Please meet our gracious and glamorous friend Jane Scott Hodges, a 2018 Salonniere 100 honoree, author, and the founder of the luxe linens company, Leontine. As you can imagine, Jane Scott knows a thing or two about swell soirées. When she isn’t hosting parties in her gorgeous New Orleans manse, Jane Scott can be found chairing benefits and traveling the globe in search of one-of-a-kind treasures to add to her collection of chic party pieces. Pour yourself a Sazerac (the official cocktail of New Orleans) and join us as Jane Scott reveals everything from her penchant for buffets and the one thing in her house that always gets guests talking to why you should never bring her a hostess gift.
How would you describe your entertaining style?
Welcoming and hopefully gracious, although I’m not sure you can say that about yourself.
Lucite trays are one of Jane Scott’s entertaining staples.
What’s your favorite way to entertain?
I love a buffet! You don’t have to worry about last-minute cancellations or additions or being seated next to the same person all night. And they work really well in my home because I can seat 25 people in my living room but only 12 at my dining table. I’ll place a stack of clear Lucite trays—with monogrammed linen napkins and silverware on each—at the end of the buffet so my guests can put one on their lap and eat comfortably while seated anywhere in the room.
What do you enjoy most about hosting parties at home?
I love creating a mood and experience that makes my guests feel welcome and special. This can be challenging in a restaurant or public setting. But at home, you won’t be interrupted by waters, bussers, and the like. Nor will you see people you did not intend to, which can be highly distracting. When entertaining at home, you can be focused entirely on those you’ve invited.
Colorful linens are a hallmark of Jane Scott’s tabletop designs.
What’s the one thing people will always see at your parties?
Good looking linens, naturally!
What is one party luxury you can’t live without?
Someone to help, particularly in terms of keeping cocktails refreshed and plating the food. And it sure is nice to have someone help clean up after a party, so your guests don’t have to see you fretting about.
What is your most treasured entertaining item?
My collection of Chaffe McIlhenny hand-blown goblets.
Jane Scott’s living room features a mix of antiques against eye-popping color.
What is the one item in your home that always gets your guests talking?
Umm, my chartreuse-lacquered living room!
What’s one thing you’ll never discuss at a party?
Never say never, she says with a wink!
What are your three biggest party pet peeves?
Hosts who introduces themselves at the door. If someone is coming into your home, you should know who they are or at least pretend to! Also, guests who arrive late. Please mind the time and your manners! Third is Instagram. You were invited for your pleasure, not to broadcast the evening to others who were not there. Know the place and time for posting from a party, and always check first with your host or hostess.
What makes a great host?
A great host makes his or her guests feel welcome and right at home, no matter what. For example, one of my favorite dinner guests never wears shoes at my house (MY house!), but it’s fine with me. He’s the most beloved raconteur in the group!
What makes a great guest?
A great guest is punctual and entertaining to the other guests.
Why do parties matter?
People should be together to celebrate one another, whether there’s an occasion or not!
Jane Scott’s contemporary kitchen is also a beautiful spot for guests to gather.
Getting “Tipsy” with Jane Scott Hodges
Okay, let’s get “tipsy.” What’s your best tip for…
Getting your home party ready?
I light a NEST Fragrances candle in Bamboo, adjust the lighting, and set the tunes, which is usually a New Orleans playlist with artists past and present, like The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and John Boutte.
Glass, silver, wood, and linen mix to create a striking tableau.
Setting the table?
For seated dinners, I always use a felt liner under my linen placemats. Not only do they protect the table, but they help to give the linen an opacity that makes them look so much nicer on the table. And use colored linens—they add such a richness! Just as you would never use the same candles or flowers on your table, consider the way that colored linens can change-up the look of your table setting. The fun is in the mix.
Creating a chic last-minute centerpiece from grocery store flowers?
We don’t have a flower market in NOLA, so grocery-store flowers can work just fine. I’m not a terrific flower arranger, but abundance helps! Even I can stuff a bunch of peonies into a tall glass vase or hydrangeas into my favorite Frances Palmer container.
Bringing out a shy party guest?
Pair them with a lively one!!
Shopping for entertaining pieces?
I love the fabulous Indian block-print table covers at William Wayne! And of course, Leontine linens! I also think you should pick things up at flea markets on your travels. You will be surprised at what can hold flowers or food and how much you will enjoy remembering where you “found the objet.”
Jane Scott’s colorful linens and glassware add vivid touches to her table settings.
Playing Favorites with Jane Scott Hodges
It’s time to play favorites. What’s your favorite…
Anything collected. One should always buy more china!
I collect antique Fiddle Thread silver. The simplicity of the pattern works well with all of my dishes and table arrangements.
Anything non-traditional. I opted out of proper crystal as a new bride, and since then have amassed a fabulous collection of jewel-toned, hand-blown glass goblets by Chaffe McIlhenny. I have cobalt, Kelly green, apricot, amber, and I just added raspberry! I love the way they look next to my silver water goblets and the way candlelight reflects through them.
A floral arrangement by Jane Scott’s favorite New Orleans florist, Giverny.
In New Orleans, Margaret Ludwig of Giverny; in New York, Zeze.
Hostess gift to give?
I am not a believer in this new tradition of giving a hostess gift. I find it awkward to receive gifts at the door when I am welcoming guests. I think a proper thank-you note is best!
Pre-party beauty indulgence?
A blow dry. Good hair goes a long way!
Favorite party shoe?
I have yet to find one that doesn’t hurt. In my youth, I was driving home from a party with my husband, and I was in a MOOD! He stopped the car, threw my heels out the window, and said, “We are all good now. I just pitched your ‘fighting shoes’!” Thankfully, that was before I started wearing expensive shoes!
Click here to read more of our exclusive interviews with America’s top party hosts.
Photos via Jane Scott Hodges; Paul Costello for Tory Daily; One Kings Lane; House Beautiful