Desiring Decadence

Long before tuning on to the drive that leads to the New Orleans Museum of Art, one could see both the allee and façade of the museum bathed in blue light. At the entrance, champagne waited and a snow machine blew tiny flakes as if to prepare one for a winter’s night in one of Russia’s great palaces.

The 43rd Odyssey Ball’s opened “Objects of Desire: Fabergé from the Hodges Family Collection.” Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras Productions turned its talents toward creating the perfect setting for a party that centered on the exquisite collection of fames, cigarette cases, presentation boxes, small animals and jewelry collected by Dr. Daniel Hodges and Sherri Logan. The mere mention of Fabergé, the last great living jeweler to the Russian royal family, inspired patrons to don their finest jewels and prettiest gowns for an evening that offered everything elegant from caviar to champagne.

Museum Director E. John Bullard and Ball Chairwoman Mimi and Claude Schlesinger greeted several hundred patrons at the entrance of the Great Hall. Floor-to-ceiling blue velvet curtains were hung around the edges of the Great Hall, creating an intimate elegant chamber within the hall and a sound buffer for the music of Allen Toussaint. Great tapers in Czar-sized candelabra were placed at strategic points along the staircase which lead to the second floor galleries where tables were placed, making for a perfect perch to oversee all the activity below.

In the museum’s café, bathed in Russian red light for a sexy nightclub effect, Anais St. John performed with Harry Mayronne. Added entertainment was provided in the Great Hall by Oak Alley and Klezmer Music.

On both the first and second floors, large banquet tables were laden with Coulibiac, Beef Stroganoff, Stuffed lion of pork, golden beet salads, winter vegetables, Crepes à la Russe, Strawberries Romanoff and Russian Coffee showed caterer Palate’s culinary prowess. Behind the collection’s installation were the Silent Auction items and the lure of the Caviar Bar with shots of frozen vodka to entice bidding.

The snow continued to swirl as the dancing continued long past midnight, on what seemed a night that took it’s cue from a magical time long gone and treasures of objects not easily forgotten.

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