The year’s most anticipated black-tie gala brought out nearly 3,000 of the Audubon Institute’s friends, patrons and party lovers with the 32nd annual Whitney Zoo-To-Do. Just a week before, Zoo-To-Do for Kids took place, presented by Humana. Kara French chaired the gala for kiddies. The main event was held on a balmy Friday, May 1. Ladies donned their best gowns while most men opted to skip the tuxedos in lieu of crisp linen suits. In keeping with the celebration of the zoo’s Asian Domain Elephant Exhibit, many of the evening’s bright lights and luxe decorations looked straight out of a Bollywood dance number. It was a colorful evening indeed, with great music from Midnight Star keeping bright dresses twirling all night in front of the central stage. Other entertainment included the Joe Simon Trio, Topsy Chapman, Vieux Carré and the Wild Mohicans Mardi Gras Indians. Revelers sipped on “The Golden Lotus,” the night’s signature concoction based on Grey Goose Vodka, in addition to drinks from more than 60 full-service and specialty cocktail bars. A fabulous patron party, presented by AT&T, took place in the Audubon Tea room, where lucky bidders took their best shot at prizes such as diamond earrings from Friend & Co. or a weekend getaway in New York. One lucky raffle participant even left with a brand new Lexus IS250! No New Orleans gala is complete without food, and there was no shortage of it here. Alligator Cheesecake, Bananas Foster and Shrimp Ragua were just three of 80 featured dishes from restaurants, hotels and bars around town and the Northshore. Among the multitude of individuals who generously gave their time to organizing this event, attending were gala chair Virginia Rowan, sponsor chairs Mrs. Andrew Todd and Mrs. John D. Werner, and committee chairs Mrs. J. Fenner French and Mrs. Christian G. Hooper. More than $1 million was raised from the event, with all proceeds going toward the restoration and expansion of the Asian Domain Elephant Exhibit.
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