Bon Temps for CASA
The good times roll at one of the most popular social events of the year - a fundraiser for CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children.
- story by Lisa Monti
Organizers are expecting a huge turnout, because many patrons return year after year. Chauvin said upwards of 525 people are expected, so most of the 50 tables have been sold. A few $250 sponsorships (four $40 admission tickets and an ad in the program) are still available, though seating is not guaranteed.
The gala benefits the children’s advocacy organization that is part of the nationwide Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children program. CASA recruits, trains and supports citizen volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates — empowered directly by the courts — offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.
The goal of the event is to raise $50,000, nearly all of which is used to train and utilize volunteers.
Reigning over this year’s gala are Queen Elise Deano, the Hancock County Youth Court judge, and King Myron Labat Sr., a loyal CASA volunteer.
There’s plenty to enjoy at the gala, including a huge Southern buffet, expertly prepared by Hancock County Tax Assessor/chef Jimmie Ladner and his team of volunteers.
“Jimmie usually has a huge menu with tons of sides,” Chauvin said. “They really go out of their way to make it a great meal for little or no cost.”
Entertainment is always topnotch, too, with the Dave Mayley Band opening for Category Six. “We’ve never had more than one band and we’re excited about the opportunity,” she said. Mayley served as king at the 2015 gala.
Also new this year: signature Mardi Gras cups that can be used all night. The gala is a BYOB event, but beer will be sold.
This year’s theme is Sweet Child of Mine, and the hall decorations will reflect it with sweet references to Candy Land. There’s also a silent auction with between 100 and 150 items to bid on, adding even more fun to the evening.
Unlike some traditional Mardi Gras krewes, CASA’s doesn't have a strict dress code. Coastal cocktail attire is fine. “Anything other than jeans,” Chauvin said.
CASA started out with a handful of advocates and now has more than 80 from across the county. The next volunteer training class has a few slots still open. If you’re interested, call the office at 228-344-0419 or visit casahancockcounty.org.