Despite Hurricane Harvey and other obstacles, the Bayou Belles Charity Service Organization (BBCSO, Inc.) held their 7th Annual Charity Gala on Saturday, September 23. Bayou Belles is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to better the lives of children in Texas and nothing was going to stop them from doing this again.
“We could not cancel,” Angeline Labbé-Auzenne BBCSO founder and president said. “If it was cancelling a party that would be one thing but the gala is so much more than that. It is about the children of Texas.”
As the founder Angeline strives to set a great example for the other volunteers by personally donating over 1,800 service hours annually towards making the lives of children better. Over the past six years, Bayou Belles has given over $65,000 to various children focused charities and have offered volunteer services to over 15 different organizations.
One of the primary ways Bayou Belles raises funds to give is through their annual gala. All of the proceeds from the gala are donated to the charity. Every year Bayou Belles selects a new charity of the year to give to. The charity of the year for 2017 was Texas EquuSearch. Their mission to return those missing back to their loved ones is what inspired the green theme this year.
“The green ribbon represents missing children,” Angeline said. “So this year we focused on the color green.”
The theme for the gala was an Enchanted Evening in Emerald Envy. Everything about the gala was in shades of green. The guests arrived in beautiful formal green attire or with something green as their focus and all of décor was in shades of emerald green.
“It was absolutely stunning,” Angeline said. “We also had a green signature cocktail and served key lime pie with a green drizzle and twisted lime on top to keep with the green theme.”
Despite the circumstance after Harvey, the Katy community still dressed up and came out to support the Bayou Belles. The evening consisted of a seated three-course dinner, speakers, a silent auction and dancing.
Texas EquuSearch Founder Tim Miller and Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls were the speakers. Miller shared his personal story of loosing a child who went missing and how it prompted him to start Texas EquuSearch. Nehls spoke about how important it is to have organizatioByns like Texas EquuSearch to help find missing children faster and the impact they make.
The gala was an enjoyable evening, while giving back to a great cause. However, the Bayou Belles overcame quite a few obstacles to get there. A month before the gala the original venue cancelled on the Bayou Belles. They had to quickly find a replacement venue while also dealing with Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, the Golf Club of Cinco Ranch was kind enough to step in.
“They [the Golf Club of Cinco Ranch] were very generous to help us out,” Angeline said. “We hadn’t budgeted for their rate and they were kind enough to work with us given our circumstances. We are very thankful for the kindness.”
During the final weeks leading up to the event when the Bayou Belles planned to be prepping for the gala, they also had to cope with Hurricane Harvey and it’s aftermath. Their volunteer numbers dwindled but it didn’t stop them. Every year the Bayou Belles prepare for the gala and prayerfully ask God to fill it with caring people.
“We never know what the support from the community will be,” Angeline said. “But this year that was taken to another level. We were not going to give up though.”
Another unfortunate circumstance gave way the day before the gala causing the live auction to be a silent auction. However, from the ticket sales and the silent auction the Bayou Belles raised $24,244 to give to Texas EquuSearch. The original goal for this year’s event was to raise $25,000.
“God completely brought us through it,” Angeline said. “He encouraged enough people to come and we nearly made to the penny our goal. We came very close to our goal despite all of the craziness and it was beautiful, absolutely beautiful.”
The Bayou Belles would like to thank the community for their support despite the circumstances after Hurricane Harvey. Angeline would also like to say a special thank you to volunteers Kathleen Carrell and Sarah Auzenne, and her husband Byron Auzenne for all they did to make this year’s gala happen.
Next year’s gala is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 15, 2018. The charity of the year and theme for the gala have yet to be determined, but it is sure to be enjoyable evening, while giving back to a great cause.
For more information about the Bayou Belles and their annual gala, visit bayoubelles.org. To get involved in next year’s gala or even become a member of Bayou Belles, contact Angeline Labbé-Auzenne at 832-671-2411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.