Nell Nolan: United Way- Tocqueville, KID smART, Dark & Stormy Night | Entertainment/Life


Touts, Tots, Thrills


On a recent Thursday evening at the Ritz-Carlton, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana held its Alexis de Tocqueville Award Celebration honoring Roger H. Ogden. He was described as “an extraordinary real estate developer, civic leader, and philanthropist.” In addition, “He donated over 1,000 pieces of art from his collection to found the Ogden Museum of Southern Art”; holds degrees from LSU (undergraduate) and Tulane University (law school); and has been an exemplary supporter of the United Way. The Alexis de Tocqueville Society’s 125 “committed individuals” invest in our community “to address its most pressing and complex issues.” Those who have given $1 million-plus are Mr. David Fennelly and Mr. Carlos Sanchez, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Georges, the late J. Wayne and Jackie Leonard, Mr. Robert W. Merrick, Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Stewart Jr. and an anonymous donor. IberiaBank was the Award Ceremony’s Presenting Sponsor.

Tocqueville Society Cabinet Chairwoman Cathy McRae (joined by husband Mark) opened the formalities with a welcome. Then came words, respectively, from UWSELA board Chairman Gary Lorio (with Carolyn) and President and CEO Michael Williamson (with Kim); and Giazzlyn Duncan, Jillian Delos Reyes and Ronnie Slone, storytellers. An intermission, and closure of the 13-items silent auction (of hotel stays, getaways and unique packages), punctuated the program that resumed with Cathy McRae’s society introductions and remarks by UWSELA Campaign Cabinet Chairman Hunter Hill (with Kaylea). Tocqueville Society Chairwoman Florence “Flo” Schornstein (with Richard) made the presentation to Roger Ogden, who accepted with gratitude, emphasizing the role of giving. A video presentation about Ogden featured some of the city’s most prominent leaders, such as Sydney Besthoff III, David Kerstein, William Pittman Andrews and Darryl Berger, as well as the above. The last image in the video was a smiling Roger holding a fish. Gary Lorio closed the program.

Further features included the décor of traditional Tocqueville Society blue with fleur-de-lis and watercolor accents to honor Roger; impressive floral centerpieces by The Plant Gallery; a menu of taste treats; and music by Dat Band. Savoring all the evening’s activity were Roger’s partner Ken Barnes, his son Dr. Field Ogden and spouse Michelle, and Field’s mom Ann Ogden; Frank and Paulette Stewart; and Society founder C. Allen Favrot. Also, Chad and Vanessa Berg, Madhu and Deepak Bhatnager, Charmaine Caccioppi, Stephen and Rebecca Cali, past award recipients Henry and Karen Coaxum, Clancy and Margo DuBos, Jonathan and Leslie Earle, Geneva Kerstein with the above David, Jimmy and Lillian Maurin, Quentin and Kanya Messer, former award recipient John K. Roberts Jr. and Carol Ann, Brian and Erin Rotolo, Patty Riddlebarger, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Kirby Jane Nagle, Wade and Charlene Walk, and past awardees Gary Ostroske (former UWSELA president and CEO) and Kim Sport, who was joined by Mike.


The Uptown home of Christa and Matt Schwartz was the venue for artistic vibes when Cocktails for KID smART occurred. Prints were distributed to patrons and sponsors of “Duckweed #4” by featured artist Marjorie Brown Pierson. For the culinary “art,” Martin Wine Cellar did the catering. A grilling station serving Argentinian steak was a hit.

As the 225 attendees milled about, they listened to the music of David Torkanowsky & Preservation Hall All-Stars and rallied to the excitement of the auction, led by Ruthie Winston of Winston & Associates LLC. Pierson’s “Channel Lace” had a pleased acquirer in Jim Mounger.

Notables were many and included the Schwartzes, event Co-Chairwomen Martine Chaisson Linares and Erin Romney-Cates, KID smART board Chairwoman Suzanne Dumez, board member Graham Ralston (of Presenting Sponsor Regions Bank) and Adele, and from the Martin Wine Cellar Family, Cedric and Pam Martin and their son, David. Drinks were by Sazerac New Orleans.

Additional KID smART advocates were Allison Stewart and Campbell Hutchinson, Elise Gallinot Goldman and Mathew Goldman, Catherine and Luke Lemoine, Michele Percy, Paul and Donna Flower, Sandra Diggs-Miller, Krystal Allen, Rupa and Tarun “T J” Jolly, Ayesha Motwani, Tina Dang, Troy Scroggins Jr. and Frank Wilder, and countless others, who espouse the work of KID smart, which “centers the arts in New Orleans public school classrooms, making schools more effective and joyful.”

Adding more joy to the recent “Cocktails” fundraiser was the statement by KID smART communication and project manager Cheryl Manley. “We exceeded our goal.”

Glamorous Gloom

“Eat, drink & be spooky” lured legions to Hotel Peter and Paul in the Marigny for A Dark and Stormy Night to benefit 826 New Orleans and its Youth Writing Center. The fun-raiser was pitched as “A Spooky Cocktail Party” and hosted by Christopher Alfieri and Dawn DeDeaux.

The hotel’s church event space was “spook-ified” with thematic decorations of spider webs and plastic skulls propped up with skeletal hands, and bathed in amber lighting.

An annual feature is the cocktail contest, which had Seven Three Distilling Co. as the 2019 sponsor. Each of the six bars contributed a creative, ghost story-inspired cocktail, with guests voting on their favorite. A tie developed for the Audience Winner Award between The Quartz Bar at The Quisby and Bar Tonique, while the Judge’s Award went to Bar Marilou. Participating, as well with choice drinks, were The Domino, Saba and Elysian Bar. Bacchanal served wine.

A 7th ward mainstay since 1899, Vaucresson’s served hot sausage po-boys; Turkey and the Wolf passed deviled eggs; and arrays of cheeses and pickles, fried chicken, salads, and chocolates sated many appetites.

From the Dark and Stormy Night host committee came Wayne Amedee, Anne Gisleson and husband Brad Benischek, Katrina Andry and Abdi Farah. They mingled with Alyisen and Soren Gisleson, Melissa Weber aka DJ Soul Sister, Bill Fagaly, Teresa Cole, Sarah and Zachary Lazar, Adam Feibelman, Mathew Holdren, Adonis Expose, 826 New Orleans development manager Sarah Grainer and others, who explored the pop-up Haunting Supply Company and hit the dance floor for the note-worthiness of DJ C’est Funk.

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