ALONG THE AVENUE

From a musical breakfast to a late night, full moon “Art for Arts’ Sake,” life in the city is non-stop. Citizens deeply concerned about the city, arts, education, business and their fellow citizens have been doing their best to keep up, keep moving and keep so many very important causes afloat.
Some venues are large, but more are on a smaller, less glitz and glitter level. Some seem to be turning into monthly events.

It takes a meeting with the mayor, music and a lot of hot coffee to roll people like Julia Reed and Stephanie Dupuy out of bed and into Gallier Hall at 8 a.m. But the reason for the power breakfast—“Newest New Orleanians Breakfast with the Mayor”—was to have a serious meeting of the minds to welcome our city’s newest residents. The event was sold out and was a love fest for the city. Period.

The French-American Chamber of Commerce held not one but two dinners back in September—both memorable for the food as well as the français spoken. The first was at the charming Flaming Torch, tucked below Magazine on Octavia Street. Wonderful wines—French of course—paired with pates and cheeses. (Have you noticed the increase in fromage in the city? Cheese plates back on the menus and there’s an exclusive fromagerie to opening soon.) The second dinner was at the beloved Café Degas, where guests spent an evening with Jean Trimbach—of the pinot blancs and gris, Gewurztraminers and reislings Trimbach. All sorts of folk from the Glazier Companies tasting things like fresh grilled sardines, flash-fired quail, sweetbreads with wild mushrooms,
lardon and caper beurre blanc sauce, etc.

Then Alliance Française and the Consulate of France hosted at Le Chat Noir the acclaimed musical comedy, “Battements de Coeur Pour Duo de Cordes,” by Prix Moliere nominee Jean Luc Annaix. It had tout amis and others kissing on both cheeks and having a wonderful time. You have to love owner Barbara Motley for keeping Le Chat anything but noir et fermé.

Festive Doings

Birthday boy Pat McCausland and former New Orleanian, now of Palm Beach, Peyton Bruns celebrate Pat’s birthday at Galatoire’s.

Sweetbreads at Galatoire’s along with crabmeat Sardou, merriment and birthday cheer for Pat McCausland, everyone’s favorite fella who extended this celebration over several days because so many wanted to honor him. Former New Orleanian Peyton Bruns, who was in for a New Orleans Auction Galleries’ sale, Nan Smith, John Angelico and others too merry attended.

You can bet the new chef at Muriel’s Jackson Square knows his sweetbreads and cheese: he trained under Roger Verge of Le Moulin des Mougins fame, Chicago’s Le Perroquet, as well as Commander’s Palace with chef Paul Prudhomme. Chef Guy D. Sockrider could not resist the chance to return to take up and take on other chefs here with things like pecan-crusted puppy drum and chicken Tchoupitoulas. Welcome back, chef!

Arnaud’s Nina Gensler sharing time with Michael Harold, myself and Dr. Quinn Peeper in the restaurant’s revamped, vampy bar … leopard prints, French 75s and all. Delightful place for a proper cocktail before, after—or in lieu of—dinner there or at any other local restaurant.

Dr. Ralph Lupin returns to the Quarter having just purchased a house. He was a longtime resident and will be again after he and Pam Halter complete renovations on the house.

Welcome back, too, to Commander’s Palace. Every day there seems a holiday downstairs as birds on perches create conversation that soars over the sound of those hard at work in the kitchen and the rest of the house, which will open by and by. It’s nice to see the wait staff, in their classic long aprons, coming out of the turquoise-hued Garden District eatery.

You hear the most interesting things at the World Trade Center, the oldest of almost 300 in 85 countries working with 750,000 businesses involved in international commerce. They host educational, training and networking things for 1,800 members, but everyone loves the lunch programs. At a recent one, the Hon. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon, Consul General of Mexico in Houston, announced his country would like to have a Mexican Consulate in New Orleans by the end of 2006. Ole!

There was a lot of Mozart last month: we are celebrating his 250th birthday. Several events were staged by and for the New Orleans Opera Association. There was the Opera Women’s Guild’s “Promenade de L’Opera,” a grand luncheon where the ladies turn out in their Sunday best, even on a Wednesday; the Opera Men’s Club talking shop at the Round Table Club; and opening night, where most wore suits and cocktail dresses to hear “The Marriage of Figaro.” You could hear a pin drop when native Twyla Robinson, sang “Dove Sono.” Seen at the concert were Bob and Anne Anderson, Betty Davidson, and Margery Gehl, who wore earrings made from usher’s buttons at the old Met in NYC. The Times-Picayune travel guru Millie Ball and the New Orleans Museum of Art’s John Bullard swapped knee replacement stories (that’s what they did last summer). Members of the Opera Junior Committee buzzing about its Wine Auction on Nov. 3 at the Board of Trade where Martin Wine Cellar will start things rolling and Jimmy Maxwell and his band will not play Mozart. Well, maybe they will.

Virginia Saussy Bairnsfather at
“Art for Arts’ Sake.”

Starting off what was a busy month of events in October was “Art for Arts’ Sake,” the annual gallery, shop and stop walk. At Peniston and Magazine streets the crowds stopped traffic. People poured out of Mignon Faget, where jewelry designer Mignon and Virginia Saussy Bairnsfather served up new collections and champagne in cobalt fleur-de-lis emblazoned plastic glasses. At the Guthrie Contemporary Gallery a few doors down, folks swooned over Suk Ja Kang Engles. Across the street, Cole Pratt Gallery doing more than spotlighting his artists: Pratt’s

Gallery owner Cole Pratt with Southern Rep’s new managing director Staci Robbins during “Art for Arts’ Sake.”

special guest was Staci Robbins, the recently appointed Southern Rep managing director. Farther up the street, artists and collectors packed into the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which showcased pottery owned by collector non pareil Roger Ogden, artist Robert Tannen and his wife Jeanne Nathan, as well as a wonderful group of unfinished works by George Dureau.

A Final Thought
Send a dollar: Only $1 provides six meals for someone who’s hungry. That’s right—six. So before you order that Thanksgiving turkey from Langenstein’s, write out a check to Second Harvester Food Bank for the same amount and send it to them at 1201 Sams Ave., Jefferson, La., 71023. You’ll feel so much better knowing your fellow citizens will have turkey, too.

Heard something interesting for
“Along the Avenue”? If so, please
send it to: St. Charles Avenue,
110 Veterans Blvd., Ste. 123
Metairie, La. 70005,
Attn: Diane Sustendal. Or email
Diane at: dsustendal@aol.com.

Categories: Along the Avenue