Along the Avenue

Jackie Gamble and Barbara Lill showing off their chapeau couture before boarding carriages for the First Annual St. Charles Avenue Easter Parade.

Margaret Shields with Dr. Howard and Harriet Nelson at the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra dinner.

Carolyn and Bill Oliver with Miriam Schulingkamp at Southern Repertory Theatre’s “An Evening at Antoine’s.”

May 2005
Some people make double-dipping a specialty. I don’t mean sticking a carrot stick in the dip twice or two scoops of ice cream. Double-dipping “New Orleans Style” means hitting two parties in one night … and some are so good at it, you wonder if they have a driver—or just left their cars’ motors running.
Some of the city’s most sincere patrons have had to be double-dippers during March and April, months when there’s not a weekend night without three or four benefits, much less an opening, reading, festival or concert.
Sharon Litwin and Harold and Celeste Judell slipped quietly from “Art in Bloom” to the Seibel Society reception hosted by none other than conductor Klauspeter and Jutta Seibel. It was then off to Julie and Philip Breitmeyer’s intimate dinner for Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway. Now that’s triple dipping. Sir James, the world-renowned flutist, filled the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for Performing Arts for a St. Patty’s Day concert. Some folks even double-dipped coming from Parasol’s Bar.
There was double-dipping on March 18, starting at Southern Repertory Theatre’s “An Evening at Antoine’s” patron party. Spotted at the patron party and at the Preservation Resource Center’s Shotgun Soirée were Roy Dunn and Stephen Sonnier (of Dunn & Sonnier on Magazine Street), who did roses and tulips for SRT’s gala on March 20. Dr. Bernie and Marlene Jaffe opened their Bourbon Street home for the SRT patron party. Filled with art and harpsichords and blessed with a series of gardens, the Jaffes led the interested on tours, which included André, George and Pierre de La Barre and SRT’s board president Miriam Schulingkamp.
They all showed up two days later at the gala to salute SRT’s 2005 Atticus Award winner William Oliver, who is president of BellSouth Louisiana. Martha Anne Foster was there in a chic navy sequin dinner suit, Janet Haedicke in a champagne charmeuse goddess gown, Sharron Massey in Chanel and gala chair Sheila Davlin wearing black lace Galliano. Others dining on the dual entrées of trout and chateaubriand, then baked Alaska (If you’re opening Antoine’s on Sunday, you might as well go for it), included author Marda Burton, World Trade Center’s Gene Schreiber and wife Mary, Dian and Tom Winingder, Tommy and Linda Westfeldt, Bobby Monroe and various Williams, Scroggins, Slattens, Slosses, Coreys, Fowlers and politico Jackie Clarkson.
Back to the PRC fête, where Tina Freeman and Philip Woollam opened their home for the organization’s salute to shotgun houses—the Freeman-Woollam’s first home was a shotgun of sorts and they are supporters of the PRC. Tina had also been preparing for her photo opening at the Academy Gallery on April 2 (on display until May 12), which was the same night when masses of 30-somethings descended on the F&M Patio for a “Spring Fest.” The party was for fun and to honor Southern Fried Divorce writer Judy Conner, who had a booksigning before at Beaucoup Books. She also happens to be the mother of F&M owner and one of the party co-hosts, Trevor Palmer.
There was no way to double-dip on March 20 as the extraordinarily intimate dinner to benefit the New Orleans Greater Youth Orchestra—hosted by Dr. Howard and Harriet Nelson at their Garden District home—was at the exact same hour as the SRT gala. Limited to 28, the dinner was prepared by chef Shane Pritchett of Emeril’s Delmonico and wines provided by Tina Freeman and Philip Woollam (who personally selected the wines) and sommelier Aleksander Jovanovic. The lucky few of Ed and Adelaide Benjamin, Dr. Ronald and Flora French, Keith Jordan, Veronica Trau, GNOYO board president Margaret Shields and Gordon and Kathy Cain gathered for cocktails in the garden, where eight orchestra members and alumni played Beethoven and Boccherini. Jimmy Maxwell played piano during the dinner, which started with lump crabmeat salad with warm Parmesan toast and champagne and moved through to a dessert of Basque-style “Semolina Cake” with raspberries and ricotta sorbet teamed with port. How civilized.
Maxwell also performed at the pre-Easter dinner at the New Orleans Country Club for Simonetta and Gino Corigliano, the lively sister and brother-in-law of Carlo and Rosemonde Capomazza di Campolattaro, who hosted it. Perfect Presentation’s Glenn Vesh had white hydrangeas spilling from the mantelpiece and heaped in the center of each table. Maxwell’s playing was so upbeat people were dancing before dinner. Among the group was Claudia Kelleher and Hilton Bell, Anne and Gene Preaus, Sybil and Blair Favrot and Carlo Jr., who was in from L.A.
Not even Easter Sunday stops some double-dippers … really. A few ladies and gents taking part in the First Annual St. Charles Avenue Easter Parade descended from their carriages when the parade was over and jumped into waiting cars to take them to the Quarter to do the whole thing all over again in another parade. Listen, some put a lot of effort into those bonnets and such.
It wasn’t an April’s Fool’s joke when Odyssey House moved it’s annual crawfish-centric benefit to 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., making it just perfect for the double-dippers going to the Contemporary Arts Center’s “SweetArts Ball.” The food was fantastic and just the thing to get one ready for a night of “Cinematic Lovers” and all those rooms with cute themes like Cinema Paradiso, Peep Show and Indie Café.
Don’t know about you, but my feet could use a double-dip pedicure and massage before the next double whammy … which on my calendar was the PRC’s Julia Jump and the Make-a-Wish Gala—both are April 15. •

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