In New Orleans, it’s parties more than calendar dates that mark a change of season. It can be said the New Orleans Museum of Art’s annual “Love in the Garden,” held at the end of September, marks the end of summer and the beginning of the fall social season for most New Orleanians.
The party, held within the lyrical labyrinthine paths of the Besthoff Sculpture Garden that spreads over five acres dotted with important art, has become one of the city’s most popular events. Thanks to a “dressy casual” code, cuisine by more than 40 restaurants, music by the Boogie Men, gentle ticket prices and a cool autumn breeze, the event sold more than 1,500 tickets.
Even with that number it was lively but not overcrowded, thanks to master planning by co-chairs Joni Diaz and Kimberly Ziblitch and their committees. The gardens glowed with large Noguchi paper sculptures and lanterns, clusters of small draped tables were placed under tall pine trees and younger museum devotees mingled with trustees, first-time attendees and pillars of society.
New Orleans’ artists were honored this year. Among them Wayne Amedee, Nicole Charbonnet, Jeffery Cook, Elaine Gleason, JoAnn Greenberg, Beth Lambert, Auseklis Ozols, Garland Robinette, Richard Thomas and Martin Welch. Each was greeted by E. John Bullard, the museum’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director fresh back from vacationing in Maine and Brenda Moffitt, head of NOMA’s Volunteer Committee.
Robert Indiana’s massive “LOVE” sculpture and George Rodrigue’s substantial “Blue Dog” garnered attention as couples lined up to be photographed in front of both. Elsewhere, some guests, perhaps unaware, shared a bench that was actually part of a sculpture by artist George Segal and includes life-size figures. They, like the evening, were a perfect blend of community and art.
Paul Leaman and Brenda Moffitt
Gloria Moore, Pam and Ralph Lupin and Ellen Miclette
Jackie Sullivan, Keith Zibilich and Emily Chachere
Janet and Jimmy Frischhertz, Cammie Mayer and Pamela Buckman
Amy Manuel, Ashley Farrell and Christian Wagner