The People's Tribune

Mayor’s Ball Raises Over $15,000 For Bicentennial, School Endeavors

In April the City of Louisiana will elect a new mayor, so the current mayor Bart Niedner and his wife, Michelle decided to wrap up his tenure in style with a formal masquerade ball.

They decided to make the event a fundraiser that fit the theme of the upcoming Bicentennial, “The Past Looking Forward.” Guests could donate to the Bicentennial celebration that is planned for this summer which includes the installation of the bust of Louisiana statesman John Brooks Henderson and to the performing arts center that is being planned for the R-II school district.. Over $15,000 was raised for the two worthy endeavors.

“Michelle and I were delighted by the enthusiastic turnout for the Mayor’s Ball,” Niedner remarked. “It was our intent to say ‘thank you’ to Louisiana in a way that would be memorable, unifying, and lift us all up. I think we hit those goals! But we were once again amazed at the community’s tremendous generosity.”

Brent Engel served as the emcee for the dinner portion of the evening and encouraged donations to help better Louisiana.

“Because I know so many of you, I offer the highest praise for all you’ve done to make Louisiana great. Because we have the power to make things happen, I’m also going to challenge you. Whether you and your family have been here for two centuries or two days or somewhere in between, we all have a vested interest in building the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. The first is a tribute to our past and the second is a commitment to our future,” he explained.

Tommy Wallace took over the emcee duties for the second portion of the evening at the Masonic Temple as guests donned exotic, beautiful and even funny masks to dance the night away to the music of Jerry Epperson’s band.

Niedner noted that as his four-year term comes to an end he’s increasingly aware of the critical moment upon which Louisiana stands.

“Only four years ago we had little hope for a new Mississippi bridge, we were less than a year from municipal bankruptcy, and we had an ever decreasing industrial job base. I have watched our community fight upstream and achieve the seemingly impossible – accomplishments which required many dedicated people working together over years,” he remarked. “Now we see not just the new Champ Clark Bridge rising from the river, but other bridges, a new North Third Street, and we are within weeks of breaking ground for the Georgia Street Corridor Project. We have expansion and innovative new industry at our industrial park. And with two years of excellent audits and much clearer financial controls we are rebuilding the City treasury. Much has been accomplished and I am grateful to have played my small part. But this really is a critical moment. We cannot afford to be lulled into a state of complacency. We require thoughtful, intelligent government over the coming years or our gains will be quickly lost. We are on solid footing but there remains vigilant, hard work to be done. It is my hope and prayer that Louisiana rises to the occasion with continued generosity, volunteerism, and informed votes to build our foundation for the next 200 years.”

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