My favorite time of the year is upon us. Fall is here y’all, which in New Orleans means pretty much nothing, but I like the feeling it brings.
As we enter my favorite month of the year, October, let’s look back at the end of September. There were lots of cool things happening. Although my work schedule kept me pretty busy most of the two weeks, I still managed to eke out just a teeny bit of fun.
I started by attending a watch party at my friend Matt Dow’s French Quarter manse on Wednesday night to watch the newest season of American Horror Story. I love this show and this year’s season has the best theme and vibe ever, and just in time for Halloween. AHS 1984 is a throwback to all your favorite slasher movies of yesteryear like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp and Halloween with Ryan Murphy’s own special twisted take on them. The first two episodes were amazing and I am so excited about the rest of the season.
I haven’t done a watch party for anything since Bianca del Rio was on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and I forgot how much fun it is hanging out with friends and watching a great (and scary) show. There are four of us every Wednesday now planted in front of the TV with the lights out adding to the atmosphere. It also helps that Matt’s house is supposedly haunted. If you have not started watching this season, catch up–it’s a bloody good time!
The following day, I attended the unveiling of the brand new Pavilion For Tomorrow, located on the crowning floor of the historic Ives Building in the Warehouse District. Inspired by legendary philanthropist Patrick F. Taylor, the beautifully renovated space, with its rooftop overlooking the downtown skyline, offers the ideal setting for any private parties. All events are exclusively catered by James Beard award-winning chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, who were our hosts for the evening. For more information on the Pavilion go to www.calcasieurooms.com.
The remainder of the weekend, I laid pretty low with the exception of an impromptu pool party at former Southern Decadence Grand Marshal Adikus Sulpizi’s house on Sunday. I have to say no one throws a pop-up barbecue swim soiree like Adikus and his husband David.
The following week, I went to two productions, the first being Measure for Measure at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The NOLA Project production of Shakespeare’s dramedy is brilliant albeit long. I mean three hours, come on now William, you really should’ve had a copy editor look at your stuff. My hats go off to anyone who mounts a Shakespearean play, just learning those lines alone can be daunting. Hell, I was having trouble keeping up, I can just imagine how hard the actors worked. Also, the beauty of seeing a classic production in the Great Hall of NOMA adds to the splendor of the show.
On Wednesday, I had the honor to be one of the speakers at the Tourism University sponsored by New Orleans and Company. The event was held at Calcasieu and was for members of the hospitality community. The topic was Pride 365 which basically helps the hospitality community understand and welcome the LGBT+ traveler throughout the year not just during gay holidays. Along with myself, the other presenters included Malaysia Walker, George Melichar, Frank Perez, LaToya Papillion-Herr, Dustin Woehrmann, Beau Moss and Steven Cortese.
Tourism University is presented by the New Orleans LGBT Hospitality Alliance (NOLHA), a volunteer group focused on increasing LGBTQ visitation and creating the most welcoming destination in the world. This talk was intended to help attendees be super-inclusive for all visitors, and spoke about Pride year round as well as the Welcoming Sticker program. The Sticker program is for all businesses to display to show their Pride and their welcoming status to the LGBT traveler.
Thursday was the National Association of Caterers and Events (NACE) annual fundraiser at the Audubon Tea Room. Welcome to the Jungle was the theme of the fabulous evening of food and wine. It started with a reception in the garden of the Tea Room, and then guests moved inside to be seated for a five-course dinner paired with wine. Each course was prepared by a different chef from Messina’s at the Terminal, Nole, Broussard’s, Audubon Institute and Hilton Riverside. There was also a fabulous silent auction and music. The Lieutenant Governor was on hand as well. All proceeds from the night went towards a scholarship for a student at NOCHI (New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute).
The weekend was another whirlwind starting on Saturday with the Chevron Walk to End HIV at Woldenberg Park. I always love participating in this event for a multitude of reasons, but the main ones are to raise funds and remember those who are no longer with us because of this horrible disease. This year instead of walking, I was one of the people in the dunking booth, a perfect opportunity for anyone to get their frustrations out on me. It was all in great fun and the few times I did get dunked felt great on that especially humid day. Having the event along the river was not only beautiful, but afforded attendees a cooling breeze. A good time was had by all and it raised lots of funds for CrescentCare.
That evening, I attended the Blue Rose Ball at the Hyatt to benefit St. Michael’s School. St. Michael’s is a leader in education where students with special needs are able to grow and reach their full potential, academically, socially, and physically. Technology-rich programs are designed to educate students age six through adulthood with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is an amazing cause and if you know anyone with a special needs child, you can understand why. The evening was themed Everybody is a Star and included a seated dinner, live & silent auctions, and dancing. It truly was a magical night and seeing some of the students who were in attendance made it all the more special.
On Sunday, I attended my second theatrical production August: Osage County at Southern Rep Theatre. The dramedy written by Tracey Letts debuted on Broadway in 2007 and was made into a movie in 2013 starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep who were nominated for Oscars. This is a play about family dysfunction at its best (and worse). I mean Thanksgiving at this household must have been hell. The actors were superb especially Ellen Barry as Violet and Aimee Hayes as Barbara. Everything clicked with this show from the perfectly designed set to the lighting. Congrats to Southern Rep for another superior production.
That wraps up another article, until next time, keep those air conditioners running and enjoy Fall in New Orleans.
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