Author Archives: Gerrish

  1. 11th Annual Recycled Fashion Show

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    Bridge House / Grace House held its 11th Annual Recycled Fashion Show at Rock N Bowl on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Nineteen Designers participated in the event, showcasing the possibilities of re-use and highlighting what the Bridge House / Grace House Thrift Stores have to offer.

    Each designer was asked to create two outfits using fabric, clothing, or other donated items from the Bridge House / Grace House Thrift Stores. With $75 gift certificates in hand, the designers scoured the Thrift Stores for that perfect item needed to complete his or her outfit.

    Thank you so much to everyone who attended the 11th Annual Recycled Fashion Show – special thanks to Presenting Sponsor – Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust; our Emcees Lauren “Fleurty Girl” Haydel & Andrew Ward; and all of our Sponsors, Designers, Models, Committee Members, Volunteers, Staff, & Residents!

    2020 Designers: Brenda Daws, Danielle Arthur, Darlene Hargreaves, Dawn Bagala Cantrelle, Face, Germanie Taylor, Jann Darsie, Joanna Daunie, Joy Gauss, Lindsey Jakiel Diulus, Mary Ann Murphy, Matthew Pilote, Misty Caster, Nathalie DuPont, Nicole Buuck, Shannon Dettrow, Shantel Caloian, Susan Cross, Tysean Riles

    View photos from the event here.

  2. Cochon Cotillion XXIV Postponed

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    After much consideration on the current climate surrounding COVID19, we at Bridge House / Grace House have made the decision to postpone Cochon Cotillion XXIV, originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 4, 2020 at Mardi Gras World (Eastbank). As an organization committed to the health and recovery of those in need, we feel this is the most responsible course of action to ensure the well-being of everyone involved – our King & Queen and members of their Court; Committee Members, Sponsors, Attendees, and Volunteers; Vendors and Restaurants; as well as Bridge House / Grace House Staff & Residents.

    Cochon Cotillion XXIV will now take place on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at Mardi Gras World (Eastbank) from 7:00 – 11:00PM | Patron Party 6:00 – 7:00PM. We will honor all tickets for the new date, but if a refund is preferred, please contact Lauren Selenberg ( to request a refund. If you have purchased a raffle ticket for a chance to win (2) roundtrip tickets from Southwest Airlines, valid for travel anywhere in the continental U.S. from 4/1/20 – 4/1/21; those will also be honored and the drawing will now take place on August 29th. Any refunds on raffle tickets can also be requested via email to Lauren Selenberg (

    Thank you so much to everyone involved in the planning and all those who have supported Cochon Cotillion XXIV! We will continue to work tirelessly to make sure this year’s event is up to the high quality of entertainment and enjoyment you have all come to expect and we hope you will still join us in August! Please visit the event page for additional information –

    PS – At this time our remaining Spring & Summer events will still take place as scheduled – the 25th Annual Women of Substance Luncheon on Friday, May 15th at the Audubon Tea Room and Mr. Legs XX on Saturday, July 11th at Generations Hall. We will respond appropriately to conditions and guidelines as dictated by local, state and federal health departments. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Clary ( or Kevin Gardere (

  3. Grace House on Stratford Place Grand Opening

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    The Grand Opening of Grace House on Stratford Place, The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust Campus, was held on November 14, 2019 and it was an amazing day for all in attendance! The celebration featured a ribbon cutting, “Amazing Grace” performed by Charmaine Neville, coffee from CoolBrew, Camellia Brand red beans and rice with French bread and desserts from La Louisiane Bakery, and fried chicken sandwiches from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen & Liz Copeland. Tyra Brown, the City of New Orleans Office of Community Development’s Director of Housing and Vincent Giardina, the president of Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, welcomed the new facility to the community; and Tiffaney Bradley, the communications director and scheduler from the office of Councilmember Kristin Gisleson, presented a proclamation from the City of New Orleans. Thank you to Tywana Lewis, a Grace House Alumna, for sharing her story of how Grace House saved her from the streets and saved her life.

    Grace House is the only no-cost, long-term residential substance-use disorder treatment facility exclusively for women in the Greater New Orleans area. The new state-of-the-art Grace House location will combine the two current treatment programs for women at 1401 Delachaise Street and 1160 Camp Street. The treatment facility spans almost two acres with five buildings and will be home to 66 women. “This facility will provide a safe place for women to recover and the tools necessary to rebuild their lives,” said Bridge House / Grace House CEO, Else Pedersen. “We now can have the ability to treat more women in the New Orleans area dealing with issues of substance abuse, self-esteem, parenting, trauma, abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and relationships.”

    This new home for Grace House is astounding, and it would not be possible without your support! Thank you to all who helped make this dream come true. If you would like to tour the new home for the women of Grace House, please call Kevin Gardere at 504-821-7133.

  4. March for Recovery 2019

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    On Saturday, November 2nd, members of the New Orleans community touched by addiction joined together in Palmer Park to “Second Line for a Second Chance” at the 3rd Annual March for Recovery Presented by Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust. The event honors those recovering from addiction – a treatable disease, not a moral failing – and remembers lives that have been lost.

    Thank you to Bridge House Alum, Ronald Rogiero for sharing his personal story of addiction and recovery. Special thanks to all those who help to keep this event fun and free for all – Andrews Jr. Band, City Donuts & Cafe, CoolBrew Coffee, Crescent Crown Distributing, Eddie Gonzales, Faux Pas Prints, Iggie Perrin, Joe’s Cafe, Jon Renaudin, Krispy Kreme, River Parish Disposal, Terrytown Cafe, Trader Joe’s, and Walton Goldring!

  5. Fore! Recovery Invitational 2019

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    Over 150 players, volunteers, & friends spent a beautiful Friday at English Turn Golf & Country Club on October 4th for the 31st Annual Fore! Recovery Invitational Presented by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.

    As one of the most unique golf tournaments in the city, the Fore! Recovery Invitational is truly a golf and food experience. Food, food, and more food! Players and friends kicked off the day with a delicious lunch of steak sandwiches and salad from Desi Vega’s Steakhouse, wings from Hooters, snowballs from Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, and Hand Pies from Haydel’s Bakery! But that’s not all – upon arrival complimentary chair massages and cigars were available to players, along with a stop at the Blue Williams, L.L.P. Bloody Mary Bar for complimentary Bloody Marys!

    On the course, players enjoyed food from Bourbon House, Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop, Mandina’s, Quarter View, Sandro’s Trattoria, and Zea’s. To quench their thirst, provided Margaritas at the Margarita Beach Bar on the Front 9 and Palazzo Law Firm provided John Daly’s on the Back 9 at the NOLA Ya’t Club Bar. For anyone still hungry, they grabbed some white beans & shrimp from Foodie Fest / GBP Direct during the Awards Party!

    Our Sponsors
    Many thanks to all of our sponsors, especially to our Presenting Sponsor Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust! A special shout for their involvement this year goes to Banner Chevrolet, the UNO Golf Team, our UPS Volunteers, Be.Creative, Pelican Ice, and all of our in-kind donors!

    Congratulations to our 2019 winners!
    Taking 1st Place this year, the foursome from the Fore! Kids Foundation – Brent Lemoine, Jason Ruggles, Robert Emmett, & Bart Dornier; in 2nd Place the foursome from Ramelli Waste Management – Francis Carmello, Tim Bracey, Greg Phillips, & Gino LaGuardia; and in 3rd Place the foursome from Bayou Hot Wings – Kyle Makepeace, Anthony Rabito, Eddie Munster, & Allen Nguyen.

    Thank you to our supporters! Thank you to everyone involved for making the 2019 Fore! Recovery Invitational Presented by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust another FABULOUS year – we couldn’t have done it without you! Supporting Bridge House / Grace House means that we may continue to provide treatment to those who may seem hopeless but for whom there is great opportunity for a life free of addiction. We couldn’t do this without the help of all of our Players, Sponsors, Committee Members, Volunteers, Restaurant & Auction Donors, Staff, and Residents!

    View photos from the event here.

  6. Mr. Legs 2019

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    Mr. Legs contestants once again took Generations Hall by storm to raise money for Bridge House / Grace House. Emcees Laura Buchtel and Lauren “Fleurty Girl” Haydel kept the party going while judges Cynthia Browne (of Les ReBelles), Spud McConnell, LaMinda McMillan Pilié (of the Pussyfooters), and Ryan Veuthey from NOLA Brewing scrutinized the costumes, routines, and – most importantly – legs of the contestants.

    Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust returned for the 3rd year in a row as the Presenting Sponsor and WWL-TV for the 4th year in a row as the Media Sponsor.

    More than 1000 attendees enjoyed performances by Les Rebelles and The Pussyfooters in addition to the 18 Mr. Legs Contestants. The silent auction featured 99 fabulous packages including a one night stay at the Windsor Court Hotel, gift certificates to dine at places like The Columns Hotel and Muriel’s Restaurant, artwork from Gallery Rinard, and more! Kendra Scott once again hosted a Trunk Show during the event with 20% of the proceeds benefiting Bridge House / Grace House.

    Complimentary food from 38 local restaurants was available to all attendees including dishes from places such as Joey K’s Restaurant, YaYa’s Comfort Food, Gulf Tacos, Hooters, and Zea Rotisserie & Bar. Special thanks to Copeland’s of New Orleans who returned for the 4th year in row as the featured VIP Restaurant.

    Thank you so much to everyone who attended Mr. Legs XIX and especially our Contestants, Sponsors, Committee, Volunteers, Judges, Emcees, Staff, and Residents! Due to the impending weather that was expected the weekend of July 12-14, we made the decision to postpone the Mr. Legs event, holding it two weeks later on July 27. Even with the new date, it was still our best year ever and we couldn’t have done it without you! Mark your calendars for next year’s event – July 11, 2020!

    Contestants (in order of appearance): Jason Borja, Tony Bertucci, Max Cannon, Jeffery Carlson, Steve Carnes, Roberto Espinoza, Ryan Haydel, Travis Henthorn, William Hughes, Chris Koller, & Tue Nguyen (performed together), Chris Kazik, Dean Liljeberg, Devin Mullin, Matt Rinard, Brock Songy, Kurt Valvis, Michael Zarou – Congratulations to all our winners!

    Winners (Judges Categories):
    Skinniest Legs – Roberto Espinoza
    Hairiest Legs – Jeffery Carlson
    Sexiest Legs – Ryan Haydel
    Rookie(s) of the Year – William Hughes,
    Chris Koller, & Tue Nguyen (performed together)
    Best Costume – Jason Borja
    Best Performance – Chris Kazik

    Winners (Fundraising):
    2nd Runner Up – Michael Zarou
    1st Runner Up – Roberto Espinoza
    Mr. Legs XIX – Matt Rinard

    See photos from the event here.

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