On the final night of The Special Event in New Orleans, event peeps gathered for the Gala Awards and Reception. Held in the convention center, I did not know exactly what to expect. After a swift and touching awards ceremony, where Lena Malouf was honored for Lifetime achievement, guests walked the long walk down to the La Nouvelle Orleans ballroom. The Gala Celebration team created a stunning environment with a multi-faceted stage in the center, surrounded by various shaped tables. Moss Inc. utilizes its striking fabric structures to add height and ambiance to the space, while various large-scale centerpieces graced each of the tables. But the most impressive part of the entire evening was the endless parade of extraordinary entertainment that energized and excited the toughest of audiences: us, the special event pros.
The first act offered a moving review of New Orleans’ struggle through the treacherous times brought on by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Brett Kolb’s film masterpiece was featured as the backdrop to local performers including the trio Bella Rouge, who sang “Amazing Grace” in French and English. In addition, the Joyful! Gospel Singers filled the ballroom with stirring hymns.
Local string quartet Virtuosa shared its interpretation of the “rebirth” portion of the evening, while 18-year-old Louisiana native Amanda Shaw, made the audiences‘ mouths drop with her Cajun fiddle music. Taking another stance on strings, Black Violin, a duo of violin players moved the evening from sentimental tunes to invigorating and pulsing hip-hop. Next up, Ingrid Lucia, who sang with sultry style, took the stage.
The artists from Pendulum Dance Theatre took to the stage (and air) in an aerial “pas de deux”. But the best was yet to come. Raw talent at its finest, infectious rhythms from the New Orleans Hornets Drumline electrified the audience! People were on their feet cheering the talented squad. S if it could get any better, next up – the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity performers showcased their range of talents, singing sweetly to their brilliant and renowned “cane stepping” routine. The New Orleans Hornets Honeybees showed that the girls were equally as incredible as the guys, launching the “celebration” segment of the event and dancing up the aisles and onto the stage. Finally, Flutter Fetti blanketed the audience in confetti, which was the grand finale. At the after-party, a dance floor reveal enticed party-goers to dance the night away, while across the room on another raised stage, champagne chandelier performers, took turns hanging suspended from the ceiling and pouring delighted drinkers champagne.
Overall, the creativity was at an all-time high, and New Orleans shined brightly! The Vibe agency is coming back soon in New Orleans – We will be there in May.