Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

All That Jazz
The Vanishing Hotel/Bassinets And Booties/New Orleans On My Mind/
Chefs For WDCJCC/Portrait Of Courage

“My hotel disappears each April, to be rebuilt each December,” said Yngve Bergqvist resignedly, during breakfast at the House of Sweden recently. He created the amazing IceHotel near Kiruna airport, above the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. "The Torne is its mother,” says Bergqvist, “because we build it using the exceptionally clear ice cut from the frozen Torne River nearby.” Forget igloos; the IceHotel is an

architectural marvel of sculptured columns, artworks, chandeliers, beds, benches and tables – all carved from ice. Guests, warmly outfitted by the hotel, stay a night “on the ice,” then usually transfer to the warm hotel and chalets on-site. How does the public take to this? “We have 96 percent occupancy,” said Yngve happily, “but of course, it ends in April, when the sun sends the melting hotel back into the Torne.” It was only on loan from the river.


Debbie Dingell joined Rima Al- Sabah at the Kuwait embassy tohost Norah O’Donnell’s shower. The mama-to-be, of NBC and MSNBC, will be rocking twins soon. A boy and a girl, say Norah and her restaurateur husband Geoff Tracy (Chef Geoff ’s ) . Rima’s signature red roses filled the azure atrium pool; countless Middle Eastern treats were on the table; “I only expected a cup of tea and a cookie!” said one first-time visitor. Cheering Norah on as she opened presents

were Anita McBride, chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush; and the wives of three cabinet secretaries: Edie Gutierrez (Commerce), Marcia Jackson (Housing and Urban Development), and Meryl Chertoff (Homeland Security). A few of the others present included Marlene Malek, Grace Bender, NBC’s Barbara Harrison and former White House social secretary Lea Berman. Table favors were life-size Belgian chocolate baby shoes, ordered by Rima from California. No guest left shoeless.


At Strathmore Music Center’s Big Easy Ball, a traditional dinner, from Cajun prawns to Bananas Foster, led to the auditorium, where trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and his brilliant New Orleans Jazz Orchestra thrilled the crowd. Mayfield, state and federally dubbed “Cultural Ambassador of New Orleans” for promoting the city’s unique jazz; now dedicates his work to his father, who drowned in Hurricane Katrina. (Mayfield’s dirge for him, heartfelt and beautiful, moved many to tears). But this was a New Orleans ball, and soon everyone, carnival bead-draped, headed to hear the waiting Dr. John,



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