Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Carla Kerr Attends Red Hat Society International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana

Wednesday, August 1 - Monday, August 6, 2018

Carla Kerr aka Queen Ladybird of the New Mexico Roadrunner Chapter of the Red Hat Society (RHS) from Alamogordo, New Mexico attended the RHS annual international convention in New Orleans, Louisiana celebrating the RHS 20th Anniversary. There were almost 1300 Red Hatters in attendance and the scene sported many shades of red, purple, pink and lavender with Mardi Gras colors mixed in.

The hotel room was shared with me by Elyse Soffer from Sun City West, Arizona of the Dazzling Jewels Chapter and what a grand time we had enjoying the festivities together.

Wednesday evening the two of us were invited to a private event by Marcy LaSalle from Flushing, Michigan.  Christine Coupe Lozinak aka Madame Christine The Gypsy Woman from Williston, Florida, arranged  for a number of us to attend a seance at Muriel's on Jackson Square, reputed to be haunted. The decor reminded me somewhat of the coffee houses of the seventies with couches, cushions, drapes, etc. Christine Coupe Lozinak brought long red scarves for everyone and taught us how to tie one on our head reminiscent of a gypsy look. Most of us came dressed as gypsies. The ghosts were not out and about this night, but the hors d'oeuvres were delightful and delicious.

L to R: Christine Coupe Lozinak pontificating on something, Christine Orobitg (a Pink Hatter) enjoying the scene and Marlene Matthews of California apparently entertained

Caren McLaren of Perth, Western Australia meeting Marcy LaSalle
Jo Elliot aka Lady Cranberry and her sister, Donna Hempel
Apparently, Madame Christine is anxious for someone to arrive
The ambience was amazing and I do apologize for not taking more pictures of the decor, but the ones I did take were not too good due to the low lighting required for this type of venue.

On Thursday, Elyse and I did some sightseeing and roamed around through the Hat District, a must when one attends convention because the vendors have all the latest Red Hat regalia and bling, lots of bling.

On display in the Hat District for a contest were many beautifully decorated parasols created by various Red Hatters. We did some sightseeing and rested in our room in anticipation of the River Boat Dinner Cruise down the old Mississippi River this evening.

There were nine large buses at the hotel to take us to the river and I believe those buses made two trips each. Once off the bus, the line was long and it did take some time to get everyone aboard, but before long we were underway with delicious food, great music and meeting Red Hatters from all over the world.

A shot of New Orleans and the Mississippi out our hotel room window
A gathering of  Red Hat Society Ambassadors
Carla and Elyse
Jo Elliot with her newly decorated cane
These parasols are fabulous. I would have a hard time judging the winners
Another row of beautifully decorated parasols
There she is, the Natchez in all her glory waiting for all of us to board
The lovely Ellen Wentzel of Newark, Delaware
The Natchez had a lively jazz band
Friday morning was the formal opening breakfast for the convention and it was alive with entertainment, good food, fabulously costumed Mardi Gras people dancing and modeling, along with our fabulous Red Hat Glee Club. This was also the first morning for meeting face to face with the Red Hat sisters sharing the table. We were at Table 56 hosted by Marcy LaSalle and what a FUN group we had at our table.

Marcy is from Flushing, Michigan. Patricia Bassa is from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Elyse Soffer is from Sun City West, Arizona. Pamela Dallos is from Magnolia, Texas. Pamela Houston is from Southgate, Michigan. Johnnie Perryman is from Fort Worth, Texas. Kathy Taylor is from Decatur, Alabama. Roxanne Tyler is from Houston, Texas. Trevora Verchio is from Grafton, Ohio and Carla Kerr is from Alamogordo, New Mexico. We made new friends which is one of the aims of the seating arrangements at the convention.

This is the table centerpiece
A photo of the "Stand Proud" group
Third from right is Elyse Soffer and second from right is our CEO Debra Granich
Johnnie Perryman from Fort Worth, Texas. What a cutie she is!
Kathy Taylor from Decatur, Alabama and Patricia Bassa from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Some excellent local jazz dancers
The mayor of New Orleans, Esteemed Vice Queen Linda Murphy and CEO Debra Granich
Our esteemed Queen Mother Sue Ellen Cooper at the podium with Linda and Debra
Carla Kerr in her superbly decorated hat for the Hat Parade with hers depicting 16 years of hatting
Our Table Hostess Marcy LaSalle, Carla Kerr and Elyse Soffer
L to R: Hatter of the Year 2017 (HOTY) Sue Nicholson, Sue Ellen and Barb Lesiak, 2012 HOTY
Elyse Soffer and Carla Kerr
L to R: Sue, Sue Ellen, Barb and Linda Theriot 2011 HOTY
Elyse, friend and Carla
Linda aka Queen Too Too and Carla aka Queen Ladybird
Saturday morning we were all together at breakfast and enjoyed more entertainment by New Orleans people modeling elaborate costumes. Christine Coupe Lozinak was called to the stage to be named official Red Hat Marshall of our parade which the city was so gracious to help arrange. Of course, it was pouring rain, but a lot of us marched out in the rain. We had a jazz band, costumed escorts, the Red Hat Glee Club, the Kazoo Band, a group of nominated Hatters of the Year, Hatters of the Year and the Wheel Chair-Scooter Brigade in the parade. Despite the rain, it was a ton of FUN!

Saturday night brought out the creativity of Red Hatters at the Masquerade Ball wearing all types of costumes. The steak dinner was absolutely perfect. Since this was also Louis Armstrong weekend in NOLA, we had an Armstrong impersonator entertaining us as well as a jazz band providing music.
The big reveal of "Hatter of the Year" 2018 was non other than our table hostess, Marcy LaSalle! We were so pleased and excited for her and she was truly overwhelmed when the announcement was made.
Director of Marketing Emily Yost with Parade Marshal Christine Coupe Lozinak and CEO Debra Granich
One of the fabulous New Orleans Mardi Gras costumes
And yet another costumed dancer entertaining us
Isn't this one spectacular!
The RHS Glee Club entertaining us and they are great!
Our table mate from Decatur, Alabama, Kathy Taylor in her fabulous costume
A random shot of the room of attendees

The crowning of the 2018 Hatter of the Year recepient is Marcy LaSalle from Flushing, Michigan. On the left is Darlene Autin who was there to give gifts to each of the HOTYs. Next is Patty Stevens 2016 from Houston, Texas, Sue Nicholson 2017 from Vandalia, Ohio, Marcy 2018, Linda Theriot 2011 from Houma, Louisiana, Barb Lesiak 2012 from Elmwood Park, Illinois and Marilyn Crisci 2014 from Tucson, Arizona. Two HOTYs' are missing: Flo Gaines and Marilyn Mims

I was in the parade so I did not get any shots of it, but I certainly enjoyed being a part of it despite the rain.

Sunday morning brought many of us together at the "Good Morning Good Bye" gathering and coffee cup exchange that is always FUN. I wound up with a gorgeous cup that is bright yellow with 2-dimensional honey bees all over it with a black ribbon sporting white polka dots tied on the handle. There was no card in the bag so I have no idea who to thank for this, but it's the nicest cup I've ever received at one of these events.

My room mate, Elyse Soffer
Table mate from Ft. Worth, Texas, Johnnie Perryman looking lovely as usual
A number of us stayed over until Monday so we could attend the ever popular Pirate Event hosted by Marcy LaSalle and Marlene Matthews, creators of the "Wenches Gone Wild" Chapter. Everyone comes in costume for dinner, entertainment and FUN on Sunday evening. We gathered via Taxi at Muriel's Restaurant. The food was excellent Louisiana cuisine and we really enjoyed the camaraderie as well.

Believe it or not, this is Christine Coupe Lozinak in disguise!
I do not know these pirate wenches names, but aren't they fabulous!
Two more lovely pirate wenches! Arrggh!
Practicing their Arrggh!
This is Ellen Wentzel sporting a black eye. Me thinks she lost a fight with a curb!
L to R: Marsha Elmer, Mary Kay and friend at the check-in table
I took this last shot on the shuttle bus to the airport because it reminded of my mishap in Indianapolis when I was on an airport shuttle from the airport to the RHS convention hotel.

When they say "Hold On" they mean it!
What a fabulous convention it was and I especially enjoyed getting to know my room mate, Elyse Soffer, better.

This is all I have to say for now. Well, I lied, but it's okay because this seems to be the "in" thing these days.  I'm adding a few more pictures that came from Elyse's cell phone.

Elyse and Carla in line to go aboard the Natchez for the dinner cruise
Carla, Sue Ellen and Elyse
Elyse and Carla with the Prince
Carla Kerr was nominated for Hatter of the Year by Pat Rose Atkisson. She is pointing to her name on the poster.
Carla and Elyse
This is all I have to say for now, honest!

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