Sweet orchestral strains fill San Francisco

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2010

By David Vitrano


GARYVILLE – The music may have been from the motion picture “E.T.,” but no one was trying to phone home when the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra played at San Francisco Plantation Sunday.

The rustic appearance of the barn was dressed up with twinkling lights, and the cool breezes wafting in through the open doors only enhanced the experience as the LPO played a wide swath of patriotic tunes, traditional classics and popular movie themes.

Just about every seat was filled in the large space as it was filled with soothing strains. that seemed to go perfectly with the tranquility beyond the doors.

“It was fabulous,” said San Francisco General Manager Kim Fontenot.

“Everybody that was in the pavilion, it really meant something to them,” she added.

Fontenot said she decided to put on a music-based event in the fall to limit the competition with Destrehan Plantation’s long-running Fall Festival, which takes place the following weekend each year.

“I love it, and I think it’s something that’s important to our community,” she said.

Still, she said she would welcome suggestions from the community regarding improvements that could be made to the event. She said those interested in making suggestions should visit the plantation’s website at www.sanfranciscoplantation.org or call 985-535-2341.

The presence of the orchestra was made possible through donations of sponsors, including Marathon, Entergy, St. John the Baptist Parish, Performance Contractors, the St. John United Way, the Port of South Louisiana, the River Parishes Tourist Commission, Bully’s Halfway House and Birner and Birner Law Firm. Fontenot said the current state of the economy made it more difficult to get sponsors this year than in the past.

She said their generosity enabled her to keep the event free for those 17 and under. Admission fees collected go toward the preservation of the house, she said.

The day also featured a car show and a gumbo cook off.

Cook-off winners were:

• First Place – Shauna Fuselier of 2 Boots Catering

• Second Place – Jeff McClung of Marathon

• Third Place – Kevin Amaker of Gilligans

• People’s Choice – Pedro Frisco of Frisco’s Deli

The combination of good music, good weather and good food made it a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Said Fontenot, “It was just one of those days that was just inspiring.”