Getting ready for the holidays a season in itself
Christmas and Mardi Gras are still weeks away but that didn’t stop folks from getting in the spirit last week. It’s not hard to gear up for Christmas at the Junior League’s Hollydays market, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.
The three-day shopping extravaganza kicked off with a Preview Gala Oct. 23 at the River Center, which was packed with those wanting to get first dibs on the shopping opportunities while showing their support for the many community projects of the League. I got to see and visit with lots of friends — League President Cathy Giering and husband Edmund, Leslie and Scott Berg, Barbara Anne Eaton, Susan Eaton, Melissa Parmalee, Diane and Johnny Tate, Marianne and Bobby Freeman, Alice and Larry Kronenberger, Whitney Vann, Julie Dickinson, Allison Traxler, Rose Hudson, Gerri Hobdy, Yolanda Dixon, Sarah Griffith, Leo Verde and Laurie Stoma, Lisa Anton and Sugar McAdams, who was dressed as my twin. I must confess, we were both quite chi-chi.
Charlene and Stan Montelaro never made it too far past the entrance, she was so entranced with the Bid Pal iPhone-like device that made bidding in the silent auction a treat. Everyone seemed to be having a blast with this new toy, which allowed us to bid, shop, consume the offerings of local restaurants and caterers and dance to the sounds of the Tip Tops all at the same time.
Janice Penton and Mimi Ruebsamen didn’t need a Bid Pal, just the winning raffle tickets to claim the women’s and men’s Rolex watches, respectively, from the evening’s sponsor, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry.
‘Heart & Soul’
“Heart & Soul, the Romance and Revelry of Mardi Gras!” is the theme for this year’s Mardi Gras festivities. Reigning over the fun as king and queen are Steve Carville and Karen Stephens. Donna Fraiche is ball captain.
Duchesses include Lauren Barfield, Elizabeth Corsten, Kelsey Funes, Kathryn Kissam and Fran Lawrence. Dukes include Pete Bush, Roger Cutrer, Sean Finan, Gary Graphia and Jimmy Lalonde.
Also introduced to krewe members and guests was the 2014 debutante coterie: Madeline Abadie, daughter of Amy and Creighton Abadie; Katherine Babin, daughter of Paige and Dr. Kevin Babin; Chancely Courson, daughter of Gay and Bud Courson; Megan Elofson, daughter of Tracey and Dr. Rodger Elofson; Elizabeth Foshee, daughter of Katie and Jacque Lasseigne, and Ronald and Conchetta Foshee; Blair Ginn, daughter of Laurie and Scott Ginn; Sydney Gordon, daughter of Laura and Dan Gordon; Victoria Gulino, daughter of Laura and Barry Gulino; Brittany Haaga, daughter of Melanie and Brett Haaga; Lindsay Hagmann, daughter of Anita and Joe Coyle, and Joey Hagmann; Rachel Jordan, daughter of Stephanie and Jon Jordan; Michelle Olinde, daughter of Cheryl and Tom Olinde; Meghan Phillips, daughter of Stephanie Taylor and Shanon Phillips; and Angelle Suire, daughter of Laura and Dan Suire.
Krewe of Bonaparte
The following night had me traveling to Lafayette for the Krewe of Bonaparte’s fall cocktail party at the City Club at River Ranch. It was nice to finally meet Lee and Marty Audiffred after five years of emailing back and fourth about krewe events, and my new contact and host, Dave Comeaux. I also got to meet several other familiar faces as well as catch up with a former intern, Emily Foreman Babineaux; and Baton Rouge native Stewart Jolly, lovely wife Amy and her mom, Lydia Cloninger.
It was a lovely evening, except the drive back to Baton Rouge. It took an excruciating three hours thanks to construction work at the Grosse Tete exit.
The week actually got underway with the McMains Children’s Developmental Center’s Developing Dreams breakfast Oct. 22 at the Renaissance Hotel. I confess I’m not a morning person but the day’s speaker, Jerry Traylor, made me glad I crawled out of bed. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy the same year that McMains opened its doors (1954), Traylor has jogged across the United States on his crutches.
“You can’t really develop a dream unless you wake up,” said Traylor, pounding the stage with his crutch to make sure we were all awake.
The quick-witted Traylor was followed by Ellen and Barry Keim, parents of 12-year-old Ethan. They shared how Ethan has been able to reach so many goals with the support of the McMains Center.
The morning’s agenda also included the presentation of the center’s Helping Hand Volunteer Awards. Recipients included the late Jairo Alvarez, for his efforts with Wheels to Succeed, and First United Methodist Church, for its support of the Capable Arts Camp.
The Better Business Bureau handed out its Douglas Manship Sr. Torch Awards for Ethics in Business later that evening at its 13th annual banquet at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. Featured speaker for the evening was famed wildlife photographer CC Lockwood , who shared tales and photos from documenting the Atchafalaya Basin for his upcoming book.
Before Lockwood spoke, Cajun humorist Kent Gonsoulin entertained as did Quiana Lynell and her band.
This year’s awards, presented by board Chairman Mark Emonet and Executive Director Jim Stalls, went to Dr. Candace Warner, for 1-10 employees; Iberville Bank, for 11-99 employees; Hannis T. Bourgeois, for 100-299 employees; and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Co., for 300-plus employees; Patrick Riley received the Youth Torch Award.
CAUW Women Leaders
The next day started off with the Capital Area United Way Women’s Leadership Council lunch at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center. We got to hear the inspiring words of Juana Slade, immediate past president of the United Way Worldwide National Women’s Leadership Council and a friend of our new CEO, Darrin Goss Sr.
“You are part of a national growing movement,” said Slade, adding that United Way’s Women’s Councils have raised more than $1 billion over the past 12 years. “You know what your community needs and the only way to achieve big goals in your community is by doing it together.”
Prevent Child Abuse
Women and men were called on to help in the battle to end child abuse at Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana’s luncheon kicking off its annual fund Oct. 24 at the Renaissance Hotel. Did you know that the direct and indirect costs of child abuse amount to some $80 billion a year? Or that until the 1970s, there were basically no laws dealing with child abuse?
That’s where PCAL steps in. Its mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of children. And, while the general public doesn’t believe anything can be done to prevent child abuse, PCAL knows better.
To drive home the point of the positive impact PCAL can have, 15-year-old abuse survivor Elijah Evan s shared his story. Burned by his mother at the tender age of 2, Evans grew up to form the No Use for Abuse Foundation, which hosts a Christmas party for at-risk youth.
Champions of Service
NFL great Warrick Dunn was only 18 years old when his mom, off-duty policewoman Betty Smothers, was killed during an armed robbery. To lessen the load of other single mothers, the Catholic High School football and track star founded Warrick Dunn Charities. Dunn was honored as the State Champion of Service at Volunteer Louisiana’s 20th anniversary gala Oct. 24 at the Capitol Park Museum.
Honored along with Dunn were regional champions Cyndi Dicarlo, of Geismar; Frank Elliott, of Pineville; Brittany Kelly of Lake Charles; Nhu Noc Pham, of New Orleans and the Barksdale Air Force Volunteers, of Bossier City.
Hall of Fame
The former students of LSU journalism professor Jay Perkins whooped and hollered and gave him a standing ovation when he was introduced as one of the inductees to the Manship School of Mass Communication’s 2013 Hall of Fame.
The announcement came at an Oct. 24 gala celebrating the 100th anniversary of journalism education at LSU. It was also announced that the Jay Perkins Scholarship to study abroad had been formally endowed.
Inducted along with Perkins were Dan Born é, aka the voice of the LSU Tigers, and the late Kevin Reilly Sr., in whose honor the Kevin P. Reilly Sr. Chair in Political Communication at the Manship School was established as well as the endowment of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs.
Emcees for the evening were alumni Jim Engster and Mayor Kip Holden, who also presented several proclamations to the honorees and to Dean Jerry Ceppos.
Earlier that afternoon, Alberto Ibarguet, CEO/president of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation of Miami, announced a $150,000, three-year grant for the school to experiment with ideas that bring news to communities using social media.
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