The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts is a unique and progressive organization providing young artists the opportunity to enrich their lives through the study of creative writing, visual arts, music and theater. NOCCA is currently in the progress of expanding its campus and designing new programs. NOCCA’s “Art & Soul Gala”—complete with the theme “Opening Doors”—was held May 20 at the school’s Riverside Campus.

The festivities began with a patron party at which partygoers enjoyed the tunes of Orange Kellin’s New Orleans Blue Serenaders, featuring Vernel Bagneris, along with delicious duck spring rolls, coconut shrimp and crabcakes. Soon after, the gala began with gusto—the Jason Marsalis Group, to be exact. Jesse McBride presented the Next Generation group, followed by the NOCCA jazz and musical theater ensembles and finally, the Michael Pellera Trio. Guests dined on cuisine from the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel, including smoked salmon, redfish, and carving and fajita stations. Cocktails from Republic Beverage Co. were in icy cold abundance. 

Kelly and Scott Gottsche, as well as Cathy and Morris Bart, co-chaired the party, and along with numerous committee members they worked hard to ensure the gala was a success. NOCCA not only opened their doors for an evening of celebration, it opened the creative door for hundreds of young artists in the city. More than $200,000 was raised by generous donors to help NOCCA achieve its development goals.

David Halliday, Michel Varisco and Jennifer Odem

Milly and George Denegre with Kelly and James Brown

Hal and Leslie Stokes

Molly Reily, Pepper and Marion Bright, and Billy Shannon

Judge Michael G. Bagneris, Britt and Nan Galloway, and Christian Brown

Adrienne and Rob Folse

Louis and Sandra Wilson