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Americana Group Honors Baroness

May 08, 1986|MARY LOU LOPER | Times Staff Writer

Because relationships between France and the United States "have been a little bit difficult," according to the Baroness Nadine de Rothschild, she was especially appreciative that the Americana Associates were honoring her over the weekend at a gala in the Century Ballroom of the Century Plaza Tower.

Americana Associates support the beautification program of the diplomatic reception rooms of the Department of State in Washington. They count curator Clement Conger as a special friend. And since the anniversary of the Statue of Libery is being celebrated, and since copper craftsman F. A. Bartholdi was the installer of the statue and came from the town of Colmar in Alsace, it seemed fitting to ball chairman Peggie Bales that the Associates should honor the philanthropic baroness, also the author of the European best seller, "The Baroness Returns at Five O'Clock" (published in seven languages, but not in English). Said George Bales, "American pioneers respected the forests, the prairies, the eagle, the beaver, the buffalo. Therefore, the Americana Associates present you with a Steuben glass beaver with garnet eyes."

The widely traveled baroness, wife of financier Edmond de Rothschild and mother of their only child, Benjamin, who attended Pepperdine, where Bales is a vice president, lilted up from the audience in her flowing Pierre Cardin, escorted by the dapper couturier Jean Louis. It was a very smart crowd: co-chairman Alyce Williamson (who was quoting the baroness, "Wrap your relationships in silk") wore a blue and glittery Mary McFadden. Peggie Bales and Zsa Zsa Gabor, who chatted ceasely with her dinner partner and good friend, the baroness, both chose Ruben Panis. Maggy Louis and Martha Kilroe were garbed in Galanos.

The baroness described "why this very rich man would marry this very poor girl" (for love). Listeners included Louis and Marie Jones, Warren Williamson, Martha Chandler, Victoria and Tad Williamson, Katy and Freeman Gates, Ginny and Henry Braun, Kay Paschall, the David Browns, Lois Driggs, Joni and Clark Smith, Father Maurice Chase (who gave the invocation, "Lord, from the fear of calories please preserve us"), Bobbie and Ken Galpin.

Founder Florence Malouf lauded the volunteers. Everyone was praising Marian Malouf for the donation of 3,000 orchid blossoms for the ball (guests were invited to take them home and the ballroom was bare). Efrem Zimbalist was in on the presentation. Vocalist David Reign flew from San Francisco to captivate with "Memories," causing a little toe-tapping from June Haver, at floor-edge in a black slit skirt. More in the crowd, Rhonda (Fleming) and Ted Mann, Fred MacMurray, Jean and Irving Stone, Connie and Ambassador John Gavin, Henry and Gini Mancini, the Robert Andersons, the Richard Eamers and the Glen Holdens.

The baroness was off the next morning for Israel, to dedicate two new schools with her husband. Later this month in Geneva she chairs an international debutante ball, sending proceeds to needy children in Columbia. The Baleses, who have visited the Rothschilds at their Paris home across the street from French President Francois Mitterrand's palace, were off to New York to party with the Countess Mountbatten.

Ole! for John Bowles (retired president of Rexall Drug Co.) and nonagenarian Blanche Seaver (for 22 years a trustee of Los Amigos del Pueblo). They are officially the new Padrino y Madrina del Pueblo de Los Angeles. Senorita Vivien Consuelo de Bonzo saluted them amid festivities at the Avila Adobe on behalf of the Olvera Street Merchants' Assn. She, like her grandmother, the late Consuelo de Bonzo, is owner and manager of La Golondrina Cafe, a Pueblo landmark.

The occasion drew Ambassador to Mexico John Gavin and his wife, actress Connie Towers, Spanish-attired dons and donas, charros in costume for the ceremony, mariachis, margaritas. Everyone was showered with rose petals by laughing senoritas. Enjoying immensely were Mrs. Harrison Chandler, the Karl von Platens (she's the daughter of Harry Chandler, Olvera Street's first Padrino in 1930), John H. Welborne, Christian Brant, Norma Bowles, the Bruce Pooles, Father Pat McPolin, James and Dulce Harris, the Jesus Gomezes, Nancy Madrid, Michelle Madrid, Helen Lozano, Gabriela Sutter, Herman Sillas, Mariana Salazar, Juanita Guerrero, Estella Lopez, Hubert and Shirley Laugharn, Walter P. Coombs, Judge McIntyre Faries, Harriet Weaver Vasque, Harold Ramser Jr.

The younger generation was chosen to represent those who have contributed to Olvera Street's history: Valerie Garcia was there with her nonagenarian grandmother Carmen Garcia; John Babcock represented his great-grandfather Harry Chandler; Darcie Sterling Park represented her great-grandmother, the first Madrina, Christine Sterling. Pretty Suzanne Valadez accompanied her parents Belle and Mario Valadez (former Olvera Street manager). They're all dedicated to preserving historical customs.

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