The Pirate’s Alley Society’s fall fundraiser, “Happy Birthday Mr. Faulkner,” celebrated the Nobel Prize laureate at the home of Honorary Co-Chairs Mary and Roland Von Kurnatowski, owners of Tipitina’s and creators of the Tipitina Foundation. The event attracted 126 people who came to toast the American writer with his favorite libation: Mint Juleps served in silver julep cups, the traditional patrons’ gift for the society’s benefactors.
The fundraiser was the kickoff event for the Faulkner Society’s 2014 BIG READ project, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, focusing on the novel, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by young Ethiopian-born author Dinaw Mengestu. Funds nettled from the event, approximately $12,000, will help offset the NEA’s required local match for BIG READ projects it funds, targeting at-risk middle, junior and high school students.
The party included a brunch created by chef Glenn Vatshell of Palate New Orleans and included grillades and cheese grits as well as a heart-healthy risotto of wild rice, barley, kale, walnuts, chicken and a variety of salads. But the centerpieces were the birthday desserts: Mr. Faulkner’s favorite cakes, devil’s food with boiled icing and coconut cream cakes made by Mary Von Kurnatowski. The décor for the event was autumn-inspired, including pumpkins, mums and colorful arrangements also done by Von Kurnatowski.
Guests of honor were home writer Bonnie Warren and photographer Cheryl Gerber, co-authors of the new style book New Orleans Homes at Christmas. Faulkner House Books, owned by Faulkner Society Co-Founder Joseph DeSalvo, is taking orders for the books; the net profits on the sale of the books are being donated to the Society’s BIG READ literary initiative project.
EVENT AT A GLANCE
What: “Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner!” benefiting the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society
When: Sunday, September 28
Where: 818 St. Charles Ave.