Friday Night Before Mardi Gras was devastated to learn of the tragic nightclub shooting at Pulse in Orlando, Florida, where 49 of our brothers and sisters lost their lives and 53 more were injured. We have few words to express the sorrow, fear, outrage and sadness we feel. However, our community is resilient. We decided the best way for Friday Night Before Mardi Gras to make an impact was to do what we do best: host an event to raise funds for a New Orleans native who was injured in the shooting, Leonel Melendez.
We were very fortunate to meet the family of Leonel, who, at the time of this post, is still in a coma after being shot in the head and leg on that horrific night. With only 48 hours of planning, we rallied more than 400 supporters to raise cash funds, spread the word about Leo's GoFundMe page and help promote the #Love4Leo campaign. The event was held at The Friendly Bar in the Marigny, where people brought potluck items for a family-style dinner and bid on several generous raffle items.
It was a celebration of life and love where the community could rally around Leonel's loved ones with food, drinks, and companionship during this difficult time.
The generosity of our community is incredible ... we are blown away! Thanks to you, our supporters, we raised more than $7350 in cash donations in just one night and wrote more than 200 notes of love and support to send to Leo's hospital room. 100% of the cash and checks we received were passed along to the Melendez family.
The Melendez family also has an online GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $30,000 in only one week. YOU CAN STILL GIVE BY CLICKING HERE ... and be sure to visit the #Love4Leo Facebook page to order a shirt that can show your suppourt for Leo and his loved ones.
Thank you all for showing us that love wins in New Orleans!
We'd like to thank the many attendees, volunteers, and photographers who've captured such amazing moments at our events over the years. We've shared photos on these pages from several talented photographers including Ami Jastrzemski, Steven Forster, Casey McMurray, Fannie Rio, and many more!