New Orleans is the perfect city to host a convention; there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and things to do. I recently attended a convention here, and although the previous mentioned were reasons the organization chose New Orleans as a host, there was one other key factor: our gardens. This was the Garden Club of America’s annual meeting, which  boasted more than 650 delegates from all over the country in attendance. I volunteered to work the information booth at the convention and was so delighted by the enthusiasm the attendees had about viewing our gardens.

Having lived here my whole life, I’ve always appreciated the foliage around me, but I never thought about how unique our climate must be for these different plants to grow and flourish so beautifully together. We have the option to use old Southern and tropical plants, or to create something very manicured. You can make your garden look like you live in Naples, Italy, Charleston, South Carolina or the English countryside. You can have Confederate jasmine and Southern magnolias mixed in with ligularia and English boxwoods. Also, there aren’t many places where you can walk by a Queen palm right next to a pink camellia bush.

New Orleans is a melting pot for everything from food to people to our plants, but that’s what makes it “New Orleans;” things from all over blended together just seem to work here. Once you mix all these plants together with the beautiful iron and brickwork we incorporate into our landscaping, you have a classic New Orleans garden! So this summer, while everything is in bloom, take a stroll in the Garden District or visit the Botanical Gardens and take advantage of all the different plants we have to enjoy.

Mandeville just got a little brighter after launching Louisiana’s first and only signature Lilly Pulitzer store. The store, which is located on Highway 190 between Joseph A. Banks and Hazelnut, held its grand opening party on March 15. The ribbon-cutting weekend was filled with raffles such as a Lilly Pulitzer bike and a signature scarf. and the first 50 guests were surprised at the door with Lilly gifts. Jazz band 3rd Line was there to great guests while they shopped and enjoyed cocktails and nibbles.

Cruisin' the Crescent
Billy Treadway, Elizabeth Garrison, James Kelly with Dustin and Will Garrison


The Ducks Unlimited held a tribute banquet in honor of Paul C. P. McIlhenny and the time he dedicated to costal protection, restoration and conservation. The banquet was held at a private home in the Garden District, where guests enjoyed a seated diner catered by Borgne. The menu included deviled crabs, black drum and stone ground grits accompanied by an assortment of desserts. After dinner, the guests bid on silent and live auction items donated by Ducks Unlimited and McIlhenny’s friends and family. All the proceeds went to a costal restoration fund created in McIlhenny’s honor.

Cruisin' the Crescent
Rosemary Dinkins, Barbara Fitz-Hugh, Sarah McIlhenny and Judy McIlhenny

Cruisin' the Crescent
 Clark Fitz-Hugh, Tommy Westfeldt and Bob Dew


There was plenty to sip but more to see! friends and family gathered for a “Sip and See.”

Cruisin' the Crescent
 New fathers John Marshall, Ryan McKinnon, Dustin Garrison and Toddy Kostmayer pose for a picture with their wives and babies; Jennifer and John Marshall, Mary Scott and Scottie McKinnon, Liz and Will Garrison and Regan and Caroline Kostmayer.


Heard something interesting for “cruisin’ the crescent?”

If so, please send it to: St. Charles Avenue, 110 Veterans Blvd., Ste. 123, Metairie, La. 70005 or email: