Burnishing the Bashes

Film Fun!

Cocktail attire was the suggested dress for the revelry when the New Orleans Film Society raised a glass to 34 years while honoring Elston Howard and Edward Buckles Jr. The society’s biggest fundraising event, the gala beckons bucks for the annual New Orleans Film Festival and supports programs for independent filmmakers in Louisiana and the South. Bravo!

Guests relished the richness of the venue’s architecture, that of the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, where such films as James Bond’s “Live and Let Die,” “Ray,” “Green Lantern,” and “Capone” had locations. For the recent partying, the site’s Art Deco features were enhanced with touches of white and clear crystal, as well as white roses and lilies. The musical embellishment came from Gladney and Cassie Watson Francillon, Robin Barnes & the Fiya Birds, and DJ FTK.

A nine-item auction, which included a week in a Miramar, Florida, beach house, thanked donor/society board president Karon Reese and purchaser Gail Ratzlaff. As for the food and drink partners, the latter showcased cocktails from Lifted Spirits by Sylvain and Casa Luigi Process. Eleven fine eateries, including Messina’s at the Terminal, fed the Film flock.

For the tributes, the event’s 2023 Celluloid Hero Elston Howard, a NOFS board member and “one of only three location managers who is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists,” used the festive forum to thank friends, family and the Crescent City for 26 years in the industry. He and spouse Deven Howard chaired the event with assistance from committee members Karon Reese, Laura Ashley, Carlos and Carmona, Virginia McCollum, Lori Ochsner, Elisabeth Sereda, Doug Spearman, and W. Howard Thompson. Mega-hot actress Jennifer Coolidge was a VIP Table Host along with 10 others. The other honoree, Rising Star Edward Buckles Jr., director of “Katrina Babies,” gave a heartfelt speech about how NOFS has impacted his career.

Sighted were recent Celluloid Hero Alexa Georges with husband Jerry Armatis, actress Lynn Whitfield, Cary Grant and Deborah Elam Grant, Ravi and Michelle Mehta, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Valerie and Calder Lamb, Gina Monette, Beverly and Dr. Robert Matheney, Susannah Coolidge and Fred Diegel, NOFS executive director Sarah Escalante and countless others who, “produced” by DJ FTK, made movie-worthy moves on the dance floor.

Give it up for Grapes

Brut category patrons Elizabeth Bush, Katie Key and Shameen Wrighton, who were joined by spouses Peyton, Scott and Bush, teamed to chair Wine Fête in The Hermann-Grima House’s historic courtyard. The vice chairs were Caitlin Brewster and Katie Gilly. Oenophiles were also lured by the Bourbon and Bubbles one-hour patron party, and the main event’s silent auction, fine wine, local cuisine (Pigeon, Louisiana Seafood Board, Broussard’s) and live music by the Jenn Howard Band. String lights added a lambent glow, while tulips and roses topped the tables. More flowers bloomed in the garden of the impressive Vieux Carré property.

A springtime garden party, Wine Fete benefits the educational programming of the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses. Headliners included Lori Page (with John), board president of The Woman’s Exchange, which owns the Hermann-Grima House; TWE vice president Mary Schmidt with Justin; and a number of the House’s staff members. Tessa Jagger is the HGGHH executive director. Also mingling were Andrew Lamar Hopkins, Catherine and Will Hales, Rolanda Gaines, Shannon and Aimee Brice, Elena and Annabelle Coleman, Mary and Caroline Johnson, Sarah Martzoff and Brian Jackson, Celeste Eustis, and Julie Simpson and Banks McClintock. A wine time was had by all.

Major Donor Dinner

The Windsor Court Hotel was the location for the largesse recognized by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. There, the ninth Goldring-Woldenberg Major Donor Dinner recognized and feted top contributors to the Federation’s 2020, 2021 and 2022 annual campaigns. The evening was a cocktail affair, generously underwritten and hosted by Darryl and Louellen Berger and the Windsor Court Hotel. Alan and Diane Franco were donors for the open bar.

A bouquet of organic greens with a fig vinaigrette, red snapper, and Creole cream cheesecake formed the prandial pleasures enjoyed by the Bergers and the Francos, Federation board chairman Brian Katz with Lisa, CEO Robert French, and 2020/2021 annual campaign co-chairs Joshua Rubenstein (with wife Shawna Jones) and Mara Force (with spouse Joshua S. Force, immediate past Federation board chairman). Nancy and Stephen Timm answered to 2022 campaign co-chairs.

Still others were Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust trustees Vincent Giardina and Lisa Romano, Maury Herman and Cristina Wysocki, Morris and Cathy Bart, Morris and Melinda Mintz, Dr. Marc Behar and Jeff Sbisa, Morton and Carole Katz, and Jonathan Lake, board-chair designate of the Jewish Federation.