September heralds the arrival of fall and, hopefully, cooler temperatures. The change of seasons doesn’t have to mark the end of the fun, as fall is also the time of year when some cool Cenla organizations in the community program their biggest events which support their good works year-round. After pandemic delays and cancellations, several are returning for the first time in two years! So be sure to mark your calendars to bring your appetites and your checkbooks for these Fall FUNdraisers in Cenla!
The LSUA Shrimp Jam returns for its second year at 5:30pm on Thursday, September 22nd at the Randolph Riverfront Center in Alexandria. Come enjoy a night of fun, live music, a dynamic message from an LSU legend and, of course, delicious Louisiana shrimp, courtesy of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board and the Office of Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, all to benefit the Generals Athletic Association.
The Generals Athletic Association (GAA) is a private, nonprofit association dedicated to supporting Louisiana State University of Alexandria (LSUA) and its athletic program. GAA is administered by its own board of directors, comprised of GAA donors, which meets monthly. The GAA’s mission is clear—to lead the university in building a comprehensively superior athletic program.
Last year’s inaugural event was a great success, featuring LSUA Women’s Basketball Coach Kim Mulkey, the most successful player-turned-coach in college basketball history! This year’s guest speaker is just as exciting! LSUA will welcome D-D Breaux, former LSU Gymnastics Coach and 9-time SEC Coach of the Year. Breaux retired as the longest tenured coach of any sport in Southeastern Conference history, having built the LSU program into a national powerhouse. As the “Dean of Coaches” at LSU, Breaux represented the University at the highest level in the gym and in the community. She has dedicated her life to LSU and to more than 200 gymnasts she has coached over the years. During her tenure, Breaux has maintained LSU’s reputation as one of the premier collegiate gymnastics programs in the country with more than 800 wins under her leadership. The Tigers have placed among the top-10 teams nationally 31 times in 43 seasons with program-best second place finishes in 2016, 2017, and 2019, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013, and sixth on four separate occasions. Breaux’s gymnasts have combined to win 15 individual national titles and 44 SEC titles. There have been 266 All-America and 91 All-SEC honors earned in 43 seasons.
Coach Breaux is passionate about the drive, camaraderie, and effort that competitive athletics lends to developing the whole person. She is a tireless champion for women’s sports and a motivation to women and men alike. “When a child is afforded an opportunity to play football, to do gymnastics, to participate on a soccer team, to swim, or play tennis—any of those activities builds character,” explains Breaux. “They build a sense of self-worth. This, along with your education, becomes the foundation for everything you are able to do physically, emotionally, and mentally as you aspire to become, ultimately, what you are going to become.”
Tickets to this year’s Shrimp Jam are $75.00 for individuals and $1,500 for a reserved table sponsorship for 8. Contributions to GAA, like Shrimp Jam tickets and table sponsorships, benefit every athlete and every team at LSUA through scholarship and academic awards, as well as through the construction and maintenance of athletic facilities. These projects, large and small, chart an unmistakable course to excellence. And it is this shared vision of excellence by the alumni and friends that is making the future success of the LSUA Generals a reality.
If you have any questions regarding sponsorship or event details, please reach out to LSUA Athletics Direct Tyler Unsicker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 473-6571. Tickets are available online at https://lsua.hometownticketing.com/embed/event/120
Kent Plantation House’s annual Tour kicks off with the arrival of whimsically decorated bikes across the Cenla community. Le Tour de Bayou is one of the principal fundraising activities for Kent Plantation House each year, supporting the Kent House educational mission through generous donations from all event sponsors, including GAEDA and the Alexandria-Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “All of our educational programs are funded by events like Le Tour and grants that we receive,” explains Kent House Executive Director, Alice Scarborough. Kent Plantation House, built in 1800 by Pierre Baillio II, is one of Louisiana’s oldest standing structures. This French Creole style home, built raised on brick pillars to protect it from flood waters, has been fully restored with period correct furnishings and pieces. All outbuildings, though not original to the plantation, are as old as the two-century-old house. These buildings compliment the house and, together, give a living history example of a typical working French Creole plantation of the 1800s.
Le Tour de Bayou is open to riders of all ages and abilities, with something for everyone! Each participation level includes a scenic cycling tour throughout some of the most beautiful landscapes Central Louisiana has to offer. Riders can choose between carefully selected courses of 10 miles, 25 miles, 40 miles, 69 miles, and 101 miles. Each of the courses has been designed to highlight the natural beauty of our area, traveling along the bayou and into the Kisatchie National Forest.
The morning Blessing of the Bikes at daybreak kicks off the 11th Annual Le Tour de Bayou on Saturday, September 17th. Riders in the 101- and 69-mile events being to peddle out the front gates of Kent Plantation house at 7:00am, followed by the 40-mile riders at 7:30am, the 25-mile riders at 8:00am, and the 10-mile riders at 8:30am. At 9:00am, the 2-mile Family Fun Ride, Run, Walk will roll out on foot, bikes, trikes, wagons, unicycles and more!
Riders completing the courses are welcomed back to Kent House with a huge party. During this community favorite, day-long event, Kent House will be open for free tours, open house style. The open-hearth kitchen will be fired up, with experts on hand to demonstrate baking with coals. Come celebrate the riders, visit with friends and neighbors, and have fun at Le Tour de Bayou!
Please register for each of the rides at bike.reg/letourdebayou or give Kent House a call at (318) 487-5998 for more information.
A Perfect Fit Foundation is “flipping out” for the return of its biggest annual fundraiser—the popular Pancake Breakfast. Enjoy a stack of hot, fresh, fluffy pancakes for breakfast while helping deserving elementary school children in Rapides Parish! After a long, two-year pandemic delay, A Perfect Fit Foundation will once again host its annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser on Thursday, September 15th from 6:30am to 11:00am in the Parish Hall of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 1620 Murray Street in Alexandria (across Bolton Avenue from the Alexandria Police Department). Each stack of pancakes comes with breakfast sausage, fresh fruit, and a beverage. 100% of each $7.00 donation will go directly toward the mission of the Foundation. Breakfast plates will be available to enjoy at St. James on the morning of the event, packaged to go or delivered to you. For patrons dining in, the pancakes are all you care to eat! You won’t find a better deal in town!
A Perfect Fit Foundation was established in 2006 to honor the memory of Jerry Harp, a local shoe salesman who helped generations of Cenla residents find a perfect fit of their own for over 50 years. The Foundation provides well-fitted, uniform-approved shoes to underprivileged school children in the Rapides Parish School System, where the need has been identified by the teachers. To date, the Foundation has provided shoes to thousands of deserving students. Through the generous sponsorship of corporate partners and individual donations, 100% of the funds raised by A Perfect Fit Foundation at events like the annual pancake breakfast goes directly towards the purchase of shoes. The Foundation’s funding is managed in partnership with the Central Louisiana Community Foundation.
Tickets for the breakfast are available the day of the event or in advance by calling the Cenla Focus Offices at (318) 442-8277. Orders of 10 or more plates (or equivalent donation) qualify for free delivery in the Alexandria/Pineville area. Can’t make it to the event but still want to support this great cause? Make your secure donation to support A Perfect Fit Foundation online at https://clcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate and select “Perfect Fit Foundation Fund”.
The 5th Annual Gleaux for the Girls returns as the “Breast Race in Cenla,” on Saturday, October 15th at Walker Toyota, located at 5835 Coliseum Boulevard in Alexandria. This event brings Breast Cancer awareness and education to Central Louisiana while also raising funds to expand and enhance the local treatment capabilities, rehabilitation programs, education services, support services and community outreach offered in our area. The funds raised stay local, directly benefitting the CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Cancer Center and Breast Health Center.
In addition to the 5K run, for which everyone is encouraged to wear their best pink, neon, and glow-in-the-dark attire, the event will feature two great opportunities to win amazing raffle prizes. For just $1.00, you can purchase a chance to win a pink 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser! Likewise, Cenla Moto Sport will offer $15.00 raffle tickets for a chance to win a hot pink golf cart! Both drawings will take place at 8:00pm on race day. You need not be present to win, but it will be much more fun if you’re there!
This year’s Gleaux event will feature a brand new, fun-filled event, “Breaux in Bras”. Teams will decorate a bra by any means necessary—dye, paint, glitter, sequins, lights, diamonds, you name it! At 7:45pm on race day, a male member of each time will have the opportunity to strut their stuff as part of the Breauxs in Bras Runway Show! Awards will be given in two categories—Judges Choice and People’s Choice. The Judges Choice award will be based on originality, creativity, wow factor, and runway performance. The People’s Choice Award will be voted on by the public, with each $1.00 donation counting as 1 vote. (Hint: You can drum up extra “votes” beforehand and bring them to the event!)
So, lace up your running shoes and get ready to “Gleaux”! For more information or to register for this year’s Gleaux for the Girls 5K event, visit christuscabrinifoundation.org/gleaux
River Oaks is celebrating 38 years of creative arts and for almost as long, the Annual Van Gogh Gala has been the premier fundraiser for the organization. Aside from colorful and creative costumes, the Annual Van Gogh Gala at River Oaks is known for its lively art auction where star artists from the community are paired with mentor artists to produce their own masterpiece which is sold to the highest bidder during an exciting live auction. Local celebrities often work for months to produce a piece of art that will fetch hundreds and often thousands of dollars to raise money for the arts center. Join in for an evening of “Folklore & Vintage Halloween” at the 2022 Van Gogh Gala!
The Gala will celebrate the vintage artistry and folklore that has made All Hallows’ Eve the one night where guising is influenced by customs and beliefs. The 29th of October promises a ghoulish good time on the spookiest night of the year, channeling traditions from days gone by. Conjure original handmade costumery and “meisterworks” gone retro, while unlocking the creative spirit within. Join in for a tour of the last century of Halloween, where nostalgia is in and as they say, “What once was old is new again.”
Halloween of old was a time to peer into the future for love, fate, and fortune feted with quaint soothsaying rituals. Costumes made of burlap and paper mache drawing their unsettling inspiration from tales told by kids around campfires. The Gala provides an artful blend of the old fashioned together with a glimpse into the culture of American Halloween, steeped in tradition. Think of spanning the decades from the 20s through the 80s—handmade costumes, paper mache headpieces, and yes, even the unbreathable masks from the 70s.
Van Gogh tickets are $70.00 and are available via River Oaks board members and Eventbrite. A limited number of reserved tables are available at $750 for a table of 10.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the Van Gogh Gala, please contact River Oaks at (318) 473-2670, visit riveroaksartscenter.com or find River Oaks Square Arts Center on Facebook. #VanGoghGoesRetro2022
Run, bike, or dance your way to a good time this fall as you support these and other great organizations around Cenla. And, true to Louisiana style, you won’t leave hungry!