This year, Longue Vue House and Garden’s annual Sentimental Journeys fundraiser transported guests to “A Night in Old Havana.” The theme was carried through from Charlotte Tanet’s cigar-shaped dinner menu, to vintage cars parked at the entrance and a slide show of Cuba in its heyday projected on screens throughout the dinner.
Sentimental Journeys, which began in 1995, is as an over-the-top evening including elegant cuisine paired with fine wines culminating with an extravagant trip auction. Taking place every 18 months, Sentimental Journeys was one of the first to use what’s now a much-copied format. It remains the principal fundraiser for Longue Vue House and Gardens.
This year the venue was moved to Kern Studios on the East Bank of the Mississippi River. A single semi-outdoor tent with remarkable views of the Greater New Orleans Bridge served as a cocktail gathering spot, where, despite autumnal breezes, ladies dressed in Caribe-colored dresses and gents in white dinner jackets sipped individually made mojitos and smoked hand-rolled cigars, as Cuban-style showgirls in eye-popping costumes sold raffle tickets.
International designer Campion Platt and Paul A. Norman, the latter of Thibodeaux’s Florist, teamed to create a heady tropical grove meets chic mid-century nightclub vibe inside the main room where tall clear lamps, with orchid plants tucked inside, were centered on each table. The food was a combined effort of three chefs, Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian in Los Angeles’ Philip DuBose, whose Latin spring rolls garnered praise, Joel Dondis, a culinary player on the New Orleans scene for 15 years and his force behind successful pastry shop Sucré, chef Tariq Hanna.
Following dinner, anxious bidders picked up their paddles to bid on the 30 trips – from as near as the Monteleone Hotel and Rosemary Beach to as far as The Maldives and Zanzibar – and helped to swell the coffers of Longue Vue. Finally, Baltimore band, The Junkyard Saints, cranked up the music
post-auction to get folks on to the floor for a dance or two.
2. Co-chair Dathel Coleman, George Fowler and co-chair Helen Butcher with Bill and co-chair Denise Monteleone
3. J. Hunter and Erin Romney Cazes with Joy and Boysie Bollinger
4. Lynne Uhalt and Patricia Brinson with Archie and Olivia Manning
5. Rebecca Currence and Peggy Laborde with Campion and Tatiana Platt
6. Sonya Davilla, Kay Kerrigan and Barry Kern
7. Renee and the Honorable Marlin Gusman with Bonnie Goldblum and Juan Barona.
8. Kay Kerrigan, Bev Church, co-chair Dathel Coleman, Linda Pfeifer, Karol Barnhart and co-chair Denise Monteleone.
9. Eddie Bonin, Torie Kranze and René Fransen.
10. Anne and Edmund Redd
11. Decoration for Sentimental Journeys