E. Lee Jahncke and fiancé Jason Mead celebrate their engagement.

Wayne Curtis, Louise Klaila and Ann and Paul Tuennerman celebrate Paul’s birthday.

Stephen Putt with Simon and Nadine Blake at ESU.

Happy Birthday! Seems everyone, including this great country, is celebrating this month with cakes, candles and a good deal of cheer.

First and foremost let’s sing out for “America the Beautiful,” then, we can tip the chapeau to France, who celebrates Bastille Day and the birth of their republic.

June 1 was the “official” birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, (actually born in April but royalty can dictate when to raise a cup and say, “Here, Here”). Following the wishes of their esteemed patron, the English Speaking Union gathered at the New Orleans Country Club for a brunch; gents wore white linen and ladies wore hats so fanciful that a contest ensued. Who better to judge fashions than Saks Fifth Avenue’s Stephen Putt, who hosted a “Saks in the City” screening of Sex and the City at Canal Place two nights before? Nadine Blake walked away with the top prize wearing a British bunting skirt, a smart red jacket and a smarter navy and white cloche. The merriment and some pithy notes about Her Majesty – including the fact that she crossbreeds Corgis with Dachshunds – amused the assemblage.

Later the same day, many of the same guests “crossed the channel,” so to speak, for the summer party of France-Amerique – two organizations that mix the tri-couleur and the stars and stripes as The French-American Chamber of Commerce and The National World War II Museum honored Louisiana veterans. The former group gathered at the lakefront – the wines were French, the food Pondicherry (the former French-Indian colony) and provided by Saffron and the chatter English, French, Spanish and a bit of Hindi. David and Ann Gooch, of the Galatoire’s Gooches, attended both the ESU and France-Amerique parties. Ditto Walker Ronaldson, Courtney-Ann Sarpy and the John Boyds while Chip Gomila and wife Desiree drove in from the Northshore.

Manuel Trellis blew out his birthday candles at the Old Metairie home of Cynthia and Bill Coleman and was applauded by Dolly Jordan, Judy Oudt, Wendy and Ace LeGardeur, the Joe Raults, Scott Hardies and others hale and hardy. Uptown the same night, decorator Mary Ferry Bigelow’s birthday included handsome gents such as Claiborne Davis, Mo Herman and Jamie Charbonnet. Downtown, Ann Rogers Tuennerman rounded up a dream team of bartenders – Chris Hannah of Arnaud’s French 75 and Danny Valdez and Michael “Squirrel” Raymond of Commander’s Palace – parked a Taqueria Poblanos truck curbside, hired a few musicians and ordered up a cake for a birthday party husband Paul, aka Mr. Cocktail, won’t forget for a long time. Good thing, since right after it was over, Tuennerman had to get back to planning her “Tales of the Cocktail” events scheduled for July 16-20.

Wine and cocktails awaited a motley crew at the bar of the Royal Orleans after the rains reigned on the Royal Street Stroll. Krewe of Cork’s Patrick Von Hoorbeck paraded the group through the Rib Room as NOWFE’s Liz Goliwas Bodet and husband Bob, wine master Tim McNally and Brenda Maitland, Cary Alden and others cheered them on. NOWFE’s Vintner’s Dinners were a huge success – I sampled the new summer menu at Zoë in the W Hotel including sea scallops and a sweet pea risotto paired with Potter Valley sauvignon blanc and an award-winning duck in rhubarb sauce paired with Grant Burge’s Holy Trinity. It was enough to send you to church.
In the Garden District, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jahncke hosted a party for daughter E. Lee and fiancé Jason Mead. The “Tiffany” blue invites were echoed in “Save the Date” cups. Everyone wore their Sunday best; even their pug was decked in festive attire. E. Lee is not the type to overlook details (the gal is a faux finish specialist) so her “thank you” notes, in the same color theme, mentioned she was soon to be “Mrs. Mead” putting an end to speculation that she would be Jahncke-Mead. When you have a name as notable as Jahncke, it must be a hard decision to make.

What to have a blast from the past? Head out to the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Concert July 3rd in Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville. It benefits the Musician’s Clinic; tie-dye, flower power and other paraphernalia from 1968 are encouraged.

Botero of the chubby-art-type has arrived! “The Baroque World of Fernando Botero” will be the don’t miss show at NOMA. You’ll feel positively thin!