Philanthropic Fun: Local Legacies
The Louisiana Museum Foundation transported patrons back centuries to honor the Almonester-Pontalba ancestral family.
The Louisiana Museum Foundation (LMF) debuted its “Founders Ball,” an annual gala that honors the contributions of individuals or families who have contributed in historical times to our city or state, or current individuals who have made a significant contribution to the preservation or promotion of our history or culture.
As part of its year-long schedule of tricentennial exhibitions presented in the Cabildo, the Louisiana State Museum (LSM) chose a close-out exhibition on the Almonester-Pontalba legacy, “The Baroness de Pontalba and the Rise of Jackson Square.” Over 500 attendees were the first to see treasures from the Chateau de Mont-l’Évêque, none of which have ever been publicly displayed before. Charles-Edouard and Isabelle, Baron and Baroness de Pontalba; Pierre de Pontalba; Marie-Victoire de Pontalba de Coulange and her husband Albéric, Count de Coulange; and the baron’s nieces, Anne-Voctoire and Sixtine Viguié-Desplaces, attended as honorees.
Both the ball and exhibition were dedicated to the late Christina Vella, author of Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de Pontalba, upon which much of the exhibition was based.
The vast majority of guests and volunteers dressed in period costumes. Strictly period-appropriate music could be heard throughout the evening by the 18th century costumed Polymnia Quartet, featuring four musicians from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. For those wanting to dance to a modern beat, the third floor featured the elaborate 18th century costumed all-female electrified Virtuosa Quartet.
The ball featured a small silent auction of high-end items, the highlights of which were two antique wine bottles dating back to the time of Don Andrés, bearing the Almonester seal. These rare bottles were donated by the Baron de Pontalba straight from the wine cellar at the château de Mont-l’Évêque.
Catherine and Semmes Favrot and Caroline and Murray Calhoun served as Co-Chairs. Honorary Co-Chairs were Vincent Sciama and Yuanyuan Sciama.
Event at a Glance
What: “Inaugural Founders Ball,” benefiting Louisiana Museum Foundation
When: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Where: The Cabildo
Co-Chairs Catherine and Semmes Favrot
Gay Le Breton, Tommy Westervelt and Isabelle, Baroness de Pontalba and Charles-Edouard, Baron de Pontalba
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser with Honorary Co-Chairs Yuanyuan and Consul General Vincent Sciama
Steven Maklansky, Marie-Victoire de Pontalba de Coulange and Albéric, Count de Coulange
Jeremy Corkern with Kristine and Rivers Lelong