Someone promise it won’t be like this next year? Even the hard-core need a rest! By the time you read this, the DebThanksHoliGras season will be over. All favs times of the Avenue set. But did we really need so many good things in the short span of eight weeks?

Along the AvenueI’ve been in a constant state of redecorating: Thanksgiving decorations came down, Christmas went up, Christmas came down and Carnival went up (luckily the BCS colors were purple and gold, so I only had to add a bit of green post-game to accomplish this). I should have booked the magazine’s own entertaining guru Bev Church for all this months in advance, ditto Dr. Patricia Farris who would have given me microdermabrasion, then head to Beauty 101 for “makeup rehab.” I’m not even telling how much I need to fall face down on the massage tables at Bamboo Apothecary or have my tootsies rubbed at Belladonna.

The oversized platters have not been put away since turkey day! There are Carnival beads all over the place, evening gowns draped on chairs, and, no less than four pairs of white kid gloves headed off to the cleaners. I am so using that gift certificate from The Occasional Wife, Kay Morrison’s fabu company that does everything an old-fashioned wife would (but who has the time?) like getting the house cleaned, clothes mended, sending out thank-you notes, and getting passports renewed.

I wouldn’t be as grumpy if I had gotten some gold—as in jewelry—for Christmas, but I settled for seeing the show, “Gold,” at the Old U.S. Mint, which came and wentAlong the Avenue through this season. In fact, I would have liked to have been on the receiving end of some of the antique things I spotted at Friend & Company or Wellington. Okay, how about the freshly minted stuff like Rolex or David Yurman at Lee Michaels or Aucoin Hart.

I didn’t get any of that, but when I think of all those who did, practically those romantic types, I get quite happy. More than one gent has dropped to his knee over the past few months—isn’t that enough to put a smile on one’s face, no matter how tired we may be?

So smile for Cary Bonnecaze, the charming owner of Vive La France, who slipped his grandmother’s engagement ring on the finger of Stacy Sisson, formerly of Denver. Scotch tape was required until it could be sized. They will be married this summer in Seattle on her mother’s lawn overlooking the water. Smile for artists Amber Shields and Mark Johnson, who will be getting married on the water on the Creole Queen this spring. Mark proposed at Amber’s sister’s wedding reception (how romantic) giving her a beautiful garnet and diamond ring. E. Lee Jahncke got engaged on the dance floor at the Twelfth Night Revelers ball. The ring was not in the traditional cake box for unmarried ladies, it was in a Whitney Bank envelope! This came the day after her birthday. She is also a former Twelfth Night Queen.

Along the AvenueSmile for sailor George Sustendal (yes, my brother) who returned from a five-year sojourn in South Africa to propose to former girlfriend Patricia Joachim of Ocean Springs, presenting her with a stunning ring of diamonds and rubies he designed. Smile for Mike Moffit, who has not stopped smiling since Brenda Vorhoff, she of so much good work for NOMA, accepted a beautiful diamond that looks for all the world like an antique. And then there was the proposal at the W Hotel in the French Quarter. The groom-to-be was asked the couple’s favorite movie by the hotel’s general manager. When they stepped into the courtyard, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was playing against the entire wall of the building! Now that’s romantic!

If you thought you saw a lot of Labordes at the National World War II Museum in December, you were not “over-served.” Some 130 members of the family attended their annual reunion and celebrated Alden “Doc” Laborde’sAlong the Avenue 92nd birthday. Organized by Susan Couvillion, Doc’s daughter, the three living brothers—all WWII veterans—recorded their war-time oral histories, as did Bertie Laborde, widow of the fourth brother, who is deceased. The family foundation made a significant gift to the museum’s expansion to fund the galleries on naval warfare in the Pacific. All sang “Happy Birthday” and “God Bless America.” John Laborde’s wife Sylvia will chair the museum’s “Victory Ball” in June 2008.

There were so many parties in and around town—from intimate gatherings to red-carpet galas to the traditional gatherings at the Absinthe House after post holiday or Krewe lunches—that “Along the Avenue” can’t possibly tell all! Not in a season like this, so I’m just uploading some photos and will save much of the Carnival revelry news until next month. Meanwhile, I’m packing my duds in my “Make it Right” tote bag (I’d do anything to have a piece of Brad Pitt) and heading to Pilates.

Before I go, may I bid “adieu” and “best of luck” to Sue Strachan, my editor for the last three years. She is off to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where she will do a bang up job as their head of public relations. I’ll see her a lot more now that she’s off deadlines on Thursday night, which is when the Ogden is open after work for music and fun!