Second Harvest Food Bank knew they had hit the jackpot last year when Frances Fayard offered to host their fifth annual “Harvest at Home” fundraiser at the beautiful “White Wedding Cake House” on St. Charles Avenue that she shares with her husband, Calvin and their son, Carter.

“My mother entertained a lot when I was growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Now we love sharing our house with our family, close friends and charitable organizations that serve the New Orleans community,” she says. “I always love hosting a good party.”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”   

Having entertaining in her blood is certainly an advantage but Frances, who’s a Second Harvest board member, has honed her skills over the years.

She considers herself a planner and believes that having time to prepare pays off. “I appreciated how organized Terri Kaupp and Kathryn Gsell from Second Harvest were,” she says. “Having a cohesive team is always key for these events, and the Co-Chairs Jennifer Lauscha and Melanie Loomis worked very well together with an active committee.”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”
She continues, “Another one of my secrets to a great party is figuring out the number of guests and where the best place is to entertain them. For this party, for 100 people, the absolutely best place was the garden, although we had a wet weather back up plan inside the house as well.”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”
By the evening of the event everything was in place, and guests mixed and mingled between the food stations prepared by “Harvest at Home” chefs Sue Zemanick (2014 Gautreau’s/Ivy); Susan Spicer (2013 Bayona/Mondo); Tory McPhail (2012 Commander’s Palace) and Donald Link (2012 Cochon/Herbsaint/Pêche),” she says.

Each year the "Harvest at Home Chef" develops a signature recipe with a featured ingredient that they prepare for the party. The recipe is also incorporated in “At Home” events and in gift bags.


We love sharing our house with our family, close friends and charitable organizations that serve the New Orleans community. I always love hosting a good party.


“I always like food to be beautifully displayed,” Frances continues. “Lisa Clapper-Smith designed a stunning centerpiece which incorporated artichokes, which was the signature ingredient in Sue Zemanick’s recipe.”

Frances also believes that gathering a diverse group of people together makes a party more interesting, and she tries to engage with everyone who enters her home. She says she truly appreciated the turnout for “Harvest at Home”.  “It was great to see so many people come out, and we were fortunate enough to have Coach Peyton and his lovely girlfriend, Skylene Montgomery. It was a great opportunity for people to connect and engage in the fight against hunger.”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”
Perhaps the most revealing insight into being a great hostess is Frances’ relaxed approach to having so many people in her house and gardens. There are a few rules: Guests are asked not to enter the private living quarters or go upstairs (wanderers occasionally do both). But for the most part, Frances is pretty laissez faire, “Accidents happen and guests feel worse about it than the host. Damages can happen at any party. That’s OK. We understand this when we open up our home. And anything can be fixed these days.”

Ultimately, as beautiful as the Fayard home is, Frances believes it still only sets the stage. The hosts set the tone, and Frances knows if she’s relaxed and happy, chances are her guests will be too.

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”

Hosting for “Harvest at Home”