Spring has finally arrived and Mother Nature couldn’t have been more cooperative for the round of events happening that week.
Bunny Hop Brunch
The Crowne Plaza was overrun with children of all ages dressed in their Easter best for the 13th annual Bunny Hop Brunch March 23. McCall Dempsey served as emcee for the benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Before everyone filed into the ballroom, moms and grandmothers did a little shopping via the silent auction while the little ones posed with the Easter Bunny. After we all got settled at our tables, it was time for the children’s fashion show featuring spring and summer looks for kids of all ages from bKids, Baby Bump, Banbury Cross and Tangerine. The agenda also included two rousing games of bingo and a free-for-all Easter egg hunt.
The Woman’s Club hosted its annual Spring Fling tea March 22, the highlight of which was a style show featuring spring fashions from Coldwater Creek. The festivities also featured a raffle of several goodies, including a two-night beach stay.
Models included Frances Bennett, Alice Bondy, Debbie Harris, Carol Haase, Sugar McAdams, Karen Rimes, Pat Snow, Janelle Wilhelm and Kathy Young. Diane Finley chaired the fundraiser.
Brush with Burden
My next stop was the LSU AgCenter’s Botanic Gardens, where William Crowell’s painting, “Manchac Mansion,” received Best in Show honors at the Burden Society’s “Brush With Burden” juried art exhibit and sale. He was among the 62 artists and 27 photographers taking part in the exhibition.
Other winners included Cheri Fry, “French Quarter Wheels,” Judge’s Choice; Kate Trepagnier, “Cloud Creek,” People’s Choice; Marge Campane, “Texas Star,” Honorable Mention; Jane Flowers, “Preaching to the Choir,” Royal Standard Merit Award; Trepagnier, “Cloud Creek,” Dick Blick Art Supply Merit Award; Kathryn Schilling, “Wetland Whispers,” Beauregard Bistro & Gallery Merit Award; Elayne Kuehler, “Azalea Still Life ” and Len Heatherly, “Gold on Cane Bayou,” Co-Op Bookstore Merit Awards; Pat Wattam, “Reflection,” David’s Art Supply Merit Award; and Meichi Lee, “Cotton Field,” Ann Connelly Fine Art Merit Award.
Photography winners were Butch Spillman, “The Stalk Begins,” Best in Show; Gerald Burns, “American Bittern,” Renaissance Imaging Giclee Award; Emily Miller, “Lé Memoir,” People’s Choice; Kathy Reeves, “Confrontation,” Daryl & Son Framing Merit Award; Linda Medine, “River Road Home,” Heroman’s Florist Merit Award; Elizabeth Mangham, “Lily Pads,” Acadian Frame & Art Merit Award; and Ellen Case, “The Watershed,” Naylor Brothers Hardware Merit Award.
Billy Solitario served as art juror. C.C. Lockwood, David Humphreys and Beverly Coats judged the photography entries.
Those of us lucky enough to be a part of Dancing for Big Buddy’s “Team Leonard” — past and present — got together to share stories and celebrate Leonard Augustus, aka “the King of Dance,” at a party hosted by team member Beverly Thompson and husband Corky Saturday night. It was quite a group and included some of the professional dancers who’ve been enlisted by Leonard over the past eight years — LeBrian Patrick, Christine Perkins and Ryn Jones, as well as “music man” Thomas Telhiard. We veterans even offered a few tips to the newest members of the team, which will be performing April 26 at the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU voice instructor Terry Patrick-Harris’ musical theater class entertained members of the Music Club and their guests at the group’s annual Scholarship Luncheon March 20 at Boudreaux’s. It was the perfect way to celebrate the first day of spring. It was the final performance for graduates Richard Coleman, Katie Potts and Adam Gilbert, who also served as choreographer.
Coleman is the recipient of the Earl W. Redding Memorial Scholarship in musical theater, given by luncheon co-chairwoman Gwen Redding. He thrilled luncheon-goers with his performance of “Make Them Hear You” from “Ragtime.”
Rose Mary Williams co-chaired the luncheon with Redding. Assisting were Jeanne Clement, Sara Ginn, Gail Kinney, Ken Nelson, Maxine Rak, Ina Shirley, Randy Smith and club President Rita Lovett.
The partying picked back up that evening with the third annual Bella’s Ball benefiting the Bella Bowman Foundation, whose mission is to create and support research into pediatric brain cancer and offer comfort care to children with cancer and their families. The view from L’Auberge Casino of the sun setting over the Mississippi River was absolutely breathtaking for the 700-plus guests. Bagpipes and drums led a group of acrobats from the reception area into the ballroom to get the fun started.
Inside culinary offerings from Cadie’s Candy Buffet, the Camelot Club, Doe’s Eat Place, 18 Steak, Restaurant IPO, L’Auberge, Lauryn’s Fine Catering & La Maison De Bella Reception Center, Mestizos Louisiana Mexican Cuisine, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Portobello’s Grill, Pullin’ Pork, Ruffino’s, Sincerely Sweet, Storybook Sweet Shop, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and The Other Chef made mouths’ water. Quenching thirsts were libations from Paul Bologna Fine Wines, Heineken USA, Lava Cantina, Sullivan’s, L’Auberge and Baton Rouge Coca Cola.
The night’s to-do list also included silent and live auctions and dancing to the sounds of After 8.
Women Chef’s Showoff
Mestizos and Ruffino’s were also dishing up delicacies for the 19th annual Women Chefs’ Showoff at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium — my last stop of the night. Things were in full swing by the time I arrived. The live auction, conducted by Val Watts, had just wrapped up but some fierce bidding was still going on in the silent auction. Kenny Fife & the Bac Trac had taken to the stage and, before night’s end, the dance floor was full.
This event, chaired this year by Sylvia Duke and Danna LeBlanc, is the major fundraiser for the Iris Domestic Violence Center. Formerly known as the Battered Women’s Program, the center has been serving women and their families for more than 35 years in East and West Baton Rouge, Ascension, East and West Feliciana, Iberville and Pointe Coupee parishes.
Other participating restaurants and caterers included Beausoleil, Belle of Baton Rouge, Bistro Byronz, Baton Rouge Community College Culinary Arts, Caliente Mexican Craving, Capital City Produce, Chef Don Bergeron & Mid City Market, Chef KD Louisiana Legends, Cookies by Gail, Courtland’s Catering, Don’s Seafood (Baton Rouge and Gonzales), Juban’s, Kristenwood Reception Hall, LéCreole Restaurant, The Little Village (Downtown and Airline Highway), Louisiana Culinary Institute, Louisiana Egg Commission, Mike Anderson’s, Oak Lodge Reception, Outback Steakhouse, Sammy’s Grill, Sharing Shores, Chef Celeste - Southside Gardens Retirement Center and Woman’s Hospital. Beverages were provided by Baton Rouge Coca Cola and Community Coffee.
Committee members also included Vivian Anderson, Al Banker, Carolyn Bergeron, Alice Burke, Tokesha Collins, Jeannette Eisworth, Melanie Fields, Heather Folks, Michelle Goch, Jennifer Guckert, Tiffany Lear, Jude Melville, Katie Redding, LaQueda Ricks, Brenda Roussel, Sharla Sossamon, Robin Tolar and Audrey Wascome.
BRAC Blues Night
Did you know Baton Rouge Area Chamber CEO Adam Knapp plays the drums!?! You know … the guy who, with a deadpan face, says “Boom!” in the BRAC commercials. He was outed at the spiffed up annual shareholders meeting March 19 at L’Auberge when he was persuaded to sit in with Blues legend Kenny Neal and company.
Neal not only provided entertainment for the night but he and Cox Communications presented a $1,000 check to the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation for this year’s Blues Festival, which takes place April 12 in downtown’s Town Square.
While the theme for the event was the Blues, things are actually looking pretty rosy business wise in the Greater Baton Rouge area; hence the chamber’s “Boom!” commercials. According to Knapp, 2013 was a record-breaking year. “We are going to continue to be the best economic development engine in the area,” he said as he highlighted several of BRAC’s accomplishments.
The chamber also handed out several awards, beginning with one to past board President Pat Felder. Ann Forte Trappey received the D. Jensen Holliday Award; Cordell Haymon, the Community Champion Award; and IBM the Project of the Year.
‘Night of Character’
A week in Destin, a four-day cruise, a signed Eli Manning Super Bowl XLII helmet, sideline passes to LSU’s home opener and a chef tasting experience for 10 with Ruffino’s chef Peter Sclafani were among the items up for bids in the live auction at the Istrouma Area Council Boy Scouts of America “Night of Character” March 18 at LSU’s Rural Life Museum. The evening also included a tempting silent auction, raffle, dinner and music by Craig Rhodes.
Chaired by Jude Bursavish, the event benefited the council’s Character Program, which is a collaboration between the council, local charter organization and the East Baton Rouge Housing Authority to provide Scouting opportunities to at-risk youth. Brian Fourroux served as auctioneer.
Don’t forget …
To check Pam’s Party Calendar before planning the next gala, fundraiser, luncheon or your own private party. This comprehensive party calendar’s goal is to prevent multiple events from taking place on the same night, dividing up the attendees and the fundraising dollar. To help us achieve this goal, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you have a date for your event. We can always fill in the details once they get finalized.
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