Nonstop fun characterizes busy social week
Wow! What a week. Several of the city's most-anticipated spring events and one that's sure to make that list were packed into two days of non-stop fun.
‘Dancing with Big Buddy'
"You've left Inspector Clouseau speechless!" proclaimed judge Sid "Go-Go" Gautreaux of the fox trot by Star Dancer Kristie Genzer, Ochsner vice president of operations, and her professional partner, Brandon Wisner from TC Dance Club International, to the "Pink Panther" theme song. The audience agreed, awarding her the trophy for Female Audience Choice winner. She was also declared "Most Sultry."
WBRZ-TV news anchor Chris Nakamoto's bad boy routine with Team Leonard dancers Kris Cangelosi, Ryn Jones and Teresa Whitaker to "Moves Like Jagger" earned him the Male Audience Choice trophy. "That was the longest two minutes of my life," he said at the conclusion of his freestyle dance, which also earned him "Most Stylish" honors.
This was the sixth year for this fabulous fundraiser for Big Buddy. Coming by the Pete Maravich Assembly Center May 5 to personally make an appeal to help keep the program serving some of the community's most at-risk youth was District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Also strutting their stuff on the dance floor were McKinley High School Principal Armond Brown, whose "Suave" routine to the Otis Redding classic "Try a Little Tenderness" was simply too cool for school; Dr. Susan Bankston, who did a "Most Graceful" paso doble to "Man of La Mancha"; Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry corporate gifts director Lindsay "Hot Legs" Chustz, who appropriately quick stepped to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and took home the Online Voters' Choice Award; John Fabre of Accura/Infiniti of Baton Rouge, who tangoed to "Bust Your (car) Windows" to get "Best Technique" and "Boom Boom" medals; Taco de Paco's Jared Loftus, whose "I Know You Want Me" earned him "Best Showmanship" honors; and Judge Trudy White, who did a beautiful African salsa with partners Leonard Augustus and LeBrian Patrick to capture "Most Surprising" dance.
The second half of the show kicked off with local real estate agent Candy Picou's "Highest Energy" "Little Red Riding Hood" jive to Bruno Mars' "Run Away Baby" followed by Baton Rouge Film Commission head Amy Mitchell Smith and her "Fastest Feet" samba; New Orleans Hornets broadcast host Victor Howell, who wowed the crowd with his "Daring" West Coast swing to "Basketball"; OLOL College's Tiffany McGee's "Spicy" cha-cha to the Pussycat Dolls' "Hush, Hush, Hush, Hush"; Episcopal teacher Dawn Perret, who was dubbed "Sassiest" and made judge Smiley Anders lament his school days with her "Jail House Rock" jive; and WJBO-FM's Clay Young, who proved "I'm Sexy & I Know It," earned Hottest Couple honors with professional dancer Claire Broyles. Hey, he got judge Allison Young's attention.
Emcees for the evening were WBRZ's Sylvia Weatherspoon and John Pastorek.
Triple Crown fun
I wish I'd thought to bring my cocktail attire with me to the Junior League's Triple Crown Extravaganza that afternoon at the LSU Stadium Club. It would have saved me an hour and a great parking spot. Oh, well!
This was the fourth year for this Kentucky Derby-inspired event, which benefits the various projects of the league. Bengal Belles Aimée Simon and Carolyn Hebert took care of the hat judging competition. Most Beautiful honors went to Amy Echols, whose husband, Jeff, was dubbed Best Dressed Dude. Pam Farmer's peacock feather chapeau was chosen Most Creative, and Bonnie Brugh's floral hat that matched her dress got her the prize for Best Ensemble.
The afternoon also included a style show featuring fashions from Amies, Carriages and nk Boutique. Taking turns as emcees were "2une-In" co-host Whitney Vann and Guaranty Broadcasting's Gordy Rush, Matt Moscona, Bill Profita and Matt Kennedy.
OMG!! I can't begin to tell you how much fun the debut Fur Ball benefiting the Companion Animal Alliance was. Picture about a hundred guests all gussied up in their finest accompanied by their well-behaved pooches and that's what the Crowne Plaza looked like the evening of May 4. There were tea cup-sized dogs nestled in their owners' arms and a couple that looked like you could put a saddle on them and give a kid a ride - not that you would. Some doggies were dressed for the occasion, like the pink petticoat pugs belonging to Liz and Tom McKowen, while others looked like they were ready for an afternoon of hunting. Check out the photos online at http://www.theadvocate/features.
When you got ready to take a break from pet parenting, you simply dropped your baby off at the Petz Plaza spa and day care for a little TLC and socializing. Since my pup, Sadie, decided to chew through her leash, she had to be dropped off earlier than planned.
There were also yummies for everyone, human and animal; a tempting silent auction; and a drawing for a $2,500 custom dog house.
My Friday actually began at the Crowne Plaza at the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation's 41st annual Volunteer Activists Award Luncheon. Featured speaker for the event was LSU's new men's basketball coach, Johnny Jones.
"People who make up a team are unequal," said Jones. "But, you have to be equal in your commitment to achieve the goal of your team ... An individual can make a difference but a team can make a miracle."
He went on to thank this year's activists for their commitment to make a difference in our community. They include Kathy Andrus, Scott Berg, Julie Dickinson, Rachel Rackley Howell, Clay Johnson, Gary Littlefield, Ruth Pace, Elizabeth Querbes Sammons, Bill Slaughter, Sylvia Essex Winder and Karen Zobrist.
The Sertoma Club was presented the Margaret Neely Award for its continued support of BRSHF. That award was presented by board President Colleen Waguespack, who announced the establishment of a scholarship fund to allow the foundation to keep serving those who need its services. One such child is Angel Chapman's son. She shared their story in a moving video and then came to the podium to personally thank everyone for their support of the foundation.
Teach for America
In between Volunteer Activists and the Fur Ball, I popped into the downtown law offices of Kean Miller for a reception celebrating Teach for America Week. Attendees got to hear the testimony not only of TFA teachers and students but several area business people who spent time as guest teachers. They included Julius Bedford, Steve Blume and Angela Zeringue from ExxonMobil; David Bondy, LUBA Workers' Comp; Bill Borne, Amedisys; Vance Gibbs, Kean Miller; Allison Hudson, Donaldsonville Chief; Jonathan Percle, Business Report; former Gov. Buddy Roemer, Business First Bank; Scott Tozier and Ron Zumstein, Albemarle; and Jennifer Vosburg, NRG Energy.
With Cinco de Mayo just a couple of days away, Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital took over the grounds of the Governor's Mansion May 3 for its annual Fiesta. Once again serving as honorary chairs were LSU football coach Les Miles and wife Kathy, who patiently posed for photos with major sponsors at a pre-event VIP reception.
One of the neatest aspects of this event are the trays created by local artists. Participating this year were Tony Bernard, Helen Bolin, Patrick Coogan, Rhea Gary, Emily Monroe Godfrey, Lauren Barksdale Hill, Jeanne James, CC Lockwood, Jeanne Frey Rhodes, Danni Shobe, Dixon Smith, Saliha Staib, Christopher Turner and the patients of OLOL Children's Hospital.
Of course, you could also bid on a necklace from Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, one of five red Lexus automobiles from Price LeBlanc Lexus, beach vacations, ski vacations and the chance to watch the Tigers play Bama from the sidelines. See who all was rubbing elbows with coach online at http://www.theadvocate.com/features.
‘Art for Food'
I'm not sure who walked away with all those prizes because I had to head out to the Perkins Rowe area for "Art for Food," a fundraiser benefiting the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank hosted by Citizens Bank & Trust and Burns & Co. Realtors. As guests (yes, there was a good crowd here, too) grazed the spread and sipped their beverage of choice, there were lots of items to bid on in the silent auction.
Things kicked into high gear a little before 8 p.m. when the art auction got underway. This event was the brainchild of the late Realtor Winkie Berlin. I can't help but think she was smiling at the way it has grown in the much-needed support it provides to the Food Bank.
The day's party hopping began with a lovely reception at the Rural Life Museum to introduce the 2013 king and queen of the Mystik Krewe of Louisianians, better known as Washington Mardi Gras, to krewe members. Arriving in a horse-drawn white carriage accompanied by U.S. Sen. David Vitter and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who'll serve as ball captain, were Queen Laura Elisabeth Kelley and King Martin Svendson.
"In Louisiana, we know how to do business and we know how to have fun," said Cassidy. "And we do both at the same time well."
‘Jewels of the Westside'
Seven young women were presented by the Louisiana Tri-Parish Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority at its annual Debutante Cotillion, "Jewels of the Westside," May 5 at the Scott Civic Center in New Roads. Reigning as queen of the cotillion was Brianna Simone Wright, daughter of Jeannie and Harry Wright, of Prairieville. She was presented by her father and escorted by Nicholas Overstreet. Her sponsor was Rose Jackson.
Journee Bryana Beard, daughter of Alicia Beard, of Baton Rouge, and Henry Beard, was tapped as princess. She was presented by her uncle, Maurice Tresclair, and escorted by Arta Turner. Her sponsor was her aunt, Crystal Hemmings.
Their fellow debs included: First Maid Candace Jeanpierre, daughter of Paula and Landry Jeanpierre, of New Roads. She was presented by her father and escorted by Jordon Stafford. Her sponsor was Rena Caldwell.
"Miss Butterfly" Arielle Nicole Hart, daughter of Barbara and Tom Hart Sr., of Lettsworth. She was presented by her father and escorted by Brandon Jackson. Her sponsor was Lee Audrey Porche.
"Miss Sunshine" Sadie Adline Houston, daughter of Sadie and Larry Houston Sr., of New Roads. She was presented by her father and escorted by Paris B attley. Her sponsor was Rose Roché.
"Miss Poise" Kristina LaRaé Oliver, daughter of Emily and the Rev. Larry Oliver, of Innis. She was presented by her father and escorted by Travis Dixon. Her sponsor was Rena Caldwell.
"Miss Congeniality" Dominique Nicole Pierson, daughter of Jacqueline and Johnny Chriatal, of Lettsworth. She was presented by her father and escorted by Kenneth Honora Jr. Her sponsor was Joyce Benton.
A community service award was presented to Gail Hurst.
New Roads Mayor Robert Myer led a toast to the debs. Brother Malcolm Myer, director of Legislative Affairs with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, served as master of ceremonies.
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