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Besh Night Ever

By Melanie Moffett
In Bayou Scene
Oct 28th, 2015

In what could only be described as the Surprise Party of the Century, former Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Chet Traylor presided as the birthday boy, as his wife, Patty, gathered friends and family for the fete in the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Therese and Sammy Nagem.

The Nagem’s home and gardens were a movie set filled with all the stars of Traylor’s illustrious life. Daughters Therese, Leigh Liles and Anna Holloway went above and beyond for this surprise party. Case in point, New Orleans’ celebrity chef and handsome dude, John Besh, brought the wow factor up to 11 on the dial as he and his team created and incredible menu of hand passed hors d’oeuvres, including Bam Bam Shrimp, crab and buratta tartlets, lobster and fried green tomatoes, oysters and caviar ranch and lemon fish cru and rice cracklin. Besh’s small plates and stations for the evening included the ultimate seafood display, a beet and crab ravigot salad, oyster stew and grilled brusheta, buttermilk fried quail with tobacco honey and lamb chop and shoulder with sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. Judge Traylor and Besh have been buddies for over 15 years with a friendship that spans back to when Traylor was newly elected to the Supreme Court and Besh was a chef straight out of the Marines.  Besh’s business partner, Octavio Mantilla, was also on hand for the celebration. Post party, busy boy Besh winged his way to NYC for the the New York City Wine and Food Festival’s Masters of the Kitchen event. A master, indeed!

Speaking of masters, Chef Thurman Dickey, longtime friend, former college roommate and all around good guy is back on the scene. The Judge’s 70th birthday cake was a gorgeous Thurman’s Food Factory confection iced on one side in an elegant chocolate ganache with chocolate dipped strawberries. The other half featured Traylor’s favorite hobbies depicted colorfully on each layer, including Harley Davidson, bow hunting, fishing and golf.

Guests to Traylor’s celebration traveled from as far as New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Austin and even Arkansas.  Wayne and Connie Elmore came from Lafayette. Scott Angelle from Breaux Bridge. To bring all of Judge Traylor’s friends together was no easy task! Patty and Therese created an initial list from an old phone then used their best detective skills to ferret out addresses. “We used Google, text messages, you name it,” laughs Therese. “In one case, I sent a Facebook message to an old friend from the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office to get a message to an old friend of Dad’s that is now in the Attorney General’s office.  It worked, they came! I think Dad was thrilled to see so many old and new friends. Octavio was kind enough to drive up from New Orleans, and the party would never have been the same without Octavio.  So many old friends came from Winnsboro, Rayville and surrounding areas. Lots of Senators, Representatives, District Attorneys and Judges.  All of his precious new Belle Point neighbors were in attendance, as well.  Page and Brady King were kind enough to help us get him over to my house. Of course, our precious and generous John Besh, made the evening even more special.”