After 20 years of working to protect and restore the Gulf, we have plenty to celebrate.
Last Sunday, GRN held our annual fall fundraiser at Chef Susan Spicer’s Mondo Restaurant. We toasted to GRN’s 20th and brought together many of GRN’s founding board members. Helen Gillet, a local jazz chanteuse, welcomed our guests with a beautiful set of cello music. Chef Susan Spicer, a former board member and longtime partner, served a delectable spread with help from the staff at Mondo and Chef Kristen Essig from Meauxbar.
After guests had a chance to mingle and browse our silent auction items, GRN’s Development Director Natasha Noordhoff welcomed everyone and honored both the founding board members and GRN’s first and only Executive Director, Cyn Sarthou, who spoke to the audience about GRN’s past, present, and future work to protect the coast, wildlife, and communities.
Next to the stage was keynote speaker, Mike Tidwell. In a thoughtful narrative speech, Tidwell recalled his first encounter with the interconnected wetlands and coastal crisis in South Louisiana. In the early 2000’s, Tidwell, who is a former Peace Corps volunteer, was compelled to “hitchhike” through the coastal lowlands and collect stories from fishermen and shrimpers. He wove these stories into his seminal book, Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast. After this introduction, Tidwell spoke of the observations that led him to predict the ruining fallout of Hurricane Katrina. With almost 10 years passed since then, Tidwell’s closing remarks centered on the critical ongoing work of environmental groups like GRN, as well as the importance of immediate action on climate change to combat the coastal crisis.
Following the speaker portion of the evening, Helen Gillet performed her ballad to Louisiana’s swamplands, called “Atchafalaya.” The evening concluded with a round of delicious bread pudding and more great conversation. We would like to thank everyone who made it to Mondo on Sunday and all of our amazing partners who made the event possible. If you weren’t able to be there on Sunday, make sure to check out our photos. Here’s to 20 years!
Sarah Holtz is GRN’s Development Associate.