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Along the Avenue

They danced and they sang and it’s not even – but almost – Mardi Gras!

It seems everyone had something to celebrate in a flurry of debutante parties, seminal birthdays and love.

The season’s debutante parties were gracious, musically memorable and, more often than not, carried a theme.

Olivia Woollam channeled the goddess Athena, replete with pearls entwined in her hair, and a statuary of varying gods and goddesses standing sentinel at the soirée her parents hosted at the New Orleans Museum of Art; Grammy-nominee Trombone Shorty and friends found just the right niche so that the music flowed, people danced and everyone enjoyed the music (which is no easy feat with all those marble walls).

The Tip Tops rocked for seven cuties – Maddie Applewhite, Adair and Allison Kingsmill, Grace Settoon, Courtney deVerges, Caroline Rittiner and Sarah Talley – as well as friends and family, all greeted by Santa’s helpers and hitting the dance floor the moment they swung open the doors of New Orleans Country Club. James Favrot and the H. Mortimer Favrots asked near and dear to “Dance in the Moonlight” for McKell Favrot at NOCC. Guests obliged by cutting a rug, twisting and shouting and at one point the whole Favrot clan took to the bandstand.

Deacon John rolled out his best, which is very good indeed, at Southern Yacht Club for honorees Aylett Clesi, Carlyle Herbert, Lindsay Potter and Margot Provensal. The evening was billed as a “Marvelous Night for a Moondance,” and dance they did, with blinking blue half-moons bobbing from their necks. (Somewhere between the signature blue drink and Deacon John, it didn’t take much to have young and old get up and boogie.)

No one could be held at bay when Party on the Moon cranked its nine-piece band for Jane “Snow” White’s 21st birthday bash hosted by her grandparents and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter White III (affectionately called Terry and Frog) at their Metairie home. Jane was born on a day it snowed in New Orleans, thus her affectionate nickname and the party’s theme. Making her own music is not new to Caroline-Kerstine Ellen Mann, aka Kara; she was the lead singer for the local group Flambeaux before heading to Nashville where she now sings, writes and records music. Her album Head Above the Water will be released soon. Kara took to the stage at La Tour Eiffel, dressed a la Moulin Rouge and sang songs of her own creation as well as those of others. Can she cancan? You bet she can.

NOMA begins to celebrate its 100th birthday with parties and exhibitions galore; as it brings in its new director Susan Taylor, it bids adieu to E. John Bullard at a series of parties, private and public, to honor his 37 years of service (the longest tenure of any major museum director in the United States) to an institution that had neither a photography gallery or sculpture garden when he arrived there.

Tennessee Williams would be 100 years old this year – so brace for one huge Tennessee Williams Literary Festival later in the year – but for now get down to The Historic New Orleans Collection to see a series of drawings done by near contemporary, legendary illustrator Al Hirschfeld whose work often appeared in the New York Times.

Hirschfeld was the foremost chronicler of Williams’ productions on and off-Broadway. He was as famous for weaving his daughter’s name “Nina” into his drawings (he put the number of times it appeared behind his name to make a great game of it for his readers) as Williams was for heart-slashing dialogue. Who’s counting? I am.

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