NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s third annual Flavor of Louisiana, the university’s popular spring seafood extravaganza, was a resounding success, according to organizers. The March 22 event drew about 750 guests and raised more than $77,000 for student scholarships and academic programs.
“We are tremendously grateful to our guests, to our sponsors and to the 100-plus volunteers who helped make our event memorable,” said Jill Bankston, CFRE, director of Development. “It took a lot of teamwork to pull together an event of this magnitude, but the positive feedback we have received and the success of the event made it all worth the effort.”
In addition to dozens of booths featuring seafood dishes prepared by chefs from throughout the region, academic departments organized booths that featured raffles, silent auctions and items for purchase to raise money for their individual programs.
Matt DeFord, chair of the Department of Fine and Graphic Art, said he and his colleagues raised about $500 through raffles and sales of original art.
“It was amazing,” DeFord said. “We plan on using the funds to benefit a student in the form of a scholarship.”
The Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development more than doubled last year’s fundraising at Flavor of Louisiana. Their team of faculty and students worked with local businesses, alumni and faculty to showcase Louisiana memorabilia items that were raffled or sold in silent auction to benefit the five units within the college, which includes the School of Education, Department of Health and Human Performance, Department of Psychology, Department of Social Work and Department of Military Science. Current students and faculty will benefit from the funds raised with the creation of at least one new scholarship, improvements to degree program materials and growth plans for the college, according to Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean.
“People attending the event were excited about the raffle items and generous to support the college,” McAlister said. “We are incredibly appreciative of this opportunity and the generosity of the people attending Flavor of Louisiana. Plans are already underway for next year’s event.”
For the last three years, Flavor of Louisiana has been presented in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board which donates all the seafood items for the chefs to prepare. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has been a supporter of the event since its inception and this year was the recipient of a special honor. Northwestern State President Dr. Chris Maggio presented Nungesser with the Nth Degree to recognize meritorious service to the university, to the city of Natchitoches and the state of Louisiana.
“A unique ‘food festival’ event like Flavor of Louisiana brings our loyal supporters to campus and also attracts individuals from around the region,” Bankston said. “We were happy to roll out the purple carpet for every ticketholder, every sponsor and everyone who contributed to supporting NSU and student scholarships. Community support for the university is critical to what we at the NSU Foundation do to support the university and its mission.”