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Tom and Gayle Benson support upcoming event for Harry Tompson Center

The event will take place March 15


The Harry Tompson Center's 10th anniversary Gala "Jewels of New Orleans," to benefit the homeless in New Orleans, is Saturday, March 15, at Jesuit High School, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Music provided by The New Orleans Ragtime and Dixieland Band. Entertainment by the "Voices of Peter Claver" Gospel Choir, and by The 610 Stompers.  Grand Finale: World Famous Action Painter Michael Israel followed by a Live Art Auction to benefit Harry Tompson Center for show previews.

This year's gala honorary chairpersons are Tom and Gayle Benson. Gala chairpersons are Anand and Maya Irimpen, M.D. co-chairs are William and Leigh Blakeman, and Jim and Stacy Pellerin.

"Our gala is the major fund-raising event of the Harry Tompson Center. The Center serves thousands of homeless men and women each year," Anand Irimpen said. "We depend on the gala to sustain this remarkable endeavor by raising at least one third of our annual operating budget of roughly $400,000."

"A highlight of the evening is the awarding of the 2014 Legatus Christi Award," said Vicki Judice, executive director of the Harry Tompson Center. "The award is given to a volunteer of the Center in recognition of outstanding, unselfish service as an ambassador of Christ." This year's recipient will be announced during the gala.

"The Harry Tompson Center is doing great things in our community and it has grown over the years, making a huge impact in the lives of those in need," Gayle Benson said. "I hope that our community continues to learn about the incredible work that the Harry Tompson Center is doing in our community in order to support their important mission."

Gala tickets are available now and range from $350 for a package of two tickets to the Gala including one ticket to the $10,000 Give-Away, up to $15,000 for a package of 24 tickets and 12 tickets for the $10,000 Give-Away prize. Individual tickets are $75. Give-Away tickets are $100 and only 250 will be sold.

In 1999, Father Harry Tompson, SJ, who had a special concern for the poor and homeless of New Orleans, began a ministry on Baronne Street, adjacent to Jesuit Church. The mission of the Harry Tompson Center is to provide a calm and caring environment, in the example of Jesus, to serve the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the downtown New Orleans area. Guests receive health care, legal advice, case management and housing placement, as well as opportunities to shower, shave and wash their clothes. The Center serves several thousand homeless men and women each year. The Center is an outreach ministry of Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church and is located downtown at the Rebuild Center, 1803 Gravier St., where it shares space with the Lantern Light Ministry and DePaul USA Movin' On Ministry. The Center operates on the kindness of volunteers and sponsors.

For information about the Harry Tompson Center and the 10th anniversary gala sponsorships and tickets, call Vicki Judice, 504-273-5547, ext. 135, or email,


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