Filed Under:  Education, Entertainment

Jazzin’ the dream of St. Katharine Drexel — a fundraiser

14th October 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

What started out as planning for the Xavier Prep class of 1968 reunion has turned into a celebration with even more meaning and purpose. As the school puts the recent challenges of the fight to remain open behind them, a group of alumni has decided to stage an event to help Preppers move forward.

Jazzin’ the Drexel Dream will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2013, to benefit St. Katharine Drexel Prep, from noon to 5pm.

“With everything going on with the Prep, we said, ‘Why don’t we do a fundraiser for the school?’” Event co-chair and host Katharine Felton says.

The event’s host committee consists of alumni from graduating classes as far back as 1940, to 1999.

The community is invited to come out for a day of great music, food, fun and philanthropy. General admission is $40.00. There’s also a $100 admission that includes a raffle ticket good for a chance to win $10,000.

The Fest’ will be held at 2623 Esplanade Avenue at the lovely home of Katharine Felton and Jim Thorns, and next door in Desoto Park. The 2600 block of Desoto Street (immediately behind the park), will be blocked off for the festival.

Felton suggested putting on a small (jazz fest style) event in her yard; as she has held previous fundraisers at her home.

Various levels of sponsorship are available as well, ranging from $100 to $5,000: including a $100-$500 Honorary Prepper for a Day Sponsors, $500 Friends of St. Katharine Sponsorship, along with a $1,500 Drexel Dreamer Sponsorship.

Entertainers include James Andrews, Nayo Jones, Sharon Martin, Kermit Ruffins, Davell Crawford, and Burnell Taylor.

The house band featuring local artists Shannon Powell, Thaddeus Richard, Chris Severin and Julius Handy will also entertain fest goers.

The event will also include some of the city’s most celebrated food vendors; such as Sweet Lorraine’s, Omar’s, Vance Vaucresson, Odessa’s Catering and Noel’s Bar-B-Que.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the upkeeping of the Dre­xel Center, in hopes that the venue can be used more often for rental purposes, which in turn can bring in revenue for the school.

“We want to help with a facelift on that room, because it can make a difference,” Felton told The Louisiana Weekly. “It can generate money, so that why we’d like the focus (of fundraising) to be there. We’re talking about 98 years of history. we want to see this legacy continue. (The recent developments) served as a wakeup call for many of us, to really give back and help maintain this school.”

The Prep and the legacy of its founder, St. Katharine Drexel, has a deeper, personal meaning to Felton.

She was named after the educator and founder, by her father.

“We welcome community-wide participation in this celebration.; we especially encourage alumni to come out and support this event as a way to share in our efforts to give back to our beloved Alma Mater, “ says Jane Jupiter Bell, from the Prep class of ’69. “We all have fond memories the great times we had at assemblies in ‘The Drexel’ during our high school days. We hope to raise the funds needed to get, and keep it in tip-top shape for generations of future Preppers. I’m really looking forward to hearing wonderful music, sampling fabulous food and getting together with people who love the Prep. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”

For more information of Jazzin’ the Drexel Dream, contact event co-chairs, Katharine Felton at (504) 949-5300 or (504) 481-9503, Angela Sarpy, at (504) 943-7026 or email drexeldream@gmail.com.

To help continue the legacy of St. Katharine Drexel and educate future students of the new alumni-run Saint Katharine Drexel Prep, visit http://www.drexelprep.com.

This article originally published in the October 14, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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