La Vie de Ville: Beer Festival Supports a Furry Cause

Advocate photo by ROBERTA GROVE -- Attending the LASPCA's event, N.O. on Tap are Suzanne Smith, left, volunteer Marleigh Legier, center, and Smith's son Robert Gauthier with their dog, Parker. Smith rescued Parker from the LASPCA 12 years ago.
Advocate photo by ROBERTA GROVE -- Attending the LASPCA's event, N.O. on Tap are Suzanne Smith, left, volunteer Marleigh Legier, center, and Smith's son Robert Gauthier with their dog, Parker. Smith rescued Parker from the LASPCA 12 years ago.

By Roberta Grove

Special to the Advocate

This weekend thousands of animal-loving, beer-drinking festers passed through the gates of Festival Grounds in New Orleans City Park for the Louisiana SPCA’s annual ‘New Orleans on Tap Beer Festival.’

Now in its fourth year, the popular event attracted well over 8,000 supporters according to LASPCA spokesman Dean Howard.

“Last year we generated over $100,000 in gross sales and based upon advanced ticket sales this year, we’re projected to top that amount today,” said Howard. “We’ve also moved the event to City Park’s Festival Grounds where we have much more space to accommodate our newly expanded footprint.”

With a picture-perfect weather forecast, it seems a certainty that the homeless animals under the care of the LASPCA are guaranteed a winning outcome from the fundraising effort on their behalf.

Noted upon my arrival at Festival Grounds was the sheer army of dedicated volunteers who worked hard to make this festival possible.

Among the dedicated team of LASPCA volunteers and staffers, there were quite a few of corporate sponsors who sent their own volunteer teams to support the cause.

Also represented were other non-profits like the YLC, Young Leadership Council, who partnered with the LASPCA for a massive recycling effort that seems a natural, particularly with all of the festivals on our city’s calendar these days.

Then, there were the sponsors, key among them The Bulldog and the Abita Brewing Company. Bulldog’s co-owner Herb Dyer shared a vision to create a super beer fest over 4 years ago. On this day, over 200 national and local brewers showcased their suds to support this worthwhile cause for our furry friends in need.

Leading the charge on feeding this crowd was the Velvet Cactus who together with The Bulldog donated their wares as well as their time to the effort. Musical entertainment featured Billy Iuso & Restless Natives, the New Orleans Night Crawlers and Royal Teeth.

Keeping it all together were WDSU co-masters of ceremonies Scott Walker and Travers Mackel, who shared that he’s in the market for that perfect little puppy to adopt. There were certainly many options for him to consider at N.O. on Tap so hopefully a love connection was made.

The Louisiana SPCA has come such a long way since Katrina, in part because of the organization’s tenacious leadership, dedicated board of directors, staffers and volunteers. But just as noteworthy, are the thousands of area residents who have made that leap of faith and opened their hearts and their homes to an animal in need.

I count myself of them, and recently celebrated a second year adoption anniversary with my little LASPCA rescue, ‘Chloe.’

New Orleans is city of citizens that care. To learn more about the work of the LASPCA, to support their efforts or to adopt a loving pet, visit www.la-spca.org.

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday for The New Orleans Advocate’s Crescent City News section. Please email information on your upcoming community event to robertagrove@hotmail.com in advance with request for coverage.