Slip through cypress trees and Spanish moss into the revelry of a celebration on Bourbon Street at Carnaval New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Clay Center. The masquerade will benefit the education programs of the Clay Center and The Charleston Ballet.
The event offers authentic Louisiana cuisine prepared by Embassy Suites, cocktails, live music and more. Live entertainment is provided by the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band and "the prince of New Orleans piano" Davell Crawford.
Other entertainment includes original dance routines by The Charleston Ballet and a performance of "Appalachian stompgrass" by W. Va. string band The Wild Rumpus.
Carnaval New Orleans is being organized by the volunteer group Friends of Clay Center, with the help of Clay Center and The Charleston Ballet staff, board members and volunteers.
Friends of Clay Center Board President Madeleine Nibert said the group wants to deliver a fresh take on a New Orleans-themed party.
"Instead of doing our own version of Mardi Gras, we want to celebrate the dark, soulful side of New Orleans," she said. "The theme – ‘Voodoo on the Bayou' – is a tribute to the spirit of the city and all the things that make it such a fun, interesting place."
The event will also include a live auction and, for the first time, an online silent auction through BiddingForGood.com, an auction website for nonprofits. The silent auction opened Jan. 3 and will close during the event on Jan. 19. Nibert said the online auction is open to both ticket buyers and people not in attendance.
Bids can be placed online through the website and by mobile phone.
The silent auction will feature a variety of trips, autographed merchandise, gift certificates and more. Register online at biddingforgood.com/CarnavalNewOrleans.
Last year's sell-out event, Carnaval Rio, brought in more than $92,000 to help fund school field trips, outreach projects and distance learning programs for West Virginia students.
Guests must be at least 21 years of age. The event is black tie-optional, and masks and costumes are encouraged. Carnaval New Orleans is presented by Jackson Kelly PLLC. To purchase tickets, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3521.
For information on Carnaval New Orleans and other fundraising events, visit www.facebook.com/friendsofclaycenter.