The Krewe Foundation Gala

Event planner extraordinaire Bryan Rafanelli—who is known for creating the White House holiday décor during the Obama administration—and Stirling Barrett—the founder of the hip eyewear brand KREWE—recently hosted a vibrant, music-filled “party with a purpose” to launch the KREWE Foundation, a non-profit that will provide eye exams and prescription glasses to 25,000 New Orleans high school students over the next five years.

Krewe Foundation Gala: Party Report

Bryan Rafanelli and Stirling Barrett

Created to “change the way New Orleans youth see the world,” the Foundation underscores the vital role that prescription glasses play in helping students excel in all aspects of life.

Krewe Foundation Gala: Party Report

The party was held in a beautifully renovated 19th-century New Orleans church.

The event, titled “All Good Things Come in Pairs,” was a celebration of vision, both in terms of eyesight and perspective. Held at “The Church of Paul and Sara,” a converted church owned and renovated by Salonniere 100 honoree Sara Ruffin Costello and her husband, photographer Paul Costello, the evening featured a dinner by James Beard award-winning chef Justin Devillier, performances by pairs of local and national musicians, and inspiring speakers.

Krewe Foundation Gala: Party Report

The colorful tablescape at the Krewe Foundation launch party.

For the décor, Rafanelli used bright colors to illuminate the idea of vision, and the tablecloths and plates featured eye motifs in a vibrant mix of hues. The evening also included three at-risk high school students telling their inspiring stories about the role that prescription eyewear has played in their success at school.

Krewe Foundation Gala

Three boys from Son of a Saint, an organization that supports New Orleans boys who are growing up without fathers, spoke about the impact of prescription glasses on their lives.

Said Rafanelli, “We set out to design the party so that every guest could see and feel the power of this extraordinary initiative.”

Krewe Foundation GalaKrewe Foundation Gala

Top: Kristin Shannon, Executive Director of KREWE Foundation; Liz Ehrlich, Executive Director at Billboard; Paul Costello and Sara Costello. Bottom Left: Evan Anderson and Charlie Price. Bottom Right: Alexa Pulitzer and Seth Levine. 

Among the guests in attendance were celebrity hairstylist Charlie Price; stationer Alexa Pulitzer and her husband, entrepreneur Seth Levine; filmmakers T.G. and Nicelle Herrington; restaurant owners Abhi Bhansali and Colleen Connor; local gallerist Martine Chaisson; and artist Mallory Page.

Krewe Foundation Gala Krewe Foundation Gala

Top Left: Ani Franco and Princess Shaw. Top Right: Kristin Diable and Anders Osborne.  Bottom Left: Winston Triolo and Ian Wellman. Bottom Right: Irma Thomas.

Performing duets for the crowd were Grammy Award winner Ani DiFranco and singer Princess Shaw; singers Kristin Diable and Anders Osborne; musician Jamison Ross and singer Jonté Mayon; singer Irma Thomas (“The Soul Queen of New Orleans”) and Jon Cleary and the One A Gospel Choir; and Winston Triolo and Ian Wellman from the band Motel Radio.

Filmmakers Nicelle and T.G. Herrington

For more information about KREWE eyewear and the KREWE Foundation, click here.

And here are a few more stories that we think you’ll enjoy: 

The 2018 Salonniere 100: a report on America’s 100 best party hosts

A party report from the 2018 Good+ Foundation Gala

The Salonniere Party-Planning Checklist: a guide to stress-free event planning

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