Feb 072013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Danae’s Mardi Gras is not complete without the annual trek to Gallier Hall for the Mayor’s Ball. Lucky for us, Gallier Hall is only four blocks from our office, so Danae walks over.

Last night’s event — as usual — was an outstanding gathering, a great place to people watch and do business. His Honor of course was present along with most of his senior staff and the majority of the City Council — LaToya, Cynthia, Jackie, Kristin and Susan — and their husbands. Danae overheard Mayor Landrieu speaking to a national journalist about the willingness of investors to bring their money to New Orleans, since the Mayor never misses an opportunity to promote the city. Honorary Dutch Consul Connie Willems, new president of the Consular Corp, was talking about how foreign governments are placing more emphasis on trade in this region.

Lots of legislators — like the always-stunning Helena Moreno and Jared Brossett, and judicial leaders including Darren Lombard, the new clerk of court in Algiers — were making the rounds. Let’s not forget the aspiring candidates, shaking hands and looking for potential support.

Champagne was flowing freely along with King Cake Vodka, and lots of appetizers too. But the best was the large assortment of sliced king cakes from various bakers around town. Danae never misses the opportunity to eat Sucre’s fabulous sweets. Mayor Landrieu’s favorite meeting planner, Dottie Belletto, and her capable staff did an excellent job. A special treat were two rooms set up like jazz clubs where New Orleans favorite musicians including Stephanie Jordan belted out our favorite tunes.

Everything was fab except for the rain that pelted parade watchers and riders. But it didn’t stop Grand Marshal Laura Buchtel, who kept on throwing, and people like Peggy Scott and Errol Laborde, who kept on catching. Pam and Ralph Lupin remembered their umbrella and used it to get one of those decorated Nyx purses from their daughter riding on Nyx float.

Danae forgot her umbrella of course but rounded up a large garbage bag she fashioned into a cape for the short walk back home.  Now that the rain has stopped, Danae is getting ready to catch some shoes tonight at Muses, sit at the President Table at the Zulu Ball and “Hail Bacchus” on Sunday. Then back to Gallier Hall for a fun-filled Mardi Gras day.

Ash Wednesday always comes too soon.

Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City Councilwoman Stacy Head, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and council candidate Dana Kaplan.

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