First of all – Who Dat!?! Geaux Saints! What an exciting down-to-the-wire, edge-of-your-seat game against the 49ers. I don’t think one Saints fan left or even sat down in the Superdome during the last 7 minutes or so. The decibel meter reached at least 115 – about the same as a a ship’s engine room, a jet engine or “loud thunder.” Great game.
Last week, I attended a fundraiser for Kingsley House with shows by Kermit Ruffins and the Grammy award winning Rebirth Brass Band. When my dad was in high school in Louisiana, Chuck Berry used to play some of their school dances. He wasn’t a “big enough name” to play the prom but he’d play the Valentine’s dance or other smaller parties. Normally, the Kingsley House fundraiser is held outdoors, but super-cold temperatures that night drove the show inside their gymnasium so I couldn’t help but remember Dad’s stories as the dance floor filled and the event began to feel like a sock hop.
Despite less-than-ideal acoustics, both bands were great – which nearly goes without saying. We enjoyed fried chicken and raffles and, of course, plenty of dancing – and all for a good cause. Kingsley House provides services for Louisianans in need from birth to death. They offer Head Start for tots, after-school educational programs including skills building, arts and recreational activities for kids 5 to 17, individual and family counseling for all ages as well as programs for senior citizens and adults with medical issues. The grounds also houses the Magic Johnson Foundation Community Empowerment Center providing free access to computers and training in computer skills.
Founded in 1896, Kingsley House is the oldest “settlement house” or community center in the South. Their pool was the first integrated pool in NOLA (1957). Since its inception, Kingsley House has helped the disenfranchised and the impoverished to overcome barriers through education, skills training and therapeutic support with an emphasis on children, families and community. Admission to the event was free as long as you gave a business card but people, of course, donated at the door and the raffle tickets were a great deal at $10 for a strip the length of your arm.
I love that so many events in NOLA directly support community building organizations. And I feel spoiled rotten that I got to dance to musical luminaries like Kermit and Rebirth in a gym.