The first annual Flavor of Louisiana, hosted by the NSU Foundation and the Louisiana Seafood Board, raised over $50,000 for the Columns Fund, which endows faculty, staff, programs and scholarships.
The event, held on April 7 in Prather Coliseum, featured speciality Louisiana seafood dishes from restaurants across the state as well as music, cocktails and a silent auction. Over 650 people were in attendance.
“We had to move the event from the WRAC to Prather because of the volume of tickets that we sold,” Assistant Director of Development for the NSU Foundation Brittany McConathy said.
“The event came into existence after the Louisiana Seafood Board contacted [Acting President] Dr. Chris Maggio about hosting a fundraiser together. The board offered to provide all of the seafood and said that the sky’s the limit,” Associate Director of Development Jill Bankston said.
After a face-to-face meeting, Maggio and Bankston began planning the event.
The NSU Foundation Development Team reached out to restaurants and bars across Louisiana and asked them to participate in the event. Twenty-one chefs and eight bars signed up for the fundraiser.
Vendors set up booths around Prather, and guests tasted the food and drinks as they went from booth to booth. Although seafood was the focus of most dishes, there were options for people who do not eat seafood or meat.
NSU was the first school to accept the Louisiana Seafood Board’s partnership offer, which provided unique opportunities for students.
“Each chef was paired with a culinary arts student,” Bankston said. “This allowed [the students] to help serve and even prepare the food in some cases.’’
Students with bar licenses were able to help bartenders, and hospitality services students greeted guests as they arrived and helped serve food.
Students from the Creative and Performing Arts department performed for the event, including instrumental music ensembles, vocalists and dancers.
The Office of the Student Experience hosted a silent auction. All of the money raised at this auction will go into the Student Experience Fund, which is used to fund SAB and SGA events and to enhance student life.
“The event went really well,” McConathy said. “Guests were asking us if we set a date for the next one as they were leaving.”
“We’re really excited that the event was a success, but we know that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and generosity of this community,” Bankston said.