It was only a matter of time before Le Dîner en Blanc was transported from Paris to New Orleans.
When the event made its debut in the Crescent City last year, more than 800 smartly dressed guests flocked to the banks of the Mississippi River at the Port of New Orleans to take part in a unique pop-up dining adventure under the stars.
This past weekend, the second annual Le Dîner en Blanc in New Orleans smashed 2013 attendance numbers when 1,600 diners participated in the city’s newest event craze.
In spite of having to redirect plans at the last minute due to inclement weather, the party moved without missing a beat, inside to the Hyatt Hotel from its original Bayou St. John location.
What was designed as an al fresco experience en masse had no problem hitting its stride in the Hyatt’s Grand Ballroom.
Cleveland Spears of Spears Consulting Group initiated New Orleans’ version of Le Dîner en Blanc and was quick to acknowledge his corporate partners and sponsors, First NBC Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield among them.
“We’re so grateful for all of our sponsors, and particularly appreciate the Hyatt’s help with this space when weather became a big concern for us tonight,” Spears said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Roderic Teamer was on board as a sponsor for the second consecutive year.
“We love this event because it reflects our target market: the young and rising professionals of our area,” said Teamer.
FNBC’s Jean-Guy Celestin dittoed that sentiment. “We believe that our youth are our future, and as this generation grows, we grow and evolve as a community,” Celestin said.
One pass around the large venue provided a tour in culinary style and creative table décor.
Because le Dîner guests had the option of bringing their own feast into the party, many of the setups were impressively elaborate.
Flowers and candelabras dotted long rows of white-linen-topped tables as participants whipped out fine china, crystal goblets and silver for their en Blanc evening.
On virtually every table, guests were busy mingling with fellow diners and toasting one another and the occasion with a variety of preferred libations. After all, this is New Orleans!
For those who wished to forgo the fuss of bringing their own, there was the option to purchase a variety of packages that even included a vegan-friendly alternative.
Jazz vocalist Robin Barnes eased guests into their en Blanc adventure, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation kept the party rolling long into night. No weather issue here!
It’s hard to believe that François Pasquier envisioned a party like this one well over 20 years ago in Paris.
Without the advantage of Facebook, Pasquier launched a social media phenomenon that now attracts more than 15,000 smartly clad diners to a “secret” location for one of the world’s largest spontaneous dinner parties.
Thank goodness his concept has taken root in America’s most European city.
To learn more about Le Dîner en Blanc, check out www.international.dinerenblanc.info.
Also, freshen up those whites, because the summer party season is just getting started!
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