On a mild Saturday evening in April, over 150 guests strolled up a path lined with shutters and Spanish moss to the tune of “When the Saints Come Marching In,” performed by our very own two-man jazz band featuring Teddy Leamon on trumpet and Campbell Gray on sax. Upon entering the Library for the 10th annual Mystery Dinner, patrons were welcomed to Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans circa 1948, inspired by Frances Parkinson Keyes’s bestselling novel Dinner at Antoine’s.
The Library itself was transformed, by Sibby Lynch, Polly Dufresne, Caroline Muller, Joanne Caldara and an army of creative volunteers, into a formal restaurant, complete with paneled walls lined with photographs, elegant floral arrangements, and even a small private dining room set with crystal and silver. Hostesses welcomed guests as they arrived, handing out sealed letters with the all-important directions to each Mystery Dinner home. Tuxedo-clad bartenders served Kir Royales and other refreshments, while Mystery Dinner committee members circulated with delicious Southern hors d’oeuvres of crab cakes, andouille sausage, muffaletta and more.
Trustee Kate Randolph addressed the crowd, thanking outgoing Board President, Nick Kepple, for his tireless service and highlighting the progress the Library has made in recent years. She also provided a vision of future accomplishments: “Building on the work of individuals who have served the Library in the past – and I see many of you here – we are on a mission to secure the funding necessary to provide a 21st century library for the Stonington community.” Assistant Director Micayla Hall described the popular materials and programs the Library hopes to maintain through donations to this year’s Giving Tree, and illustrated what various donation levels could support.
As shadows began to fall, guests headed out to 19 different “Mystery” dinner destinations, looking forward to NOLA-in-Stonington style hospitality and an evening of celebration with new and old friends for the best of causes.