Two nonprofits with a mission to restore and maintain the connection of people to the Tchefuncte River have joined together for “The Tchefuncte Tribute — Lighting the way for the waters we love.” The gala is a benefit for the Tchefuncte River Foundation and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, both located in Madisonville.

The Tchefuncte Tribute fundraiser will be held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 at the Castine Center at Pelican Park, 63350 Pelican Blvd., in Mandeville. There will be live music by the Groovy 7 Band, food donated by more than 20 local restaurants, and great auction and silent auction items.

The Maritime Museum is working to restore the Madisonville Lighthouse and commissioned Lacombe artist Carol Hallock to create a work of art for the gala auction. The result is a 30 by 60 foot oil on linen depicting the Madisonville Lighthouse on the Tchefuncte River.

Shawn Keller, a member of the Tchefuncte River Foundation board, said the two organizations have come together to put on the fundraiser to create awareness and to further their goals. Since 2010, the foundation has been working on a plan to restore the beach at the mouth of Tchefuncte River that the founder, Kyle Catalano remembers from his childhood. A 150-acre site at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River on the eastbank side was donated to the foundation in 2012 by Hartley-Vey Properties. The foundation hopes to create an eco-park and restore the area for the public to enjoy. They want to see a jetty rebuilt at the mouth of the river that would protect the beach and the Madisonville Lighthouse.

“That’s why we’ve formed this coalition,” Keller said. “We are working to clean up the river and tributary waterways.”

Already, the foundation has negotiated with a marine company to haul away and dispose of more than a dozen boats that have been abandoned in the river. The boats make the river unsafe and could leak, which is an environmental hazard, she said.

Proceed, after the gala expenses, will be split between the two organizations. But Keller said it’s the money people spend after the ticket is bought that will “help the foundation and the museum to flourish throughout the year.”

Tickets are $75 per person or $800 for a table for eight.

For information and table reservations, contact Keller at (985) 373-6442; or call the LPBMM at (985) 845-9200 or visit and

Sharon Edwards is community news editor of The New Orleans Advocate. To reach her, call (985) 640-1251.