May was a merry month, indeed. There were birthdays, graduations, festivals, concerts and all manner of celebrations from crawfish boils to crème-de-la-crème soirées.
Before the month began, both the Cabildo and The Historic New Orleans Collection threw open the doors of their courtyards so guests could enjoy music and libation under a star-filled night. Music@Madewood is usually presented at that stately plantation home and bed-and-breakfast a short journey from Jackson Square. This year, Keith Marshall, Madewood’s mastermind, teamed with Louisiana Museum Foundation to present the 1932
opera Cabildo by Amy Beach at the Cabildo, where it played to two sold-out performances. Opening night, 150 guests sipped champagne, listened to the opera in its actual setting and then strolled over to Muriel’s for an elegant post-performance honoring Robert Lyall, general and artistic director of the New Orleans Opera Association, which presented a sold-out La Traviata the next night! Of course, LMF President Tommy Westervelt was there with Dorothy Clyne, as were Miles and Mary Pollard, the event’s co-chairs Joy Hodges and Alma Slatten, and others musically inclined, including Keith Marshall’s wife, Millie Ball.

The Young Leadership Council has been behind all sorts of interesting projects, including those artistic streetcar sculptures you have seen around the city. It also hosts the wildly popular Wednesday at the Square series of concerts. Seen at the VIP Saints’ tent, munching on goodies from the Ritz-Carlton’s Matthew Murphy, were Rita Benson, Sidney D. Torres of SDT, Hibernia Homestead Bank’s Charlie Labouisse and Beth Ann Brannon of the W Hotel Group, among others.

There was music at the Arts Council of New Orleans’ 2009 Awards Patrons Party at the Windsor Court Hotel, held the night before the gala luncheon at the Audubon Tea Room. What can you say? Get Deacon John and Luther Gray in the same room and music is going to happen, especially a room with Auseklis Ozols’ murals! The James and Thomas Coleman families plus Sarah Pailet, Barbara Motley, Lin Emery and Michael and Basi Carbine got into the spirit of things. Alexa Pulitzer, passed on tuna tartar because she’s expecting a bouncing baby boy later this year! Dan Cameron of Prospect.1 and CAC fame accepted his award a day early, as he was hopping on a plane for Vienna the day of the luncheon.

Author Susan Sully, formerly of New Orleans now of Asheville, N.C., breezed into town with husband-artist Thomas Sully to sign her newest book, The Southern Cosmopolitan, which includes several New Orleans homes never before seen in print. There were several signing parties, but none so Southern as that of Prescott and Sarah Dunbar’s garden, where Johnny Parker strummed while bees hummed among trumpet plants and bowers of roses, and most of the ladies and gents donned hats for the occasion. Cucumber sandwiches, shrimp stuffed eggs and snazzy specialty cocktails were just the tip of the iceberg.

It was simpler fare at birthday party for Claire Burton, who dressed in a lavender smock decorated with Parisian street scenes for her soireee. One could say it was a cupcake extravaganza for the pretty girl, who made 3, as mom Jennifer and dad Alan rolled out the sweet treats at the Kupcake Factory. Among the guests was 1-year old Olivier Clé Dabezies with parents Clé and Kelly, and 3-year-old Sawyer Adriance with parents Muffin and Jason, who each hosted separate birthday parties for their tots on plantations and streetcars.

It is June but already feels like July … let the fireworks begin!