New Orleans in Northeast Mississippi

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The 47th Annual Charity Ball will bring a little New Orleans flavor to Northeast Mississippi.
But Suzy Williams, ball chairwoman for Junior Auxiliary, said she tried to go beyond the obvious when planning for Friday’s party at the BancorpSouth Arena.
“I didn’t want to go with the regular purple and green, the basic Mardi Gras idea,” she said. “I was thinking about how New Orleans is so much more than Mardi Gras. It’s about jazz and the blues. It’s about beautiful homes, architecture, parks and gardens.”
After nearly a year of planning, the Crescent City Masquerade is almost ready to open. The event will reflect some of the finer points of New Orleans, while also celebrating the community spirit of people in Lee County and Tupelo.
During the night, the 2010 Outstanding Citizen of the Year will be announced. There will be fine food, music and dancing.
And the money raised will support a variety of JA programs.
“Your money is going to go to children in Tupelo and Lee County,” said Susie Morgan, JA president. “This is the only fundraiser we do, and it’s for a wonderful cause.”
Music and more
The night will begin with the presentation of more than 150 Living Ads, high school girls who represent Charity Ball sponsors. Music will be provided by the Johnny Fears Jazz Band.
“He’s going to put a New Orleans spin to what he’s doing,” Williams said.
In addition, singers Wayne Williams, Calvin Ellis and Jauna Ellis will have something special prepared for the night.
Chef David Leathers and his crew are in control of the menu, which includes Spinach Salad with Spiced Pecans and Honey Creole Mustard Vinaigrette, Smoked Tasso Ham and Crawfish over Creamy Cheddar Grits, Andouille Sausage and Black-Eyed-Pea Rice, Smoked Pork Loin with Apple Molasses Glaze and Praline Bread Pudding.
After the announcement of the Outstanding Citizen of the Year, a Memphis-based band, The DMP, will take over the musical duties until midnight.
“They play hits from the ’60s to the present,” Williams said.
If you need a break from dancing, the Starbucks Latte Lounge will provide a relaxed environment so you can catch your breath.
It’s a full night of activity, and you’re invited to join.
“It’s our way to say thank you to the community for helping us do what we do,” Morgan said. “Come and have fun.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

Big Night
What: Crescent City Masquerade, the Junior Auxillary’s 47th Annual Charity Ball.
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: BancorpSouth Arena
Tickets: $40 at Flowerdale Marketplace, Village Frame Shoppe, Reed’s Gift Shop and Staggs or from any JA member.
Info: (662) 844-5741. 401-5051.
Exta: Complimentary dinner, cash bar; Starbucks Latte Lounge. Must be 21 to attend.