Justice (and Fun) for All
If you follow this column, you may know that food writing is something of a sideline for me. (NO THAT IS NOT AN IRONIC STATEMENT ANY MORE THAN RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY IS IRONIC, MISTER SMARTYPANTS). I've been practicing law since 1994, and when someone asks me what I do, I say “I've been practicing law since 1994.” Then I'll grimace when they say, “Maybe one day you'll get it right!” Because I am a generous straight man in more ways than one.
Despite what you may have heard about lawyers from people telling you the truth, attorneys also serve the public interest. At least the New Orleans Pro Bono Project does, and not coincidentally the Pro Bono Project is holding the Justice for All Ball fundraiser this Friday evening, Sept. 20, at the Audubon Tea Room. I am on the ball committee, along with a bunch of other lawyers who probably don't really want to be associated with me, but who don't really have much say in the matter. Hah, other lawyers! Serves you right for wanting to help people.
The ball is black tie “optional,” which my wife informs me means that I must wear a tuxedo, and cannot wear my cummerbund with a picture of a mostly naked lady even though it cost $40 and it's real sweet. (That $40 was not well-spent, my friends. Turns out I was wrong about how often I might have a use for a cummerbund depicting a mostly naked lady.) Anyway, George Porter, Jr. & Runnin' Pardners is headlining the music, and there are more great restaurants serving food than you can easily hit by swinging a dead cat.
So if your idea of a good time is a beautiful room, great music, incredible food and lawyers then this is your event. If that last bit doesn't turn you on, maybe just pretend that the people in tuxedoes and fancy dresses are advertising executives or something? It's the only fundraiser the Pro Bono Project holds each year, and the Project does good work. Here's an excerpt from the website:
Our legal system guarantees all citizens access to justice, and The Pro Bono Project exists to ensure that all citizens of six local Louisiana parishes can find lawyers willing to donate time and civil legal experience to help them resolve civil legal problems.
The Pro Bono Project helps low-income families, individuals, and the elderly in need gain access to lawyers who can help them resolve civil legal issues. These issues range from family law matters like divorces, custody agreements, name changes, and adoptions; to property questions related to successions and estate planning, proof of title, contractor litigation, and consumer complaints; to debt issues, and much more.
The Pro Bono Project’s clients need civil representation but can’t afford it. Lawyers in the six-parish area surrounding New Orleans who consider it their professional responsibility to serve their communities need a way to identify and screen pro bono clients.
You can buy tickets in advance online here and also on the night of the event. I guess it's probably a good idea to point out that the money raised doesn't go to the lawyers who volunteer their services, so it's like you're not giving money to lawyers at all!