A total of 386 guests filled the Arbor Room for the inaugural “Heart of the Park Hat Luncheon” held on Wednesday, April 11, at the Arbor Room at Popp Fountain in City Park. Chairmen Susan Brennan, Ashley Bright, Pam Bryan and Bev Church hosted a fast-paced and fun fête where guests donned their most festive and creative hats.
The New Orleans Town Gardeners, Inc. in conjunction with Friends of City Park raised over $275,000 to benefit the management and protection of City Park’s magnificent trees, as well as community projects of the Town Gardeners, such as the Edible Schoolyard, Grow Dat Youth Farm in City Park and more.
Guests arrived to the party in decorated golf carts donated by Bayou Oaks Golf Course, which were driven by King Milling, Dr. John Church, Hilton Bell, John Hope, Peyton Bush, Alan Philipson, Edgar Bright, Philip Woollam, John Hopper, Jay Bryan and Clancy Dubos.
The Patron Party began with hat bedecked guests treated to Moët & Chandon Champagne, music by The St. Augustine High School Brass Band, New Orleans Mounted Policemen and even Henri Hall riding in on an Equest Stable horse, to give a proclamation to Gayle Benson.
Johnny Parker and his band led a second-line parade to a fabulous lunch prepared by City Park Catering, which included creme vichyssoise, lobster salad and a fruit tart accompanied by Smoke Tree Rose. Caroline Reily and Tina Kern created the spectacular oak tree centerpieces accented with flowers from Flora French’s country house gardens.
Prizes won included a $1,000 gift certificate from Yvonne LaFleur and incredible paintings by Auseklis Ozols and Alex Harvie, auctioned by Morgan Packard Griffith.
Barbara Bush, Margo Dubos and Juli Miller-Hart served as Patron Chairs with Gayle and the late Tom Benson as Honorary Chairmen.
Event at a Glance
What: “The Heart of the Park Hat Luncheon,” benefiting New Orleans City Park/New Orleans Town Gardeners
When: Wednesday, April 11
Where: Arbor Room and Popp Fountain in City Park
Honorary Chair Gayle Benson with David Kerstein and Stephanie Feoli
Anne and King Milling
Barbara Bush, Tina Kern and Caroline Reily
Gary Lorio, Cathy Cary, Lynne White and Auseklis Ozols
Juli Miller Hart, Bob Becker and Margo Dubos