie Stewart McCann; girlfriend Emily Edwards; and her mom, Suzanne Cheramie.
Columbus Day Festa
The Capital City’s Italian community celebrated its heritage Oct. 7 at the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association’s Columbus Day Festa at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium. Among the afternoon’s highlights was the presentation of the Italian maids.
This year’s presentees included Cara Angelina Aldrich, daughter of Kimberly and Thomas Aldrich; Margaret and Mary Elizabeth Avenel, daughters of Kathleen and Gary Avenel; Sarah Averette, daughter of Cindy and Richard Averette; Annie Ruth McLin-Barnhizer, daughter of Mary Barnhizer; Kaley Alexis Baronne, daughter of Paula and Greg Baronne; Gabrielle Mara Bellelo, daughter of Mara and Ric Bellelo; Carlie Dane and Ella Grace Bozarth, daughters of Olivia Knapp and Billy Bozarth; Kayla Dianne Broome, daughter of Amanda and Nick Cumberland, and Chris Broome; Lexye Browning, daughter of Brandy and Kurt Browning; Cianna Michelle Craig, daughter of Carla Messina Sills; Mackenzie Amelia Cumberland, daughter of Gretchen Cumberland, and Nick and Amanda Cumberland; Brianna Efferson, daughter of Kayla and Cody Efferson; and Allia Renée Grace, daughter of Emily and Jobie Grace.
Also, Isabella Rose and Nicole Joy Kotval, daughters of Irene and Mike Kotval; Kierra Emi Needham, daughter of Elise and Joshua Wood; Alanna Jo Messina and Alexandra Elizabeth Reeves, daughters of Antonina Messina and Shane Reeves; Lucy Grace and Mackenzie Marie Parker, daughters of Sheri Parker; Ava Grace, Erin Jessie and Taylor Madison Paternostro, daughters of Raegan Rousselle and Carlo Paternostro; Olivia Lynn Ruffino, daughter of Rhonda and Robert Ruffino; Rachel Olivia Simmons, daughter of Lisa Langlois and Chris Simmons; Madeline Elise and Samantha Jean Territo, daughters of Liz and Sam Territo; Emily Lynn Whitehurst, daughter of Jennifer and Brandon Grace; and Madelyn Grace Wilson, daughter of Gina and Tregg Wilson.
Krewe of Cypress
Across the river over in Plaquemine, the Krewe of Cypress honored its 2012 debutantes at a brunch at the home of Jody and Anton Wilbert Sept. 23. Hostesses for the event along with Jody were her fellow 2013 ball captains, Susie Burns and Kay Gaudin.
This year’s coterie includes Emelie Barker Gunn, daughter of Nancy and Jim Gunn, of Hayes, Va.; Alexis Marie Ledet, daughter of Ragan and Kynan White, and the late Brad Ledet; and Katharine Grace Miller; daughter of Marcella and Stephen Miller, of Pensacola Beach, Fla. They will be formally introduced to the krewe and its guests at a Presentation Ball Nov. 24 at the Carl F. Grant Civic Center in Plaquemine.
The young women will also serve as maids in the krewe’s annual Carnival Ball Jan. 26.
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