Bien sur, I do believe the French took over the month of October and it’s not because “le Beaujolais est arrivé.” Mais non, mon vieux. French conversations among friends, French sung with passion with operatic themes, French cinema, French dining … When not doing any of the above in French, the social calendar looked a fright! The Odgen hosted its big to-do; Macy’s reopened with a flurry of the famous flying in; ditto to devotees of art who arrived for the opening of a Prospect.1 with a kick-off dinner chez Antoine’s (where the Rex Room could be had for a mere $60,000); Sentimental Journeys changed venues and danced; and, the Key to the Cure event at Saks raised funds to fight breast cancer.
But first, to “le tri colore”. Early October, the Mr. B’s Brennan clan pulled together a wine and food pairing entitled “A Flight to France.” Oenophiles Karen Duncan (who knows her grape-terrior-vintage), husband Brooke, and Christopher and Christa Montgomery, chattered about trips to France. Nearby Bettye Guillaud and her daughter sipped the Marquis de Perlade Brut Blanc de Blanc. Five courses later plus sauterne, the room turned positively “bilingue”.
At Snug Harbor twins Louis and Francois Moutin joined Pierre de Bethmann and former New Orleanian saxophonist Rick Margitza for a Moutin Reunion Quartet. The Alliance Francaise turned out for M. Roland Katz’s lecture on “Diversity of French Architectural Heritage in the United States” at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Consul General Olivier Brochenin and spouse Rina opened the 98th season of “Causeries du Lundi” where the conversation turned serious – as in the European Union, its mission, purpose and difficulties explained, en francais, in the most diplomatic of terms.
The New Orleans Opera’s season opened with a production of Manon Lescaut with the tricolore again in evidence; French story, Italian music, a once merry Manon dying of thirst in the desert in Louisiana. Yes, I did say “desert.” Before the opening note, invites arrived by mail for a gala, January 17, when Placido Domingo will again grace the stage of The Mahalia Jackson Theatre as part of its grand reopening. This follows similar and no less glorious doings by the LPO, who will host Iyzhak Perlman as its super nova for a concert which benefits both the LPO and the New Orleans Ballet, January 10.
Babies seem a topic. In the Garden District, “ohs and ahs” directed at Beatriz Brodsky of New York, who performed her first 360-degree roll-over for her great grandmother Mimi Stamps, grandmother and famed decorator Suzanne (Stamps) Rhinestein, and mother Kate. Suzanne flew in from Los Angeles (returned for pal Bunny William’s lecture and luncheon for the English Speaking Union and Hermann-Grima/Gallier Historic Houses at the New Orleans Country Club). Public Relations wiz Jim Lestelle, with John Stevens, showed off his new granddaughter via cell phone screensaver at Le Chat Noir before taking in Gershwin tunes. Also seen at Le Chat, with bragging rights about grandchildren and soon to be grandchildren, were Brenda and Charles Fenner and Pickslay and Davis Jahncke. Anais St. John returned, after a three-month maternity leave, to the Polo Lounge of the Windsor Court, with fans near and far cheering her return.
New Orleans Museum of Art’s “Love in the Garden” signaled the start of fall. Some 1,500 wandered the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Gardens, dining on Galatoire’s escargot, Antoine’s shrimp, Café Tapas’ crawfish and offerings from restaurants large and small. Director John Bullard greeting all while sipping the single daiquiri he allows at these events. The next weekend, he welcomed the Delgado Society at a more intimate jazz luncheon, again in the Sculpture Gardens to announce Australian artist Simon Gunning as this year’s honored artist. As per tradition, Gunning was given a gift of the work of last year’s honoree, Willie Birch.
Folks have pulled out the dancing pumps, evening gowns, and tuxedos … ’tis the season.
Davis and Pickslay Jahncke at Le Chat Noir
Galatoire’s David and Anne Gooch and Bayona’s Regina and Ron Keever enjoy Love in the Garden at NOMA
Suzanne Rhinestein, Mimi Stamps, Kate Brotksky and baby Beatriz – four generations of Stamps gals
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