Helping women look their best while interviewing for a job is one of the goals of Dress for Success New Orleans, which will hold its seventh annual Suits and Salads luncheon at 12:15 p.m. May 6 at The Hyatt Regency Hotel, 601 Loyola Ave.

The luncheon benefits programs that promote economic independence for women in the New Orleans area and provides hundreds of ladies business suits each year.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon will be Lauren LeBlanc, owner of Fleurty Girl, and there will be a silent auction, original artwork for sale and a raffle courtesy of Hiller Jewelry. Emcee will be Juli Miller Hart, past president of DFS New Orleans, and this year’s DFS honored client will present her story.

With the theme “A Toast to Mothers,” the event includes a fashion show highlighting local mothers and daughters.

“This annual luncheon is our biggest fundraiser of the year and is so important to us because it not only helps raise much-needed funds but also raises more awareness about the many programs we offer to change lives,” said Diane Riche, president of the local chapter.

The luncheon brings together men and women to celebrate and support the organization’s mission, which includes a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Clients participate in the Professional Women’s Group, a monthly program addressing financial literacy, balancing work and life, and health and wellness. Also offered is help with résumé writing and interviewing for a job.

“When a woman gets a job and becomes financially independent, she can provide for her family, and she sets a positive example for her children,” Riche said.

Clients “come from every walk of life, every ethnicity and education level,” Riche said. “They all have one thing in common: They want to do better. ... We offer a hand up, not a handout.”

Pre-luncheon registration, auction bidding and specialty cocktail offerings begin at 11 a.m. Auction items include spa services, hotel stays, restaurant gift cards, home décor, clothing, jewelry and children’s items.

Ticket prices range from $85 per person to $1,250. For information visit

The Dress for Success boutique is located at 6117 Magazine St. For information visit or call (504) 891-4337.

Free swimming lessons

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is partnering with the Ashley Marie Kelly Foundation, the American Red Cross and Loyola University to provide free swimming lessons to children 5 and older and adults living in the Lake Pontchartrain area.

Online registration begins Sunday. Hourlong classes will be offered at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. from May 9-13 at the Loyola University Recreational Sports Complex in New Orleans. For information about lessons and volunteering to assist with the program, visit

Summer swimming classes also will be offered at the Regala Pool in Reserve, but dates have not been finalized. For information, call the St. John the Baptist Parish Parks and Recreation Department at (985) 652-9569, extension 1169 or 1241.

Longue Vue get-together

Bring blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy light snacks during a GiveNola Day get-together from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Longue Vue House and Gardens, 7 Bamboo Road. For information visit

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensen