Spring Spurts!

'Lark' Be a Lady Tonight

As she strolled about, Bubble Lady Linda created whimsical oversize bubbles throughout the garden. Hundreds of guests were bemused by the diaphanous floating orbs. Then they moved on to further attractions.

The setting was the 2023 Lark in the Park presented by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust. Activity — and there was so much — centered primarily around the Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park. To welcome spring, the 2023 garden party used natural wood elements with shades of teal, green and white.

Destiny Pinson of Doris Ione Florals — one of the dozens credited for the décor, the entertainment, sponsorship and the pleasures of food and drink — selected a mixture of seasonal posies and bold greenery to accent the venue, starting from the entrance and moving on to the step-and-repeat, the centerpieces, stage backdrop, and the custom, interactive floral installation. Complementary colors and floral patterns were featured in the luxurious seating areas within the two VIP tents. Champagne had its own special bar, as well as a cart. Further attractions were the glitter bar, the 360 photo booth, lighting, more photography, sustainability initiatives, and the music of the Electric Yat Quartet. Wowing one and all were the stilt walkers and their companions dressed in park-inspired floral and foliage costumes.

As always, food was a lure at Lark. The VIP party’s tray-passed cuisine was provided by City Park Catering and included delicious bites of stuffed artichoke hearts, crawfish and tasso croustades, crabcakes, fried oysters and fried oysters. The main event showcased dishes from more than 20 of the city’s top eateries. The Lark lot consumed with gustatory glee smoked duck and shrimp quesadillas, duck pâté, crostini, boudin egg rolls, seafood cheesecake, snoshots, cake truffles dipped in chocolate, roasted strawberry ice cream, and iced coffee.

Among those reveling in the vernal romp were Morgan Lee Falterman and Jared Falterman, Liz and Poco Sloss, David and Barbara Waller, Greg Keller, Elise Ryan, Melissa Warren, Lindsey Wands, Karen and Peter DeBlieux, Will and Donna Tregre, Errol and Peggy Scott Laborde, and Doug Netzhammer.

The auction was a huge hit, beckoning with packages of art and home décor, wellness and self-care, trips (such as a luxury stay in Asheville, North Carolina, donated by Jay Batt), hotel getaways, and local dining experiences. The Diamonds Direct jewelry raffle beckoned with diamond and gold hoop earrings valued at more than $2,500.

Noted, too — and milling in the lovely al fresco setting bedecked with small tables covered in light teal and white linens — were Dave Sherman, Jackie and Vincent Palumbo, Jessica F. Brandt, David and Dessa Giffin, Nancy Davis and Richard Ashmore, and Timothy Ryan and Louise Schreiner. String lighting in adjacent garden areas added a fairy-like touch.

With such joie de vivre on hand, it was time to hail the feet. The 10-piece premier soul cover band, The Essentials, filled the dance floor. Throughout their music making, the grooving Lark-sters took flight.

Mariposa Merriment

Using the Audubon Tea Room as the site, Mount Carmel Academy launched its annual Spring Fling with a patron party, followed by the 8 p.m. gala. The color scheme of the evening was an array of shades of purple to pay homage to the school’s Butterflies of 2023 and their class color. A Perino’s Home and Garden Center-donated ficus tree stood in the center of the room. In keeping with the theme, the tree was decorated with glistening butterflies that sparkled under the soft purple lighting.

The tables added decorative fillips, thanks to the centerpieces — iris creations! — by IRIS floral + event design studio and the whimsical silver animals that added a touch of playful elegance to the zoo atmosphere.

More than 125 auction items made bidding a good bet. There were a Pensacola Regency Towers stay of four nights, donated by Arlea Keller and purchased by the Louk family; a signed and numbered 2023 Crescent City Classic poster by MCA alumna Casey Langteau Johnson, bought by Chandra Chifici; and a 2024 VIP Mardi Gras Experience with the Krewe of Orpheus. The respective donor and buyer were Jorinda Junius and Katie Simoes.

Major sponsors were Lamarque Ford/Ronnie Lamarque, Louis J. Roussel Jr., Loupe Photography, and Schiro’s School Time Uniforms. Gala headliners were the school’s president, Sister Camille Anne Campbell, O. Carm., principal Beth Ann Simno, and for advancement, alumna Amy Gonzales and Cj Padron. Top committee names were alumnae Ashley Hennessey Dubret, Joanna Brady Eckhardt, Megan Ryder Sannino and Kristen Starr Barnes. Twenty-one more names followed as committee cohorts.

Raffles rallied the revelers with, as winners, Gina Perret and Karen Conigliaro, Choose Your Own Vacation; Stacey Melerine, a YSL wallet; Jerry Ryder, reserved on-campus parking; Bill Deris, $2500 reverse raffle winner; and Toby Salsman, gift cards and goodies from a variety of Lakeview businesses.

Others making rounds both inside and outdoors were Robert and Leida Caluda, Frank and Ann Cangelosi, Nicole Chauvin and Billy Slaughter, David and Teresa Lawrence, Ricky and Dottie Loupe, Bob and Judy Quinilty, Kern and Pam Schafer, Joe and Melanie Stephens, Leni and Sandra Sumich, Daniel and Andrea Kurica, and MCA assistant principal Denna Cheramie.

Pigeon Caterers served the patron party, while the main merriment included cuisine from 25-plus restaurants. All with fine fare to lure the lot. Nourished, it was time for the Spring Flingers to move and groove. The premier super group, After Party, took the stage and had the crowds dancing the night away.

Sip to Save

Pink was the palette, but chromatic vice was nice. Such was the look at the Nassau Drive home of Karen T. and Charles P. Stall, who founded Sip to Save as a fundraiser for breast cancer and a celebration of survivors, many of whom were present. The 2023 theme was “Miami Vice Nights.”

Arriving guests followed the pink ribbon luminaries that lined the walkway to the home’s entrance and the step-and-repeat. Further features were the pink rose “kissing balls” and bunting, a “Miami Vice”-colored balloon archway, a cabana that dispensed mojitos, and light-up palm trees and orchids on the tables for the main event. Painted as tropical birds, showgirls strolled the garden, while mermaids splashed in the infinity pool. Purveyance came from chef Scot Craig of Katie’s for a Cuban-style menu, Nola Boils and its Caribbean spread, and Drago’s with luscious grilled oysters.

Choice items — almost 100 — beckoned bucks for the silent auction. A purse raffle gave away 17 designer handbags.

Joining in the “Miami” momentum — and supporting a worthy cause — were Donna Thiele Clement Outstanding Volunteer of the Year awardee Ava Hingle, spouses Marycita Marchese and Brian Boudoin, Courtney and Adam Goens, Chadwick and Jeannette Landry, Mr. and Mrs. Al Copeland Jr., Dr. Ralph and Jina Corsetti, Dr. Robert Vasquez, Dr. Shawn McKinney, Greg and Bonnie Rando, Kim and Patrick Gros, Rich and Nancy Mauti, Chuck and Shana Stumpf Stall, and gala emcee William Stall with Kaitlyn. Just about all answered to impressive titles. And quite a few sported “Miami Vice” threads.

The music was a good fit and a welcoming attraction. Taking the bandstand was Westend and its 80s hits, which proved to be ’23 contemporary for the Sip to Save socializers.