Give Kate Werner a few weeks and she and her board of The Choice Foundation, who operate Esperanza Charter School and Layfayette Academy, can pull off a fundraiser to benefit our elementary school children in a unique way! This event kicked off a campaign to raise $1.5 million dollars. The Choice Foundation says that: 98 percent of the 1,500 children in our public schools are minority and from disadvantaged populations, 100 percent qualify for free lunch, 17 percent have special needs, 20 percent are learning English and 17 percent are homeless. Thank goodness for the people in our city who care – for instance, Jim Huger founded the Choice Foundation!
First, Kate called her friends at IberiaBank, Hancock Whitney, Auto-Chlor Systems and Arnaud’s for sponsor donations. Katy Casbarian and chef Tommy DiGiovanni of Arnaud’s blew everyone away with shrimp Arnaud, lump crabmeat ravigote, filet and passed hors d’oeuvres, including crabmeat Prentiss. Gracious Bakery provided the desserts. And, Sazerac Company and Bizou Wines provided the libations. The hostess used her own china, silver, linen napkins and silver serving pieces to add an Old World feeling. Stephen Sonnier donated the exquisite flowers for the dining room table! There was a silent auction featuring Louisiana artists such as Gretchen Weller Howard, Phil Sandusky, Melissa Bonin, José-Maria Cundin, Ashley Longshore and more.
To carry through the oyster theme, Kate gathered oyster shells and tiny white lights to surround vases filled with white camellias from the garden. She also decorated the cocktail tables and created T-shirts with silk screened oysters to remind the children and the community to “Let the World Be Your Oyster!”
Successful charter schools are one of the keys to having successful adults. The Choice Foundation will continue to provide the children of Esperanza Charter School and Layfayette Academy a strong education in safe, nurturing, stable environments and help realize a future promise for New Orleans. Join them by visiting ChoiceFoundation.org to learn more.
Chairmain Kate Werner and Katy Casbarian
Exquisite buffet donated by Arnaud’s; flowers by Stephen Sonnier of Dunn & Sonnier
Artist Alex Beard and IberiaBank’s Tommy Westervelt
Oyster Shells, tiny white lights and camellias greeted guests as they ascended the stairs.