The excitement was palpable as people poured into the Mahalia Jackson Theatre of the Performing Arts for presentations by both the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Orleans Ballet Association. The lights dimmed, the music swelled and the classical arts were home.

LPO’s Carlos Miguel Prieto conducted guest artist Itzhak Perlman in Bruch’s “Violin Concerto in G Minor.” The evening moved gracefully from a champagne intermission to the ballet’s presentation of Wendy Whelan and Albert Evens from the New York City Ballet and dancers from the San Francisco Ballet. Before the evening was over, a lush Strauss “Suite from de Rosenkavalier” had met a minimal Philip Glass’ “Concerto Fantasy
for Two Timpanists and Orchestra” to wondrous and thunderous applause.

Afterward, supporters of the LPO repaired to the Ritz-Carlton for a late, light supper with Chef Matthew Murphy making magic with roasted artichoke and oysters and mini crab cake and tartar beignets, chicken on parmesan polenta and grilled veggies and, a final flourish of Peach Mahalia. John Rankin’s ensemble played for dancing while Jeremy Davenport made a special appearance. Overseeing every detail were a committee that included Nancy Adkerson, Julie Breitmeyer, Stella Del Bianco, Paula Meyer, the E.B. Benjamins Jr., John Boyds, Stephen W. Hales and more. Honorary Chairs, William H. Hines and Ellis Marsalis Jr., assured the $1,000-a-plate event was a sell-out.