Nell Nolan: Mad Hatter Luncheon, Sybarites, Spyglass Design Symposium | Parties/Society
The Wild Whirlwind
Benefiting the New Orleans Opera Association, the Women’s Guild and the J. Edgar Monroe Foundation featured “Walk on the Wild Side” as the theme for the 37th Annual Mad Hatter Luncheon and Fashion Show. In addition to the presenting sponsor above, the second tier names, corporate sponsors, were Fidelity Bank, Inside New Orleans, Kay Oplinger Event Management and Mr. and Mrs. Alfred E. Stacey IV. Ms Stacey, Probeis the president of the Women’s Guild.
Guests gathered as bright and early risers at the venue, the Metairie Country Club, for an hour of fellowship from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Doors and bidding opened at 11 a.m. with the hat contest beginning at that time. Billy Rae McKenna, Jacquee Carvin and Tracee Dundas were the famous judges.
After the presidential welcome, Patricia Gallagher gave the invocation and committee chairman Mad Hatter Kay Oplinger introduces the characters, all traditionally associated with the tales of Alice in Wonderland. Dwayne O. Littauer, The President of NOOA, portrayed the eponymous mad hatter of the luncheon; Penny Baumer, Queen of Hearts; Joanne ManteAlice; Phil Straub, the white rabbit; and Carl Mac, the Cheshire Cat.
All the while, steps were taken to the silent auction, which included a series of coveted hats, as well as three lots. The lunch men offered a house salad from the Metairie Country Club, roast chicken with herbs and New York-style cheesecake. Trendy deserts came from Ballin’s, which showcased its 25-piece Spring 2022 collection. Among the looks were bright and sorbet colors, linen and silk and seasonal accessories. Sneakers have even made an appearance. Cheering on the track action at a table were Joan Wilson, Gayle Dellinger, Gail Messina, Susan Aslett, Betsy Henson, Nikki Kahn, Debbie Rothschild and a mother-daughter duo in Elizabeth Landis and Baty. Leopard print runners centered on jars containing a few small golden animals, rocks and ferns decorated the tables. Other centerpieces were floral and raised.
Then came the live auction and the lightness of the Leporidae. Always dressed as a white rabbit, Phil Straub jumped on the track to lead the go, gone, gone. (Of course, he joked about his “Alice” persona as the auctioneer.) All equally desirable, the three items were white diamond earrings from Diamond Direct; “Dinner for 6-10 in Your House” by Toots-N-Bunny; and a seven-day vacation at a house in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Each was sold above its value.
The many donors and organizers of the event, who hailed Tammy O’Shea as co-chair of the committee and, as members, Debbie Alciatore-Empey, Mary Anderson, Laura Blackburn, Cheryl Cotton, Sonya David, Erin O’Sullivan Fleming, Melissa Gordon, Carol Hall, Sharon Heno, Mercy Hodge, Carolyn Landwerlin, Tricia Lincoln and Sonda Stacey. They, and countless others, filled the venues for midday joy for hours. And, in keeping with the theme, many sets inspired by the “Wild Side”.
For its annual Spring Party, Sybarites recalled a tradition of yesteryear: headdresses. When the women’s organization was founded, members wore white dresses and headpieces to the annual ball. Before the recent meeting scheduled for the house on avenue Saint-Charles Deirdre and Christian Hooper, president 2021-2022 Lilla Wright Kearney announced about the Spring Party, “This year, we’re taking it back to the old days and we’re wearing headdresses…” A summons to be creative.
When the members entered the Hooper house, they first looked at the balloons from Balloon Float NOLA before picking up their headpieces to get into the dress spirit for the evening. Dunn and Sonnier made the lovely floral arrangements.
The mastheads were President Lilla with peyton greenthe secretary of the Hoopers and Sybarites Julie Calhountreasurer Denis Galloway and historian Sarah Ehrensing with their husbands, Patrick, Bill and Eric. Note also, with many sporty pink and/or white Sybarites, Elizabeth and David Grimes, Donna and Paul Flower, Elizabeth and David Woolverton, Ann and David Williams, Eleanor and Lucas Hohnstein, Kathy Singleton with Ben Bagert, Lisa Sinders, Jennifer St. Paul, Beth and Clifford Favrot, Dana and Steve Hansel, Patrice and Bret Clesi, Tammy and Scott Crabtree, Cindy Roth, Libby and Mark Adams, and dozens of others, who savored the Fleur de Lis Catering and the sounds of DJs To belong.
The power of design
Presented by Longue Vue House & Gardens, the recent Design Symposium included a patron evening, designer talks, a picnic in the garden and a community discussion. Landscaper Edwina von Gal and famous designer Cathy Kincaid were the featured speakers at the symposium, with funds going to Discovery Garden Renewal for Children. Have partnered to chair the design symposium committee Patricia Brinson, Malise Kearney, Olivia Manning and Emily Webster. Both Patricia and Olivia were listed as philanthropic donors, while Charlotte Bollinger, Gail and René Louapré, and Robert W. “Bob” Merrick, Patricia’s brother, were benefactors. People in the Partner category were Barbara Bush, Beverly Church, Marian and Larry Gibbs, Elizabeth and James “Jim” Landis, Vice Chairman of the BT Board of Directors Barbara and Biff Motley, Louise Ripley, Angela and Eric Sella, the Malise and Emily above, and Lucianne Whitley.
Suzanne Dumez responds to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the LV Board of Directors, which includes Barbara Motley, Ralph Johnson, Ryan Flanagan, Ivan Griffin, Martine Chaisson Linaresand Lee Ledbetter, immediate past president, while Elizabeth LeBlanc serves as a liaison with the Board of Directors. Most notable are the Friends of Long View, which has David Maher as president; Lynn Skidmorepresident-elect; Ribby Ferguson, treasurer; Melissa Gordon, secretary; and Marian Gibbs, Past President. dr. Stella Baty Landiscalled Baty, is the executive director of LV.
Many thanks to the floral sponsors, design teams, caterers and, for party patrons, the Panorama Jazz Band. Many of the above have made the rounds, such as current and past council chairs Suzanne Dumez and Lee Ledbetter, as well as Ann Macdonald, Lee Arnold, Tracee Dundas and Arnold Baker, Mary Len Costa, Lauren Favret, John and Lana Beckmanand Rachel and Brian Bailey.