The word “parties” is used loosely to describe the gamut from black-tie affairs to numerous casual, funky, clever new ways to have a good time. Although most parties in town raise money for various needs and organizations, there are also many social events where people just gather for fun.

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

David McCollough at the National WWII Museum’s “American Spirit Awards 2017” | Photo by Jeff Strout


June, July & August

Although many leave New Orleans in the summer to escape the heat and humidity, what was striking last summer were the numerous well attended parties. We all enjoy travel and summer is the most popular time, but if you do find yourself in New Orleans, don’t worry, there is plenty to do and enjoy!

The National World War II Museum (rated No. 2 both in the country and the world) held its “American Spirit Awards” presented by Whitney Bank. Those honored inspired others through their own acts of courage, sacrifice, initiative and generosity – particularly in the areas of leadership, service to country or community and education. Last June’s “American Spirit Awards” Honorees were David McCullough and David Rubenstein. The Silver Service Medallion Honorees were James Barksdale, Capt. James Lovell, Phyllis Taylor, John P. Laborde, Catherine Long, Sgt. Major Mike Mervosh, Dr. Billy Michael, Hon. Norman Mineta, David L. Oreck and Hon. Kaliste J. Saloom Jr. Famous NBC anchor Tom Brokaw was the Master of Ceremonies. Chef Tory McPhail provided a delicious meal to 600 guests who also enjoyed entertainment by The Midtown Men, four stars from the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art had its fourth annual “Magnolia Ball,” a festive summer evening of New Orleans’ chefs’ best, hand-crafted Southern cocktails, featuring a full slate of auction items from emerging Southern artists. There was lots of music including entertainment by DJ G Cue, DJ Quickie Mart, DJ Lil’ Jodeci, DJ Kidd Love, the Showtime Brass Band and the Kevin Gullage Band, and a special appearance by Krewe des Fleurs. At the ball, attendees experienced the museum’s photography exhibitions, “The Colourful South: William Christenberry, Birney Imes, William Greiner, William Ferris and Alec Soth” and “William Eggleston: Troubled Waters, From the Collection of William Greiner.” It was a festive summer evening!

“Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp Benefit Concert” is in July each year at Little Gem Saloon. “Queen of Swing” Norma Miller was the Emcee for this benefit concert featuring performances by the artist-in-residence Cecil Bridgewater and the Jazz Camp Faculty and Alumni Band. In typical fashion, feet were tapping and many got out of their chairs to enjoy world famous jazz musicians. What a show!

Throughout the summer numerous theaters were in full swing, including Tulane Summer Lyric Theater with its “Let’s Go On With the Show” 50th Anniversary Gala; Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré presented It’s Only a Play in conjunction with The NOLA Project. The comedic talents of Ricky Graham and Sean Patterson were complemented by Leslie Castay; The Tempest played at Tulane’s Lupin Theater in the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane; and Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts showcased The Little Mermaid with lots of local school-aged children. The children’s talents were exceptional, and it’s always fun to see your friends’ kids taking lead roles.

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane | Photo by Kenny Martinez

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Junior Achievement’s “City Stars Soirée”


September, October & November

Many of you know Junior Achievement and its annual “Hall of Fame,” but in 2003 they added an annual “Rising Stars Soirée” in order to reach young professionals (under 40 years old) interested in JA’s mission. Presented in October by the Oscar J. Thomas Charitable Trust, the party features top restaurants and was catered by Windsor Court. It is great to see organizations include the young professionals in their future!

The National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans hosted the 2017 “Hannah G. Solomon Award Luncheon” and honored Kim Sport. Co-Chairs were Mimi Schlesinger and Sue Singer. The award is given annually to a community leader who exemplifies the qualities of Hannah G. Solomon, founder of the organization. Each award winner has been a catalyst for social change. The past nine years award winners have included: Ana and Dr. Juan Gershanik; Julie Schwam Harris; Marjorie and Dr. Scott Cowen; Ruth Kullman; Mary Keller Zervigon; Joan Berenson; our beloved Nancy Marsiglia; Carol Wise; and Phyllis Taylor.

Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful hosted its annual “Autumn Affair” at the home of Jackie and M.J. Wolfe. Green Fork and Bravo provided the food and Martin Wine Cellar provided the wine. The party was partially outside and the weather cooperated with party planning. The group had a large silent auction as well as a live auction with auctioneer Ed Marshall. Bidding was fierce and lively. Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful presents free and open public education programs and initiatives, funds and manages various projects.

Crimestoppers had “A Night of Blue” at Generations Hall to celebrate New Orleans’ First Responders. Music was nonstop with Bucktown All-Stars, Charmaine Neville, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Kermit Ruffins, Rockin’ Dopsie and James Andrews. Most of us know Crimestoppers’ information hotline that offers rewards, but the group does a lot more, specifically for our youth. Proceeds support Crimestoppers’ Youth Crime Prevention Programs, which provide youth leadership training (over 199 graduates) and numerous safe school presentations reaching more than 35,000 students each year in seven parishes.

WYES – Channel 12 hosted an inaugural event, “Shake, Rattle & Roll” with a 1950s theme. Pictures taken next to a vintage pink Cadillac owned by Penny and Al Baumer added a special gift. Patron Party music was provided by Marguerite Warren and The Big Easy Boys, with Sock Hop music by DJ by Jim Tapley. Chuck Mutz was the auctioneer for the live auction, along with a ring raffle of a beautiful pink diamond designed by Tom Mathis and donated by Symmetry. Celebrity Judges Becky Allen, Marshall Harris and Jason Gross picked the winners of the dance contest and costume contests.

“An Evening in the Garden of Eden” benefitting Eden House was chaired by Kara Van de Carr and Daryl Byrd. The Audubon Tea Room was packed with believers in this important cause who enjoyed table decorations made by the Eden House residents. The Greg Agid Quartet played before the event, Marcella Ratcliffe performed during the event and then the audience watched a film by David Rae Morris. Needless to say, there were plenty of heartfelt accolades for the group’s successes. Eden House is a leader in public policy support and advocacy, youth prevention programs and educating the community on human trafficking. The organization offers a long-term residential program to survivors of trafficking.

What connections do wine, 26 over-the-top table designs, local veterans and neighborhood improvement have? “Wine, Dine & Design” benefiting Bastion – a Community of Resilience. The Preview Party enables attendees to enjoy a preview of the fabulous table designs while bidding on special excursions and jewelry. The next day there is a luncheon that has sold out several years in a row. Both events were hosted by St. Charles Avenue, presented by Bryan Subaru and IberiaBank, held at the Audubon Tea Room and Co-Chaired by Celeste and Curtis Eustis and Lauren and Bryan Fitzpatrick. Bastion, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is an intentionally designed neighborhood in New Orleans for returning warriors and families. Through this powerful community model that incubates meaningful relationships that endure for a lifetime, our veterans enhance prospects for fuller recovery from the wounds of war.

“Swamp Galaxy Gala” benefited Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Prospect.4 is a citywide triennial of contemporary art. The Sugar Mill was transformed into the swamp – these decorations were over the top! Prospect.4 is led by Susan Brennan, an entrepreneur of many successful ventures. Co-Chairs included Abhi Bhansali, Colleen Connor, Sayde Finkel, Trevor Haynes and David Workman. The Co-Chairs were helped by a large committee of dedicated volunteers who helped raise funds to assist the citywide art exhibition.

Beyond these were many favorites each fall such as: Le Petit’s “Curtain Call Ball,” NOMA’s “LOVE in the Garden” and “Odyssey Ball,” Botanical Garden Foundation’s “Magic in the Moonlight” and list goes on!

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Teka Selman and Trevor Schoonmaker at “Swamp Galaxy Gala” benefitting Prospect.4 | Photo courtesy Ylva Rouse

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s “Magnolia Ball” | Photo by Jeff Strout

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Jack and Peggy Laborde with Lisa and Karl Hoefer at “An Evening in the Garden Of Eden”,  benefiting Eden House | Photo by Gil rubman

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

St. Charles Avenue’s “Wine, Dine & Design” benefitting Bastion


December, January & February

Each winter St. Charles Avenue honors Activists of the Year; 2017 included: Stephanie and Terrance Osborne, Roland and Mary Von Kurnatowski and Linda and Tommy Westfeldt. Both as couples and as individuals, the group had long lists of accomplishments and contributions to our city.

Shout out to community activists Robert Merrick and Arthur Roger who were selected as the honorees of the Anti-Defamation League’s 2017 A.I. Bornick Torch of Liberty Award at the Hyatt Regency. The annual event attracts over 600 attendees to support ADL’s cause.

The winter social season is greatly impacted by the timing of Mardi Gras. This past year Mardi Gras came early: February 13. Grace, poise, charm and patience are all qualities necessary for a young debutante to carry out her duties. Lots of behind the scenes work is involved before the debutantes ever take their special walks. New Orleanians are lucky to have the long-time traditions of Mardi Gras where family before you have engaged in the same ‘walk’. Whether you actually have the mother/daughter Mardi Gras experience, get to live it through family or friends or if you are simply a witness to the pageantry of it all, New Orleans Mardi Gras season is special.

“Une Affaire d’Avant Garde: En Blanc et Noir” benefited New Orleans Ballet Association – think Truman Capote’s “Black and White Ball.” Attendees were dressed in their black-and-white formal wear and masked in ode to Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s contemporary staging of Romeo et Juliet. This night was the first time in over 10 years the company has come to New Orleans; we were the first stop of three on its North American tour, and it was a special tricentennial feature event. It was held at the Hyatt complete with food, drinks, entertainment by the Benchwarmers, a Lee Michael’s raffle, champagne pull and more. What a night of elegance!

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Legacy Donor Foundation’s “Soul Revival” | Photo by kenny martinez

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Elizabeth and Christian Brown with “Soul Revival” Co-Hosts Buzzy and Joey Brown | Photo by kenny martinez


March, April & May

Legacy Donor Foundation hosted its 19th annual “Soul Revival” at the festive home of Lauren and George Brower, including their office across the street thus creating a block party. Event Co-Chairs Joey and Buzzy Brown and Elizabeth and Christian Brown lined up a full night of music: The Progressive Baptist Church choir followed by the bluesy rock sounds of the Jenn Howard Band and then DJ Rob Nice. Dickie Brennan & Co. Catering provided charcuterie for the Patron Party, and the gala had food from Jacques-Imo’s, Miss Linda, Sylvain as well as food trucks. Mini Tabasco bottles were on each food station for those who like it hot!

Friends of City Park hosts “Lark in the Park” each year but this year was sold out! Congrats to the Lupo Family, Co-Chairs and Leigh Thorpe, President of Friends. Proceeds will help restore the Casino Building. The packed VIP Party was in the Peristyle and the gala was on the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn. A host of friends, plentiful food and drink and lots of auction items, including the raffle of a car donated by Bryan Subaru with the drawing this summer, came together for a fantastic event.

Each year NOMA’s “Art in Bloom” gets more beautiful. The sold-out events included the Patron Party, the lectures and the luncheon, where Saks showcased Lela Rose and the designer participated – what a treat! With auction items of all types, sizes and prices, one can easily find that one special item you’ve been looking for. What makes the event special isn’t only the flower arrangements but also the latest designer dresses the attendees wear.

Garden lovers also enjoyed an inaugural event, “Heart of the Park Hat Luncheon” benefiting New Orleans City Park. A Moët & Chandon champagne Patron Party was followed by a luncheon at the Arbor Room at Popp Fountain. Hats, hats, hats were lovely, creative, a bit crazy and more! Chaired by Susan Brennan, Ashley Bright, Pam Bryan and Bev Church along with Patron Chairs Barbara Bush, Margo DuBos and Julie Miller-Hart and Honorary Chair Gayle Benson helmed the event. The proceeds not only helped maintain New Orleans City Park’s trees but also the New Orleans Town Gardeners’ community projects, such as Edible Schoolyard, Grow Dat Youth Farm in City Park and the grounds of Latter Library.

Perfection: the one word to describe the spectacular evening at Walton and Jeffrey Goldring’s home for Harvest at Home, which supports Second Harvest Food Bank. The event, Co-Chaired by Erin Romney and Susu Stall, provided the perfect combination of beautiful weather, an elegant house and engaging guests who enjoyed food from some of New Orleans’ best chefs: Shaya, Compton, Brigtsen, Wilcomb, Zemanick, Spicer, McPhail and Link. Quite a line up!

The Louisiana Museum Foundation celebrated first tricentennial event with the opening of “Recovered Memories.” The reception showcased the 7,000 square foot exhibition that features historic artifacts, documents, costumes and works of art from Spanish and United States museums. It tells the story of Spain’s influence on the development of New Orleans. The party and exhibition, both at the Cabildo, had Spanish-inspired cuisine, with tapas and sweets by Educated Palate and Galician Chef Andres Rodriguez.

Audubon Institute’s “Whitney Zoo-To-Do” and “Zoo-To-Do for Kids” presented by Tulane Pediatrics are always festive times. This year’s events raised funds for the new lion exhibit. Ladies were in their new spring dresses and men brought out their white linen suits and colorful ties. Chaired by Stephanie Feoli, the party was a big hit!

Encore! The Past Social Season In Review

Patron Chair Barbara Bush with Tina Kern and Caroline Reily at “Heart of The Park Hat Luncheon” benefitting New Orleans City Park | photo by jeff strout

The Most List

Most Active: St. Charles Avenue’s “Activists of the Year 2017”
Most Artsy: Poydras Home’s “Celebratory Bicentennial Gala”
Most Beer: Louisiana SPCA’s “NOLA on Tap”
Most Champions: New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation’s “Stake Out for Justice”
Most Creative: Prospect.4’s “Swamp Galaxy Gala”
Most Dancing: Casa Argentina’s “Piazzolla: Maria de Buenos Aires”
Most Dazzling: Ochsner Health System’s “Moonlight and Miracles Gala”
Most Dreamy: French Quarter Citizens’ “Moonlight Magic at the Monastery”
Most Elegant: NOMA’s 51st “Odyssey Ball: ‘L’Odyssée: A Celebration 300 Years in the Making’”
Most Entertaining: Le Petit Théâtre’s “Curtain Call Ball”
Most Exciting: LPO performance at Carnegie Hall in NYC’s “Fete de Voyage”
Most Fashionable: LPO Volunteers Encore Shop’s “Baubles and Bubbly for Beethoven”
Most Festive: Ochsner Clinic Foundation’s “King Cake Festival”
Most Edible: James Beard Foundation’s “Taste America: A Night of Culinary Stars”
Most Glam: Friends of BIALA’s “Inaugural Dinner for Charter Members”
Most Glassy: “Just Say YAYA: Central to the City”
Most Green: A Studio in the Woods’ “FORESTival: A Celebration of Art and Nature”
Most Hats: New Orleans City Park and New Orleans Town Gardeners’ “Heart of the Park Hat Luncheon”
Most Heartfelt: American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women Luncheon”
Most Historical: Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses’ “Historic Houses Society Gala”
Most Humanitarian: New Orleans Council for Community and Justice’s 60th “Weiss Awards”
Most Illuminating: New Orleans City Park’s “Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party”
Most Impactful: St. Michael Special School’s “Blue Rose Ball”
Most Inspiring: WRBH Reading Radio’s “A Blind Taste"
Most Just: The ProBono Project’s “Justice for all Ball”
Most LOVE: NOMA’s “LOVE in the Garden”
Most Musical: Jefferson Performing Arts Center’s “Pasta & Puccini”
Most Paddles: Galatoire’s annual Christmas and Mardi Gras auctions
Most Patriotic: The Salvation Army’s “SOUPer Bowl Gala”
Most Pink: Breastoration’s “Galatoire’s Goes Pink”
Most Retro: “WYES Studio 12 Gala”
Most Royal: The Meeting of the Courts of Rex and Comus
Most Soulful: Legacy Donor Foundation’s 19th annual “Soul Revival”
Most Stunning: Dress for Success’ inaugural “Fashion Gala – A Salute to Coco Chanel: The First Feminist of Fashion”
Most Stylish: Longue Vue House & Garden’s “2017 Essence of Style Design Symposium”
Most Tasty: Liberty’s Kitchen’s “Come Grow with Us Chef Showdown”
Most Touching: New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s “Azúcar Ball”
Most Visionary: Botanical Garden Foundation’s “Magic in the Moonlight”
Most Wine: Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s “Carnivale du Vin”
Most Youthful Musicians: The Roots of Music’s “ROOTS Road Trip New Orleans”