Pleasures of the park
With spring and Easter attracting attention, the great outdoors invite themselves. Activities at City Park have been plentiful with, like the most recent, the NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) Egg Hunt & Family Festival. Children’s Hospital of New Orleans LCMC Health, Catherine BurnsTremaine and Lynne A. Burkart were the main sponsors, while Blaire Fernandez and Tully Forrester Jordan presided over outdoor fun.
Creating springtime excitement each year, Art in Bloom celebrates the power of the bouquet for five days, beginning with patrons arriving at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Preview revelers hit the floral stage an hour later, and both sets wrap up the night at 9 p.m. Until the next day, Thursday, until the end of Sunday, the floral exhibitions attract the general public.
Such was the recent case of the “Bloom” festival presented by First Horizon and chaired by Kaylea Hill and Dorothee Mannwho were accompanied by their husbands, Hunter and Jo. In the category of top sponsors, Bouquet, donors to know were the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation, Museum Travel Alliance and Katie and Gray Stream. Marla Garvey and the Manns were the individuals giving the next category, Iris, while the Hills, Elizabeth A. Boh, Marion Bright, Caroline and Murray Calhoun, Sally and Walter Cockerham, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Sarah Louise Wood Ham, Sally and Jay Lapeyre, Lynne and Rick McMillan, Miggy and Jay Monroe, Pixie and Jimmy Reiss, and Lynn and Charlie Smith were the people responding to Orchid. The 38 members of the AinB committee, who managed an alphabetical range of Marguerite Beer for Elisabeth Wooten (and included some of the sponsors above); Montine McDaniel Freeman, Director of NOMA Susan M. Taylor; President of the Garden Study Club Catherine Favrot; and Chairman of the NOMA Volunteer Committee Rebecca Friedman. Robert M. Steeg is the president of NOMA.
In the limelight as the featured artist of 2022, Alex Beard of The Alex Beard Studio created a one-of-a-kind painting titled “Art in Bloom” which was valued at $8,000. and featured prominently in the silent auction. (Dozens of other local and regional artists, galleries, and studios contributed.) Beard is best known for his elaborate animal compositions created in his signature style of gesture painting. He calls it “abstract naturalism”.
Eight exhibitor groups – Creative Designs, Exterior Designs, Garden Clubs, Ikebana, Movers & Shakers, Professional Florists, Tablescapes and Young Artists, totaling over 75 entries – added petal appeal. The Mover & Shaker exhibit caught immediate attention in the museum’s large Freeport-McMoRan Hall. Gaelle Benson (thanks to Johnny Lopez). She was there to receive compliments, some from Dathel and John Georges. To celebrate its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, the Rex Organization had an exhibit in an adjacent room. present was James J. Reiss IIIwho wore the Rex crown on March 1.
Among those who admired talent galore were Elinor Bright, Liz and Poco Sloss, Quincy Crawford, Annie and Nat Phillips, and Kevin and Nancy Colomb. Elinor, Poco and Annie (as Miss Sarpy) have been hailed as Rex royalty over the years.
The Sazerac company provided the patron with libations and Beth Biundo Sweets, Café Degas, Café NOMA, Creole Creamery, Galatoire’s, Gautreau’s, Martin Wine Cellar, Mikimoto and Taj Mahal and Nirvana Indian Cuisine served the fabulous food.
Hours later, Teen Thursday started at 9:30 a.m. with two Art in Bloom talks at the Lapis Center for the Arts. Jim DelPrince (Dr.), a professor of floral design and houseplant design at Mississippi State University, spoke first, followed by the famed ceramic designer Christopher Spitzmiller. The next steps were at the Two Sisters Pavilion for Lunch and the Fashion Show. Ralph Brenan Catering and events fed the herd, which then eyed the SOSUSU fashion show and Tanya Taylor.
Who can resist the “song” of the Alouette? Not much, as it was a social gathering on a recent Friday evening when the Friends of the City Park thanked Mother Nature for a lovely evening as they welcomed dozens of people to celebrate 40 years of Lark in the Park. Capital One and Bryan Subaru were the respective sponsors of Majestic Oak and Car Raffle. The president of Friends teamed up to preside over the party Shon Cowan Baker, Ph.D., Blair Broussard, Deb Elam and Cary Grantand Mark Romig and David Briggs. Their committee of 52 traveled the alphabet of Kimberly Allen for Brittany Whitsell. The staff of Friends consists of the Executive Director Stephanie Bell, Andrea Lockwood, Raegan Buckley, Maria Hill and Michael Barkemeyer. Cara Lambright is the new CEO of City Park.
Guests entering the Two Sisters Pavilion area through a balloon arch were greeted by stilt walkers as they mingled in the Zemurray Azalea and Camellia Garden. For the VIP evening, the cuisine was from Cajun Caviar, Louisiana Seafood and Pigeon Catering and Events; entertainment was by Electric Yat Quartet and YellowBox Circus; and entertainment (for the evening) by Mark Romig. Moving on to the three-hour gala, top restaurants provided; spirits came from Crescent Crown, Jackson Family Wines, and the Sazerac Company; and entertainment included Jessie’s Girls, the St. Augustine High School Marching Band, and the circus above. Diamonds Direct Jewelry’s ruby earring raffle, large second line, and virtual auction added more features, as did Doris Ione (a New Orleans-based florist) by Destiny Finch, Funtastic Fotos and Event Photography Matteo & Company. The auction had at least 72 donors.
Members of the Friends of the Municipal Park Board of Directors include Karen Adjmi, Jeffrey Birdsong, Robin Bordelon Borne, Damon Carraby, MaKenzie Hill, Terri Hogan Dreyer, Sudie Joint, Adam McNeil, Matthew Sherman, Jackie Shreves, Kathleen Smith, Ron Stone, Michael Todd, Jason Villemarette and Lindsey Drumsticks. Most were present, as was the president of City Park Jay Batt, Margo DuBose, Beth McDonnell, Lori Hook, Howard Thompson and Kate Prechter, Dessa and David Giffen, Mayra and Hector Pineda, Casie Duplechain, Richard and Vivian Cahn, Philip and Laura Claverie and hundreds of others who, through Friends of City Park and Lark in the Park, cherish City Park as “a place of natural beauty, culture, recreation and education for the public”. To add a boost, Lark brings lightness!