Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! Take a break from your whirlwind life and just have fun today. Let the kids wait on you for a change. If you were out and about at any of last week's fabulous events, I know you need a rest. They were all so much fun!
Emerge into Paradise
You can count on the Emerge Center for fun every year at its signature fundraiser, which took place May 6. This year, the Bee Gees tribute band, Stayin' Alive, took us on a trip down disco's memory lane for the Emerge into Paradise-themed party.
Paula de la Bretonne and I had fun dancing along with girlfriends Diane Tate, Cynthia Michael, Colleen Waguespack, Shelton Jones, Kelly Stevens, Marci Blaize and Executive Director Melissa Juneau. Also enjoying the evening were Lori Bertman, Cordell Haymon, Kathy and Michael Victorian, Jeani and Charles Moniotte, Conway and Robert Petit, Melissa and Patrick Campbell, Dave Roberts, Nick and Abby Speyer, Laurie and Mark Aaronson, Charles Blaize, Todd Stevens, Carl Laperouse and emcee Victor Howell and wife Krystal.
Howell and professional auctioneer Matt Peterson helped raise more than $20,000 in the night's live auction. An additional $20,000 was raised via pledges, which will be matched up to $30,000 by the Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation.
Derby After Dark
For its 16th annual Derby After Dark fundraiser, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation changed things up, including this year's venue. A large crowd filled the L'Auberge Event Center on May 5 to help raise more than $24,000 in the live auction. A silent auction included some fab items, like a guitar autographed by Tim McGraw, a basketball autographed by Magic Johnson, a framed Shaquille O'Neal Lakers jersey and tickets to see Taylor Swift. WAFB's Elizabeth Vowell served as the night's emcee, introducing featured performer Elliott Yamin, an alum of "American Idol." Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he shared his story of living with this disease.
It was a very special gala for two women — founders and moms Grace Bella and Sheryl Brady-Teske, who were recognized for their selfless dedication over the years. They started the event with the help of friends and chaired it for the first five years. Both remain on the event committee.
Corporate chairmen for the gala were Denny Bass, Rex Ellison and Lew Love. Aside from Bella and Brady-Teske, the committee included Shannon Abney, Gwyn Brown, Michael Colston, Al Flettrich, Abby Hamilton, Kelley Harris, Tim McGregor, Tamara Palmer, Gregory Pogue, Jim Raines, Lois Rector, Kristy Robique, Jeff Tessier and Angie Wood.
Flying nuns, golf balls raining from the sky, Coach O! This year's Fiesta! benefiting Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital had it all. Welcoming guests to the Dow Hanger for the fun were honorary co-chairmen LSU football coach Ed Orgeron and wife Kelly and OLOL Foundation CEO John Paul Funes, who all encouraged guests to bid often and big in the night's live auction conducted by Brian Fourroux and emcee Gordy Rush. And they did, raising more than $82,000.
Sister Martha Ann Abshire took a ride in a helicopter to fly over BREC's nearby golf course to help drop the golf balls sold in a raffle for $10,000. Coming very close to a hole in one was the ball with Stephen Bourgeois' name on it, making him a very happy man.
Other big moneymakers for the hospital were the Kendra Scott jewelry and fine wine cork pulls, a designer purse raffle and a silent auction with lots of tempting items. While we all did a little shopping and visiting with friends, we sampled the culinary offerings of Blend, The Edible Event, The Watermark, Brew Ha Ha and The Lyceum while sipping libations from Sullivan's Steakhouse, Heineken, Corona, Modelo and Republic National Distributing Co.
Jennifer Maggio, founder and CEO of Life of a Single Mom Ministries, shared her heart-tugging story with a couple hundred guests at the group's fifth annual Impact Luncheon on May 4 at the Crowne Plaza. She was introduced by daughter Ashton, who was able to attend the event for the first time.
"Thanks for being a guinea pig when I was trying to figure out this parenting thing," said Maggio. Louisiana first lady Donna Edwards was supposed to be the featured speaker but was called away by the death of a friend. She did send a video message thanking Maggio for all the work being done by the ministries, whose motto is "no single mom walks alone."
"Single motherhood usually happens overnight; it's not planned," Maggio said. "This past August, for the second time in my life, I found myself homeless with everything I owned in garbage bags and living in my car. But the God that was with me 21 years ago is the same God that was with me in August … Our staff of six assisted 1,235 single moms and handed out over $150,000 in supplies in 90 days."
The luncheon's other highlights were the presentation of the 2017 Sister Award to Suzanne Rouvalis by board President Eunice McCarney and the announcement that Single Mom University is now open for business after two years of preparation and fundraising.