A heartfelt event featuring crawfish and cornhole for a cause was held recently at The Sanctuary in Mandeville.

HeartGift Louisiana hosted the inaugural cornhole competition, Louisiana Crawfish & Cornhole, presented by All Star Foundation in partnership with Children’s Hospital and other area sponsors.

The fundraiser benefits HeartGift's efforts to provide lifesaving heart surgery to children from around the world. HeartGift, a nonprofit started in 2000 in Austin, Texas, has treated more than 400 children from more than 34 countries.

About 50 teams participated in the competition. First-place honors went to Jason Pelloat and Brad Rogers, of the Paretti Family of Dealerships Team.

Special guests were HeartGift patient Keona Moreno, 2, and her mother, Maricar Moreno, from the Philippines. They arrived in February and stayed with a host family in Madisonville, and Keona underwent heart surgery at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans on March 1.

“Keona was the 54th patient served in Louisiana. Our next child, Keller, is scheduled to arrive from Haiti on April 5,” said Stephanie Berault, executive director of HeartGift Louisiana.

Event guests were treated to a feast of crawfish, shrimp, lobster, chicken wings, jambalaya, burgers, fried green tomatoes and a variety of drinks from local vendors while they watched the competition unfold. Rossi DiBenedetto played island tunes on the steel drum.

"We know cornhole has been growing in popularity, but even with that, the response from the community exceeded our expectations," Berault said.

For more information about HeartGift, go to www.heartgift.org.

SSA welcomes spring

The St. Scholastica Academy gymnasium recently was transformed into an elegant venue fit for a spring gala when the Catholic girls’ school in Covington held its main fundraiser.

The 35th annual Falaya Fling was alight with festivities as guests arrived to a gallery decorated with white doves and sparkling lights. The gala featured an elaborate silent auction, draw down raffle, Champagne bubbly bar, gourmet food, live music by Four Unplugged and Peace of Cake, and more.

“For us it’s about community. Of course we want to raise money, but we want to build relationships,” said Donna Wallace, SSA advancement director who helped to organize the gala for school parents, grandparents, staff and friends.

Other chairwomen are: Brenda Ehrhardt, advancement coordinator; Lindsay Edwards, chairwoman; Laurell Szczepanski and Aimee Corass, decorations chairwomen; and Stacey Clark and Myrium Wyble, Snag the Bag chairwomen.

For more information about SSA, go to www.ssacad.org/about/welcome.

Elks present awards

The B.P.O. Elks Slidell Lodge #2321 honored its members and community youths during its recent 49th annual Elks Awards Banquet at the lodge.

Exalted Ruler Stephen Daigle welcomed guests and introduced officers; Veterans chairman Paul Newfield led the pledge; and Chaplain Alania Miller led the invocation. Members and guests enjoyed dinner organized by Nancy Rousset and served by Boy Scout Troops 98 and 562, and drinks were served by Bryan Rhodus and Brooke Rhodus. Table decorations were gracefully placed by the Elks Auxiliary.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the coveted Elk of the Year Award to Eric Burleigh Jr., the Citizen of the Year Award to Lynn Bergeron and the Officer of the Year Award to Secretary Wayne Landry.

Auxiliary President Carol Graff presented the Auxiliary Member of the Year Award to Brandi Rousset and the Auxiliary Officer of the Year Award to Vice President Mary Clark.

Twelve area students were recognized for winning awards in the Elks Hoop Shoot basketball program and 11 students were recognized for receiving Most Valuable Student Scholarships. Leading Knight Deidre Christian announced the Damon L. Christian Memorial Scholarship recipient, Paytin Lee, of Pearl River High School.

Numerous other awards were presented, including the Exalted Ruler Appreciation Award to Tina Guillory, the Elks National Foundation Award to Lee Guillory, and Grand Exalted Ruler citations to Keith Rossignol, Greg Hanrahan, Stephen Daigle and the Slidell lodge. Also recognized were Veterans chairman Newfield, Elks of the Month, Elkettes of the Month and Elks dancers. Members who have accrued 5-year increments of membership received pins.

The Elks is a fraternal organization that serves people and communities through benevolent programs. For more information, call (985) 641-1266.