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Advocates for Empowerment

Lighthouse Louisiana raised nearly $75,000 to help provide education, life skills training and employment to persons with disabilities.

Board President and Emcee Paul Masinter, President Renee Vidrine, Renee Masinter and Celebrity Auctioneer Bryan Batt

Photographed by Will Strout

Lighthouse Louisiana hosted “Soirée de Lumière,” an evening filled with sensory experiences for 200 attendees, which supported programming to empower and serve persons with disabilities.

Arnaud’s Restaurant opened the event with passed hors d’oeuvres around the silent auction tables and music by The Gumbo Trio. The seated dinner began with guests opting for blindfolds in the “Dans Le Noir” course guided by Lighthouse Vice President Jenice Heck. Guests, using touch and taste, explored the “in the dark” appetizer of shrimp Arnaud paired with Chablis. The following courses were artichoke soup and herb-crusted black Drum paired with the Chablis and a Pinot Noir. A dessert of strawberries Arnaud was paired with a Brut Rose.

As the lead Heart of Inclusion sponsor, Whitney Bank’s guests were seated in chairs adorned with lumbar pillows designed by local artist Jennifer Ansardi; Empowerment Hero sponsor guests received candles from NOLA Lip & Soap in scents such as Sweet Darlin’, Seersucker, Tea Time in the Garden District and more.

The live auction featured a pair of Southwest Airlines flights and a trip to the luxury Kimpton Vintage Hotel in Seattle. “The Perfect Date” prize included a limo ride to Adler’s and dinner at Arnaud’s. The auction also featured pottery created by Lighthouse clients and gifts from Toulouse Royale, Roux Royale, Simon of New Orleans, Sheraton Hotel, IP Spa & Resort and more.

Board Chair Paul Masinter served as Emcee, and actor Bryan Batt served as Celebrity Auctioneer. President Renee Vidrine recognized special guests. A special gift was presented to Michael Gallagher, who won a sterling silver Braille bracelet.

As a parting favor, all guests received a favor of a pewter fleur de lis spreader from Roux Royale ribbon-tied to a jar of world-famous Arnaud’s mustard.

 

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