NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel is pleased to announce Meaghan Bonavita, president of Dress for Success New Orleans, as the 2019 “Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac.” Bonavita will be honored at the 70th Anniversary of the “Stormin’ of the Sazerac” on Friday, Sept. 20.
Bonavita will be the fourth woman to receive the honor. The “Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac” is a woman who challenges the status quo and works to influence positive change in her community. She is an exemplary woman whose bravery and determination reflects what we celebrate about those great New Orleans ladies who stormed the Sazerac Bar decades ago.
“I’m humbled to be chosen as the 2019 Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac,” said Bonavita. “I’m honored to represent the strong, independent women of New Orleans whom I work alongside every single day. This recognition not only represents myself and the work that I do, but them as well.”
Dress for Success New Orleans is an organization that helps underprivileged women work toward self-sufficiency, by providing them with proper interview attire, and, once a job is secured, a weeks’ worth of professional clothing. The nonprofit also offers classes on financial literacy and leadership. The organization works with more than 50 New Orleans agencies to help identify the women.
Bonavita, born and raised in New Orleans, attended Isidore Newman School and graduated from Villanova University. She worked in fashion in New York City for five years before returning to New Orleans to pursue her MBA at Loyola University. She has served on the board of the Arts Council of New Orleans, currently serves on the board of Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and has volunteered with the Louisiana Children’s Museum, The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, leading galas and fundraisers.
“The Roosevelt New Orleans is thrilled to name Meaghan Bonavita as this years’ ‘Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac,’” said Tod Chambers, The Roosevelt New Orleans’ general manager. “Her dedication to improving the lives of local women, in both her personal and professional life, is exactly what we love to celebrate in a Reigning Spirit.”
As “Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac,” Bonavita receives a VIP table at the event and public recognition of her contribution to the community. She will also serve as one of the judges for the event’s fashion show and lead the commemorative second line to “storm” the world-renowned Sazerac Bar, where the spirited day continues with Sazerac cocktails in-hand.
The designation of the Spirit of the Sazerac has been a staple of the event for the past four years. Past Spirits include education activist Kira Orange-Jones, Drew’s Tunes founder Georgia Boswell and local meteorologist and animal activist Margaret Orr. This year Orr will be “passing the baton” as she welcomes Bonavita into this one-of-a-kind sisterhood.
In celebration of the monumental 70th anniversary, the hotel is raising a glass to the courageous group of ladies who first stormed the hotel’s Sazerac Bar in 1949 demanding equality, and a stiff drink, at a time when women were only allowed to be served at the bar on Mardi Gras day. “Stormin’ of the Sazerac” encompasses libations, a three-course, ladies-only luncheon, pop-up fashion show, live entertainment and a juried best-dressed competition, all taking place in the famous Blue Room. To properly honor the original “Stormin,’” guests are encouraged to wear late 1940s and 1950s attire including hats, veils, peep-toe shoes and gloves.
Those wishing to partake in the annual “Stormin’” through the lobby are invited to start the day in the Fountain Lounge. The hotel’s signature in-house restaurant will be offering half off Sazeracs and select bottles of wine, including Dom Pérignon and Joseph Phelps Insignia, until 2 p.m. the day of the event. The Fountain Lounge will also offer live music to coincide with the day’s festivities.
The Roosevelt invites all New Orleans ladies to come celebrate years of ‘herstory’ alongside Bonavita. “Stormin’ of the Sazerac” luncheon tickets are $69 each, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made here or by calling 504-335-3129.