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Hats Off to Opera

The 32nd annual “Mad Hatter’s Luncheon” raised funds to continue New Orleans’ tradition of opera.

Event Chairs Melissa Gordon & Virginia Eckholdt

Melissa Calico

This year, the 32nd annual “Mad Hatter’s Luncheon” featured beautiful and edible décor, with cake centerpieces in the form of a decorated hat, appropriately dressed with edible flowers and ribbons. Following the luncheon, waiters sliced the hats and served the cake as dessert, to the delight of the guests.

Mad Hatter characters, such as the Queen of Hearts performed by Sonda Stacey, the Mad Hatter performed by Ted Stacey, Alice in Wonderland performed by Nina Pugh and the White Rabbit played by Scott Chotin, also made an appearance. A jazz ensemble provided musical entertainment at the main event. There was also a series of long “themed tables” featuring auction items for bidding, ranging from travel to accessories, culinary reservations to sports.

For the Hat Judging Contest, judges included Edward Wilkerson of Lafayette 148, whose fashions were shown by Saks; Beverly Church of St. Charles Avenue magazine; Terrance Osborne, artist; Jax Fey; Tamica Lee; Pat Shane of Favrot & Shane; Jennifer Hale, sports coordinator; and Ed Marshall of First NBC Bank.

The winners of the Hat Judging Contest were: Jean Rice, former President of the Opera Guild for “Most Beautiful,” Joan Ingram for “Best Ensemble” and Joyce Laporte for “Festive Fascinator.” Other winners included Henri Hall for “Most Whimsical,” Carol Verges for “Best Original Theme,” Lynette Stillwell for “Mad Hatter’s Choice,” “The Geisha Girls” for “Designer’s Choice” and “Turandot” for “Best Group.”

Event Chairs were Melissa Gordon, Virginia Eckholdt and Junior Chairman Kathleen Robert. The Mistress of Ceremony was Katie Moore.


What: 32nd annual “Mad Hatter’s Luncheon and Saks Fashion Show,” benefiting Women’s Guild of New Orleans Opera
When: Tuesday, March 8
Where: Hilton Riverside Hotel


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