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1   New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and wife, Beth, announcing the
formation and launch of Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation in order to raise funds and awareness to help families and children in need in the areas of health, education and social welfare. “Beth and I have proudly called New Orleans home for the past two years and being able to begin Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation is something we are extremely proud to do,” said Payton. “ For more information about Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation and the Black & Gold Gala visit www.paytonsplayitforwardfoundation.com.

2   Project leader Mike Atwater, President W. Mason Curran II, board of director Aimee Quirk and Darrin Butler at a private kickoff event to reveal designs for Young Leadership Council’s A Streetcar Named Inspire public art project that paired local artists with sponsor organizations on Thurs., Feb. 21, at the Capital One Building.
3   Project leader Jude Boudreaux, Mary Beth Romig and artist Chris Kaiser also attended the event; over 250 invited sponsors perused hundreds of submitted sketches to determine which artist would design their streetcar.

4   Vice President of Projects Daniel N. Forman, Donielle Gerarve, Executive Director Amy Boyle and Mike Theis in support of the YLC, which over the last 21 years has raised more than $25 million for its projects which also include: the Proud to Call It Home civic pride campaign, lighting of the Crescent City Connection, Festival of Fins public art display, “One Book One New Orleans” community reading and literacy awareness campaign and YLC Wednesday at the Square.

5   Honored artist George and Wendy Rodrigue, Director John Bullard and Chef Paul Prudhomme (who created a special dinner for the event) celebrating the opening night of “Rodrigue’s Louisiana: Cajuns, Blue Dogs and Beyond Katrina” presented at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

6   Anne Tucker, Don Sanders and event chairs Louis and Sandra Wilson enjoyed the cocktails, dinner and Cajun dancing that accompanied the opening.

7   Bill and Carolyn Oliver in front of paintings from Rodrigue’s Cajun period; The Ailoi Dinner, in the same feeling, was the centerpiece of this event (and of the invitation). At the opening, a theatrical interpretation of the painting was the centerpiece of the lobby.

8   Celebrity Waiter Dr. Marty Lang
performing at the first annual Jeux Tout Doux Celebrity Waiter’s event, benefitting Torah Academy of Greater New Orleans, which took place at The Foundry on Sunday, March 9. The evening’s theme was “Lights Camera Auction” and each celebrity waiter served costumed guests who were seated at themed tables such as: “The Bachelor” and “The Frisco Kid Finds New Orleans.”   9   Hornets owner George Shinn with wife, Denise, and Hornets President Hugh Weber and wife, Julie, at the Hornets annual Top Hats and High Tops black tie gala on Thursday, March 13 at the Audubon Tea Room, which raised more than $163,000.
10   Hornets guard Chris Paul visits with Lisa Walker and Assistant Coach Darrell Walker after the squad was introduced to the 350 guests. Once introduced, the players drew table numbers out of a basketball to determine which table they would join. “On behalf of the entire Hornets organization, we want to thank each of our guests for supporting this great event and spending the evening with us,” said Shinn. “We are committed to our long-term success in New Orleans and that commitment includes leaving our legacy in the community.”   

11   Touro Infirmary President and CEO, Les Hirsch (center), with the help of New Orleans Recovery Director, Dr. Ed Blakely, unveiled the hospital’s new imaging center at the corner of Napoleon and Claiborne avenues on March 20. The new 13,000-square-foot center, slated to open in September 2008, is the first of its kind in the New Orleans area.

12   Stella Del Bianco and Chuck Ransdell at the Southern Repertory Theater Gala held at The Foundry to celebrate their 21st season. The gala was a send-off for Southern Rep’s Producing Artistic Director Ryan Rilette, who announced in December that he would be leaving in mid-March 2008 to be the new Managing Director at Marin Theatre Company (MTC) in Mill Valley, Ca. Jim Fitzmorris was the emcee of the event which included entertainment by jazz singer Troi Bechet, a final Red Light District Top 10 list from Sean Patterson and a send off speech from Lara Grice.

13   Henry Sullivan, Doug Grundmeyer, Susan Krinsky and Casey Willems at the Southern Rep gala which also featured a silent auction with donations from Basin Street Records, Rotolo’s Pizzeria, w.i.n.o., Symmetry Jewelers and a football signed by the Saints. An unplanned announcement that, after a national search, Aimee Hayes, the current managing director, had been named the new artistic director kept the celebration going.

14   Hornets Forward Peja Stojakovic, bowling with his son during Stojakovic’s inaugural “Charitabowl” on Friday, March 21 at the All Star Lanes in Kenner. The event alone raised $45,000 and Stojakovic matched the fundraiser’s amount, totaling a $90,000 donation. Proceeds from the event will go towards Stojakovic’s “Courts For Kids” project, which installs new basketball courts, refurbishes existing ones and distributes basketball equipment in economically disadvantaged areas around the world.

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