School Nights!

The Big Top!

Dominican High School rallied festive forces on campus for its Legacy Gala with the catchy title: “Greatest School on Earth.” The scheduled events during the chockablock circus caper included a patron party with the DHS Jazz Ensemble; the silent auction (Ardyn Treadaway Lofton was a major bidder) and the gala with music makers the Benchwarmers; and the “Greatest Live Auction.” For that, John Chatellier stepped forward for the going, going, gone that had Amy and Lonnie Smith and Sharon and Mark Rodi as choice bidders for graduation seats. The top tier sponsors were Azby Fund and Barberito Photographers, Legacy, and in the Veritas category, Schiro’s School Time.

The Big Top came to life decoratively, thanks to a red-and-white draped ceiling, vibrant colossal lions, elephants, a juggler, stilt walker, popcorn bags and thematic circus-animal centerpieces. More fun came via the Champagne Lady and photo booth.

Top names were gala chairperson and alumna Caroline Favre Goings and Planning Committee members Rebecca Agent (with husband Charles), Lauren Kenning Beasley, Toye Roberts Brumfield, Monique Cooling, Mary Wilderotter Dale, Melanie Nolan Diket with David, Erin Illg Graham with Charles, Candace Hutchinson with Brian, Patrice Keller Kononchek, Aimee Landry with Rob, Jorge Lauriano (rating raves for the food), Ronique Lee, Shannon Rodi Nash with Michael, Jessica Treadaway Palazzo, Kelly Wells Ponder, Magali Puente, Sally Russo, Shannon Hickey Sarrat, Kelly Presskitt Scairono, Jaime Miner Thomas, Theresa Bertucci Truxillo and Lauren Tucker. Representatives from the Advancement Team (such as Jessica Stia Couch with Nick and Sandra Cordray) and Leadership Team (school president Dr. Cynthia A. Thomas and Dr. Maureen Wright with Greg) joined the revelry. So did a host of patrons, Todd Owens, Jill and Scott Cabes, Jane and Ken Blanchard, and scores more for whom “Greatest” was just that.


A play on “I WANT MY MTV” and with a nod to the ‘90s, the Louise S. McGehee School Parents’ League rocked the rafters. Headlining names were gala troika Lacy Edgecombe (husband Hardie got a full report later), Amanda Moeller (with Matthew) and Annie Thibodeaux (with Paul); patron chairs Ayame Dinkler, Annie Gonzalez and Martine Chaisson Linares with Carling, Orlando and Juan; auction chair Shelly Davis Gennerado with Todd; and Parents’ League President and alumna Tayor Schmidt Pospisil with Martin. Also, head of school Dr. Kim Field-Marvin with Mike; at-home patron party hosts Amy and Garrison Neill; board chair Laura Shaw Shields and successor Hannah Dietsch with spouses Sonny Shields and Michael Balascio; Kate and Etienne Balart among the many patrons; and Mark Mahfouz, top bidder for the Wellington & Co. necklace for his in-attendance wife, Andrea. It was donated by Wellington owners/school parents Brandy and Tom Whisnant. Catching every eye were Claiborne and event designer Carter Jahncke Perrilliat, a 25th-reunionee. She wore her McGehee uniform and Claiborne, his from Jesuit days.

Further features were a themed 90s step-and-repeat, a light show, an eight-items live auction headed by faculty member Amy Argenti (with jewelry and a Ralph Brennan French Quarter dine-around package), food by Barracuda and Blue Oak BBQ, and the band, Big in the 90s, for some time-period boogieing.

Sea and Be Seen

For the recent Maroon & White Gala, The De La Salle Parents Club and Edmond ('74) and Renée Haasé opted for more aqueous color with “South Seas on St. Charles.” The above couple, along with Two Lads & a Lady, Mark and Fran Scofield and Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company were the On the Avenue Sponsors. Figuring as individuals in the next giving categories were Chris D’Amour, Margaret Kelly, Molly McLanahan (and the Class of 2023), Darren and Shannon Beltz, Marie A. Bookman, state Sen. Gary Carter Jr. and Dr. Desirée Morrell Carter, Cheryl and Pierre Champagne, Cappy and Brian Johnson, and Jeena Seals.

Varied and exciting lighting effects created the South Seas atmosphere, as did the leis given to arriving guests. The bars were fronted with raffia and strung above with lights encased in paper balloons. White drapery and string lights hung from the ceiling, along with paper circular lanterns. Braziers had lighted “flames” and wisteria and greenery topped several columns. Covetable auction items (with thanks to Diane Hale) and New Orleans Elysian Fields food choices kept the party pack perusing and grazing, while The Treasure Chest, Message in a Bottle, the 50/50 Raffle and the Wine & Spirits Pull beckoned.

Spearheading “South Seas” were gala chair Debbie McLanahan, co-chair Karen Seither, school president and auctioneer Paul Kelly, Fran Scofield, Cappy Johnson, Heidi Lutz, Karen Evanoski, Lisa Buras, Stacy Scott, Barbara Williamson, Bam Gressett, 14 committee members, and the development team’s foursome. On Fire Entertainment ignited the sounds, getting lots of dance-floor action with “Celebration.”

Louvre Levity

The I.M. Pei glass pyramid that stands in the Central Courtyard of the Louvre Museum in Paris was depicted, as an apt invitation image, for Ecole Bilingue’s gala. It was titled “Night at the Louvre — A World to Discover” and held on two fronts: The Witry Collective on Baronne Street for the patrons (and with thanks to spouses Katie Witry and Todd Riché, as well as Sleazeball Orchestra) and the school itself on General Pershing Street. Greek and Roman marble statues lined the entry, works of art from the 14th through the 19th centuries were presented in salon style, and the school’s chef Adrienne Resh’s buffet (supported by Perrone and Sons) was stylized as a Dutch masterpiece. Each space of the Soireé had a theme. Pianist Benjamin Patrier-Leitus, DJ ÆXÖ, and the auction’s 190 items added to the merry momentum.

Notables included head of school Loïc Denichou and wife Jeanet, Mary Wallace Shaver and Jonathan, Crickett and Andrew Lapeyre, Jacques Baran, Emily Wolfe (Scott was out of town), Melissa and Jean-Marc Pellerin, Olivier Lau and wife Maya Hua, Loulan and Tiffany Pitre and about 350 others whose support raised $82,000-plus for the school. Chapeau!