As a warm glow illuminated Ursuline Academy’s French-style courtyard, nearly 800 people gathered for the school’s benefit gala, “La Fete 279”—the number represents how many years the Ursulines have been educating young women. Held Nov. 10, the evening kicked off with a champagne patron party with music performed by Troi Bechet (an Ursuline alumna) and a silent auction. The gala featured music from Burgundy and a live auction manned by Garland Robinette and Tommy Tucker. Chef John Folse prepared the night’s exquisite cuisine—no guests left hungry after dining on a delectable menu that included sugar-cured breast of duck, spiced pork loin stuffed with German sausage, shrimp and spinach stuffed mushrooms, crawfish Cardinale, smoked chicken and andouille gumbo, seafood paella, pork and beef empanadas, grilled chicken pasta in a smoked gouda cream sauce, and assorted desserts.

The theme of the party was “The Ursuline … Getting Back on Track,” highlighting the optimism of the school, which is the oldest girls’ school in the country. The school’s campus received Katrina-related damage, and the money raised from the gala—reaching nearly $100,000—will go towards restoration and repair.

Legendary LearningFranz Zibilich, Kathi Levi Pietri, Jerry Nielsen, Gretchen Kane

Legendary LearningKevin and Diana Alfortish

Legendary LearningTaylor and Patricia Casey with chef John Folse and Mary Lee Harris

Legendary LearningVerna and Moon Landrieu with Sr. Damian Aycock