New York State of Mind

New York State of Mind
New York State of Mind

Southeast Texans will have an opportunity to step into the heart of New York City as the Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Foundation presents “La Soirée: NY State of Mind,” a black tie gala at the Beaumont Civic Center on Saturday, Jan. 31.

In its seventh year, La Soirée — much like the Big Apple — promises big time entertainment, a variety of foods as diverse as New York itself, fashion you might expect to find on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and most importantly, a night you’ll never forget.

Tickets are $225 each and table sponsorships range from $2,500 to $50,000.

The festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and a silent auction that will feature a variety of unique items including a chance to become a fighter pilot for a day, trips to Cozumel and New York City, and works from New York City artists.

Guests will also have a chance to win jewelry by Mathews Jewelers in a Bubbles and Baubles champagne glass contest.

“You’ll have a chance to win a specialized piece of jewelry (which may include) a ruby or a diamond,” Exective Director of Baptist Hospital’s of Southeast Texas Foundation Kate Carroll said, explaining that there will only be 100 glasses of champagne sold with an entry fee of $100 per person. “Pretty good odds to win this amazing jewelry. With that $100 glass of champagne, you’re in the drawing three times for three different pieces.”

During their walk through Manhattan, guests will be treated to the different neighborhoods and flavors of New York.

“It will almost be like they’re walking onto a New York City street,” said Christy Hardt, business development coordinator at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas. “Our seating area will be centered around Central Park, but as they walk to Central Park, they’ll walk through different neighborhoods of Manhattan such as Chelsea, Tribeca, Little Italy and Chinatown. Not only will they see some of that décor, but they’ll get to taste foods from those areas and cultures, as well.

“If you are walking through Times Square, for instance, you are going to see street performers.”

After sampling a variety of New York flavors, guests will sit down to a dinner featuring a menu similar to what one might find at Tavern on the Green, an American cuisine restaurant in Central Park known for its New York strip steaks and New York style cheesecake.

While this year’s La Soirée will not feature the fashion show that guests have become accustomed to in years past, it will offer a chance to window shop during the cocktail hour, much like you would at the high-end Fifth Avenue shops.

“We’ll have models in store windows. It will be like you’re walking down a sidewalk in New York,” Hardt said. “New York is famous for its store windows … Macy’s, Sak’s (Fifth Avenue). What’s great about it is not only are the models going to be displaying clothes, but everything that is there (can be found) at a store in Beaumont.”

“We are using all local boutiques, so all that fashion can be purchased locally,” Carroll added.

Carroll and Hardt said they came up with the idea to present a New York City-themed gala after a visit to the city in September.

“It’s always new and exciting,” Carroll said. “Going back time and time again, you always find something you’ve never seen, some place you’ve never seen. Even going back to the same places can provide excitement. Even if you go back to the same club or restaurant, there’s just something about it that’s fun.”

“It’s nostalgic, historic, iconic — you just can’t go wrong with New York,” added Hardt.

Chairpersons of the event are Bob and Karen Wortham.

“They were chosen because they are such established figures in the community,” said Carroll. “They both give so much, and we wanted to honor them and give back to them. They are both great stewards of the community, and we just want to thank them for what they are doing.”

“We were very surprised and honored,” said Karen Wortham. “We’re happy to be involved in such a fabulous, one-of-a-kind event. There’s nothing else like it.”

Karen, who has personally visited New York City, described what it is it about the city that fascinates its visitors.

“The sights, the grandeur of it, the buildings, the shops, the lights,” she said.

All of these things are elements that Carroll and Hardt said they hope to capture in this year’s La Soirée, and if last year’s event is any indication, there’s no doubt it will be a special occassion.

In 2014, La Soirée captured the mood of a 007 film with its theme “For Your Eyes Only,” even featuring a guest appearance by actor George Lazenby, best known for his role as James Bond in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

“He met all of our expectations and then more,” Carroll said.

This year’s event will feature a special guest appearance by New York’s own Steven Maglio, who describes himself as a singer of standards on his website, especially appreciated for his renditions of songs made popular by Frank Sinatra. Maglio will be joining local jazz sensation Jimmy Simmons and his band to entertain guests with a show the likes of which New York City is known for.

The Motion Band, an exciting Dallas-based band, will also entertain with its own individual up-beat style and personality to give guests a chance to dance the night away after dinner.

Fundraising from La Soirée exceeded expectations last year, and Carroll said she hopes to raise even more this year.

“We’re right on track to sell out again, and hopefully surpass our goal (of 80 tables),” she said.

Funds raised from the event support the Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Foundation, which, in years past, has helped fund the breast health expansion at the Charline and Sidney “Chief” Dauphin Cancer Screening and Prevention Center, assisted with a makeover and new equipment purchase at the Baptist Cancer Center, and helped to establish a family room on the Oncology Unit at Baptist Hospitals, among other projects.

“We’re able to go out each year and find out what programmatic needs were not met,” Carroll said. “We can set the funds (raised from the event) to work within the hospital. Or if it is something we can save over the years and build on for (future projects) … then we can do it that way.”

So what is it about La Soirée that keeps guests coming back each year?

Perhaps it is because the event is almost as grand as New York City itself.

“You’re truly transported to a different place,” Carroll said. “It’s not your typical event you find in Beaumont, Texas. We try to find themes that are timeless and appeal to everybody. We really want to be the event that everybody is talking about (and) … are going above and beyond this year. Everybody is going to stay out late!”

Tickets and table sponsorships for the event are available by calling (409) 212-6110.