The 2016 annual “Guardian Angel Award Gala” raised $45,500 in support of Project Lazarus, a home for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Guardian Angel Award, given to an individual who has had a significant relationship with Project Lazarus and made a positive impact on the agency through service, advocacy and support, was presented to David Cortez. This year, Project Lazarus also presented the Pawell-Desrosiers Award, the highest and most prestigious award from the organization, to Anne Milling.

Video introductions for the honorees were created and produced by Avita Pharmacy as part of their sponsorship.

Event Host Eric Paulsen of WWL-TV was joined by his wife and auctioneer Bethany Paulsen, along with auctioneer Warren Backer Jr. with awardee David Cortez.

Founder Fr. Paul Desrosiers delivered the invocation. Additional speeches were made by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Board Chair Lauren Fine, Honorary Co-Chairs Jason Waguespack and Mark McKeown and Executive Director Steve Rivera. Jeff Morgan also served as Honorary Co-Chair alongside Waguespack and McKeown.

The Gala Committee included Jonas Dominique, Tyler Douglas, Laura Fine, Bruce Gallassero, Lawrence Gobble, Lily Hannigan, Marguerite Moisio, Cynthia Molyneux, Quinton Rasberry and Steve Rivera.

The cocktail hour music included famous Royal Street violin and guitar duo Tanya and Dorise. Meanwhile, a silent auction hosted 21 art, vacation, wellness and restaurant packages, including a two-night stay at the Ace Hotel with dinner at Sylvain and a George Dureau original photograph. The live auction featured eight art and vacation packages. Messina’s at the Terminal catered a three-course meal. Approximately 250 were in attendance.


What: Annual “Guardian Angel Award Gala,” benefiting Project Lazarus
When: Wednesday, May 25
Where: Messina’s at the Terminal, Lakefront Airport