New Orleans restaurant and bar groups form Raise, a different approach for supporting local causes _lowres

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty -- Cure, the Freret Street cocktail hot spot, is part of a new endeavor called Raise, formed by a group of New Orleans restaurants and bars to support local causes. The first event, called Raise: Julian, will be at One Eye Jacks on Jan. 21.

Does charity start at home? For many in the New Orleans hospitality business, charity starts at the stove, and the bar.

The food and drink they contribute are the lifeblood for countless charitable events and fundraisers. They’re constantly answering the call to support community causes with their time and talent and product.

Recently though, more of them have been organizing their own charitable work, and planning events to bring in the bucks themselves.

The latest example is the debut event from a new endeavor called Raise, coming up next week.

Raise was conceived by three groups: LeBlanc + Smith, the restaurant company behind Sylvain, Meauxbar, the bar Barrel Proof, the forthcoming Cavan and others; CureCo, which has Cure, Cane & Table and Bellocq; and Dinner Lab, the nationwide dinner club based in New Orleans.

Through Raise, they’ll organize events that benefit select causes. The first edition benefits the family of Julian Haney, a two-year-old being treated for leukemia. Julian is the son of Susan and Blake Haney, founders of the local brand and T-shirt company Dirty Coast.

“We have young children, and the thought of them going through something like this really struck a chord,” said Neal Bodenheimer, a partner in CureCo. “But as we got together to plan this, we thought ‘why just do this once?’”

Working together, the three local hospitality companies plan to host annual editions of Raise. The first one is called Raise: Julian and will be held Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the French Quarter club One Eyed Jacks.

There’s an open bar, with liquor provided by the beverage brand William Grant & Sons, food tastings from the partners’ chefs, specialty drinks from their bartenders, a live art auction and tunes from DJ Fayard. Tickets are $50. See details below.

“The idea is to create a cool event that’s not too heavy of a lift for any one partner to produce and not too expensive, something that our friends and peers can afford to participate in,” said Robert LeBlanc, a partner in LeBlanc + Smith. “It makes a lot of sense to do this together because we get to hit a lot of people through each of our own networks that one family wouldn’t necessarily reach.”

They see Raise as a way to fully contribute their resources to a cause. Hosting and hospitality is what these companies do, after all, and they have the staff, the vendor and supplier contacts and the marketing reach to pull it together.

“It’s plug and play on our side,” said LeBlanc.

Service industry people look forward to working some charitable events as a designated time to see their friends in the industry, Bodenheimer pointed out, which isn’t always easy while running their own businesses.

With Raise, they also get to focus a group effort to a cause of their own choosing.

“We’re not going to raise a million bucks, but we’re going to make a nice chunk that will make a difference for this family,” said LeBlanc.

WHAT: Raise: Julian

WHEN: Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St.

ABOUT: Open bar, specialty cocktail tastings, food tastings from chef Kristen Essig of Meauxbar and Cavan, chef Martha Wiggins of Sylvain and chefs Jason Klutts and Lance Shipp from CureCo

Live auction, with pieces from Steve Martin Fine Art; music from DJ Fayard.

Tickets are $50. Get them online through, under “Raise: Julian.”

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.