The Women’s Energy Network had holiday tea at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, and what could be nicer? Nothing beats the Quarter at Christmas, unless it’s women in the energy industry getting together to help one another get ahead.

Enjoying the NOLA elegance were Valerie Mayhall, Cherrie LeBlanc and Nene Gianfala.

Evangeline Downs presents donations

Evangeline Downs awarded $10,000 in donations to local nonprofit organizations at its third annual Trees of Hope fundraiser. Nonprofits from throughout the area participated in the tree-decorating competition, after which the public voted for their favorite. The St. Landry Evangeline Sexual Assault Center received a $5,000 prize for first place, the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana placed second for $2,500 while the Muscular Dystrophy Association received $1,000 for third place. The other participating organizations each received $125.

“We are very excited by the turn out we’ve had for Trees of Hope this year,” said Bret Cox, vice president and general manager of Evangeline Downs. “The participating organizations did an excellent job decorating the trees, and our guests very much enjoyed the displays and their opportunity to participate.”

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at