Friends and Fêtes


At 6:20 p.m., Susan Taylor, the Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, stepped forward to address the crowd. She began by reflecting on the museum’s 2022 activity — 16 recent exhibitions, attendance of 300,000+, and the visit by French President Emmanuel Macron — as well as the mention of current exhibits (“Black Orpheus”), the 20th anniversary of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and the forthcoming, highly anticipated “Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour,” July 21-November 26. The names of the chairing foursome for the November Odyssey Ball were revealed: Elly and Merritt Lane and Permele and Garner Robinson.

Then came the name everyone was eager to hear: the recipient of the 2023 Isaac Delgado Memorial Award. It was presented with director Taylor and NOMA board of trustees president D. Brent Wood extending the invitation for the New Orleans Museum of Art Fellows Celebration and the presentation of the prestigious award, which has been given since 1975 to either a person or a worthy company.

“Now for the award,” said Susan Taylor, who continued saying it recognized “someone who has served in every volunteer position.” The beaming recipient was Cammie Kock Mayer, who described her reaction as “flabbergasted and honored,” adding what a pleasure it was to give her time to the museum. She paid tribute to the immediate past museum director, E. John Bullard III, saying “John brought us into our 100th anniversary and Susan (Taylor) has put on the international map of museums.” Her reflective concluding salute was “It is wonderful to be a part of a winning team!” In describing Bullard, Susan Taylor said, “He had a fierce vision for the museum,” and finished with “John, we all owe you a debt of gratitude.” “I love the museum,” said John, “It has been my home for 50 years.” With a twinkle, he cited two special lady friends: Walda Besthoff and Catherine Burns Tremaine.

The foyer in the museum’s new Lapis Center for the Arts has been dedicated to him. It was there that guests mingled after the formalities for a collation, music and camaraderie. Among the many — some, trustees — were Charles Mayer with Cammie, Marguerite and Jimmy Kock with daughter Anne, Valerie Besthoff, David and Catherine Edwards, Julie L. George, Lori and Bobby Savoie, Jean Taylor, Toni Feinman, Carmen and Kelly Duncan, Dana Hansel, Kay McArdle, Anne and King Milling, Gray and Mary Kay Parker, Renee and Stewart Peck, Dathel Georges, Caroline Calhoun, Janis van Meerveld and Charlie Cerise, Pierre Villere, Diane Sustendal Labouisse, Courtney-Anne Sarpy and Katherine de Montluzin, Sid Bhansali and Gia Rabito, Casey and Conny Willems, Harry and Claire Stahel, and scores more who turned an ear to the three-person combo, while they sat at tables topped with indigo linens and centered with arrangements of colorful posies. Palate New Orleans catered in buffet style, garnering raves for, among others, the artichoke hearts.

Harvest at Home

The showplace St. Charles Avenue home of Jennifer and Fred Heebe was the location for the patron happy hour and Harvest at Home Celebration of Second Harvest Food Bank, “Feeding South Louisiana.” Specialty cocktails were the Wheatley Mule and The Paper Plane, while W.I.N.O. (Wine Institute of New Orleans) featured three choice wines. Executive chef Matt Taylor and chefs Michael McGuire, Brandon Johnson and Ishman Boles of SHFB prepared fine fare. So did chefs Serigne Mbaye, Dakar NOLA; Michael Gulotta, Mopho and Maypop; Sue Zemanick, Zasu; Susan Spicer, Rosedale and Bayona; Maggie Scales, La Boulangerie and Link Restaurant Group; Ashley McMillan, Sucre; and Alon Shaya, Miss River and Saba.

The event co-chairs were Susu and Andrew Stall (he was traveling, as was host Fred Heebe) and Courtney and Ted LeClercq, SH president and CEO Natalie Jayroe with husband Ken, Frances and Calvin Fayard, Morris and Cathy Bart, Stephanie (Mrs. Pete) November, Bruce and Ellie Wainer, Elly and Merritt Lane, Melanie (Mrs. Mickey) Loomis, Laurie and Warren Doyle, Penny and Robert Autenreith, Sheila and Britton Sanderford with daughter Shelby Sanderford and John Dabelich, Bill and Mary Hines, Machelle and John Payne, Helen and Tim Young and additional SH supporters. They mingled under the stars on the spacious front lawn of the Heebe residence while the Xavier Molina Quartet set the night to music.

Camp Champs!

The JCRS (Jewish Children’s Regional Service) held its 12th annual Jewish Roots Gala at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where 350 people gathered for the “Jewish Roots of Summer Camp Gala.” Diana Mann and Loel Weil Samuel, with husbands Chip and Larry, chaired the ado with assistance from their committee of 40, ranging alphabetically from Leah Abrams to Rella Zapletal. More notable names were JCRS executive director Mark Rubin with Andrea, board president Michael Goldman with Brenda, longtime camp director Macy Hart with Susan, and past JCRS presidents Bruce Miller with Dr. Jane, Neil Kohlman with Hannah, Marc Beerman with Angela, Leon Rittenberg III, and Lisa Heller with Mark.

The top patron/sponsor category, Camp Director, listed the names of Gayle Benson Automotive Family of Dealerships, Betty and Ira Kohn Foundation (with Fran and Julian Koch and Millie and Robert Kohn), Dori Halpern Schulman and Jack H. Schulman, Sue and Harold Singer, and the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.

The evening included a cocktail reception with libations donated by Sazerac Brands and hors d’oeuvres provided by chef Dan Esses with Rimon. The seated, three-course dinner showcased the culinary skills of the hotel’s chefs. To suggest the outdoors theme, the centerpieces were crafted to look like campfires. Outside the ballroom, a tent with makeshift tree trunks beckoned as a backdrop for photos. The fundraiser’s grand prize was “A Gulf Coast Glamping Package” with multiple donors and Dr. Steven Rutman, of Austin, Texas, as the big “winner.”

Among the bash’s happy campers were Rabbi Katie Bauman and spouse Adam Eckstein, Carla and Louis Fishman, Diane and Alan Franco, Susan and Howard Green, Barbara Greenberg, Melinda and Morris Mintz, Leslie and William Rau, Robert M. Steinberg, Marie and Jimmy Cahn, and Debra L. Bresler. Hundreds more made their pre$ence felt: Close to $300,000 was raised for JCRS’s camp, college and special-needs scholarships.

And when it came time to show dance-floor moves to Soul Revival, the “Camp” champs made tracks to the beat.