When the Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center held its 10th annual Celebrity Waiter Event July 12, several of its veteran tip earners were missing. District Attorney Hillar Moore, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson and Mayor Kip Holden were busy dealing with the aftermath of the shooting of Alton Sterling.
Little did we know that days later, three officers would be killed and three others injured in an ambush perpetrated by an outsider. From the moment I heard the news, I knew it had to be someone from someplace else that ripped a hole in the fabric of our community because, as so many have said since the attacks last Sunday morning, Baton Rouge is better than that.
So in the days to come, continue to pray for our city, our state, our nation and first responders everywhere.
Local dermatologist Ann Zedlitz, better known as Dr. Z, collected $3,919 from guests at the Celebrity Waiter Event, earning her bragging rights as the evening's top tip earner. Second place went the LSU Golden Girls, bringing in $3,333, while LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux came in third with $715.
Joining them in all manner of shenanigans to raise money at this year's event at L'Auberge Casino & Hotel were Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo, East Baton Parish Coroner Beau Clark, former LSU/NFL player Ryan Clark, Metro Councilman John Delgado, Miss LSU-USA 2016 Emilie Hebert, entrepreneur Josh Howard, Baton Rouge Community College Women's Basketball coach Paula Lee, Shopper's Choice corporate chef Tony Matassa, Bayou Bow Ties founder Andrew McGehee, Tiger Athletic Foundation CEO Rick Perry, former LSU baseball player Ronnie Rantz, sportsman Gary Rispone, musician David St. Romain, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres, TV personality Whitney Vann, Neighbors Federal Credit Union CEO Steve Webb, state Sen. Bodi White, Mike the Tiger and "Killing Fields" team members, Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi, Rodie Sanchez, Aubrey St. Angelo and Leslie Bradford.
To remind everyone why we were all there was a recently produced video, "Hope is Here," highlighting the work of BRCAC, whose mission is to "provide children and their families a solid path to healing and justice through efficient, coordinated and trauma-informed, child-focused services in the aftermath of abuse or violent crime. Following the screening, Executive Director Toni Bankston made a presentation to her predecessor, Sharon Pol, as a thank-you for her 10 years of leadership, which included starting this event.
Providing the night's entertainment was the very talented blues band, Clove. NBC33 news anchor Chad Sabadie served as emcee and assisted auctioneer Brian Fourroux in bringing in more funds during the live auction.
Spotted in crowd were Department of Children & Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters and husband Jimmy, Dr. Roberta Vicari, Becky and Jack Harris, Diane and Johnny Tate, Marianne Freeman and daughter Lisa, Marilyn and Mackie Price, Susan and Dr. Anthony Stephens, Janice Guitreau, Connie and Steve Wagner, Helen Pope, Dr. Evelyn Hayes, Virginia and John Pearson, and Duz Hamilton and Doug Cossman with the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana, which supports BRCAC via proceeds from its Spanish Town Mardi Gras celebrations.
Welcome to Pam’s Party Calendar, a comprehensive listing of all the fundraisers, galas, Mard…
Three nights later, I was partying with several of these same generous folks — Becky and Jack Harris, Diane and Johnny Tate, Marilyn and Mackie Price — at the Sunshine Foundation's annual membership soirée hosted by Shirley and Jim Porter. Shirley is the author of the book, "You are Sunshine," which the foundation prints and distributes to kindergartners throughout the state with assistance from the Louisiana National Guard.
This get-together serves as a kickoff for the foundation's annual Sunshine Gala, which is set for Nov. 15 and honors someone for their service to children. This year's honorees are Gladys and Kelly Runnels, founders of the Runnels School, who weren't able to attend the Friday celebration because of a long-planned trip. That didn't stop the festive mood though, as guests mingled between the house and pool house while noshing on an array of goodies and sipping summer cocktails. Attendees also got first dibs on tickets for the gala and so can you. Just visit the foundation's website, sunshinefoundationinc.org.