Last January, Baton Rouge lost one of its great civic leaders when Darian Chustz died following a brief illness at age 42. As the president of Gulf Coast Region of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United and member of more boards and organizations than you can count on fingers and toes, Darian knew a lot of people so it speaks volumes that several hundred “Friends of Darian” got together recently to raise money to establish an educational fund for his and wife Lisa’s three children.
The Oct. 17 event at the LSU Stadium Club was put on by a special group of “Friends” from all walks of Darian’s life – Barry and Kristy Causey, John and Brandi Chustz, George and Melanie Clark, Todd and Angele Cooley, David and Melissa Cresson, Jeff and Edy Koonce, Chad and Lisa LaMarie, John and Graham Miller, Jason and Sonya Morris, René and Danielle Ragas, Vic and Roxane Roth, Chris and Sandy Sadler, and Gary and Sandy Young.
Most of the items up for bids in the live auction reflected Darian’s passions – golf, fishing, LSU football and baseball, duck hunting, wine and, of course, Coca-Cola. Auctioneer for the evening was Gordy Rush.
From LSU I headed out Highland Road to meet up with ladies of Hollydays past and present. This year’s Hollydays committee, chaired by Katie Culotta Shoriak, was hosting a reunion of the past 28 Hollydays committees at the home of Dede Ferrara. That group included an impressive seven from the first Hollydays in 1984, including chairwoman Nell McAnelly, who was pregnant at the time (she gave birth a day later), and Mary Boston, who gave Hollydays its name.
It was originally spelled “Hollydaze” but was changed to the now familiar Hollydays. I kidded them that the “daze” was how they were all feeling; no one denied it.
Anyway, Dede’s was the perfect place to wrap up the night. I got to sit a spell and visit with the gang, laughing along as they shared war stories from days gone by.
The evening of party hopping actually started off downtown with the Baton Rouge Symphony League’s ‘Tappas & Wine with Timothy & Torns’ at Zoila’s Bistro. Special guest for the evening was featured Masterworks artist, 17-year-old child prodigy pianist Colton Peltier, who performed with the orchestra the following evening. He, conductor Timothy Muffitt and assistant conductor David Torns were answering all manner of questions from guests about the upcoming concert and music in general in the laid-back atmosphere of Zoila’s. It’s nice to be able to rub elbows with these guys in such an informal setting and talk shop or whatever.
I was back downtown the following night for the BUST Breast Cancer runway show at the Manship Theatre’s Hartley-Vey Studio. The brainchild of Heather Kleinpeter Savoy and Baton Rouge Walls Project co-founder Cassie Thorpe, it showcased flirty young models sporting bejeweled, bedazzled, feathered and otherwise adorned bras created by local artists to benefit Woman’s Hospital’s mobile mammography coach.
You can check out the runway show online at http://theadvocate.com/features/people
The day began with “Lunch & Learn” at the Baker Heritage Museum & Ladies Cultural Center. The inaugural event featured two speakers: Mary Sue Stages with the Baker Pilot Club, which sponsored the luncheon, and Demetira Robinson with the American Cancer Society, who spoke about the importance of monthly self-breast exams and regular mammograms.
“Be selfish,” said Robinson, “take one day and put yourself first and get that mammogram.” She also told luncheon-goers about the society’s toll-free phone number, 1-800-227-2345, which is “answered by a real person 24-hours a day, seven day a week.”
The Leave a Legacy donors and National Philanthropy Day honorees were fêted at a cocktail reception hosted by the Planned Giving Council of Greater Baton Rouge at Juban’s Restaurant Oct. 16. The event doubled as an informational meeting to update the donors and honorees as to plans for this year’s National Philanthropy Day luncheon, where they will be officially recognized. It takes place Nov. 16 at the Renaissance Hotel.
Leave a Legacy donor honorees include Jeanne and Bill Atchison, Dr. Renée Harris, Debbie and Kevin Knobloch, Gwen and Durinda Robinson, Anne Henderson Wong and the late George Daniels, Capital Area United Way.
Being recognized for their philanthropic efforts are All Star Automotive Group, Outstanding Leadership in Corporate Philanthropy; Kathy and Frank McArthur, Outstanding Philanthropist; Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation, Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation; Marvin Borgmeyer, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Charlene Guarisco Montelaro, Outstanding Professional Fundraiser; Jasmine Miller, Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy; and Dusty Manson, Association of Fundraising Professionals Directors Award.
Seven LSU voice students showcased their talents at the Baton Rouge Opera Guild’s Scholarship Recital Oct. 10 at the Baton Rouge Country Club. Accompanying them on piano was Michael Borowitz, conductor of the LSU Opera. Robert Grayson, chairman of the LSU Opera division, served as master of ceremonies.
Performing were soprano Megan Barrera, recipient of the Dr. & Mrs. Leo Abraham and Alma Lee & H.N. Saurage Jr. scholarships; tenor Greg Gallager, recipient of the James Coday Memorial, Gerald Wilcox Memorial and John Turner Honorary scholarships; lyric-coloratura Jennifer Luquette, recipient of the Thomas C. Landrum Memorial Scholarship; baritone Sean Matassa, recipient of the Dorothy Halphen Kolb Memorial Scholarship; mezzo soprano Chelsea Miller, recipient of the John H. Hernandez Fund, Polly Bondy Hernandez Fund, Katharine O. Dunham Memorial Scholarship and Baton Rouge Opera Guild Memorial Scholarship; soprano Penelope Shumate, recipient of the Joseph Dawson Jr. Memorial Scholarship; and soprano Carline Waugh, recipient of the Ernest A. Gueymard Memorial Scholarship.
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