Along the Avenue

Dodging raindrops and Jazz Fest crowds, April seemed a month when chefs became saints and everyone came out in droves to applaud their efforts (and eat their treats).

Tip your cap to Chef Emeril Lagasse. Not only did he opt to personally host his “Sunday at Emeril’s XV” for the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Department of Psychiatry at his namesake restaurant, but he also sent out Chef Spenser Minch and staff from Delmonico’s to prepare dinner at the home of the Frank Sinclairs for the supporters of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra the same night. It was also the night his new television show debuted nationally. This chef intends to support the Louisiana seafood industry and thinks you should, too. The seemingly perfect evening celebrated the efforts of Betsy Nalty, who was lauded by a blockbuster trio of event chairs: NOMA’s John Bullard, Anne Fuselier and Peggy Laborde. Walter “Chip” Flower with his lady Ella were there, as were Phyllis Taylor, the Frank Stewarts and the Edmund Redds. Irvin Mayfield brought his horn and played a single sweet melody; Tiffany Adler of Adler’s surprised all with julep cups as a party favor. Dana Hansel made it her swan song as the head of the board and came solo as hubby Steve was down the street doing important NOMA biz at the Bestoff aerie. Everyone had fun and arrived home early by New Orleans standards.

Chef and artist Mike Fennelly hosted a special preview for his Koi Art at artist and gallery owner Steve Martin’s place on Julia Street, where fish sculptures dangled in installations near Buddhist-inspired pen and ink drawings.

This was followed by an exceptional multi-course luncheon at newly reopened Mike’s on the Avenue. Vicky Bayley led the effort, as she believes in Fennelly’s food and art. Among those partaking were author Marda Burton, off to North Carolina to work on another book, Culinary Concierge’s Kendell Gensler and other notable foodies.

John Besh was taping one of his first cooking shows and thus absent from his Restaurant August when great fans turned up for a welcome dinner for Lady Holmes, known to pals as Mary, visiting for Jazz Fest. He sent his apologies and a special amuse bouche – seafood custard in an eggshell topped with Louisiana caviar – that was delicious. After, there was champagne in the Polo Lounge of the Windsor Court with locals such as Pat Friend at one table, Moe Herman and Mickey Easterling at another and other jazzy types. 

For the third year in a row, the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem and the Royal Society of St. George had unknowingly scheduled spring parties on the same evening. All sorts of folk were seen dashing from one to another wearing all manner of decorations on lapel or chest. The first group gathered at the oft-photographed home of Dr. Quinn Peeper where Hugh Straub and his wife Mary Anne helped to host the soirée for the Order of St. Lazarus.

The Herschel Abbotts, the Edward Bushs,the Max Maxwells and the David Williamses then streamed over to the home of the James Colemans for the Royal Society St. George. Tiki torches lit the way through lovely gardens to tables set for elegant dining produced by Michael Saxer, who has recently penned a handsome book Cooking with A Private Chef: New Orleans to Newport, a copy of which went home with each guest. One can always count on our Honorary Consul General to Great Britain and his lovely Minnie to add some very special touch to any evening one is fortunate enough to be in their home.

When Anne Montgomery and Anne and Billy Grace open their home together with Louellen and Darryl Berger and Denise and George Shinn, you know it’s special. Indeed, these hard-working, good-hearted co-chairs did just that for the “25th Anniversary STAIR Affair,” one of the city’s finest programs to encourage reading!

As much as we love to get together, eat, drink, dance and air kiss, the Second Harvest Food Bank invited lots of folks to stay home! Just send your money, just stay as you are, eat what you want wearing exactly what you want.

Was it a success? You bet. Just ask Leah Whann, Leann Moses, Ashley Bright, Catherine Freeman, Sandra Pulitzer, Lila Wright, Stephanie Huger and the many others who comprised the committee for this “no ball at all.” Fear not, Premier Partner contributors were sent a copy of the NBC Sunday Night Football Cookbook and a chance to have a dining experience with chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing.

It is June, so lots of folks are enjoying honeymoons, including Stefano and Toni Capomazza di Campolattaro whose cute photo appeared in my May column. Their marriage was celebrated in May at St. Patrick’s with lots of pals toasting with champagne at the country club after. Hooray for Love!

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
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