NEW ORLEANS boomed with Mardi Gras celebrations on Fat Tuesday. And after the mad dash for paczki, parties were in full swing in Toledo, too.
Gumbo's Bayou Grill held its second annual Fat Tuesday party. It was the natural setting to celebrate because the place is a party every day with giant masks hanging from the ceiling, beads at the door, and Cajun-style foods. Partiers paid a $5 cover charge or $15 for a Cajun buffet, and could purchase giant beaded necklaces, boas, masks, and hats of all shapes and themes.
Entertainment was continuous, from the Bobby May Trio, Cajun Blu, and Johnny Reed and the House Rockers, to the Bridges. Hurricane drinks and purple beer in 48-ounce fishbowls were the special beverages, and the crawfish on the buffet continued the New Orleans theme. The crowd was shoulder-to-shoulder as the night went on, totaling between 1,500 and 2,000 guests.
Jeanette Bradley, left, and Junie Williams get in the spirit of the Fair Housing Center's Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday party.
Shannon and Mark Beck, Lloyd Zolweg in a court jester hat from last year, and Shelly Jimenez have been partying together for 20 years, and they have it down to a science, with a designated driver and someone to get the best table. Linda Manning and Anthony Thornton said, "We come here a lot but it's the first time for Fat Tuesday." Dan and Nancy Kapudjija remarked, "We met down the way at Navy Bistro and got married there, too."
Upstairs, where all the seats were taken, Jennifer Rockwood, sitting with her husband John, said, "We gotta go wild for Mardi Gras." Also seen at Gumbo's were Becky Ligibel Zak, Nicole Raifsnider, Larry and Heather Meyer, John and Rose Scott, Laura Chalwick, and Carrin Wiczynski and Austin Cordy.
ACROSS the river, Murphy's Place was in full swing as guests tapped their toes and danced to the Cake Walkin' Jass Band, the Impression Jazz Trio, and the Murphys. Purple, green, and gold balloons, coins, glow-stick necklaces, and masks added the Mardi Gras touch, as did the Cajun dinner buffet that included crawfish, gumbo, beans and rice, black-eyed peas, slaw, jambalaya, and collard greens. Having a good time were Jim and Kathy Snyder of Bowling Green, Beverly Schwartz of Perrysburg, and Bob Stone of Waterville.
IN MAUMEE at the Pinnacle, the Fair Housing Center held its third annual Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras bash, with entertainment by the KGB band and Karen Harris. Black linen-covered tables were accented with hurricane candles, coins, beads, masks, and green, purple, and gold napkins and drapery. Grazing stations held Oysters Bienville, cajun shrimp, beignets, crawfish, and other delights.
A live auction offered only five items, but ahh, the items: Jimmy Jackson-autographed Nike shoes - size 15, a flower print, a full-length black cashmere coat with mink trim, and a four-course dinner with paired wines for 10. Board member Ralph Vinciguerra was so excited when the bidding began on a 60-day lease for a Mustang convertible that he outbid himself by $100 with the highest bid of the evening at $1,100!
New board president Betty Valentine reports an estimated net of nearly $16,000.