From Parties to Philanthrophy
Friday Night Before Mardi Gras (FNBMG) came to life 31 years ago during Mardi Gras 1985, when Dr. David Wood and Dr. Ivan Sherman invited friends into their home on the Friday night just before Mardi Gras. Their festive guests arrived in wigs and makeup ... and the tradition was born!
The party grew over the years to be known as the “Friday Night Before Mardi Gras Bash.” Ivan and David never sent invitations and welcomed all who appeared at their door. By 1999, the attendance had grown to 350 wild and outlandish party-goers.
In 1999 Billy Henry and Ed Potratz suggested making the next FNBMG bash a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS charities. A committee consisting of Larry Anderson, Peter Braswell, John Chatterton, Craig Henry, Henry LaRoche, Glenn Reames, Amy Reimer and Carl Ricketts agreed to help spearhead the event. Extravaganza I was hosted at The Carrollton and was a huge success. Extravaganzas II, III, IV, V and VI continued at The Carrollton as community support and attendance steadily grew.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded The Carrollton, leaving FNBMG with no place to party. Nevertheless, in 2006, Extravaganza VII shined at Sean Cummings' grand Esplanade Avenue Mansion. Extravaganza VIII carried the tradition to the Elms Mansion and Extravaganza IX took a notorious detour to The Venusian Garden. FNBMG then decided it was high time to take the party to Uptown New Orleans at the Audubon Tea Room:
* Extravaganza X – Divas at the Tea Room
* Extravaganza XI – Cirque du Sogay at the Tea Room
* Extravaganza XII – Mardi Gras Gaga at the Tea Room
* Extravaganza XIII – The Immortals Ball at the Tea Room
"Puttin' on the Glitz" in 2015 took the party back to its roots in Mid-City at an elegant venue in The Cannery building near beautiful Bayou St. John. We carried on the tradition in 2016 … and thank all of our loyal supporters for making this wonderful history possible!