LOVE in the Garden fundraiser party set for Friday, September 27, presented by Hancock Whitney

The New Orleans Museum of Art will celebrate LOVE in the Garden presented by Hancock Whitney on September 27, 2019. Now in its fifteenth year, guests will enjoy cuisine from more than sixty of New Orleans’ finest restaurants, and craft cocktails from New Orleans’ top bartenders as they vie for first place in the sixth-annual LOVE Cocktail Challenge. Local New Orleans food trucks presented will provide late-night fare to keep the party going into the evening.  

For the first time, this year’s event honors distinguished patrons Sydney and Walda Besthoff. As two of New Orleans’ most dedicated patrons of the arts, the Besthoffs’ generosity toward NOMA resulted in the realization of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which has been the home to LOVE in the Garden since its inception, and the new 6.5 acre Besthoff Sculpture Garden Expansion, featuring twenty-seven works of contemporary sculpture.

“For over twenty-five years, Sydney and Walda Besthoff have built a legacy through their extraordinary record of devotion to supporting the arts and culture of New Orleans, and especially at NOMA,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “We are delighted to honor them on the fifteenth anniversary of LOVE in the Garden.”

Event co-chairs Julie and Ted George, Cammie and Charles Mayer, and Aimée and Mike Siegel have worked collaboratively and devotedly on all details of the event, ranging from selecting entertainment to securing 60 participating restaurants.

Assisting the co-chairs is Jennifer Heebe, the 2019 NOMA Volunteer Committee Chair, and NOMA’s LOVE in the Garden Young Fellows Committee, comprised of Mary Cole McCants, Miriam Taylor, Beth and Austin Lavin, Elise and Matt Ryan, and Sarah Forman and Ron Rona.

For the first time, the LOVE in the Garden Patron Party will take place in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden expansion. Kicking off the evening at 7 pm, Patron Party guests will enjoy entertainment by the NOCCA Trio, with a special appearance by the 610 Stompers presented by Sazerac Company. The Patron Party is followed by the Garden Party from 8 pm to midnight, with entertainment by Nola Dukes. The evening is presented by Hancock Whitney.

“Hancock Whitney is proud to serve as the presenting sponsor for NOMA’s LOVE in the Garden,” said Gary Lorio, Hancock Whitney Regional President. “It’s a privilege to partner and work with NOMA, our city’s oldest fine arts institution.  This festive event celebrates the arts and culture of our great city, and we are honored to support NOMA and the work it is doing to protect and preserve its permanent collection of more than 40,000 objects for future generations.”

LOVE in the Garden is a celebration of the sixteenth anniversary of The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and inaugural year of the Besthoff Sculpture Garden expansion. The sculpture garden has been free to the public since its opening in November 2003, and is one of the most popular public spaces in New Orleans for locals, students, and tourists. Proceeds from LOVE in the Garden help to guarantee the future stability of the museum and programs that are vital to the New Orleans community, and beyond.

Left to right) Suzanne Thomas, Executive Vice President of Hancock Whitney, presented a check to Susan Taylor, NOMA Director, and Anne Baños, NOMA Deputy Director, along with Elizabeth Hefler, Senior Vice President of Hancock Whitney in support of LOVE in the Garden Presented by Hancock Whitney. This corporate support funds programs at NOMA and allows the Besthoff Sculpture Garden to remain free and open to the public seven days a week.

Sixth Annual LOVE Cocktail Challenge presented by Sazerac New Orleans

The LOVE Cocktail Challenge celebrates its sixth year in 2019. Featuring ten of New Orleans’ top bartenders, challengers vie for first place by creating a signature LOVE-inspired cocktail based on their blind drawing of a LOVE cocktail theme and a type of spirit. Themes include Forbidden Love, Love/Hate, Lust, Unconditional Love, and Unrequited Love. Spirits include bourbon, gin, rum, tequila, and vodka. A panel of judges will award First Place and Best of Spirit awards. Guests will award the “People’s Choice” cocktail by dropping a “token of LOVE” in their favorite libation’s “LOVE bank”. A panel of judges will award First Place and Best of Spirit awards. Judges include John Cruse of WGNO, T. Cole Newtown of Twelve Mile Limit and The Domino, and Daniel Victory of Victory. The reigning LOVE Cocktail Challenge champion is Jesse Carr of Balise, who won the competition in 2018. Chris McMillan of Revel was honored as Fan Favorite. 

Challengers include Jessie Carr of La Petite Grocery, Henry Chamberlain of Company Burger, Anna Giordano of Longway Tavern, Chris Hannah of Jewel of the South, Jennifer Hussey of Justine, Konrad Kantor of Manolito, Chris McMillian of Revel, Sarah Town of Twelve Mile Limit, Steve Yamada of Latitude 29, and Luis Zepeda of The Domino. 

Participating Restaurants

The Patron Party features cuisine presented by Commander’s Palace with support from the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) in the Sculpture Garden Expansion.

In the original Sculpture Garden, Patron and Garden Party cuisine features New Orleans’ top restaurants and caterers, including: Acme Oyster House, Ancora Pizzeria, Andy’s Bistro, Angelo Bracato’s Italian Ice & Pastry, Antoine’s Restaurant, Apolline, Atchafalaya, Aunt Sally’s Pralines, The Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Blue Oak BBQ, Bon Ton Café, Boucherie, Boulevard American Bistro, Café Degas, Café NOMA, Canal Street Bistro, Couvant, Crescent City Brewhouse, Crescent City Steaks, Dickie Brennan & Co. Catering, Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Flamingo A-Go-Go, Fogo de Chao , Galatoire’s Restaurant, Highly Seasoned Catering, LLC, Houston’s Restaurant, Ice Cream 504, Joel Catering and Special Events, Legacy Kitchen, Lula Restaurant Distillery, Mandina’s, Martin Wine Cellar Deli & Catering, Mona’s Café, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Oak Oven, Otra Vez , Patti Constantin Designs in Catering Inc., P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Porter and Luke’s Restaurant, Ruby Slipper Café, Santa Fe, Sarita’s Grill Latin Fusion, Satsuma Café, Silk Road, Southern Candymakers, Southern Hospitality Catering, The Spotted Tongue , The Station Coffee Shop and Bakery, Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar, Swiss Confectionery, Three B’s Burgers, Venezia, Vessel, The Vintage, Wayfare, and Zea Rotisserie and Bar.

Late night cuisine includes fare from Diva Dawg, Oh La Vache, Petite Rouge Cafe Camionette, South In Ya Mouth Food Truck, and Tanjariné Kitchen.


NOMA thanks this year’s returning presenting sponsor, Hancock Whitney.

Entergy is the Gold Sponsor of the event.

Silver Sponsors include: Sydney and Walda Besthoff, J. Edgar Monroe Foundation, Lexus New Orleans, Mary and Robert Lupo, Janice Parmelee and Bill Hammack, and Rodney and Jane Steiner.

Bronze Sponsors include: Eclectic Home, Julie and Ted George, Cammie and Charles Mayer, Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants, New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries, New Orleans & Company, Picardie, Mimi and Claude Schlesinger, and Aimée Farnet Siegel and Mike Siegel.

NOMA thanks this year’s media sponsors, Gambit Weekly, The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate, and WWLTV.

Additional Information