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CONVENTION 2000 / THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION | EXTRA
CURRICULARS / A Party Roundup

Louisiana Senator Brings Fat Tuesday to Tinseltown

August 16, 2000|J. MICHAEL KENNEDY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Talk about Fat Tuesday.

More than 1,500 guests, most of them Democratic National Convention delegates, were put in the Mardi Gras mood Tuesday night with a bash that brought Bourbon Street to Hollywood.

The event honoring Sen. John B. Breaux of Louisiana showcased the culture and cuisine of the Bayou State on a Paramount Pictures back lot--the same spot where the night before President Clinton was presented with an Oscar by Gov. Gray Davis.

At Tuesday's fete partyers were treated to an array of spicy Cajun cuisine, including oysters, gumbo and jambalaya, andouille sausage, piles of boiled shrimp, black beans and rice, and Southern fried chicken. For dessert: peach cobbler, Key lime pie and chocolate bread pudding. And, of course, plenty of ice-cold beer.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 16, 2000 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 2 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Showcase date--A story in Tuesday's Calendar about the prominence of Latino musicians at the political conventions mistakenly reported the date for a Hispanic Talent Showcase at the Universal Amphitheatre. The event, for delegates only, was Tuesday night.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 16, 2000 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 2 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Showcase date--A story in Tuesday's Calendar about the prominence of Latino musicians at the political conventions mistakenly reported the date for a Hispanic Talent Showcase at the Universal Amphitheatre. The event, for delegates only, was Tuesday night.

Breaux, dressed in an orange nylon outfit adorned with sequins, led the party's parade, holding a yellow fringed parasol in one hand and a fistful of Mardi Gras beads in the other.

"People here think this is unusual, but we do this all the time," Breaux said. "I was born doing this. After Fat Tuesday, we fast for 40 days. After tonight, we're going to campaign for 40 days."

New Orleans float designer Barry Kern produced three full-scale Mardi Gras floats, and the parade featured Louisiana natives Ali Landry, a former Miss USA, as its queen and football legend Terry Bradshaw as king.

A marching band was followed by costumed Louisianians who tossed beads and doubloons to delegates and other guests. Later, crowds took to the dance floor as they boogied to the music of swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters. Others got into the swing of things by forming a parade of their own behind the Storyville Stompers, an authentic New Orleans walking band that weaved its way through the crowd.

The lavish gathering was sponsored by more than a dozen corporations, including AT&T, Lockheed-Martin and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Arnold Welcomes the Kennedy Clan

Arnold Schwarzenegger may be L.A.'s biggest, baddest Republican, but he did marry a Kennedy. So, the Terminator and his television journalist wife, Maria Shriver, put political differences aside Tuesday night and opened their Brentwood home to the Kennedy family and close friends.

The cocktail party, hosted by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in honor of his niece, Caroline Kennedy, followed her turn at the podium speaking to delegates at Staples Center on Tuesday night.

The guest list for the ultra-exclusive soiree was kept hush-hush, but more than 60 members of the Kennedy clan were expected. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as celebs William Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were among the invited guests.

The Schwarzenegger-Shrivers also were polite, sending out notes to neighbors apologizing for any inconvenience the party might cause.

Sanchez's Party Gets the Blues

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) traded bunnies for blues Tuesday night at what became the most-watched nonevent of the convention.

Sanchez's fund-raiser for Hispanic Unity USA, the group she chairs, originally was to be held at the swinging Playboy Mansion, a venue ruled out of bounds by national Democratic bigwigs.

After much back and forth, Sanchez's party went ahead at the B.B. King Blues Club at CityWalk in Universal City. It was expected to raise $500,000 for the bipartisan voter-registration effort--an amount equal to what Sanchez had raised during the last 18 months as the group's chairwoman.

"We didn't start it," Sanchez said of the publicity. "We just wanted to have the best event we could. That's all this has been about."

Despite the flap, the guest list remained full, with 600 people expected to jam inside the two-story club. Those on the VIP list included actor Esai Morales, comedians Bill Maher and George Lopez, government glitterati Henry G. Cisneros and Donna Shalala, and film director Moctezuma Esparza.

Chavez Honored With Music

At the Universal Amphitheater, thousands came together to honor legendary union figure Cesar Chavez during the Hispanic Talent Showcase bash.

Concert acts including the East L.A. Rockers, Los Lobos and Enrique Iglesias performing against the backdrop of the United Farm Workers flag with its Aztec eagle. One of those present was comedian Paul Rodriguez, who said the Republican wooing of Latinos had made the Democrats take note of that voting bloc.

"Thank God [that] George W. put the fear of God in them," he said.

*

Times staff writers Michael Quintanilla, Booth Moore, Jean Pasco, Massie Ritsch, Jeannine Stein, Jose Cardenas and Marian Liu contributed to this story.

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