Helping Hundreds

A recent survey performed by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that 23.5 million Americans per year seek treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. As a point of reference, that number is roughly five times greater than the entire population of the state of Louisiana.

Like fire stations and hospitals, centers for the treatment of substance abuse are critical to the health and well being of our society. Here in New Orleans, Bridge House/Grace House serves hundreds of individuals each year who desperately need rehabilitative treatment for their dependency on drugs or alcohol. Regardless of one’s ability to pay for services, the organization provides help to people who, without a resource like this one, might be facing a future of hopelessness and despair.

A Saving Grace

Though levels of care vary based on an individual’s needs, long-term intensive residential treatment is the cornerstone of the Bridge House/Grace House approach to rehabilitation. In a great testament to the efficacy of its programs, the CEO of Bridge House/Grace House is a recovering alcoholic who once sought treatment at Bridge House.

In 1992, Else Pedersen was in dire need of help and, thankfully, had the courage to find her way to Bridge House and get the help she needed. (Though Bridge House was founded in 1957 and Grace House was founded in 1985, they didn’t join forces until 2006.) Through the years, Pedersen succeeded at various jobs at Bridge House/Grace House before being named CEO in 2011; she calls it “a privilege” to work for an organization that has done so much for her. For Pedersen, and so many others with a story like hers, the program was a saving grace.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today …

Bridge House/Grace House, like all nonprofit agencies, depends upon the generosity of donors to help fund its programs. Thanks to the success of its used car lot and thrift stores, the organization does have those proceeds as a source of funds. The largest fundraising event for Bridge House/Grace House is the “Cochon Cotillion,” now in its 20th year.

For those who have never been, the annual spoof of a Carnival ball is always entertaining. Between the King and Queen and the swine-inspired attire, it’s an event like no other. This year, in honor of its 20th anniversary, former Kings and Queens have been invited to join the royal court, led by 2016 monarchs James Carville and Mary Matalin.

The brilliance of “Cochon Cotillion” is that it puts a very silly spin on a very serious issue. The result is a fun and successful event that inspires people to support the organization – which, in turn, offers support to the hundreds of men and women who enter its doors each year. The “Cochon Cotillion,” pigs and all, is helping Bridge House/Grace House as it continues to build on its legacy of making a difference. 

Just the Facts

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the “Cochon Cotillion.”

Queen Mary Matalin and King James Carville will reign over this year’s festivities.

“Cochon Cotillion” is the largest fundraising event for Bridge House/Grace House.

The mission of Bridge House/Grace House is “to provide long-term residential, gender specific treatment to men and women who have become dependent on alcohol or drugs so that they may lead sober and productive lives.”

Bridge House/Grace House offers varying levels of care depending on each individual’s needs, and services are offered regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

To learn more about Bridge House/Grace House and the Cochon Cotillion, visit



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