By Matt Bennett
Friday, Nov. 20 The Lauren Savoy Olinde Foundation proudly presents Top Hat Soirée. Happening at Baton Rouge Gallery at City Park, the event’s theme – An Evening At The Circus – reimagines a childhood pastime for adults. We all remember lugging around a supersized stuffed animal after winning a carnival game or eating copious amounts of pink and blue sugar. It was great, when we were younger. At Top Hat Soirée, a successful ring toss earns participants a bottle of wine and instead of just being spun and eaten off a paper cone, cotton candy gets mixed and sipped as a cocktail as well.
“We’ll also have a stilt walker juggling. We’re going to have a caricaturist and we’ll have a clown making us balloon hats,” said LSO Foundation Co-Founder and Director Sarah Lomax Gray. “This night is for us [adults] to go to the circus.”
Guests will also enjoy delicious cuisine from some of the Capital City’s best eateries, refreshing drinks from an open bar and a silent and live auction.
“In our silent auction we have a lot of art because the namesake of the foundation, Lauren, was an artist in her own right,” said Gray. “In our live auction we’ll even have an item for the LSU Alabama suite tickets next year. That’s a home game and so that’s a really fun live auction package that we’re putting together.”
The event provides a good time for a great cause. All of the proceeds benefit the LSO Foundation and their mission of providing skin cancer educational resources, preventative techniques and early detection warning signs for the community. The Foundation also encourages screenings for all types of skin cancer.
After her best friend Lauren Savoy Olinde passed away from Melanoma skin cancer at the age of 27, Gray with the help of her sister Emily Lomax Gonsoulin organized The Hat Run – a 5K where participants wore hats and received a few sun safety tips. It was an incredible success and as a result Gray began focusing all of her efforts on the LSO Foundation.
“What we [The LSO Foundation] do is we provide sunshades over playgrounds,” said Gray. “We also meet with outdoor workers and lifeguards and give them hats that are wide brim and we educate them on sun safety. We meet with hairdressers because they are up in your scalp and can detect skin cancer in people’s scalps and ears and things like that, that a lot of people can’t even see.”
The LSO Foundation’s namesake, Lauren Savoy Olinde was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy, president of her Tri-Delta sorority at LSU and an honors alumna of ULM’s Doctor of Pharmacy program. Olinde continued her work full time as a pharmacist ensuring people received the proper medications they depended on despite her own Melanoma diagnosis.
“She worked through it, graduated with her class and was able to practice for a few months,” said Gray. “She just had a really positive attitude about it all, that’s just who she was.”
Top Hat Soirée starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $35 for young adult admission (35 and younger) and $50 for general admission. Hats encouraged.
For more information on The Lauren Savoy Olinde Foundation, please visit lsofoundation.org.