The 34th “Mad Hatters Luncheon” upheld its whimsical theme, incorporating a festive fashion show by Saks featuring designer Akris Punto and, true to form, a hat contest. This year’s theme reflected the 300th birthday of New Orleans.

Opera Guild President Penny Baumer welcomed guests with a speech. Richard Buchsbaum served as Master of Ceremonies and Brother Gale Condit FSC delivered the invocation.

Guests were treated to a delicious three-course luncheon ending with chocolate birthday cake. There was a Mad Hatter’s table, designed by Amy Carbonette. Several Alice in Wonderland characters also made an appearance: Russ Herman as the Mad Hatter, Lynn Abide as Alice, Dr. Jane Miller as the Queen of Hearts, Brian Monk as the White Rabbit and Margarita Bergen as the Caterpillar.

The hat contest judges included Alexandra Cranford, Sandra Herman, Peggy Scott Laborde, Terrance Osborne, Anton Heine, the Honorable Jennifer Van Vranken and Julie Winn.

Hat contest winners included: Most Whimsical, awarded to Suzie Capitelli and Debbie Evans from “Haute Dames” Couture Millinery; Most Glamorous, awarded to Susan Doty; Most Festive Fascinator, awarded to Gerri Valene; Best Ensemble, awarded to Joyce Laporte; Best Group, awarded to The Flagettes with “Flags over New Orleans,” a group of 10 members led by Joann Paulin; Best Original Theme, awarded to “Happy Birthday New Orleans,” a group with birthday cakes on their heads; and Mad Hatter’s Choice, awarded to Faith Peperone.

The Hat Auction was Chaired by Carol Hall, Dr. Jane Miller and Carolyn Landwerlin. There was an additional silent auction, Chaired by Debbie Alciatore.

Event at a Glance

What: 34th “Mad Hatters Luncheon,” benefiting Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Guild Association
When: Thursday, March 8
Where: New Orleans Marriott

Topped with Whimsy

Brian Monk as White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts Dr. Jane Miller, Russ Herman as Mad Hatter and Margarita Bergen as Caterpillar 

Topped with Whimsy

Fundraising Vice President Karen Villavaso, Opera Guild President Penny Baumer, Jean Rice and Co-Chair and “Mad Hatter’s Choice” Honoree Faith Peperone