Along the Avenue

This city loves the arts as “Culture Collision” proved. Some 1,200 folks piled the New Orleans Museum of Art to see what’s on tap for the coming year at cultural institutions as Le Pêtit Théâtre, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The National World War II Museum and Friends of Music – who open their season with the Emerson String Quartet mid-month. There were booths and booze and folks like Keith Marshall, who hosts select musical programs at his “Madewood” plantation up river. All were telling stories and signing up new members. How smart; how easy –  join a museum, buy season tickets and learn about new cultural offerings at a one-stop shop.

And there’s lots of art news: “Love in the Garden,” the wildly successful party in the Besthoff Sculpture Gardens adjacent to NOMA, honored locals Raine Bedsole, Frances Swigart Steg, Allison Stewart, Thomas Bruno and Tim Trapolin, among others at this year’s gala. George Long, a fixture on the social scene, celebrates 25 years as a working photographer with a new book, Katrina Days. Painter George Rodrigue and wife Wendy celebrated his 20 years on the art scene by buying a historic building on Royal Street at Pere Antoine for the site of his new gallery. They have plans to restore the façade back to its original look. Scott Howard is, among titles, a house painter – but one who captures the images of mansions, shotguns and doubles on canvas rather than on scaffolding. Catch his works at Jean Bragg Gallery on Julia Street.

Artist Amanda Talley, the latest “it” girl on the social scene, also mixes up her own fragrances. Recently seen sampling and sniffing her “Crescent City Elixir” were mother-to-be and artist Alexa Pulitzer, Anne Redd, Nadine Blake and Washington-based, New Orleans-born Simone Rathke at a ladies luncheon held in Deb Shrivers’ gracious, off-photographed digs in the French Quarter. Stylish Nadine Blake was there, having put the finishing touches on her boy’s room for the Alliance Française Decorator Show House. That creative endeavor brought together decorators such as Kathy Slater, Ned Marshall, Roy Malone, Jennifer Flanders, Grace Kaynor, E. Lee Jahncke and the Green Parrot’s Trudy Hurley, among others.

Nice to see the New Orleans Musicians Clinic get a nod from Brian Williams – the NBC anchor who never lets the nation forget about our city. The clinic and its untiring president Bethany Ewald Bultman are in the midst of a $2 million fundraising drive, so any mention helps them help so many underinsured musicians and artists get the medical help they need.

The talented Nina Gensler is on the move. The former Queen of Comus nabbed the top spot of outside sales honcho for all of Chef John Besh’s restaurants. The latest Besh entry to his empire is Domenica in The Roosevelt Hotel and not surprisingly it’s the place to see and be seen, and eat, of course.

Never let it be said New Orleans isn’t a fashion town. The beloved Prytania Theater held over the documentary Valentino: the Last Emperor to accommodate the throngs of fashion savvy who wanted a glimpse into the making of his collection and his lifestyle. At one Sunday afternoon showing I spotted Sandra Pulitzer, realtor Eleanor Farnsworth, artist and tango expert Myra Menville and designer-perfumer-milliner Yvonne LeFleur, who celebrates her 40th anniversary of being in the fashion biz this month, just to name a few.

Ever-fashionable Alexa Georges will be wearing something “designer” but probably not Valentino for the opening night gala for the Louisiana Film Festival, which rolls out the red carpet for its 20th anniversary October 8 at Blaine Kern Studio. Opening night is the 9th, at the much beloved Prytania Theater; the film festival will have events at venues all across the area.

Fashion is on the minds of the Symphony Volunteers, who do things like run the Encore Shop: where sales of smart, gently worn clothing supports the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. They host a fashion show October 13 just two days before the extraordinary Yo-Yo Ma plays his famed cello at a special LPO concert which will be followed by a gala dinner, where the fashionably dressed will no doubt turn out.

Heard something interesting for “Along the Avenue?”

If so, please send it to:

St. Charles Avenue

110 Veterans Blvd., Ste. 123 Metairie, La. 70005

Attn: Diane Sustendal or e-mail Diane at:

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