Spring has officially sprung and it’s a glorious time for New Orleans. We’ve emerged from a successful and happy Mardi Gras return and our local businesses are seeing an uptick in foot traffic. It will take a long time to recover from the hit we’ve taken from COVID-19 and Ida, but things are looking promising, and if we’ve learned anything from these past few years it is to live each day to the fullest and to celebrate small victories every day.
As I sit down to write this letter, so many hearts are aching following the invasion of Ukraine and the uncertainty of what may follow. But, just a few minutes ago I was able to tell my seven-year-old daughter that is she no longer required to wear a mask at school. Her little eyes sparkled with joy and she jumped up and down with excitement. To her, this change means a new beginning. She once again will be able to see her friends and teachers smile as they greet each other in the morning, and that small victory filled my heart with so much happiness I will remember the moment vividly for the rest of my life. While not everyone is lucky enough to move about mask-free yet, the lifting of each city-wide (and nation-wide) restriction represents an overall shift in where we stand today.
We will continue to face new challenges, terrible and upsetting events, and in these moments, we will see the good in people, especially those who devote their lives to helping others. It is why we take our mission at St. Charles Avenue, sharing the stories of these people with you, very seriously. In this issue you will read about Renee Blanche, Deputy Director and Director of Development at Ozanam Inn, an organization that has served our community providing shelter and resources for the homeless since 1955. Ozanam Inn recently moved to a new location, expanding its bed capacity from 96 to 155. This month’s “Philanthropic Faces” features Emily Painton, Interim Executive Director and City Librarian for New Orleans Public Library. Emily discusses the immense challenges the library has faced during COVID-19 as well as the many little-known services the library provides in addition to books.
Naturally, spring conjures thoughts of hatching chicks and budding blooms as the season lends itself to lovely gatherings and showers. Jyl Benson’s “How To Host” offers the latest from local shops when it comes to hosting a shower – including suggestions for making catering a breeze, gift ideas and décor.
A focus on memory making has become even more of a priority. Airlines are lifting restrictions as well and we are seeing a rise in travel to destinations both near and far. In “The Sky is the Limit” Kelcy Wilburn shares advice from local travel experts with recommendations on safe and rewarding escapes for the family and adults traveling alone.
A bustling fundraising and festival season is upon us. Our spring fashion feature is filled with stunning mother/daughter ensembles paired with original art to inspire your looks for hitting the town. With numerous events on the horizon, including the Salute to Angel Ball April 9 celebrating 125 years of the National Council for Jewish Women, please do look to our charitable event calendar online for details and updates. Next month will include our quarterly “Registry of Charitable Events,” so be sure to pick up a copy.
We hope you find inspiration and useful information on these pages and wish you a happy spring!
On the Cover
Audubon Nature Institute will celebrate conservation efforts for pollinators, the group of insects, mammals, and birds on which the future of life on Earth depends, at the 44th annual Hancock Whitney Zoo-To-Do on Friday, May 6, and the 33rd annual Zoo-To-Do for Kids presented by Children’s Hospital New Orleans on Friday, April 29. Funds raised for the Zoo-To-Do events allow Audubon to contribute to wildlife conservation efforts for critical species like pollinators.
Audubon museums and parks are home to many pollinator species, both wild and in human care. As part of a mission to inspire making a positive impact on the natural world, Audubon educates millions of people annually about pollinators’ importance keeping the global ecosystem—and humans—healthy and how each of us can help them.
Purchasing tickets to the Zoo-to-Do events doesn’t just get you into the wildest party in town, it does a world of good for nature and wildlife. These events have been essential to helping Audubon Zoo remain accessible to the public, update and add exhibits, engage in conservation efforts, and spark individual action in millions of visitors each year.
Party with the Pollinators: Help Audubon Zoo Blossom!
Event Chairs: Holt E. Kolb, Hancock Whitney Zoo-To-Do Chair; Carol S. Starr, Zoo-To-Do for Kids presented by Children’s Hospital New Orleans Chair
Honorary Chairs: Mrs. Gayle Benson, Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Brouk, Dr. and Mrs. Willard L. Dumas, Jr., Dr. and Mrs. Henry Hefler
Hancock Whitney Zoo-To-Do Event highlights include:
Sponsor & Patron Party 7 p.m.
Gala 8-11 p.m.
Live entertainment by The Phunky Monkeys, Where Y’acht, Alexey Marti Quartet and Tin Men, specialty cocktails and delectable cuisine by 40+ local bars and restaurants, Lexus Car Raffle and Luxury Silent Auction
Tickets are available at zootodo.org
Zoo-To-Do for Kids presented by Children’s Hospital Event highlights include:
Sponsor, Patron, and Early Admittance 5 p.m., General Admittance 6-9 p.m.
Live entertainment by Super Star Events & Promotions, arcade games, giant inflatables, arts and crafts by 40+ vendors, snacks and sips by 10+ local vendors
Tickets are available at kidszootodo.org