The “UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball 2019″ at The Hyatt Regency New Orleans Celestin Ballroom was adorned with bold lighting and the event’s signature mask. As guests arrived, they were greeted by student volunteers from Xavier and Dillard universities on the first floor, as well as the masked ladies of PaperDoll Promotions on the third floor, who were dressed in dramatic ball gowns – and even a dress made to hold champagne glasses.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell served as Host. Warner Thomas, President and CEO of Ochsner Health System, Presenting Sponsor, gave the keynote. Thomas, together with Michael O. Smith, General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, served as Co-Chairs of the event. Mistresses of Ceremonies were Margaret Orr and Kweilyn Murphy with Master of Ceremonies comedian Jonathan Slocumb.
Gayle Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, and Grammy Award-winning musician PJ Morton, graduate of a UNCF school Morehouse College, received the UNCF MASKED Award.
Guests were treated to a delectable meal prepared by James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient “Creole Queen” chef Leah Chase and Yvan Didelot, Hyatt Regency New Orleans Host Chef. The dessert course was prepared by chef Milan Smith of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Dinner music was provided by the talented students and alumni of Dillard University, the group “The Bleu Café.”
A tribute to education was performed by the talented trio of the City Wide Youth Choir as historical photos of the 75 years of UNCF’s impact in New Orleans played on the screens behind them. The evening headline entertainment was the grand performance of multi-Grammy Award winner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who kept the crowd on their feet.
Guests participated in the silent auction to win prizes ranging from jewelry, sports memorabilia, artwork and vacation getaways.
Event at a Glance
What: “UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball,” benefiting United Negro College Fund, Inc.
When: Saturday, March 16
Where: Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Dr. Norman Francis with Edgar Chase III and chef Leah Chase
Phil and Patty Riddlebarger
Allana Barefield and Jourdan Clark
Paul Flower, Karen Coaxum, David Kerstein and Henry Coaxum
Karl Connor, Monika McKay, April Brumfield and Tarsha Lee