My mother always told me to stop after two martinis. There was no qualifier, no circumstances under which more than two was okay. Two martinis, then you stop. After looking at the invitation for Martini Madness, I knew that I had found a worthy exception.
Martini Madness is an annual fundraiser presented by the Friends of City Park. In its eighth year, its proceeds support the continued restoration of the Popp Fountain area, including the Arbor Room. Held at the Pavilion of Two Sisters, the event started at 7 p.m. last Friday, and a substantial crowd had gathered by the time I arrived. Things ended at 10 p.m., much to the despair of the happy attendees.
As they entered, patrons were handed sturdy plastic reusable martini glasses. Beer and wine stations lined the passageway to the building, but my guest and I barely glanced at them. If we were going to spend the rest of the night consuming vodka and gin, we needed food. The Pavilion of Two Sisters was organized with the food lining the walls and the drinks concentrated in the center of the room. We took a lap and could not figure out where to start. The options ranged from roast by Ralph’s on the Park to pizza from Theo’s.
We were overwhelmed by the options, and decided on a new tactic. We zig-zagged through the room, grabbing some food to eat while waiting in line for drinks, then choosing a martini to sip while we were waiting for our next plate. In doing so, we found a few new favorites and discovered that Lemon Drop martinis go surprisingly well with Chick-fil-a nuggets.
When we needed a respite from excessive imbibing, we took a break outside, listening to Mod Dance Party spin and taking some embarrassing but hilarious reels at the photo booth, our poses getting more ridiculous as the night and martinis progressed.
By the end of the night, it was easy to forget that this was an event for charity. After we left the Pavilion of Two Sisters, we took a walk around City Park and were quickly reminded by the beauty of the Sculpture Garden and the majesty of the moss hanging from the trees that this is a cause worth supporting and a space worth preserving. And why wouldn’t you, when it involves drinking and silly hats (this is New Orleans, after all).
Even my mother agreed it was a valid exception to the two-martini rule.
Anna Shults is associate editor of NolaVie.