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Along the Avenue

It is hard to believe it’s a new year. The holidays flew by so quickly, the only way I can really tell they’re somewhat over (Twelfth Night is January 6 and the opening salvo of Carnival) is that my feet are killing me and the waistline of a once-roomy dress is now a bit snug. Ah, but a good pedicure and two weeks of food delivered from Chef Dione Duhon’s “The Fit Gourmet” and I’ll be good as new.

Still, Thanksgiving through to New Year’s seemed to be one long, glamorous, progressive party. Hosts, honorees and locations changed, but the festive mood of the season remained. Music – classical, seasonal, haute jazz and definitely danceable – was on tap for debs, dads, dandies, dedicated philanthropists and the deliciously decadent.

Friends of Music, the chamber music group that holds sway in Dixon Hall, continues to pull in the lively, curious and classically trained. Margaret Shields, formerly of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; Dr. Quinn Peeper, whose piano skills are well known; and others who appreciate more than play, including Ann Mahorner, Vernon Palmer and Ditty Bennett to name a few, seem regulars at all the concerts. At the LPO, Carlos Prieto keeps striking up our hometown “band” and making mighty sound much to the delight of those on the Northshore as well as at the Mahalia Jackson – no snobbery in this group – along with music from Dvorak and Mahler they play selections from the score of Harry Potter and welcome none other than Randy “Short People” Newman for a special evening January 7.

Jingle Belles rocked and choristers sang at hotels such the Astor Crown Plaza; there was ice-skating in City Park, and every nutcracker that could squeeze into a soldier’s costume did so for all those sugarplums. As ever, Deacon John proved he could create a “marvelous night for a moon dance.” Surely the most rock ’em sock ’em benefit of the season was “Home for the Holidays,” for the Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists. John Boutte, Kermit Ruffins, Amanda Show, Rebirth Brass Band, Jonathan Batiste, Herlin Riley, Eric Lindell, Rockin’ Dopsie, Trombone Shorty, NOCCA Jazz Ensemble and others equally as fabulous had the House of Blues anything but blue a few days before Christmas!

The Societe Huguenot a Nouvelle-Orleans gathered for its 38th annual holiday reception at the home of the ever-gracious John Boyds. Also in attendance were President John Beaumont with his Sylvie; Robert and Cynthia LeBreton; former Ambassador to France H. Lynn Breaux; Tricia Strachan; Ann and Herschel Abbott; and France’s Consul-General Olivier Brochenin, who had a busy season playing Papa Noel for grown-ups like Les Huguenots and des enfants at Alliance-Française New Orleans and spreading all manner of joie around. The Dutch put shoes out to welcome St. Nickolas December 6 with the hope they would be filled with candy and coins.

The next day was more serious: December 7 is, as most know, Pearl Harbor Day and it was solemnly remembered at the National World War II Museum, which is said to be the No. 1 tourist destination in the city. On the same night, the Order of St. Lazarus donned capes and decoration, and processed into St. Dominic’s church for its annual feast day, where some of the members were youngsters when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Later, solemnity dissolved into merriment at the Southern Yacht Club, which seems to be the new “hot spot” to party.

Just about now, I’d like to be living the (dog) life of Rupert and Hilda … but alas, I’m not part of the brother-sister cockapoo set who live the life lounging around Scriptura. This lucky duo was found at the SPCA in Livingston Parish by Scriptura’s Margaret Jones. They really do need to met Gracie, a long-hair dachshund, rescued by John and Bonnie Boyd at our local SPCA.

It is 2011, the 100th anniversary of the New Orleans Museum of Art and the fun has just begun. I am sure there are lots of other institutions celebrating seminal years – if so, step right up to our Calendar of Events in St. Charles Avenue and get listed; it’s the place to be and be seen.

Last month we printed the wrong co-chairs for Ogden’s O What a Night. The fabulous chairs for 2010 were: Grace Kaynor and Michelle Ogden. We regret the error.

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