Photos from the Sean Payton???s Play it Forward Foundation???s 2015 Black and Gold Gala. Photos by Alex Restrepo. (New Orleans Saints photos)
The fourth Black and Gold Gala, presented by Chevron, took place Friday, Oct. 2 on the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Through the 2015 Black and Gold Gala, Payton's Play It Forward Foundation is continuing its mission of raising money and awareness for organizations dedicated to the health, education and social welfare of the local community. This year's beneficiares will include Feed the Children, K-9s for Warriors and the Gleason Initiative Foundation.
The evening began with a red carpet and live red carpet show hosted by John DeShazier and Brianna Nowlin. They interviewed Chevron's Gulf of Mexico Vice Preisent, Michael Illane, Play it Forward Foundation's executive director, Karen Hegner, Sean Payton and many other sponsors, those involved in the charities, Saints players and staff.
"This particular event, Coach Payton's Play it Forward Foundation, they do a lot of good work for folks that have great needs in our city," Illane said, "so it's a good chance for us to demonstrate our values, give something back to the city and region and something our employees are all very proud to participate in."
Payton spoke about what motivated him to create the Play it Forward Foundation.
"it started quite a while ago," Payton said. "Certainingly post-Katrina there were just so many avenues that we felt needed attention and there needed to be an organized way to do that. Our players have a great presence in the community and many of them have created foundations and so it's really the mind-set as to what's the mission statement and what are your goals.
"We've raised north of $3 million. Tonight we'll raise a million dollars and we're always looking to find a couple target groups that we feel like define what we set out to do eight years ago now."
Hegner spoke about why Coach Payton decided to put the Play it Forward Foundation together.
"When he first came here in 2006, after Katrina, we knew we wanted to do something to help the community, the region, but we knew in 2006 it just wasn't the time, we needed to rebuild the team. So in 2007 he called me and said 'I'm ready but I'm not going to do it unless you run it,' so we started it. So we decided to do it here in the Dome and make it about the people here and we knew we wanted to work with people and families in need."
Following the red carpet, guests were entertained by Better Than Ezra.
The national anthem was performed by Irma Thomas.
After dinner, Payton presented videos on all three of the benefitting charities. This included veterans who were matched with dogs through K-9s for Warriors and Steve Gleason joining Payton on stage.
Following the live auction, the evening was concluded with a performance by Darius Rucker.
About Payton's Play It Forward Foundation
Founded in 2008 by New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, the mission of Payton's Play it Forward Foundation (PPIFF) is to improve the quality of life for local families through educational-based initiatives, increased and improved health-care support systems, and social welfare through research, education and professional services for disadvantaged and disabled individuals and families in the Greater New Orleans area and across the Gulf Region. In operation since 2008, Payton's Play It Forward Foundation has distributed more than $500,000 to local charities. For more information, visit www.paytonsplayitforward.com.
Based in Covington, La., Chevron's Gulf of Mexico business unit works with over 2,100 employees and approximately 900 contractors daily. Chevron is one of the largest producers and second largest leaseholder on the Gulf of Mexico shelf; and one of the top leaseholders in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. More information is available at www.chevron.com