Cuban casino inspires guild gala

Burbank Leader

In 1930, Cuba's capital city of Havana celebrated the grand opening of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba — a luxury hotel and casino located on the Malecón that stretches over four miles along Havana's sea wall.

Over the next two decades, the hotel became a hot destination for the jet set of the era, and a favorite getaway for many American actors, athletes and writers such as Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Mickey Mantle and Ernest Hemingway.

In a tip of the hat to this nostalgic time and place, members and supporters of the La Providencia Guild of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles gathered at the Ebell Club of Los Angeles, which had been transformed into a re-creation of the legendary Cuban hotel, for the organization's 61st annual spring cotillion.

Presented under the theme "An Evening in Habana," guests dressed in both formal and Cuban-inspired resort attire of the 1930s and '40s were welcomed to last week's gala by the event's Chairwoman Rosemarie Witten, mistress of ceremonies Malena Tappan, guild President Sharon Terranova, and officers Judy Gragg, Dolly Monte, Joan Chandler, Alicia Katz and Judy LaVerde.

Among those who enjoyed the display of vintage vehicles, courtyard cocktail reception that included a cigar-making demonstration and an evening of blackjack, craps, poker and roulette before a traditional Cuban dinner, were the guild's immediate past president Sue Ann Gordon, Harry and Diane Campbell, Victor and Donna Salant, Brooks and Ann Gardener, Deborah and Ron Spang, Chris Gargaro, John and Mary Jo Hjelmstrom, Anita Daniel, Jan and Chris Oiestad, Joe Terranova, Dean Shelby, Mary Christensen, Pete McGrath, Katherine Richards, Ken and Bea Wainwright, Robert and Marj Overstreet, Alisa Cunningham and Teresa Garcia.

Since its establishment in 1947, the La Providencia Guild has operated as an associate group of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles that has been treating seriously ill children since 1901.

Along with the operation of their thrift shop at 3301 W. Burbank Blvd., the guild stages two annual fundraisers — the spring cotillion, and a fall fashion show, of which all proceeds, exclusive of operating expenses, go directly to Childrens Hospital.

Along with the guild's officers, others who served on this year's cotillion committee included Suzanne Hill, Christine Smith, Sandie Tomer, Veronica Chavoor, Gene Marie Watson, Lynn Shelby, Glenda Jones and Tish Sellers.

Others who made the event a success by their support and presence included Yvonne McMillan, Bob Gordon, Marcia Baroda, Jim and Jane Casey, Walt Gragg, Allen Katz, Karol and Jane Eller, Peggy McDonald, Gus and Mary Montanez, Dorothy Patrick, Judy and Bert Pierce, Peggy Pulver, Phil and Jeanette Tersigni, Bob Tomer, Dom and Anita Vennari, Gene Marie Watson, Al Workman and Richard Witten.

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