An inaugural event, an indoor garden party and seated dinner, welcomed charter members, a new philanthropic leadership circle, of “Friends of BIALA” at the home of board member Kathleen and Ben Waring. “The house was truly beautiful,” said hostess Kathleen, giving credit to all of those who contributed to the special occasion benefiting the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana.
Royal Artists lent their Mardi Gras parade float flowers; centerpiece arrangements included lovely flowers and greens, some from Kathleen’s garden; blue and white themed the indoor garden party; and Kitty d’Litter and the Ladies of Petronius served the food and provided entertainment in the form of singing in elaborate drag. Langenstein’s, Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant, Catering by Laura Arrowood, Jake Thomas of AfterDark Production, Sapphire Events and Lula Restaurant Distillery purveyed fine food and drink. More atmosphere came via Kim Starr Wise and her decorative donation, and Gregg Porter, who hung up lanterns in the front garden and living room.
BIALA VIPs included Chairman Paul Genco, Treasurer Michael Frenzel and wife Anne Marie Marmande, Vice Chairwoman Janet Clarke and husband Richard Nick, board members Dr. Korak Sarkor (with Ashley) and Karen Roy, and director of development Kathleen Mulvihill.
Guests were the Waring daughters, Ellie and Nina (with Dun McIntosh), Dr. William “Will” Waringwith Dot Weisler, Dr. Phyllis Waring, William Vollenweider (hostess Kathleen’s dad) Dr. Glenn and Karen Barnett, Geoffrey and Holly Snodgrass, Maryanne Van Meter and Jean Lapeyre, Susan and Kathryn Burkenstock, Grace Kaynor, Drs. Randa and Freddy AbiSamra, Eileen and Gene Gambel, Adrienne Hammer and Jonathon Rhynning, Dr. Richard and Cathy Scribner, Jake and Kevin Thomas, Linda and Larry Abbott, Cecile Picou, and Gregg Porter.
A particular highlight of the gala evening was the talk by Nicole Marquez. A former dancer, she fell from a five-story building, resulting in traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries. Now, eight years later, she teaches dance and yoga, is a motivational speaker and a BIALA board member.