Can you believe that NOCCA is turning 40? Get ready for “The Big 4-OH Gala” on Sunday, May 17, for the best birthday celebration ever, featuring Robin Burgess and Terence Blanchard as Chairs of the event. Thanks to Blanchard and to Imani Gaudin-County, a sophomore at NOCCA’s Academic Studio and a Level II Dance Student; Debbie Patrick, member of the NOCCA Institute Board and a NOCCA Parent; Joel Vilmenay, President of the NOCCA Institute Board; and Gary Solomon Jr., a member of the NOCCA Institute Board and 2004 NOCCA alumnus for gracing our cover this month! The party will take place at the new Chevron Forum on Press Street and will be lit up by Solomon Group. Grammy Award winners Pedrito Martinez and Terrence Blanchard will perform and award-winning chefs Tory McPhail, Frank Brigtsen, Justin Devillier and Aaron Burgau will prepare dinner with NOCCA’s Culinary Arts students creating hors d’oeuvres. There will be amazing entertainment by NOCCA students as well as both silent and live auctions.

If you haven’t visited NOCCA lately, you’ll be blown away by the state-of-the-art campus! This is your opportunity to support NOCCA, which has produced famous artists and musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and so many more. Please call 940-2851 or visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

Frances Fayard chaired Second Harvest Food Bank’s “Harvest At Home Dinner” on April 7, 2014 at the beautiful “White Wedding Cake House” on St. Charles Avenue that she shares with her husband, Calvin, and their son, Carter. She tells us what it’s like to prepare to host a gala event and gives us tips on how to do so yourself. What a treat!

What’s Hot this month features the perfect gifts for Mother’s Day, which is Sunday, May 10. You may want to treat your favorite mom to a fabulous brunch, so look to our feature on 12 to try. While you’re thinking about Mom, why not consider letting her create an update to her kitchen or bathroom – or treat yourself to one! Find out all the tips and tricks from 10 local leaders in our feature this month.
Our Registry of Charitable Events for May-August 2015 is also in this issue. If you don’t send us your event, not only can we not consider it for coverage, our readers won’t be able to attend, so visit and submit your event today!

Have a great start to the summer!


I am always so excited for our Registry of Charitable Events listings! As soon as they’re published, I take out my calendar and start marking down all of the galas, dinners and parties that I want to attend – and I hope you all do the same!

Along with all the brunches, updates and gift ideas we have for you in this issue, I would like to apologize to last month’s Young Blood, New Orleans Branch Coordinator of Basket of Hope, Ann Ollendike, whose picture was mistakenly swapped with this month’s Young Blood, Junior League of New Orleans President Katherine Kleinpeter Raymond. Please visit and click on Avenue’s Issue Archive to see Ollendike’s beautiful portrait and remind yourself of all that Basket of Hope is doing in New Orleans, then turn to pg. 68 to read all about the JLNO.

Enjoy the start to your summer and all of the wonderful music, food and fun it brings!


New Views

Georgia and Devron Boswell lost their adorable and very healthy son Drew when he was only 15 months old to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). Their heartbreak led them to found a nonprofit called Drew’s Tunes ( with the mission to celebrate the life of Drew Joseph Boswell by providing musical instruments to children, to expose them to local musicians and to support clinical research into SUDC. Please join with supporters Soledad O’Brien, Irvin Mayfield and Georgia and Devron Boswell, pictured here, and donate to Drew’s Tunes by calling (318) 560-8100 or emailing Every dollar will provide instruments to local children who can’t afford them and support SUDC research.