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Along the Avenue June 2011

What a spring! Funds were raised for good causes, glasses raised in praise of birthdays and celebrations and there was general merrymaking all around.

There was a royal wedding in England (come now, admit you watched it on the telly). That very evening a reception was hosted by the Royal Society of St. George in New Orleans, which counts Her Majesty the Queen as its patron. The New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra struck up a tune and Honorary Consul James Coleman Jr. led the toast to queen, country and the happiness of the newest royal couple; “royal” guests included the Acombs, Bushes, Boyds, Edmundsons, Hemards, Mackeys, Masinters and Watkins. All of this served as a bit of a run-up for the coterie who are off to England later this month for punting on the Thames and bubbly at Blenheim … but more on that anon.

Stately Sedley Alpaugh, with her handsome prince of several decades, Ted, by her side, was toasted by dear friends at a small party in honor of her birthday. Son Ted played bartender and his clever wife Kay kept the jumbo shrimp coming. Folks such as Charlie and Helen Eshleman and Avery and City Park’s Beau Bassiach; Janice and Doug Douglas dropped by, as did their son Billy and his wife, Barbara.

Galatoire’s continues to be a hot spot for private parties: The Sybarites took over the first floor for dancing, prancing and playing that funky music. Libby Adams led the troop of femme fatales including Nancy Walshe, Patrice Clesi, Laura McNeal, Mindy Barry, Carmen Duncan, Mary Stewart Bailey, Winx McCarthy, Sharon Talley, Sally Benjamin, Ann Williams and Anne Swayze. All did their best to lure mates and beaus to dance to John Parker’s Jazz Trio. Honorary Chairwoman and Sybarite maven Anne Gooch greeted all with glee – something husband David does on a regular basis at the famed restaurant.

The Aztec Club gathered a few folks at the aforementioned Galatoire’s for an evening of camaraderie. The members wore club ties and ribbons, but most of the talk was strictly social, light and enlightening. Carlo Capomazza Di Campolatarro, the group’s president, chatted with Craig and Weezie Ripley, Walker Ronaldson (who celebrated his birthday in May), Max Maxwell and others.

The dedication of the Gail Keenan Art Center at the Coast Episcopal School in Pass Christian, donated by Burt in memory of his late wife, took place few months back. Wynn Seeman oversaw the project and folk such as Happy and Betsy Crusel, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Bitsy and David Duggins, Stephanie and John Musser and Hill and Macon Riddle made their way over from New Orleans for the dedication. Gulf Coast dwellers, including Elizabeth and Woody Register, Sally Johnson, Jackye Carroll and Susan and George White watched as Bishop Duncan Gray dedicated the building. Afterward, many of the group made their way to the astonishingly modern Pass Christian Yacht Club for dinner.

News and Notes: Elise Ballard was in town to sign copies of her book Epiphany, a collection of true stories of sudden insight from Maya Angelou, Ali MacGraw, Rev. Desmond Tutu, and others – some famed, some less so, but all as inspiring as this tome. Duke Kerrigan celebrated his waning days of bachelorhood with a fishing trip hosted by Chris Dozier and pals. (Duke, who lives in Austin, Texas, and Allison Gwin of Montgomery, Ala., were married at The Church of the Immaculate Conception in a ceremony that was filled with sentimental touches: Allison’s grandmother was married at that church; Allison wore the veil worn by her now mother-in-law, Kay, and Kay wore an exact copy of the dress her mother wore to Kay’s wedding to Bobby a few decades ago.) Want to do some good with something that tastes good? Order up a pie from Palate New Orleans’s Glenn Vatshell, proceeds of which benefit Children’s Hospital, and you’ll get a double dose of goodness. Ralph Brennan threw open the doors of his latest venue, café b on Metairie Road, and they all poured in early and stayed late – a nod to late-night dining, this casual restaurant is open late – to taste chef Chris Montero’s American gastro-pub grub including
chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, catfish and crawfish with a heck of a wine selection, all in a casual atmosphere.

Summer is coming; school is out, vacations are in; there are places to go, people to see and
lots of things to celebrate!

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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