Philanthropic Fun: Beauty Through Struggle

“You Night New Orleans 2018” hosted a “FIERCE BEAUTY REVOLUTION” for a sold-out audience of 600 guests, comprised of friends, family members, health care providers and program sponsors, all of whom attended to cheer on 18 cancer survivors who walked the runway as a celebration of life.

You Night Founder Lisa McKenzie and Pastor Maize Warren opened the program with a greeting and blessing. Fran Lawless from Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office welcomed the guests. The fashion show featured 40 “You Night” alumnae dressed as Warriors who walked out on the runway to a choreographed song, “Salute,” accompanied by live drummers. The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, the Title Sponsor for the fourth year in a row, welcomed the guests and re-enforced the program’s message and mission: women need a support system after a cancer diagnosis, and You Night accomplishes this in a fun, meaningful and powerful way.

The runway show featured three clothing collections and a variety of thematic elements to showcase the theme and the beauty of the participants. See-Hear Productions provided the stage and lighting, featuring “You Night’s” signature 92-foot-long stage. Featured boutiques included: Town & Country Bridal, Blink, Chico’s, Maiya Boutiques and – as the grand finale – Jean Therapy. Hair and makeup styling was gifted to each participant by H20 Salon and Spa in Metairie.

The 18 cancer survivor role models who were celebrated on stage include: Ann Martinez, Michelle Ripoll, Michelle Shove, Shemal McKnight, Patricia Laubenstein, Lori Upton, Kristin Gonzalez, Pamela Fields, Antoinette Bradstreet, Donna Thomas, Pat Quintini, Marty Looney, Lesley Rubenstein, Monica Campuzano, Mariann Teacher, Robin Smith, Louise Poche and Leslie Horn. Additionally, classmate Laurie Bercegeay was honored during the show. Laurie succumbed to cancer three weeks prior to the show.

The event décor had a post-apocalyptic theme, combining elements with rough edges and glamorous touches. Mismatched metallic and floral elements evoked the theme of beauty despite the struggle. More than 20 area restaurants and beverage companies donated food and libations to the guests.

Co-Chairs Kristyn Kemp and Ruth Avila, both graduates of the You Night New Orleans class of 2015, are now also directors of the big sister program.

Event at a Glance

What: “You Night New Orleans 2018,” benefiting You Night
When: Thursday, July 26
Where: Contemporary Arts Center

Philanthropic Fun: Beauty Through Struggle

Role Models Marie Campo and Rhonda Ebel

Philanthropic Fun: Beauty Through Struggle

Sandy Hicks, Dr. Jimmy Ellis and Michael Holmes


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