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Film Fun

“Celluloid Hero” was the marquee for Alexa Georges, who was celebrated and honored at the New Orleans Film Society’s Gala. It unreeled on a balmy Saturday evening in the Four Seasons Hotel, where dozens of cinephiles gathered for al fresco cocktails in the Courtyard Garden before ascending to the Plimsoll Ballroom. From there, the comely crowd imbibed the stupendous sights of the Mississippi River, as they enjoyed festive bites, libations, live music and dancing. The gorgeous flowers by Pam Georges Dongieux and her company consisted of blue hydrangeas, lavender and red roses, and white tulips.

In addition to the hors d’oeuvres, there was a made-to-order pasta bar and a Southern Comfort action station. Jelani Akil Bauman, LeTrainiump, and DJ Legatron Prime provided the musical menu, which was duly savored.

Auction ado produced bid business. Two choice items were Beyoncé’s D&G sunglasses, which were donated by Tina Lawson and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and purchased by Michael Mimeles; and La Petite Grocery’s donation of dinner for a dozen. It was bought by Jason Waguespack (attending with Jeffrey Morgan) and City Council member Helena Moreno (with Chris Meeks).

Mastheaders included honoree Alexa Georges with husband Jerry Armatis, gala chairs Elston and Devon Howard, gala emcees Michelle Miller and Doug Spearman, actor Lynn Whitfield, City Council member Lesli Harris, Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich and Desi Vega, Adam Marcus and Linda Novak, Beverly and Dr. Robert Matheney, Gina Monette, and Susan and Ralph Brennan. Also, from the honoree’s family, Pam Georges Dongieux, John and Dathel Georges, and Zana Georges with Nicholas Frangas.

A native New Orleanian, the honored Alexa “has been a cultural philanthropist” for decades “supporting the cultural arts as a patron and volunteer.” She’s a past board president of the New Orleans Film Society (which she describes as her baby) and, at present, is an honorary board member.

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Still others gathered for the tributes and Alexa’s heartfelt speech were gala committee members Michael Collins, Virginia McCollum, Robin Marrouche and the above Beverly Matheny and Doug Spearman. Also, Valerie M. Grubb, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Gregory Morey and Scott K. James, Bob Edmundson, George Lancaster, Dr. Marilu O’Byrne and Sam Robinson, Dr. Ronald Swartz, former NOFS executive director Fallon Young, another former executive director in Jolene Pinder (with Jason Curole), Dawn DeDeaux, Lisa and Gary Zoller, Janet and Scott Wilson, David Bernard and Charlie Urstadt, Lizzie Guitreau, Gail and John Bertuzzi, and Parker Roy. For starters.

After the gala (and the recognition of the society’s 33rd anniversary), Alexa said she was “overwhelmed at first” to be honored and then humbled by all the people who attended the event. She continued saying she wants to get more young people involved in philanthropy and in the Film Society. Her concluding words expressed her pride in the strides made by the NOFS. The reel thing!

Nefer, Nefer Land

Susan M. Taylor, the Montine McDaniel Freeman director, and Rob Steeg, board president, both New Orleans Museum of Art, extended the invitation for the patron preview of “Queen Nefertari’s Egypt,” which is organized by the Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy, and StArt, in collaboration with NOMA. Generous support came from many sources. According to Taylor, “With this exhibition, royal life in Nefertari’s Egypt will come alive ….” In addition to the eponymous queen, the first royal spouse of Ramesses II, the focus is on the lives of the royal women “during the New Kingdom Period (c.1539-1075 BCE).”

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At 6 p.m., Susan Taylor addressed the audience from the top of the grand staircase in the Freeport McMoRan Great Hall with gratitude to many and acknowledgements of the roles of Italian Consul General in Houston Federico Ciattaglia, Ambassador of Italy to the United States Mariangela Zappia, and Rob Steeg, whose late father, Moise, headed the NOMA board at the time of the 1977 blockbuster exhibition, the “Treasures of Tutankhamun.” Two huge urns were at the base of the stairs, filled with floral profusions. The NOMA Volunteer Committee gratefully thanked the New Orleans Town Gardeners (Cathy Cary, Mary Clare Conwill, Caroline Reily and Kim White) for those attractions.

Among the scores assembled were NOMA director emeritus John Bullard; current board members Kenya Messer (with Quentin), Thomas Henley, Tony Adams, Henry Lambert (with Carey Bond), Luz Caputto, and Gayle Benson; and Susu Stall, Susan and Ralph Brennan, Gail and John Bertuzzi, Joseph Darensbourg, David Kerstein, and key NOMA staff.

Partaking of the tasty Laura Arrowood catering and the Café NOMA libations were Ann Fitzmorris, Natasha Alveshire, Katherine Diamond, Sarah Dunbar with Gregory Morey and Scott James, Kathleen Davis, John and Carol Hall, Barbara and Biff Motley, Penny and Jack Bryant, Julie Wise Oreck, Pam and Bill Ryan, Dana Hansel, Elizabeth Boh, Wayne Amedee, Katherine and Tony Gelderman, Shaun and Foster Duncan, Melanee and Steve Usdin, Catherine and David Edwards, Brian Sands, Judith Oudt, Sarah Vance, Brian and Mary Grace Kuehne, Lele and Brent Wood, Anne Gauthier, and 630 or so others. All agreed with the description of Nefertari as “beautiful companion.”

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Twinkle, Twinkle

Presented by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, and with HGI Realty & Facility Management and Gus Willy Apparel as patron sponsors, Cabrini’s Night Under the Starts Soirée beckoned with “delicious cuisine, open bar, live jazz, silent auction (and) raffles.” The site was the Esplanade Courtyard of the high school’s historic campus.

Forming the social constellation as they partook of La Bella’s Catering and turned an ear to the clarinet and piano duo of Michael Scorsone and Marianne Eyeles were Cabrini president Jack Truxillo and spouse Sharon, principal Yvonne Hrapmann, Debbie Schlumbrecht and Lori Sander from the presenting sponsor, and, from the patron sponsors, HGI’s Steven Hebert with Judie. Making rounds, too, were Cat Fleuriet and husband Spenser Smith, Jamie Clark with husband Jefferey Gulotta, Victoria Lombard, Harriet Robin, and Christine Morris.

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Thrills occurred during the auction when Michelle Stiaes “won” the Krewe of Orpheus package donated by Florence Wingerter.

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