Michelle and David Ebeling celebrated their New Orleans roots Saturday by hosting their own gala: the Cajun Gumbo and Jambalaya Benefit...

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Michelle and David Ebeling celebrated their New Orleans roots Saturday by hosting their own gala: the Cajun Gumbo and Jambalaya Benefit Feed. More than 60 friends and neighbors came to the Ebelings’ Kirkland home for food, music and fun.

The music was as notable as the food.

The Ebelings’ son, also David, studies music at the University of Washington. He returned home for the party to play drums for the File Gumbo band from Duvall. Annieville Blues of Rose Hill rotated her blues show between two pianos in the Ebeling home.

Michelle Ebeling spent several days preparing gumbo, jambalaya, red beans, rice and bread pudding.

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The Ebelings planned the party to benefit hurricane survivors. But it wasn’t until just before the party that Michelle learned that a longtime friend had lost her home.

“Both our families were safe,” she said. “But our friend, Maggie Feder, who is a single mother and lived in the mid-city area, lost everything.”

Ebeling put photographs of Feder’s flood-destroyed home on display and was surprised when partygoers wrote checks to Feder. (Some donated to the Red Cross.) The party raised $1,200.

“I never really knew how much I loved New Orleans until I saw it go underwater when Katrina hit,” Ebeling said. “We had to do something to help.”

Well-earned honor

Suzanne Hutchinson was recently honored by the Potpourri Guild of the Bellevue Arts Museum. The longtime Medina resident has served on numerous boards, including Overlake Hospital Medical Center auxiliaries, Overlake Service League, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, PTA and numerous other nonprofit groups. She was a member of the board of its predecessor, the Bellevue Art Museum, for three decades and helped organize the museum’s annual fair.

Hutchinson currently works as director of guilds and special events for PACE, the 2,000-seat Performing Arts Center Eastside expected to open in 2008. This dynamo organized two sold-out events to support the theater.

Hutchinson received the guild’s annual Rhondo Award during a luncheon at Overlake Golf and Country Club to commemorate her ongoing contributions to the arts community.

The traveling award is a large sterling silver bowl from Tiffany & Co. of Bellevue Square, underwritten by store director John Hepler.

Haunting thought

If Halloween goblins don’t scare you, consider this: Christmas is less than two months away and more than half the Santa Train tickets available at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie already have been sold.

The museum offers two-hour excursions from North Bend to Snoqualmie aboard antique railcars. The trip features live music, a small gift, cookies baked in coal-fired ovens, hot cocoa and coffee and a visit with Santa Claus. Trains run Nov. 26-27, Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 17. Call 425-888-2206 for reservations or go to www.trainmuseum.org

Just don’t go the same day I take my family. Each time we’ve gone, there has been either snow, bitter cold weather or buckets of rain falling. No, I haven’t picked our date yet.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633