It started with a perky sobriquet: "Party Girl."

Introducing the first speaker, Judge Eric Shepperd kidded litigation attorney Velva Price about her habit of throwing parties — at other people's houses. Must be true, because the joke evoked warm, knowing laughter from the audience at the Legacy Luncheon for the Austin Black Lawyers Association at Green Pastures restaurant.

The judge's gentle joshing set the tone for a cascade of exchanges that suggested deep respect, trust and affection among the dozens of lawyers, judges, office holders, law professors and others present. Clearly, this group is a tie that binds.

Price introduced radiant honoree City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, who called the gathering "My Austin family." Benevolent University of Texas Vice President Gregory Vincent brought forward honoree Machree Gibson, lobbyist and president of Texas Exes, who predictably gave a moving speech, zeroing in on generations, like she and her daughter, Mallory Gibson, who grew up on their parents laps as they were educated in Austin's halls of higher learning.

Many years ago, another honoree, City of Austin Attorney Karen Kennard, moved into the home of Scott Joslove, president and CEO of the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, when his partner died. "What are you doing here?' he asked. "I moved in," she said. "Because you need me." She never left. The Kennard half of this non-couple couple spoke avidly about the intricate interactions among the distinguished guests coming and going from the nontraditional Kennard-Joslove domicile.

That's a place any Austin social columnist would kill — metaphorically — to spend time. Even if off the record.

Contact: mbarnes@statesman.com