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Fair Grounds, Lt. Gov. Nungesser and Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Jointly Announce Celebrity Chef Event To Benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana


NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Together with Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana, Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots today announced the “Taste of the Louisiana Derby” Celebrity Chef and Charity Gala will be held Thursday, March 21, at 7p.m. In its inaugural year, the event, benefitting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana will be held at Mid-City venue, The Cannery, and is a culmination of the “Feed Your Soul” Louisiana cultural campaign in unison with Derby Week and the 106th running of Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby March 23.

Featuring Louisiana seafood culinary creations by several of the regions’ top celebrity chefs including Cory Bahr, owner of Parish Restaurant and Heritage Catering of Monroe, Louisiana and finalist on Food Network's "Food Network Star"; Frank Brigtsen, purveyor of New Orleans-based Brigtsen’s Restaurant; Michael Brewer, corporate chef for Brechtel Hospitality; and Nathan Richard, executive chef at well-known New Orleans restaurant Cavan. The fundraiser will also include entertainment by Robin Barnes. Barnes, whose unique blend of funky jazz, soul and rhythm and blues has earned her local notoriety as the “Songbird of New Orleans” will also be performing the National Anthem at the venerable Track on Louisiana Derby Day. In addition, a live auction will feature a 2019 Kentucky Derby Experience including hotel and airfare, 2019 Louisiana Derby Suite Experience, Rolling Stones Jazz Fest tickets and more.

“The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism takes great pride in working with leaders across the state to promote our food, music, arts, culture, history, and most importantly our people as what make Louisiana special," said Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser in a press release about the event. "This event is a natural connection to our commitment of bringing one of the many shining stars of Louisiana heritage to the forefront to help the families that utilize the Ronald McDonald House to support the recovery of their children at the many health services providers in the New Orleans Metropolitan area. We are truly elated to be a part of such a worthy effort."

“Our hearts go out to the many families and their children that come to the New Orleans area for critical medical care," said Doug Shipley, president of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. "As a long-time supporter of the community, we are excited to support this event on the cusp of the 106th running of the Louisiana Derby to raise money for the many efforts of the Ronald McDonald House and its impact across the region."

Families from all areas of Louisiana, the United States and foreign countries travel to New Orleans, often on an emergency basis, for a child’s medical treatment provided by area health care facilities. Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana provides housing, meals and transportation to families regardless of their ability to pay. “We rely on a community of donors and volunteers, and the generosity of people at wonderful events like the ‘Taste of the Louisiana Derby’ for the ability to provide comfort and care to these families while keeping them near the medical care their children desperately need,” said Corey Staehle, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana.

The funds raised by the event will help cover the costs associated with housing, feeding and transporting families to medical providers. While there is a suggested donation of $10 per night for each room, the actual costs are close to $100, and only about 30 percent of guests are able to pay anything at all. Staehle adds, “Donors at these events are a critical source of funding for our house, and we’d like to thank all of the sponsors, especially Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser for making it all possible.”

Donations toward and tickets for the “Taste of the Louisiana Derby” fundraiser are $125 each, or two for $200, for general admission. Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Steve Faure, communications manager at Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana at 504-486-6668 or by visiting derby.rmhc-sla.org.



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