The five-day Art in Bloom spectacular kicked of with an equally amazing preview party on Wednesday, March 11 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Event co-chairs Marilee Hovet and Caroline Calhoun oversaw the turnout of more than 1,200 patrons and supporters, eager to see the floral fantasies created by local talent. Garden Study Club President Sally Suthon was also in attendance, as were party chairs Holly Mentz and Michele Romano. Food from 29 of the city’s finest restaurants provided nourishment, including Bayona, Café Degas, Pelican Club, The Grill Room, Palate New Orleans and Ristorante del Porto. Auseklis Ozols created a beautiful oil painting, entitled “White Empress” exclusively for the 21st Annual Art in Bloom live auction.

The silent auction featured wonderful art from 60 local and regional artists, including painters, sculptors, jewelers and photographers. Music and entertainment came in the form of Anais St. John with Harry Mayronne. All proceeds from the patron and preview party, in addition to the ensuing five-day event, benefitted educational projects and exhibitions at NOMA and projects of The Garden Study Club. Other beneficiaries include the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, the New Orleans Botanical Gardens at City Park, the restoration of the gardens of Project Lazarus, and Longue Vue House and Gardens.