A setting could not have been as bucolic as that of the Langston Hughes Academy Dreamkeeper Garden on March 22. The garden and part of the school was filled with guests attending the 9th annual Edible Evening, a benefit for Edible Schoolyard New Orleans at FirstLine Schools.
Flowers were in bloom in the garden — with some used in the party’s floral arrangements. Colorful art by students and hand painted signs added whimsy. Amongst this setting, partygoers could move throughout enjoying music from Sequenon Kone, Otis and Friends, the Light Set, Love Evolution, Brian Querzergue Trio and DJ Brice Nice, and they could sample food from more than 37 restaurants and caterers, which were given the mission of serving a fresh, healthy dish. A beer garden offered brews from Dixie Beer, Urban South Brewery, Wayward Owl Brewing Co. and Grand Derangement Brewing Co., while a specialty cocktail by Cure/Cane and Table and wine from Presqu’ile provided other libationary options.
Activities included raffles (one for a pair of British Airways tickets to London, the other for cufflinks and diamond earrings from Friend & Co. Fine Jewelers), a silent auction (which included artist-made birdhouses) and garden-based experiences with “DIY with ESY” tables, where guest could make clay vegetables or tea bags with garden herbs, and get their hands on other interactive activities.
Available for purchase at the Market Table were student-made items, such as granola, marmalade, hot sauce, herbs, fresh eggs and greens. “The Market Table is a good example of our middle-schoolers’ creativity and interest in entrepreneurship,” says ESYNOLA Executive Director Claudia Barker.
In addition to the academy, FirstLine Schools in New Orleans include the Samuel J. Green Charter School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, Phillis Wheatley Community School and Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School.
Partygoers included event co-chairs Catherine Hales and Ann Heslin, FirstLine Schools CEO Jay Altman, Langston Hughes Academy Director Kamisha Gray, Gregory St. Etienne, Gretchen and Edgar Chase IV, Miggy and Jay Malone, Carol and Pierce Starr, Michael Murphy and Brent Becnel, Marianne and Alan Mumford, David Barbier, Tamara Wyre, Ruth and Larry Kullman, Blanche “Dee” McCloskey, Kieta Mutepfa, Travis Chase, Neal Bodenheimer, Randy Fertal and Cathy and Hunter Pierson.
Edible Schoolyard New Orleans is a “seed-to-table” food education program that includes teaching students how to grow food and to cook using seasonal produce, as well as culinary entrepreneurship.