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April 2005

Event co-chairs George Massey and Sheila Davlin flank Dr. Elly Zakris and Restaurant August’s chef (and new owner) John Besh at the Make-A-Wish dinner.

Event co-chair Sharron Massey, Richard Buchsbaum, Pam Ryan and Rick Gardner in black-tie or Brazilian hot at the Make-A-Wish dinner.

Olympic medalist Johnny Lovell and NYYC Commodore George Hinman Jr. in the historic model room of the New York Yacht Club on 44th Street in New York City.

Getting down on the night of March 3 at Restaurant August are John Houghtaling, KC (of the Sunshine Band), Deborah Sulzer and James Williams. The party celebrated the new firm of Gauthier, Houghtaling, Williams & Sulzer.

KC and the Sunshine Band, including the go-go dancers.

It’s art talk everywhere—and some of it downright serious …
New Orleans Museum of Art’s John Bullard seeing the Picassos the weekend before “Art in Bloom.” Not the paintings, but Bernard Picasso, the grandson of the master, and, his attractive wife Almine Rech. Bullard wined and dined them at Antoine’s and Delmonico’s, plus had the Prescott Dunbars host them for cocktails.Trust me, along with art talk, there was wit and wisdom. Will there be Picassos in the future of NOMA? My lips are sealed … but it would be wonderful.
Leonard Parrish hosted a grand birthday luncheon for his 80th at the NOCC. The invites were passports and tables named for his favorite destinations. He was still celebrating a few Sundays later at Galatoire’s with Dot Shushan on one arm and Colette Newman on the other.
Like many, Colette had seen Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates: Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005,” which opened Feb. 12 and closed Feb. 27. We traded notes: Colette felt it had the air of a Renaissance festival, I had the sensation of swimming through a saffron sea—or seeing 7, 500 Tibetan prayer flags planted in snow. Millions experienced them crisscrossing the 23 miles of pathways in the park. Everyone was smiling, joyous, in awe … in February!
Christo and Jeanne-Claude have not, nor will they, derive any income from the sale of “The Gates” merchandise. Proceeds benefit Nurture New York’s Nature, the arts, Central Park and other New York parks. At press time that was $81 million and growing.
Is anyone at City Park listening? Because I will personally pick up the phone, get on my knees and beg these two artists to come and do something. Wrap trees, line alleys—anything! With the attention and money that could be raised, we wouldn’t have to worry about new taxes or other forms of creative financing. And it would be spectacular.
Johnny Lovell saw “The Gates” in a snowstorm on his way to being honored as an Olympic medalist in the historic model room of the New York Yacht Club. Proving his status, he was the guest of honor at NYYC’s Commodore George Hinman Jr.’s table. Hinman was on the foredeck of the Intrepid when it won the America’s Cup. Wouldn’t surprise me if Johnny is invited to join the Rolex Transatlantic Race.
And “The Gates” were the inspiration for the Contemporary Arts Center’s “SweetArts Ball” patron party at Jim Mounger’s home. What did you think? That he would have construction flags to greet the likes of Alan Eskew, Valerie and Adam Marcus, Jay Weigel, Beth Lambert, Judy Oudt and Dr. Mit Seiler?
“Brazilian Hot or Black Tie” was the suggested dress for a Make-A-Wish Foundation dinner at Restaurant August on March 2. Co-chairmen Sheila Davlin, and Sharron and George Massey steamed it up. Davlin took the costume drama award in a in a spicy Gianfranco Ferre number, black lace mantilla and a few American Beauty roses strategically tucked.
Same restaurant, next night, but this time they closed down the block. You have to put a band like KC and the Sunshine Band somewhere! The celebration for the law firm of Gauthier, Houghtaling, Williams & Sulzer, formerly the law office of Wendell Gauthier, proved lawyers are neither stuffy nor dull. (There were go-go dancers. Hello?) The food was over the top, in the nicest of ways … lobster, stone crabs, three kind of cerviche, foie gras, duck and smoked salmon bruschetta, etc. And that was just on one floor—the entire mezzanine was dedicated to desserts! One tough party judge was heard to say, “It was one of the most extravagant and fun parties … and extravagant and fun don’t always go together, dearie.”
Less extravagant, but certainly elegant was the Raintree Children Services’ gala honoring attorney Charles Mayer. Charles is a past president of the board and serves quietly and graciously on a number committees and foundations. Raintree is a nonprofit agency that has been in the community for 79 years. Along with his dynamo wife Cammie and dad Star, Charles was surrounded by pals and supporters including the Charles Fenners, Grover Moutons, Gray Parkers, Bob Williams, Bobby Monroe, and the evening’s co-chairs Carolyn Landwerlin and Merle Segura.
Next day bright and early, Cammie was up for the New Orleans Museum of Art’s “Home and Art Tour” on Palmer Avenue. Told you she was a dynamo! Bumped into Ann Mahorner again (she runs the local chapter of Make-A-Wish) with watercolorist Betty Wood. Ann and I grew up playing in those neighborhoods, so it was fun to see the changes.
When I was taking a pal on a tour of the Garden District, we ran into Cedric Martin—of Martin’s Wine Cellar—on Third Street walking his dog Zoe in front of the Robinson-Sinclair house (or for older New Orleanians, the “Jordan House.”) His wine glass filled with the sauvignon blanc Villa Maria—you thought he was a wine snob?
A party at the Old U.S. Mint kicked things off March 10 when the Louisiana State Museum honored the Southern Food and Beverage Museum’s exhibit “A Toast to New Orleans,” which showcases the history and influences of beverages on New Orleans (and vice versa) and Galatoire’s 100th year celebration.
There’s always food and drink on the menu as well as dancing … but more about that next month with coverage of the First Annual St. Charles Avenue Easter Parade and Party, the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (everyone yell, “Stella!”) and things much more refined. •

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