More than 450 guests attending the 35th annual “Mad Hatter Luncheon” celebrated in style at a whimsical wonderland filled with over-the-top hats.

New Orleans Opera Association President Karen Villavaso delivered the opening greeting, and Cantor Josh Colman delivered the invocation. Richard Buchsbaum served as Master of Ceremonies.

A presentation to Betty T. Brooks was made by Co-Chairs Mary Katherine Lanatro Tusa and Gail B. McKenna.

A three-course luncheon was provided featuring centerpieces of top hats adorned with silk flowers.

Mingling amidst guests were familiar characters from Alice and Wonderland, including Harold Bouillion dressed as the Mad Hatter, Celeste Bertucci McShane dressed as the Queen of Hearts, Skarlett Roa dressed as Alice, Deryn Anaya Patin dressed as Petite Alice, Carl Mack dressed as the March Hare/The Rabbit and Margarita Bergen dressed as the Caterpillar.

A fashion show by Saks Fifth Avenue, thanks to Stephen Putt and Carolyn Elder, awarded prizes to the various attendees donning specialty attire. Winners were: Peggy Doucette, Most Whimsical; Geri Valene, Most Beautiful; Fay Wartelle, Festive Fascinator; Heather Doyle, Best Ensemble; Elizabeth Zibilich, Best Original Theme; Valerie Grubb’s group “Down the Rabbit Hole” as Best Group; and Anna Bastian, Mad Hatter’s Choice. The fashion show judges were Simone Bruni Couere, Tracee Dundas, Marshall Harris, Cindy Paulin, Janet Shea and Earline Torres.

Marshall Harris provided entertainment, and there were an assortment of 129 silent auction items for guests to bid upon. Additionally, Betty T. Brooks offered a mink stole as a raffle prize.


Event at a Glance

What: 35th annual “Mad Hatter Luncheon,” benefiting Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Association

When: Tuesday, March 19

Where: Sheraton New Orleans


Philanthropic Fun: Tip of the Hat

 Karen Humphrey, Faith Pepperone, Melissa Gordon and Kathy Singleton

Philanthropic Fun: Tip of the Hat

 Margarita Bergen as the Caterpillar