It might not have been New Orleans, but it was in French quarters that some of New York's leading ladies spent Fat Tuesday. Some 40 guests turned out at the French Consulate for a lunch for the benefit committee for the Colbert Foundation Gala on June 8.

"I think it's nice that these ladies, who go everywhere and see everything, come into this room and still say, 'Wow, this is fantastic,"' observed Coco Kopelman, who is a benefit co-chair this year with Lucile Peyrelongue. Later that evening, those who took the holiday literally were free to work it off at the "Skate with the Greats" event at Rockefeller Center, a benefit for the Ronald McDonald House. The "greats" were the New York Rangers -- not, self-admittedly, Patty Hearst.

"I haven't skated much," said Hearst. "Although once, my parents decided for some strange reason that we should learn to skate, so one year it was skating lessons." Blaine Trump had to psyche herself up before indulging in any ice folly.

"I told my husband I was going skating, and he went out to the stationery store and bought me some bubble wrap," she laughed. "Maybe I'll start a trend."

But Vera Wang, once an Olympic skating hopeful herself, confessed to getting a little misty during the Winter Games. She took to the ice (in a little black Wang original) like it was Lillehammer -- and was easily the best there.

"That's not saying much, considering who's out there," she said. Later, the Young Friends of Save Venice took Mardi Gras to heart with a black-tie masquerade ball at Doubles. Among those present were Astrid Kohl and Veronica Bulgari. Alexandra Stafford, a co-chair of the event and one of the few people in full costume, thought the tone was more like Venice's Carnevale than Mardi Gras -- and as she lives between New York and New Orleans, she should know.

"It's more sedate, more demure," she observed of the evening. "I don't know why. Is it Clinton? They just haven't gone wild."

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