This year marked the fifth anniversary of the UNCF New Orleans “Mayor’s Masked Ball.” Mayor Mitch Landrieu received the UNCF MASKED Award for his commitment to higher education and support of minority children getting to attend college.

In a special tribute, students from Xavier and Dillard universities walked into the gala with candles to the song “Rise Up” performed by Dillard student Keith Tillman, while old and current photos projected on a screen showed the transition of education on their campuses throughout the years.

Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF, greeted guests; award-winning journalist Tamron Hall served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremony, as well as comedian Jonathan Slocumb.

Guests were treated to a delectable meal prepared by celebrity chefs. The first course, prepared by chef Bill Jones, featured shrimp remoulade with butter lettuce and English peas. The second course, prepared by chef Leah Chase, offered asparagus soup with lemon herb crème fraiche. Chef Stephen Stryjewski served a main course of beef short ribs with baby lima beans, artichokes, olives and spring onions. Chef Maggie Scales prepared dessert: a dark chocolate tart with chocolate crust and salted caramel Chantilly, with a UNCF sugared logo placed on top.

First floor piano music was provided by the talented students of Dillard University. During the evening there was a performance by the Royal Boys Choir and dinner entertainment was provided by Stephanie Jordan. The evening headline entertainment was the grand performance of the O’Jays.

Guests participated in the silent auction to win jewelry, sports memorabilia, artwork and vacation getaways; there was also a live auction that included a chance to attend a taping of the show “The Voice,” and one winner took home a VIP package for the Zurich Classic. An exciting raffle item got guests to their feet: a 2018 Nissan Rogue SL, donated by Supreme Automotive.

Philanthropic Fun: Access to Higher Education

Warner Thomas, Mistress of Ceremony Tamron Hall and Chair Michael O. Smith


Philanthropic Fun: Access to Higher Education

James Perez, Shimica Gaskins and Shirelle and Chair Joel Vilmenay


Philanthropic Fun: Access to Higher Education

Wil Holmes, Quentin Roach, LaJuana Chenier and Darrien Pinkman


Philanthropic Fun: Access to Higher Education

Jonathan Slocumb, Therese Badon and Dr. Walter KimbrougH


Philanthropic Fun: Access to Higher Education

David and Millie Gaines


Event at a Glance

What: Fifth annual “New Orleans Mayor’s Masked Ball,” benefiting United Negro College Fund
When: Saturday, March 17
Where: Hyatt Regency New Orleans