Close to 1,000 business, civic and education leaders joined Mayor Mitch Landrieu at the fourth annual UNCF New Orleans Mayor’s Masked Ball on Saturday, March 18 at the Hyatt Regency, where $1.7 million was raised for deserving students attending UNCF colleges and universities. The mayor’s Masked Ball culminated a year of initiatives designed to provide the resources to get students to and through college. Native New Orleanians, Stan Verrett and Arthel Neville, from ESPN and Fox News,  respectively, emceed the soirée as guests partied for a purpose — education.

“Focusing on generational education that creates generational wealth, the night exemplified the meaning behind UNCF — working to secure better futures, paying dividends for us all, said Therese Badon, Therese Badon, vice president of development at UNCF.”

Queen of Creole cuisine and James Beard Lifetime Award recipient, Chef Leah Chase, received the Masked Award for being a trailblazer and a beacon of hope for the next generation of chefs.

The event was made possible with the support of this year’s presenting sponsor: Ochsner Health System and WDSU-TV amongst many others.

How can you help make a difference? Contact regional development director, LaJuana Chenier, at 504.581.3794 or visit .