September 8 Miss Ima Hogg, the philanthropist with the funny name, loved the Creole architecture of New Orleans, which led her brothers to hire preeminent residential architect John Staub to design what became known as Bayou Bend. With its pale pink stucco, green louvered blinds and copper roof, the house and gardens are part country house, part Southern plantation. The 1928 estate has contained the decorative arts collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, since 1966. Learn about what Staub dubbed "Latin Colonial" architecture with an hourlong tour led by docent Ed Langwith, a retired partner of the architecture firm Langwith, Wilson and King. The event kicks off the fall series of noontime tours at the 14-acre site. One Westcott Street, off Memorial. Reservations recommended: 639-7758. $5-$10.
Over the next few days, downtown will explode into an extravaganza of lights, fireworks, eight stages of music and dance, food from 55 restaurants, with what used to be called the Great Taste of Houston and is now Houston Industries Power of Houston '98. The "mayor's official fall celebration," as it's being touted, starts off tonight with a peasantish pastime: grape stomping. At the 104 KRBE Grape Stomp, 20 teams of four members each will bare their soles, jump in grape-filled tubs and race to be first to fill a glass with grape juice and serve it to the judges. Eeeewww. To participate in the stomp, fax a compelling reason why your team should be allowed to compete to the station at 954-2344 before September 7. The Great Wine Fest takes place in front of City Hall, 901 Bagby. Grape Stomp info: 266-1000. Power o' Houston info: 684-0900. Admission: $5, $2 for children under ten; children under three free. Benefits the mayor's parks fund and the Houston International Festival Educational Program, among other things.