Early June: Sharon Moss hosts the kickoff party for Martini Madness, a fundraiser featuring weekly martini tastings at various competing restaurants throughout the summer. The winner receives a title and Healing House receives the proceeds for its grieving children.
After that many martinis, you’ll be the aggrieved.
June 9: The University Art Museum opens its summer exhibitions with a flashy reception, not the least of which is NYC artist Kate Clark’s “Mysterious Presence” a herd of taxidermied sculptures with human faces. According to Clark, “although we are of enlightened existence, we are of wild origin.” Here’s proof.
June 16: The 17th Annual Best Dressed of the Teche comes once more to the City Club. A true best-dressed bunch– selected solely for their snappy threads and community standing– the ten honorees, including former LSU offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk, dined and did a turn on the catwalk while radio god Don Allen emceed. By the way, you haven’t seen wild until you’ve seen Don Allen.
Happy Father’s Day, gentlemen.
Mid-May: The Symphony does not invite me to their luncheon.
Rhythms on the River bids adieu for the summer. It will be sorely missed. So will dance man James Moore.
The Petroleum Club throws itself a party at Le Pavillon. There are grits & grillades in martini glasses, JB Saxx, and oilfield for days, including Oklahoma geologists Pete Klentos and Bill Grubb. Pete tells me Huey P. Long once went to OU for a semester. OU always did want a university its football team could be proud of.
Breizh-Amerika comes to Lafayette. Breizh is Breton for Brittany, and the delegation has come to foster connections between the two regions, which have similar language and cultural concerns. I go to meet them at the Centre International de Lafayette, but they’re a no-show, presumably because of traffic on I-10.
Buck & Johnny’s hosts a fundraiser for the St. Martin Hospital and the Lafayette General Foundation in their Glassroom. Let it be said in Lafayette that Breaux Bridge understands dressy casual and their politicos—Scott Angelle, Sen. Fred Mills, and Parish President Guy Cormier– understand the importance of a local hospital. “Lafayette General rescued us,” said Mills. “We were in trouble.”
Breizh-Amerika shows up at Gallery Acadie in Scott the following morning. Seems it wasn’t the traffic in Baton Rouge, they went to the zoo. In the crowd is quintessential Cajun Zachary Richard, accordionistes Thomas Moisson and Jacob LeBlanc, and clearly ici on parle français.
I taught Jacob LeBlanc back in the day and according to his mother, he got in trouble his one and only time in my class. It completely straightened him out because now he is a first-rate musician.
Cajun Brewing brings its fabulous Cajun Wit beer. The Breton-beer connection is very strong.
May4: Avec Souci hosts its Garden Tours in a glorious comeback. Particularly lovely are the geraniums and ginger at Emma Carruth’s and the rosemary-run-wild at Beth Champagne’s. Champagne’s driveway is paved with the original bricks from Jefferson Street. They once ran wild too.
May 6: My daughter dubs the next several days Momfest, a long weekend celebration that includes Mother’s Day and my birthday, which come back-to-back. We launch it with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and potato chips. If you’ve never tried this, you should.
We go to the 20th Anniversary Herbfest in Sunset sponsored by the Sunset Garden Club with antiquing afterwards. You should try this also. There are some great flea market finds.
My friends give me a late-night birthday party at Marcello’s and a 2006 bottle of Tassinaia from Tuscany. Marcello’s describes this as “super- Tuscan”. This is how Rome conquered the world.
The Acadiana Symphony does not invite me to their Derby Party at Le Pavilion.
I have brunch at my daughter’s on Mother’s Day and she makes my favorite, her own adaptation of Chef Bobby Fley’s venison hash.
She says I was supposed to get a dozen farm free-range eggs as well but Scott Daniels stole them from the refrigerator at work. When confronted, he said, “I thought they were mine.”
This is the flip side of “Officer, that’s not mine.”
End of April, Early May: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society announces its fundraising frontrunner. Dr. Ramesh Kolluru of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the man—raising $117,000 for LLS including an additional $8,000 for C.J. Clements’ daughter Brittni– although he vowed if elected he will not serve. Kris Wartelle of The Advertiser was the winning female despite raising only 1/6 as much. Dr. Kolluru said he was only in it for the children, one of whom is poster girl Kacie François, his daughter’s classmate.
I taught the three youngsters below in the gifted program back in the day and take complete credit for them.
City Club hosts their first Mother-Son dinner dance. Eighties was the theme and hosts of Cyndi Laupers came with small boys. I didn’t teach any of these, but sort of wish I had, particularly Axel Rose in the middle.
The Avec Souci Garden Tours are rained out.
I make the mistake of trying to explain the White House Correspondents Dinner to people on Facebook. Never try to explain anything to people on Facebook.
April 20: Brittney Pelloquin holds a premiere party at Club 337 in the Doubletree Hilton. The 27-year-old Lafayette native has a degree in visual arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and pursues body painting, an ephemeral art form much like the sand and ice sculpture, all of which wash away. Skin Wars is a painting competition where contestants undertake challenges and strive not to be eliminated. Pelloquin says her goal is to open people’s minds to personal identity and for people to embrace who they are as a person. “There’s an innocent beauty,” she says.
Reality TV may never wash away.
Festival International de Louisiane takes place downtown. Some 400,000 visitors descend on Lafayette, according to The Advocate, to hear everything from African drums to Spanish rappers. The free shuttles from Cajun Field work wonderfully well, although it takes the excitement out of paying $20 to park in a makeshift lot downtown and being blocked in.
The society tent is next to the main stage, and Event Rental’s Richard Young has decked it out this year in hubcaps and lights. Those who underwrite the Festival get meat pies, festival punch and private port-o-lets, as well they should.
Despite heavy security and required wristbands, it’s just as easy to jump the fence here as at the White House and the gate cop gives chase. Reality TV hasn’t discovered this yet, or it would be a series.
There’s an innocent beauty.
First Week in April: The Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation holds its famous night with Jake Delhomme at the exclusive Evangeline Downs Clubhouse. This is a beautiful party. The horses aren’t bad either.
April 9: The Alumni Center also throws its superb Spring Gala honoring Gail Romero and Nancy Van Eaton Prince. Romero says when she and Nancy entered the real estate business, it was all men, but it was not their intention to compete– they just wanted to make some money. Once they were successful, then it was on.
Lafayette’s controversial “Nude Artwalk” takes place, a protest in support of artist Nicole Touchet. Touchet received a notice and reprimand from her lessor for showing figure paintings in public view, and the community turned out in force. Sadly, there were no nudes and the only shame was Moss Motors ran out of champagne in the first hour.
By the way, this piece is by me. No men were harmed in the making of this drawing.
Advanced Piping Solutions presents the 19th Charity Challenge Golf Tournament at Le Triomphe. Eighteen teams turn out to play for the Acadiana Outreach Center and the community’s most needy.
I can’t promise no men were shamed.
Late March: My daughter’s boyfriend returns and builds her a shed, shingles it, and cuts his hair like Vikings. He then washes my house. It’s like having your house washed by Ragnar Lothbrok.
Rhythms on the River begins again, a certain sign of spring. Everybody who’s anybody is there in the Square to hear the Molly Ringwalds, although it’s not clear if the sound system or the Mollies are in need of a tune-up. The lines are long at Lafayette’s mini-Woodstock, both at the bar and the port-o-lets, and one gentleman assumes out loud I’m trying to cut although I’m simply trying to make my way out.
I’ll show you cuts.
The Advocate in Baton Rouge travels to Lafayette on behalf of Team MacKenzie. MacKenzie Bourg is the American Idol Top 4 Finalist appearing in Parc Lafayette, and my capital city associate asks me for a restaurant recommendation.
Sorry, I’m Team Ragnar.
An Advocate subscriber in Oaklawn Heights writes me about her delivery difficulties. Apparently the new Advocate carrier, in an effort to improve service, elected to place red reflective tape on mailboxes and telephone poles in her neighborhood. This resulted in a misunderstanding of monumental proportions and residents calling the police, who advocated more patrols, a stake-out, and advised residents to be on high alert and not to remove the reflective tape because then fingerprints could not be lifted.
By the way, during Passover, the Israelites marked their doors with red so the Lord knew not to strike their firstborn.
Without the red reflective tape, the carrier struck your newspaper.
March 9: They are sandbagging New Iberia and cancelling school, but the Haiti: Paintings from Paradise opening at Acadiana Center for the Arts goes on. Ben Berthelot, Gerd Wuestemann, and Scott Feehan make a pretty snappy portrait of their own.
March 10: Save Ze Ta Taz takes place at River Oaks. This is an event where art bras are put up for auction. An art bra is like an art car, a vehicle that has had its appearance modified as an act of personal artistic expression. It was a tough call, but I have to go with the antlers.
Less louche, the University Art Museum has a Bienvenu Lecture by Dr. Richard Brettell from UT Dallas, who talks about French Impressionist gardens. The lecture series is in honor of the late John Bienvenu—he used to sit next to me in drawing class and I used to tell him his work looked really impressionist. He may be the first and only man who ever listened to me.
The Presidents Ball is held at the Petroleum Club.
March 12: The Advocate sponsors the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in Lafayette due to the concentration of local inductees. Every politician in the South and then some is there, including both Governor Edwards.
On the way I see flashing blue lights and sirens behind me and assume it’s someone’s police escort. It wasn’t. Nervous, I pull over and hear driver- step- out- of- the- car- please- and-step- to –the- front- of- the- vehicle.
Seems I neglected to put the 2017 sticker on my license plate. The sticker’s in my glove compartment.
However, I would like to commend patrolman Ruiz and his partner as both officers and gentlemen.
It’s been ages since a man made my heart pound.
February 28: Krewe of Rio has its last-krewe-standing brunch at River Oaks in the Camellia Room. The party is for past and present King Dom Pedros and Queen Isabels. Larry Swindle is there, and says the reality series “Found” is coming to his home on March 2 to film a fossil from Oklahoma. No, it’s not me.
February 29: The Acadiana Symphony Women’s League stages its 25th Mad Hatters Luncheon at the Doubletree Hilton. The hats were formidables, and it is suggested by one League volunteer I wear one also, perhaps a fascinator with butterflies.
Why-aren’t-you-in-Vegas Sinatra singer Spencer Racca performed and at one point, walked by and kissed my hand.
I don’t need no stinkin’ butterflies.
March 3: Go Red for Women holds their annual luncheon and fundraiser, also at the Doubletree Hilton. There are Mardi Gras-like boas and cowboy hats, but some sharp-dressed gals also, including elegant Chanel lady Deborah Girouard.
Following heart-rending testimonials, men dance down the runway in women’s wear. It wasn’t clear which needed more work, the men or the clothes.
February 15: My daughter’s old boyfriend comes home for a visit and his family and I have lunch at French Press downtown. He’s the chef from Boston, not the one whose clothes she set on fire. The only burning this one did was in the kitchen.
I get an actual hand-written nuptial thank you note. Not only is it the first one in forever, it’s personally written by the groom, former LSU offensive lineman Josh Dworaczyk. Rarer than a Cleveland Browns win.
February 17: The Lafayette Young Lawyers Association holds an alfresco winter social at Café Vermilionville. According to the waitstaff, the restaurant has a resident chicken, a stowaway who came to work one day and stayed. It mingled briefly but did not care for the legal eagles and left.
February18: Sharon Moss kicks off the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign. Various individuals throughout the town fundraise for them and whoever has the most dollars at the end of 10 weeks, wins. Interestingly, I discover I’ve taught all of the younger guests, including the LLS Girl of the Year Kacie Francois. I take complete credit for them.
On the other hand, I can’t teach Don Allen a *!#% thing.