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Prep’s Remember When fundraiser particularly crucial this year

25th March 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

Lyrae Norman recalls coming back to her alma mater in 2003 to work as alumni director; and how the lockers appeared much bigger when she walked the halls as a high school student at Xavier Prep.

“I remember that trophy in the case…and I remember this classroom…” she laughs. “To me, that word-’remember,’ is synonymous with our legacy at Prep.”

For 20 years, patrons, friends and alumni of Xavier Prep have gathered to celebrate local music and memories for the annual Remember When—A Festival on Magazine Street, sponsored by the Xavier Prep Alumni Association. This year’s Patron Party and Gala takes place on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in the Drexel Center; 5116 Magazine Street- The Patron Party will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., and the Gala is from 8:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m. Parton Party tickets are $150 and admission to the Gala is $60.00.Remember-When-032513

The event, co-chaired by alumni Lyrae Norman and Debra Dean, and created by local musical standout (and class of 1965 alum) Wanda Rouzan has significant meaning this year. Besides celebrating two decades, the 2013 Remember When comes on the heels of the news of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacraments’ decision to close the nearly century-old educational landmark at the end of the year.

The news has generated an outpouring of not only concern from former students, but determination to do whatever it takes to keep the doors of Xavier Prep open.

“Now with the sisters making the decision to close Xavier Prep; we’ve reached preppers all over the world-and I have faith that we will succeed and I have faith that with the community resources and the younger alumni that are stepping up to the plate,” Rouzan told The Louisiana Weekly. “With the XUP Foundation Fund, and with school leadership I am optimistic that we’ll soon come to some terms in the coming weeks to let our students know that they don’t have to register somewhere else.”

“I am looking forward to “Remember When” this year more than previous years because I feel the excitement and enthusiasm about the event in light of the recent announcement of Xavier Prep closing,” Anatalie Waddell Bachemin, member of the Class of 1996, said. “Alumni around the city are asking ‘how can I help to Save Xavier Prep?’ Alumni of all ages are working together to save our alma mater. I have not felt such school spirit since I graduated.”

Rouzan anticipates nothing short of a successful gala; based on the turnout of alumni and the community for the February 23 strategic planning meeting.

“I’m so excited-I expect this to be blowout event,” she says. “The meeting at Martin Luther King Charter was one of the best pep rallies I had been to.”

“We just have a lot of fun,” Lyrae Norman says. “It’s such a good platform for bringing back alumni. Sometimes you might see classmates you hadn’t seen in forty years.”

Norman also noted that the alumni association is planning to provide Alumni TV, which will allow a live stream from the ( alumni site.

Three musical stages will feature the renowned sounds of the “Big Easy” including the finest jazz, New Orleans flavor, and Rhythm and Blues.

“We’ve got the great Irma Thomas as one of our headliners,” Rouzan says proudly. “And of course the James Rivers Move­ment; who has daughters that went to Prep. And Victor Goines is coming in town specifically to be a part of the event; he’s with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.”

Included in the entertainment lineup for this year’s Gala is Germaine Bazzle, Leah Chase, Jason and Delfeayo Marsalis, Charmaine Neville, BRW, Michael Ward, James Andrews, Kermit Ruffins, Sharon Martin, Gina Brown, Original Pinstripe Band, U4RIA, Gavin Bell, Lance Ellis, Cynthia Bland, Chuckie See (Elam) and many more.

Like events in the past, the rooms of entertainment will be hosted by popular on-air personalities; on tap for this year are Ro Brown, Kelder Summers and Ken Jones.

“We’re working with 106.7 right now to get a live remote for the night.” Rouzan added.

Guests will also be treated to authentic New Orleans cuisine from the hottest restaurants in town and a silent auction presents partygoers with the opportunity to bid on a large selection of artwork, hotel stays, gift baskets, and much more.

“Mignon Faget has always donated an item to include in our auction,’ Lyrae Norman says. “They’ll do so again this year.”

“‘Remember When appeals to not just Xavier Prep alums, but to people from all walks of life because of its mission of enriching and educating young people,” Rouzan says. “Guests can have fun while making a difference for children.”

The event will continue to provide scholarships for students in need along with operations for the school.

“We are preparing for the future, but right now, our focus is this current school year; we just need to raise money.” Norman told The Louisiana Weekly.

“The event came out of a need for recruiting and gathering alumni together to bring them back to the school-to see what it was like years later, and to try to get more alumni involvement,” Rouzan says. “The Class of 1965 had been continually meeting just to get together, so I proposed that they assist me in developing this event and that the event would assist with fundraising. From there, the XUP alumni association and Remember When was born.”

For ticket information, contact the Xavier Prep Alumni Asso­ciation at (504) 899-6061 ext. 302 or visit www.yellowjackets­ Tickets can be purchased at the door the night of the event.

This article originally published in the March 25, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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