The New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund (NOTCF), a non-profit economic development corporation whose mission is to sustain the city’s cultural and tourism economy, hosted its Inaugural Honors Gala on Saturday, Jan. 14. Community leaders, business owners, and cultural artists came together to celebrate eight individuals from the six sectors that NOTCF supports: entertainment, visual arts, culinary, preservation, design, and literary arts and humanities. Each honoree, including an Emerging Artist and Lifetime Achievement Honoree, received a sculpted award designed by esteemed artist Sheleen Jones.
“NOTCF spearheaded this signature event to uplift the city’s culture that is admired globally and inspires so many people to visit New Orleans. The people make this city a cultural icon. We want to continue to enhance their lives through our grants and community programming,” says NOTCF President and CEO Lisa D. Alexis.
The evening featured a four-course dinner by celebrity chefs Edgar “Dooky” Chase IV of Dooky Chase Restaurant, Brett Macris of Cochon, Hardette Harris of Us Up North, and Kim Dejan of KD’s Nola Treats. Sierra Green Soul Machine Band and DJ Raj Smoove performed live entertainment. Guests also enjoyed immersive lounges designed by local artists, Jerin “The Jerk” Beasley, Monique Lorden, and Queen Tahj, curated by Abstract Nola. With a sold-out attendance of over 500 guests, the audience included individuals from various backgrounds coming together to honor those who make New Orleans a world-renowned destination.
“It was amazing to see our culture honored. I love that NOTCF encourages everyone to support us so that we can keep the culture going for generations to come,” says the 2023 NOTCF Emerging Artist awardee Flag Boy Giz.
Many sponsors supported the event, including the gala’s official media sponsor, WWL-TV, who celebrated its 65th anniversary, New Orleans & Co., Preservation Hall & Foundation, The City of New Orleans’ Office of Cultural Economy, and NOCCI.
The 2023 NOTCF Honors Gala Awardees:
Lifetime Achievement – Beverly McKenna, McKenna Publishing Co.
The McKenna Museums Emerging Artist – Aaron “Flagboy Giz” Hartley
Culinary Arts – Edgar “Dooky” Chase IV, Chase Concessions
Design – Barry Kern, Kern Studios
Entertainment – Adonis Rose, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Literary Arts and Humanities – Vera Warren, Community Book Center
Preservation – Raymond Manning, Manning, APC
Visual Arts and Crafts – Ayo Scott