Slide show photos by Mimi Monteiro.
(COVINGTON, La.) The annual St. Paul’s Celebrity Waiters’ Dinner fundraiser took place at the Briggs Assembly Center on March 22, filling the venue with vibrant costumes, music and fellowship.
Celebrity Waiters’ is a unique fundraiser, originally created by former St. Paul’s Vice Principal for Development Bro. Gale Condit, FSC. For the event, patrons purchase tables and tickets and then go about decorating their tables and creating costumes to match the theme of the event.
This year’s theme was “A Night at The Oscars,” and table decorations ranged from T.V. shows, movies, and film characters such as M*A*S*H, Goodfellas, Toy Story, Oscar the Grouch, The Great Gatsby and many more.
Many of the St. Paul’s faculty members volunteer as “celebrity waiters,” donning themed costumes and serving food to the patrons. For example, science teacher John Carambat and his wife dressed as characters from “Back to the Future III” and Journalism teacher Christi Simoneaux dressed as Cleopatra.
The “Toy Story Table” placed first in the table decoration category. John Donahue took home the “Top Waiter” prize for earning the most tips. And, Paul and Janie Van Deventer won first in the costume contest dressed as an Oscar Meyer wiener and a hot dog vendor.
“We flipped a coin for who got to be the hot dog vendor, and I lost,” Janie Van Deventer said.
This year’s Celebrity Waiters’ Dinner was particularly unique due to the plethora of special musical acts. First, local band “Uncle Daddy,” including St. Paul’s alumnus Pierre Simoneaux ‘82, opened the event. However, the highlight of the evening was the headliner, Irma Thomas, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans.”
In addition to a variety of her local hits, Thomas played her rendition of “Time Is on My Side,” made famous internationally by the Rolling Stones but originally recorded by Thomas in 1964.
“Honey, that’s the original arrangement,” Thomas said to her waiter, Christi Simoneaux, who inquired about Thomas’ version of the song following the concert. “I was in London recording, and the Rolling Stones heard the song and liked it and decided to cover it.”
The St. Paul’s Guidance Counseling Center was converted into a green room for Thomas and her band to use before and after the show. According to Simoneaux, Thomas and the band were amiable and personable.
“Ms. Thomas and her seven-piece band were all warm and gracious. Meeting them was a really cool experience for me as a musician and singer,” said Simoneaux, who in addition to teaching at SPS plays saxophone and sings in the local cover band, Boogie Falaya.
According to event organizers, the fundraiser was a success and did much to support St. Paul’s.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do to top this next year,” Development Director Danielle Lavie said, “but I have some time to think about it.”