Start The New Year Off Right By Saving a Life

January is a month filled with new goals, resolutions and hopeful beginnings. It is also National Blood Donor Month, and Vitalant is paying tribute to its dedicated donors and encouraging people to save the lives of others by donating blood throughout the month.

To reinforce the effort, Vitalant’s three spokes-animals (an Instagram-famous cat, a French bulldog and a tiny-but-mighty hedgehog) are coming together to encourage people to help others this month through the simple act of donating blood as part of their “Save the Humans” campaign.

The month of January is one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood to meet the needs of communities. Cold weather can lead to the cancellation of blood drives, and donors often become too sick to donate due to cold and flu season.

“There is a constant need for blood — in fact, nearly 5,000 blood donations are needed each day to meet the needs of people throughout the country,” said Vitalant President and CEO Dave Green. “National Blood Donor Month is a critical time for people to donate, and we hope that people of all ages will start the New Year by realizing their life-transforming potential of giving blood. These vital donations truly transform lives in communities across the United States.”

In Louisiana, Vitalant has donation centers in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Morgan City, and it hosts mobile blood drives throughout South Louisiana. Learn more at and follow the animals’ efforts at

Ballet auditions set

Each season, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre hosts national auditions for the summer intensive programs of several major ballet companies. This year, the company will welcome Nashville Ballet, Next Generation Ballet – Patel Conservatory, Oklahoma City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre to audition regional dancers for limited spots in their programs.

Audition dates are:

Jan. 13 — Next Generation Ballet - Patel Conservatory. Registration is at 12:30 p.m., followed by auditions for ages 10-19 at 1 p.m.

Jan. 26 — American Ballet Theatre. Registration is one hour before auditions, which are from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for ages 11-14 and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for ages 15-20.

Feb. 3 — Nashville Ballet. Registration is at 1 p.m., followed by auditions for ages 11 and older from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Feb. 17, Oklahoma City Ballet. Registration is at 2 p.m., followed by auditions for ages 12 and older from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

All auditions will be held at Dancers’ Workshop, 10745 Linkwood Court. Each program has separate, specific audition requirements. Links to each program’s website can be found by visiting For more information, call (225) 766-8379 or email

Contact Southside Advocate Editor Darlene Denstorff by phone, (225) 388-0215 or (225) 603-1998; or email Deadline: 2 p.m. Friday.