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Along the Avenue May 2011

French Quarter Festival and the Jazz & Heritage Festival aside, some of the most danceable music is at the Stage Door Canteen in the National World War II Museum. Presently, On the Air is taking its turn in the theater, and the cast often dances with the audience. The show is the perfect run up to Memorial Day. Spotted tapping to the music was Rex, aka Herschel Abbott, and real life consort, Ann, with guest Pete Wilson, the former governor of California.

It was French, jazz and good old New Orleans sound for “Fête de la Musique” at Generations Hall, which benefited the Lycée Français. Ellis Marsalis performed with the Thelonius Monk Institute and the Loyola Orchestra; Michael White and his band did the same; then Bonerama changed up the beat and the good times rolled – in any language.

Francophiles were out in force at the Degas House to say à bientôt and merci to Olivier Brochenin and his lovely wife, who brought youth and energy to our city during his tenure as Consul General of France. Their next posting is Africa; and they’ll be missed.

The opera closed its season with a production of Il Trovatore; the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s “Symphony No. 7” and James Galway’s appearance were applauded; and the Friends of Music’s closing concert with Simone Dinnerstein all made classical music fans happy.

The Tip Tops kept everyone on their toes at the extraordinarily beautiful wedding reception of Blayne Laborde and James Bonham following their nuptials at Holy Name of Jesus. Blayne’s mother, Peggy, in red satin, credited her architecturally minded daughter and the creative forces of Dunn & Sonnier for transforming the club’s main room into a tent centered by the club’s crystal chandelier and votive candles suspended from invisible wire strung between floral bedecked columns. For the bride it was an all-Monique Lhuillier event from wedding gown to the two short dresses Blayne donned: one to cut the cake, another to dance the night away.

The music was Cajun at Mary Lucy and David Lane’s house for the party that led up to the Louisiana Sporting Clays Classic benefiting The Chartwell Center for children with autism and related disorders. The next day, the guns were out trying to hit very difficult shots on the 100-target course at High Point Shooting Grounds in Belle Chasse. High Point’s owner Donald Vallee and crack shot shooting instructor Dev Moring made the course tough for the teams of four, including several members of the Thomas Dugan Westfeldt family, Billy Langenstein, Terry Hall, Bill Oliver and Whitney Bank. Father-son duos included Norwood and George Thornton and Miles and Steele Pollard. Surprising the social shooting set was a group of 10- to 14-year-olds who walked away with a third-place trophy.

The music at Art in Bloom included Anais St. John who, in a form-fitting mini, took over the mic and wowed the crowd in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s great hall. The singer, often found singing at the Windsor Court’s Polo Lounge, has a new gig: teaching music at Trinity Episcopal School. That ought to up the interest.

Art in Bloom is one of the museum’s biggest fundraising events and certainly the most social – one could start air-kissing folks on the way in, keep kissing all the way to the back hall, turn round and kiss your way out the front door, all the while taking in the food and flowers along the way. Among this year’s group of admirers, kissers and kissees were Anne Redd, Dana Hansel, Carolyn Fitzpatrick, Susan and Karen Gundlach, Chairmen Kim Abramson and Dathel Georges plus their vice chairs Jenny Charpentier and Gwathmey Gomilia. In the center of so many swirling pearls was the much beloved Banana Reily, most recently honored as the recipient of the Isaac Delgado Award, which only comes from hard work and dedication to the museum.

It is May: The flowers are out, pretty girls are donning sundresses and gents are wearing white linen – love is everywhere.

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