FestiGals 2019 Hats Off Awards luncheon
'The Bigger The Hat – The Bigger The Heart'
The Hats Off luncheon was the first of its kind this year, featuring fancy hats of all shapes and sizes. We tipped off our hats to salute exceptional women in the community, such as our 2019 keynote speaker, Amanda Shaw. Amanda shared her story of success while growing up in the spotlight and how she broke glass ceilings in the entertainment industry to become one of America’s favorite entertainers.
Take a look at these outstandingly festive honorees in their fabulous hats and get inspiration for next years Hats Off luncheon!
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Lois has risen through the ranks of the publishing business in New Orleans and is now the Publisher of WHERE New Orleans and Wheretraveler New Orleans and its many associated brands. She is a dedicate advocate of the French Quarter as a business owner and resident, and is a long-time board member of several civic and charitable organizations.
Essence Banks :
Essence, who is the executive director of the New Orleans Multi Cultural Tourism Network, is a heart disease survivor and advocate. Since 2004, Essence has worked tirelessly for women’s heart health with organizations such as the American Heart Association, Women Heart, and the National Coalition of Women with Heart Disease.
Meaghan is a civic activist and President of Dress for Success New Orleans. Her passion for New Orleans area women has driven the incredible growth of the volunteer-driven organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence.
Ingrid is a self-made entrepreneur who created the country’s largest meal-prep company, Sensible Meals, with the last $50 she had in her bank account. Ingrid is now at the helm of a nine-figure business based in greater New Orleans and employs more than 1,200 people. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization, the Leading Ladies League, dedicated to giving back to women in the community.
Jennifer is the founder and CEO of the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group, a rapidly growing business with two brands spanning four states. Jennifer is dedicated to the New Orleans community and serves on the board of directors of Liberty’s Kitchen, an organization where underserved young people create and achieve their visions of success through food.
Gerri has been actively engaged with local arts and charities for more than 30 years, serving as chair for the CAC’s SweetArts Gala, the New Orleans Opera Gala, and multiple BRAVO fundraisers benefitting the New Orleans Ballet Association, the JPAS Pasta & Puccini Gala and the Jefferson Performing Arts Center Opening. In addition to her philanthropic activities, Gerri is a board member for Men & Women of Fashion and is a Prix d’Elegance “Hall of Fame” honoree.
Mary Kathrine Lonatro-Tusa:
Mary Katherine has dedicated her life to patronage of the arts and community in greater New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. She founded the Mystic Krewe of Shangri-La and has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Gulf Coast Symphony, the March of Dimes, and the New Orleans Philharmonic, among many others.
Mayra is the President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana and was worked tirelessly to develop strong and long-lasting relationships between Louisiana and the Hispanic Community and Latin America. Mayra is a board member of the International Hospital for Children of New Orleans, New Orleans City Park, the Jefferson Economic Development Board, Cerro de Plata Tegucigalpa Foundation of Honduras, and the Jefferson Parish Diversity Board.
Chef Amy is a culinary entrepreneur and powerhouse with an award-winning cookbook, a publishing company, a culinary event business, and a radio show. Amy has used her talent and connections to organize and manage disaster relief efforts and led a team that prepared and delivered more than 10,000 meals during the Baton Rouge floods and has airlifted more than 5,000 pounds of prepared foods to disasters Carolinas and Florida.
Brenda has over 30 years of experience working in Hispanic media in the Greater New Orleans area, currently as editor-in-Chief of Que Pasa – a bilingual newspaper highlighting art, culture, and entertainment. Her mission is to promote the Latino/Hispanic arts, culture and heritage in Louisiana through a multitude of festivals and charitable events held throughout the year.
Liz has been influential in growing the Fidelity Bank P.O.W.E.R. program for women entrepreneurs and influencers throughout the metro New Orleans area since 2017. She is also involved in the community through many organizations such as the ABWA, NAWBO, Junior League of New Orleans, and the Krewe of Muses and serves on the board of trustees for the New Orleans Opera Association.
Beverly is a community activist passionate about civic responsibility and philanthropy throughout the community. She was named 2012 Activist of the Year and has received numerous awards including the Outstanding Service and Leadership Award from Young Audiences of Louisiana and the Prix d’Elegance Award presented by the Men & Women of Fashion.
Priscilla is the executive director of The Historic New Orleans Collection and has tirelessly worked to preserve the art and heritage of the greater New Orleans area. A member of Women’s Professional Council, Priscilla has received the title of Chevalier in the Order of the Arts and Letters from the French Minister of Culture and Communication, the Woman of the Year Award three times from New Orleans City Business and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Most recently, Priscilla has won the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities.
Sandra is a tourism advocate and trailblazer in the festivals and events industry and is best known for her passion for New Orleans and its culture. Among numerous awards and honors, Sandra was recognized as one of the “300 for 300 People who made New Orleans, New Orleans” in a Tricentennial Tribute, received the WHERE New Orleans “Spirit of Hospitality, Lifetime Achievement Award,” and was honored by French Quarter Festival, Inc. with a namesake scholarship.