Tag Archives: Luisa Francoeur

Roundup: Taste, Playhouse, Cops …

It may be Westport’s best culinary event of the year.

The 17th annual “Taste of Westport” sold out quicker than ever this spring. Last night, hundreds of residents packed the Inn at Longshore, to enjoy food and drinks from more than 2 dozen restaurants and vendors — plus bid on an enormous silent auction, and buy raffle tickets.

It was all for a great cause: CLASP, the Westport-based organization serving adults with autism and developmental disabilities throughout Fairfield County.

The Inn went all out making it a special night. So did a host of groups that supported the Taste of Westport.

Special appreciation goes to the staffs who kept the treats coming all night:

  • Artisan
  • Boathouse Restaurant
  • Black Bear Wines & Spirits
  • Bridgewater Chocolate
  • Cold Fusion Gelato & Sorbet
  • DeTapas
  • 5th Estate Distillery
  • Gruel Brittania
  • Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse
  • Grumpy Dumpling Co.
  • Freisenet Mionetto
  • Isla & Co.
  • Little Pub
  • La Plage
  • Leven(thal) Bakery
  • Mrs. London’s Artisan Bakery
  • Magic Pie Co.
  • NewSylum Brewing
  • Nðmade
  • Nordic Fish
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci Pizza Bar
  • Post Oak Barbecue Co.
  • Tablao Wine Bar & Restaurant
  • Sono1420 American Craft Distillers
  • Tarantino Restaurant
  • Walrus Alley

A small part of the large Taste of Westport crowd. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Westport Country Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos sent this email yesterday:

“Dear Subscribers and Donors –

“Thank you for your continued support during my 15 years with the Playhouse. Because I value the relationship we have, I wanted personally to inform you, before it is announced to the press tomorrow, that I will be leaving the Playhouse in January 2024.

“The pandemic, though challenging and globally tragic, also proved positive — for me — in many ways.

“While working tirelessly to sustain the Playhouse during this period of extreme uncertainty, I was also relieved of the burdens, excitement, and anxiety of producing and directing. I began to sense another way of living my life now. Though staff, trustees, and I worked diligently to keep the Playhouse functioning during 2 difficult years, the pandemic’s exigencies allowed me to spend more time at home with my husband Jerry, and to experience new-found quotidian joy: taking long daily walks, listening to more music, reading for hours a day, investing in our home, and taking care of an aging, beloved dog.

“The racial reckoning that awakened our country also had a profound, transformative effect on my feelings about how and why we make theater now. And I realized I’d need time to take the advice of 2 formidable female friends who insisted I create a new artistic challenge for myself. That project has begun but needs my full attention. And so after some thoughtful times over the holidays, last January 15 I felt the time had come to exercise the clause in my contract that allows me to leave upon 12 months’ notice.

“During my 15 seasons at this historic theater, I worked hard to raise its already formidable artistic standards as much as possible through my collaboration with some truly world class American theater artists. I sought to bring a wider range of voices to our stage in the most physically beautiful productions our budgets allowed. I took special pleasure in investing in the work of Black, Latinx, and AAPI artists, bringing the voices of many marginalized communities to our stage.

“And it’s been a real joy working with our amazing staff over the years, people who realized dreams and met goals, especially our Associate Producer/Director of Production David Dreyfoos, without whom the above — and so much else — would have been impossible. I’ll really miss them. I especially look forward to working with them all closely as I direct the upcoming production Dial M For Murder. I hope that you will join me during the run and celebrate all the wonderful memories we have made here, at the Playhouse.”

Mark Lamos


Westport Police made 3 custodial arrests between May 3 and 10.

One was for domestic violence, following an incident at a local business.

Another arrest was for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failure to drive in the proper lane, after a head-on collision on Compo Road South.

The third was for violation of home improvement requirements, when a non-licensed contractor did not complete work.

Police also issued these citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 7 citations
  • Failure to comply with state traffic regulations: 6
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 4
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 3
  • Speeding: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle without minimum insurance: 2
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic control signal: 1
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 1
  • Improper turn/no signal: 1
  • Failure to display license plates: 1
  • Improper use of license plates: 1
  • Failure to renew driver’s license: 1

Every contractor in the state must have one of these.


Speaking of the Westport Police:

Their newest K-9, Brute, just received a Kevlar bullet-resistant vest

The donation came from Responder Wellness, a non-profit that provides equipment and wellness services to first responders.

Brute, his bullet-resistant vest, his handlers and donors.


Kai Ross is a star on the Staples High School water polo team.

His star now shines a bit brighter: He’s just been named to the USA Water Polo national youth team.

The 6-6, 248-pound center competes in San Diego this weekend, then heads back to California for the US men’s senior nationals in July.

He has had several college scholarship offers. But he’s young — not yet 18 — so he’ll take a gap year after graduating next month. He’ll likely spend the fall with a California club, then head to Spain, Italy or Croatia to play in the spring.

Kai Ross


If you tried to email Luisa Francoeur yesterday about the model schooner she’s selling — my apologies. Her address was incorrect.

Here’s her email that really works: nutmeg5@optonline.net. Sail away!

Luisa Francouer’s schooner.


Crispin Cioe has been busy.

Last week the Westporter — who has played sax with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Solomon Burke, Darlene Love, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, Robert Palmer, Bronski Beat, the Ohio Players, Usher and many others — jammed with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mark Naftalin at the Westport Woman’s Club art show.

On May 19 (6:30 p.m.), his latest project is unveiled at the Westport Library.

For the past decade he’s been co-producing a documentary film (with Westport director Larry Locke called “Heaven Stood Still: The Incarnations of Willy DeVille.”

Cioe performed with singer/songwriter DeVille often in the 1980s, on tours and festivals in Europe and US.

DeVille (né Billy Borsey) grew up in Stamford, where he led teenage bands. After England and San Francisco, he landed in New York in the mid-’70s with his band Mink DeVille, at the newly opened CBGB. He had a solo career from the ’80s until he died in 2009, at 59.

DeVille is one of the greatest “lost” artist in pop music history. Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Tom Waits, Boz Skaggs and Southside Johnny all cite him as a revered influence.

The film reflects his music and troubled life in detail. It includes interviews with Ben E. King, Chris Frantz, and J. Geils Band singer Peter Wolf.

The May 19 showing is free; click here to register. It will be followed by a Q&A monitored by Cioe, with Chris Frantz, and writers Nick Flynn and John Eskow.


Speaking of sounds: The Westport School of Music introduces listeners to the music and culture of India and Iraq this Saturday (May 13, 1 p.m., MoCA Westport).

The free concert features violinist Ameen Modad, who hid for 2 years and composed music secretly while Iraq was controlled by ISIS, and tabla player Nilanjan Bhowmik and his wife Dipita Chakraborty, a soprano. The couple will share stories and perform poems set to music by Nobel Prize-winning poet Tagore.


Wakeman Town Farm announced a 5-session A Child’s Pose yoga class on Saturday mornings, for youngsters 1 1/2 to 5 years old.

“Partner poses will strengthen and soothe both child and their grownup,” WTF says. Click here for more details, and to register.

Also at the Farm, and for kids: weekday afternoon “animal socials.”

Youngsters can snuggle, hold, brush and watch goats and lambs play.

It’s suitable for all ages; tickets required for anyone over the age of 1. Click here to select a date, register, and learn more.


Westporter Lewis Goldman died Tuesday, at home. He was 93 years old.

He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, and earned degrees from City College of New York and Brooklyn Law School. During the Korean War, he served in the Army.

His family describes Lew as “a sweet, brilliant man, with a wicked sense of humor and a deep passion for learning.

He is survived by his wife Hedda; daughters Melissa of New York City and Amy of Novato, California; son David (Margo) of Santa Monica, California, and grandchildren Morgan Chapman, Andrew Goldman, and Alexa Goldman).

The family wishes thanks Karen Whittington, John Pounds, and others who cared for Lew in recent years.

A private burial took place at Temple Israel Cemetery. To share a condolence message, click here. Memorial contributions may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Cathy Malkin thought this tree at the Winslow Park entrance might make an interesting “Westport … Naturally” feature.

She’s right!

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)


And finally … though Crispin Cioe’s next gig involves a movie he co-produced (story above), we can’t forget his music.

Here are a few selections, from our Westport neighbor:


Roundup: Cava, Shred, ARPA …

Yesterday, “06880” introduced The Blondinit. The Israeli restaurant opens this summer in the former Church Lane space of Manna Toast.

It’s not the only new place with cuisine from that part of the world.

Cava will take over the newly remodeled spot next to Westport Hardware, across from Fresh Market.

As first reported on Westport Journal, it’s a national fast food chain with over 100 outlets. Among them: New York, Westchester and Greenwich.

The menu includes pitas (crispy falafel, spicy chicken and avocado, spicy lamb meatball and Greek chicken), and salad bowls (spicy chicken, zesty falafel, lemon chicken, harissa avocado, lentil avocado, tahini caesar and more).

3 choices, from the online menu.


Need documents or other stuff shredded? Want to support cancer research?

You can do both at once this Saturday (May 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., William Raveis rear parking lot, 47 Riverside Avenue).

The real estate firm is sponsoring another “Shred It for Cancer Research” event.

The suggested donation is $10 per box or large shopping bag; $20 per large garbage bag (cash or check).

Staples do not need to be removed. You can watch the shredding  happen — without even getting out of your car.

100% of every donation benefits the William Raveis Charitable Fund, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


Quote of the Day:

“Part of me was obviously happy that Donald Trump was not branded a rapist.” — Joseph Tacopina, the former president’s lawyer and a Westport resident, after a jury found his client liable for the sexual abuse and defamation of E. Jean Carroll. She was awarded $5 million in damages.


This week’s “What’s Next in Weston” podcast features 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor, with details on how American Rescue Plan Act money is being used to deliver improvements in many areas of Weston.

It covers lots of areas, and answers many questions. Click below to listen to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston production.


Much of the Greens Farms Association’s work involves zoning.

So the guest speaker for their annual meeting (May 18, 7 p.m., Green’s Farms Church) makes a lot of sense.

Danielle Dobin, chair of the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission, will discuss that topic, including affordable housing, upcoming developments and more.

The meeting includes a recap of the Association’s 2022 activities, and a look ahead to the coming year. Non-members are welcome.

Green’s Farms Church — one of the icons of the neighborhood — is the site of the Greens Farms Association’s annual meeting.


Luisa Francoeur is downsizing from the Westport home she grew up in, and lived in for many years.

On her mantel sits her late husband Jim Goodrich’s model of a schooner. It’s very handsome — and large.

She would like to sell it for $300 to someone who can come take it away (without breaking it).

It is 45 inches from the tip of the bowsprit to the end of the boom, and 8 1/2 inches from the deck to the bottom of the keel.

If interested, email nutmeg5@optonline.net.


Unlike Sam Cooke, Westport students do know much about history.

Last Saturday was Connecticut History Day — the state-level part of a national competition. The them was “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.”

Seven teams from Staples High School (Senior Division) and Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools (Junior Division) finished in the top 3 in their categories. There were also 2 special prize winners.

The Staples winners are:

1st place, Individual Performance:  Camille Mergenthaler (“Food Network; Pioneering Opportunities for Women in the Culinary Industry”).

2nd place, Individual Exhibit: Kate Rodriguez (“The Boom Heard ‘Round the World: The Development and Deployment of the Atomic Bomb”).

2nd place, Group Exhibit: Perrin Root, Oliver Oren, Evan Wallitt, Claudia Trinchi (“Laying Down Frontiers of the Future: The Transcontinental Railroad’s Economic and Cultural Influence”).

3rd place, Group Website: Levi Nested, Elliott Galina, Jake Wadley, William Fleming (“From TV Dinners to Fast Food Nation: The Cultural Impact of Processed Foods in America”).

Special prizes, Outstanding Entry Related to Civics, Government or Citizenship: Liam Furlong (“Ulysses S. Grant and His Effect on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1800s”).

Special prize, Outstanding Entry in American Legal History: Katherine Fitzgerald, Lola Lamensdorft, Rhiya Anand, Sophie Cochran (“Margaret Sanger: The Creation of Birth Control”).

The Bedford winners are:

1st place, Group Documentary: Siri Klassen, Gargi Karve, Elise Yan (“From the Farmland to the Runway: How Denim Revolutionized the
Fashion Industry Through Affordability and Transformative Styles”)

2nd place, Papers: Blake Carson (“An Unexpected Frontier: How the Civil War Exposed Medical Shortfalls and Prompted Change”).

The Coleytown Winners are:

2nd place, Individual Website: Jonah Frey (“How Amateur Radio Changed the Nation”),

F0r more information on Connecticut History Day, click here. For a list of all winners, click here.

From left: Evan Wallitt, Perrin Root, Oliver Oren in front of their Transcontinental Railroad project.


On Monday, Morgan Veltri spotted a great egret eating fish in the water. Here’s the very cool, binocular-focused “Westport … Naturally” that followed.

(Photo/Morgan Veltri)


And finally … sure, a schooner has 2 masts, a sloop only 1. But there are no schooner songs, so this will have to do:

(“06880” relies on reader support. Please click here to contribute. Thank you!)


61 Runs Down Arapahoe — In 1 Day

Last week — as many Westporters headed to warm climates, and the ones who were here welcomed spring — Jim Goodrich headed west to ski country. He was there to watch the amazing, incredible — well, let Jim tell the story.

Arapahoe Basin (aka “A Basin”) is one of the oldest and highest ski areas in Colorado. It is also a place that is glitz-free, geared to hard-core skiing.

Since 1989, A Basin has run a unique charity ski race that is tough, inspirational, heartfelt and has room for humor.  “The Enduro” lasts for 10 straight hours, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.  This year’s race was run last Wednesday (April 17) during Colorado’s biggest snowfall of the season. Temperatures were in the single digits.

33 teams of 2 each line up parallel to the chair lift, with their equipment 20 yards in front. On a signal they run to their skis or snow boards in a “Le Mans” start, then dash to get on the lift.

The start of Le Mans -- er, Enduro.

The start of Le Mans — er, Enduro.

Team members had to ride the lift together after each “lap” — up and down the mountain — and at the end of the race had to check in with officials before the clock ran out.

My wife (Luisa Francoeur) and I were there to watch her son and my stepson, Andrew McWilliams (Staples Class of 2002, and now the accounting auditor at A Basin) compete with a teammate. We were Andrew’s “pit crew,” getting food and water to them as they blasted back to the lift to begin each lap.

Andrew and Kyle finished 61 laps. With a total vertical of more than 70,000 feet (that’s twice from the summit of Mt. Everest down to sea level), they had a good day. Not quite as good as 2 professionals on the ski racing circuit or Andrew’s housemate who is on ski patrol, but something to be happy about.

Jim Goodrich and Andrew McWilliams.

Jim Goodrich and Andrew McWilliams.

Even the teams that were “in it for fun” did well. 2 nurses from Denver  laughed the whole time, and were distinguished by skiwear that included tutus.

At the celebratory dinner and silent auction, the money raised was announced and gratefully accepted by the recipient: a young mother who recently had a cancerous tumor removed from her brain.

The fun of the day stood in stark contrast to the anguish in Boston.  But it made sense, as people came together to help a young family through difficult times.