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Along the Avenue

It’s spring; it’s spring! The flowers are in bloom, Easter is on its way and it seems everyone is out and about, on the move and doing all sorts of springtime things.

Spring fever is rampant. How else do you explain Louellen Berger encouraging son Ryan to get into a fight? Okay, it was held in ring used by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky; Ryan aka “Rampage” Berger wore a Carnival crown, tossed beads and raised $56,000 for the Boys and Girls Club. All in good fun as Penn’s Wharton took on the law school in a “Philly Fight Night.” “Rampage” made Page 1 of The New York Times sports section, so there was no place to hide for dad Darryl. Mom, aka Momster, explained the unanimous win: “Ry’s headgear malfunctioned all through the fight. We are thrilled he didn’t lose teeth.” He delivered a black eye to his opponent and came away with a bloody, but not broken, nose.

Spring, summer, winter, fall, I hate making mistakes, particularly in print. In February’s issue, I made two doozies: Bill Kearney is engaged. Michael is happily married to Susu. And while Marilee Hovet likes Ralph, she’s happily married to Andrew; ditto Ralph Brennan to his wonderful Susan. Apologies to the misidentified, no harm intended.

That crunching sound of gravel, slate and blades of spring grass were some of the materials found underfoot at The Secret Garden Tour, which returned Uptown after a Hurricane Katrina furlough. Oh, the joy of all those landscape architects showing their taste, skill and horticultural prowess for the benefit of those with brain injuries. The privately guided tours had experts on hand to answer questions, ongoing musical performances, a boutique and restorative labyrinths. Positively thrilling to those who place flora over fauna.

Many who nosed around the Garden Tour will be nosing around other folk’s kitchens come April 4 when the Junior League Kitchen Tour, which stretches from Audubon Park to Faubourg St. John, takes place. Oh, the marble; oh, the grills; oh, the backsplashes! The tour benefits the League’s children’s education efforts, so I’ll drag myself, though it will cause severe kitchen envy. Anything for the kids, you know.

If it’s spring, it must be Beethoven. That makes no sense, except the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and its Carlos Miguel Prieto seem to be rolling through the good Ludwig’s symphonies at a rapid pace. Friends of Music’s chamber music groups seem to be on the same page. Spotted at Dixon Hall for the “Musicians from Marlboro” concert were the heart of FOM Margie Scheuermann, Lizbeth Turner, Diane Dupin, Ann Mahorner, NOMA’s John Bullard, Bob Cousins and others caught in the thrall of a serenade and a quintet. At the same event, it was announced The Emerson String Quartet will open the fall season. Ah, yes, it’s time to start announcing fall seasons my friends.

This is a city that eats. Recent moves, openings and excitement on the culinary scene isn’t usually my beat, but when half of the Garden District descends on Calcasieu and Butcher to bite down on homemade sausage, cochon de lait, cracklin’ and head cheese, one takes note. Located behind Cochon, milling crowds included Bobbi and Bill Trufant (whose daughter and husband’s culinary talents have invaded Le Bistro in the Quarter), Barton Jahncke, artist Wayne Amedee, Janet Tallerine (who scored jambalaya for pals before the opening) and others too tasty to name. Susan Spicer stopped by to shake Donald Link’s hand and give him a kiss.

Further downtown, Sous Chef Matthew Fultz has been tapped as Executive Chef for 7 on Fulton where the menu is about contemporary Creole food, such as alligator ravioli and duck breast with sweet potato gnocchi. Over at the Windsor Court it’s back to fine dining at The Grill Room. Executive Chef Drew Dzejak, formerly of Charleston Place, has done a stunning revamp of the menu (Indulge, Unadulterated, Steakhouse and Southern). Simple things like Carpaccio, snails in basil on pasta, deconstructed Caeser salad … Passing plates with Cary Alden, Tim McNally and Brenda Maitland was a delight, the room was abuzz and it felt like old times.

All that food has me geared up to walk both the Crescent City Classic and the MS Walk for the Cure … shouldn’t you?

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