The “Big 4-Oh! Gala” marked the debut of the new Chevron Forum next to NOCCA’s main riverfront campus. The party flowed through the Solomon Family Hall, 5 Press Gallery and Press Street Station.

For the Patron Party, guests were greeted by pedicabs, which rolled up to the event where champagne and hors d’oeuvres prepared by NOCCA’s Culinary Arts students waited.

The gala was catered by a number of local restaurants, including: Bacchanal, Bittersweet, Brigtsen’s, Commander’s Palace, Emeril’s, Frankie & Johnny’s, La Petite Grocery, Meauxbar, Mondo, Patois, Pralines by Jean, Press Street Station, Swiss Confectionery, Sylvain, The Balcony Ballroom and Willa Jean.

The Solomon Group was in charge of making each space vibrant and festive, and entertainment included NOCCA students from the Classical, Jazz, Vocal, Drama, Musical Theatre, Dance and Creative Writing departments; Jee Yeoun Ko and Michael Pellera; the Young Alumni All-Stars; the Alumni All-Stars; and Grammy Award-winners Terence Blanchard and Pedrito Martinez.

The silent and live auctions featured vacation packages, artwork and one-of-a-kind experiences. Highlights included a ride in the Orpheus parade, a set of earrings from Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelers and a night of food and music provided by NOCCA faculty members pianist Michael Pellera and chef Dana D’Anzi Tuohy. Gesture conducted the silent auction, and John Calhoun served as live auctioneer.

Approximately 800 guests attended the event, where Robin Burgess and Terrence Blanchard served as Event Co-Chairs and Celeste Marshall and Vanessa Van Vrancken were the alumni Co-Chairs.  


What: “Big 4-Oh! Gala,” benefiting NOCCA Institute
When: Sunday, May 17
Where: 2831 Chartres St.