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Beating the Heat

“Lark in the Park” brings “Cabana Nights” to City Park.

Co-chairs Kimberly Zibilich, Helen Smith and Jackie Palumbo

Melissa Calico

One Friday night in March was hotter than a New Orleans summer day. On March 15, “Lark in the Park,” this year themed “Cabana Nights,” threw back to a time when tobacco ruled Louisiana trade and Latin music was hip.

Friends of City Park’s (FOCP) annual bash was chaired by Jackie Palumbo, Helen Read Smith and Kimberly Zibilich. Proceeds will underwrite the Splash Park, the newest addition to City Park, and help build a Cabana Plaza with furnished cabana tents available for events. City Park CEO, Dr. Robert Becker, says the plaza will provide a cool respite on sweltering days and generate much needed revenue for City Park.

More than 85 percent of the park’s funds are self-generated, and Palumbo says that those who give can see exactly where their money goes. Funds raised by FOCP have helped build the miniature golf courses and renovate the Peristyle, Popp Fountain and Storyland, among many other attractions.

Peggy McCranie chaired the patron party at the Lord & Taylor/Capital One Rose Garden, where Julio & Cesar’s live Latin music set the mood for a champagne reception and passed hors d’oeuvres by Little Gem Saloon.

The main event featured brass funk band Bonerama and food from 40 of New Orleans’ top restaurants. Republic National Distributing Company created a rum-based signature drink called the “Cabana Breeze.” VIP guests chilled in the Copa Club Lounge, where they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres by GW Fins and hand-rolled cigars.

A thrilling live auction sold 13 unique packages. The three top-selling items were a one-of-kind painting by Frenchy; a Fun in the Sun Family Package; and New Year New You, a personal pampering and makeover deal.
FOCP was founded in 1979 to improve the quality of the park and its facilities. The miniature golf course will be opening this year.

Event at a Glance

What: “Lark in the Park,” benefiting Friends of City Park
When: Friday, March 15
Where: New Orleans Botanical Garden

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