We're gearing up for summer y'all, and that means vacation time. Lafayette's partiers have been traveling all over, from Africa to the tropics, and attending and throwing some fabulous fêtes while doing it. Local Cajun music star and cutie Steve Riley of Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys and his girlfriend Lisa Stafford recently traveled to Nashville for the wedding of Al and Tipper Gore's daughter, Kristin. The Gore ranch was the site for the swinging affair, and Steve and his band had the honor of entertaining the Gores during the reception. Lisa says the family members had their hearts set on a Cajun or zydeco band and heard about the Playboys from a friend. After listening to a Playboys CD, it was a done deal. Alison Krauss also made a special appearance to sing for the wedding and joined in with the Playboys for the bride and groom's first song. "It was really a blast. They loved the music and danced every song until the end of the reception," says Lisa.

Back in Lafayette, Party Girl looks forward to the International Business Achievement Award luncheon each year, in part because it's one of the few things to go to during Festival International week wearing stilettos. The crowd is so, well, international. It's coordinated by Le Centre International, and executive director Philippe Gustin is such a gracious emcee. I just love that Belgian accent! This year's honoree was Dailey Berard, and his friend and former governor, Mike Foster, was on hand at the City Club to offer his congratulations, in addition to Matt Stuller, Cathy Webre and Si Brown. Congratulations Dailey!

The international flair continued with The Friends of Music at UL Lafayette's "Out of Africa" party, which was a sight to see. Held at the home of Chuck and Sue Lein, attendees had the chance to view the couple's 200-plus stuffed animal collection in addition to an African drumming performance by the UL Percussion Ensemble. Guests Gerald and Beth Guilbeaux, Lea Tanner, Donia Garlington and many other local music supporters dressed in safari attire for the evening and felt like they'd experienced a taste of Africa by the time they left.

The American Heart Association's Jewels of the Heart gala took attendees to the tropics for "An Enchanted Evening in Paradise." The black-tie event at River Oaks was emceed by the lovely Blue Rolfes and Chuck Huebner, with artist "King Rob" Harris serving as auctioneer. Special honoree was Richard Zuschlag of Acadian Ambulance, and his wife Elaine was there to cheer him on, as was Jerry and Nancy Romero, Barbara Lirtzman, Karen Wyble and Stephen Jones. A highlight of the night was the auctioning of the "Jewel of the Heart," a pendant/brooch with 123 diamonds valued at $9,000. William S. Nacol donated the diamond-studded beauty specifically for the event. Mary Neiheisel was the lucky girl who took the jewel home. Now, she's got some heart!

Party On! ' PG

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