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Attendees at last week's Jazz in January. From left,Gucci Handbags, Bryant Gumbel,Louis Vuitton Handbags, Emeril Lagasse, Cathie Black,sac louis vuitton, and Daniel Boulud.
Thursday night, far above sea level in the heights of the Hearst building, New Yorkers and New Orleanians gathered once again for Jazz in January to benefit the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. They crowded together among fleur-de-lys panels, magnolia bouquets, and Mardi Gras bead chandeliers to celebrate the year’s honoree, Hearst honcho Cathie Black. After his remarks, Bryant Gumbel,Sacoche Louis Vuitton, the night’s emcee and a New Orleans native, ceded his mic to the likes of Allen Toussaint and Ingrid Lucia, who played standards such as “Caldonia” and “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You.”
Earlier that afternoon and several floors below, Town & Country Deputy Editor John Cantrell had huddled with his staff in the fashion closet, where they had a particularly good view of the U.S. Airways miracle landing on the Hudson. The sight of people gathered on those wings was eerily reminiscent of Katrina victims stranded on rooftops. But now Cantrell found himself savoring the eastern panorama of Manhattan, along with a little bowl of Daniel Boulud’s heavenly duck gumbo, itself something of a miracle.Everyone enjoyed Cajun and Creole amuses bouches, charcuterie, beignets, and other Crescent City delights proffered by Boulud and the inimitable Emeril Lagasse.
Julia Reed, of Newsweek and New Orleans (and whose departure from Vogue merited an entire rapturous column from Liz Smith in last week’s New York Post), worked the room in Bill Blass. Reed, who co-chaired the evening with Hearst VP Deb Shriver, just came out with her new book, The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story.
Aside from a shared dedication to revelry, New York and New Orleans have much in common—disaster, resilience,Louis Vuitton Handbags, and recovery, not to mention pride and unity.
And unity was key last night. Everyone there had a common adoration of New Orleans. Arif Reza was hired last night simply to bartend,Gucci Handbags, but was thrilled to learn the cause—he had volunteered in Louisiana for two weeks after Katrina. New Orleans City Councilwoman Stacy Head, glamorous as any magazine editrix, and Louisiana State Representative Neil Abramson had come up for the party. The two public servants, both young and inspired to duty by Katrina’s devastation, agreed that improvement was imminent, especially with the new President.
As the crowd walked into the frigid night, Bryan Batt, who plays Salvatore Romano on Mad Men, took the stage with the Dirty Soap Entertainment Band for an impromptu number.
“Do you know what it means to leave New Orleans, when that’s where you left your heart?” floated Batt’s words, ringing a little sadness in everyone’s chest. But perhaps the more than $250,000—enough to put eight homes back together—raised last night can soothe that twinge. And maybe a little more of that deliciously rich gumbo.
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