The fine dining restaurant Arnaud’s is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2018, which is quite the achievement for the French Quarter establishment. Although its Jazz Brunch menu and Creole cuisine are well known in New Orleans and abroad, the restaurant is also renowned for its community service. In fact, Arnaud’s annual Teddy Bear Drive is also celebrating an anniversary this year.
In the weeks leading up to the holiday season, Arnaud’s collects new, unused teddy bears. The bears are donated to local police departments, who give out the bears to children in times of need. Now in its fifth year of operation, the Teddy Bear Drive has already collected over 5,000 bears. By directly benefiting the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation (NOPJF) and the New Orleans Police Department, the bear drive is a great way for the Arnaud’s community to give back.
“I think that everyone’s generosity is always a surprise,” says Katy Casbarian, Co-Owner and Operator of Arnaud’s. The New Orleans community has really embraced this unique and thoughtful take on a traditional holiday toy drive.
The 2018 drive will begin at Arnaud’s restaurant on Thanksgiving Day, and teddy bear donations are accepted throughout the holiday season. Families who are out enjoying a holiday celebration at the restaurant can drop off a teddy bear and give back to the community at the same time. Additional teddy bear drop-off locations include the NOPJF, New Orleans & Company (formerly known as the New Orleans CVB) and the Entergy Center.
The goal is to collect more bears every year. “We’d like to continue this for years to come and fill the need,” says Casbarian. “Unfortunately, New Orleans experiences a lot of children in distressing situations. This can help put them at ease.” Even a moment of relief can really help these children facing trauma, and sometimes a cuddly toy can provide so much comfort.
The New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation
141 Robert E. Lee Blvd., 210
New Orleans Police Department Headquarters
715 S. Broad Ave.
New Orleans & Company
2020 St. Charles Ave.
1100 Poydras St., Lobby
813 Bienville St.