If you were lucky enough on Friday, May 6, and you could find the back room at Don's Seafood & Steakhouse downtown, you could see the beaming faces celebrating Marcelle Bienvenu's newest book, No Baloney on My Boat. In honor of the occasion Don's kitchen complimented the affair by cooking recipes out of the book. The stuffed bread was to die for. There was also shrimp hugged by bacon and grilled along with catfish, alligator and shrimp. Bienvenu's remoulade sauce was there to add a smooth, tangy flair to the dishes. Trent Angers, head of Acadiana House Publishing and publisher of the book, gave a brief speech about Bienvenu's work and her importance as a culinary, cultural ambassador for Louisiana through her teaching career as well as her writing. Servers ceaselessly refilled wine glasses, and more than one of bartender Cliff's famous Old-Fashions passed through hands. Bienvenu signed copies of her books and patiently answered questions and smiled for photographs. Outside the door Downtown Alive! was happening and The Howdies acted as a nice, if incidental, soundtrack to celebrate Bienvenu's latest milestone in her career.
Rock Lasserre, Marcelle Bienvenu, and
Brenda and Rocky Landry
Angelina Leger and Marcelle
Book signing attendees
(clockwise from bottom) Robin Harbourt, Cindie Angers, Angelina Leger, Lori Cambre,
Valerie Landry, Fran Clarke and Jany Champagne
Marcelle Bienvenu, and Neetzie and Dewitt David
The Big Easel was bigger than ever this year, breaking all previous years' records in sales for the dozens of artists selected to participate. Kudos to interior designer Jeffery McCullough and the staff of River Ranch Development Corp., who coordinate the one day al fresco show and sale. The preview party on Friday evening, having outgrown The City Club, was moved this spring to the Acadiana Center for the Arts, a fitting venue loved by hosts, artists and patrons alike. As guests enjoyed the nibbles and libations, Chef Jude Tauzin worked the rooms, which were filled with colorful canvases and a lively crowd of art aficionados, who commented with the more-than-occasional "Wow!" Party-goers woke the following day for the show to find beautiful French blue skies, the perfect backdrop for the clusters of white tents filled with art that dotted the deGaulle Square in River Ranch.
Sissy Belfour and Eddie Granger at the
Big Easel Reception
Olivia and Jady Regard
Donna Byrne and Laura
Artist Hope Hebert with Carroll Smith and Nancy Naomi
When Bridgett Beaullieu Simon delivered the news that she and her husband Jonathan were finally starting a family, well-wishers lined up to co-host a baby shower extraordinaire in celebration of the long-awaited news - never mind that Bridgett had to fly in from Seattle for the party. The bouncing baby boy isn't due until August, and Bridgett doesn't plan to travel over the summer, but since she never misses Festival International, a spring date was set. (The proud poppa was en route home to Oregon from a business trip in Zurich.) Over 50 guests arrived with gifts in tow to share the happy news with great-grandmothers-to-be Deedie Beaullieu and Lu Daigle, grandmothers-to-be Karen Daigle and Ellen Simon and dozens more friends and family members.
Mom-to-be Bridgett Beaullieu Simon with
a host of shower hosts!
Karen Daigle with daughter Bridgett,
Mary Thompson and Lu Daigle
Bridgett Simon and Claire Beaullieu
Deddie Beaullieu, Bridgett Simon and Lu Daigle