Underneath the bridge, a warm gesture

My friends at Love Impact Inc. and the City of Love Church in New Orleans care about the homeless — from head to toe.

At 11 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, they’ll be giving away 1,000 warm caps and pairs of shoes to folks under the bridge at Dryades and Calliope streets.

“We know with the homeless population, their mode of transportation is walking,” said Tia Robertson, executive director of the community development agency Love Impact.

“The goal was to try to put a dent into the discomfort. If your feet are warm and your head is warm, it helps you to feel a little better,” Robertson said.

She worked on the project with Chery Harrison, executive pastor of the City of Love.

Thanks to a grant from Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, Love Impact received 100 pairs of Crocs.

It also held a “Hats and Heels” brunch, where ladies and gentlemen showed up in their finest headgear and shoes — all to raise money for those less fortunate.

The need is great. Drop off new or gently used shoes and caps at the church at 818 Sixth St., between Annunciation and Magazine streets, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Call (504) 913-7285 for more information.

City of Love is pastored by Bishop Lester Love and Pastor Fran Love.

Bal masque in City Park

It’s a good time for a good cause, and costumes are required. What could be more New Orleans than that?

The Bal des Artistes will serve as an early kickoff to the Carnival season on Jan. 3, when artists, musicians and fashion designers take over the beautiful new Morning Call in City Park’s Casino building.

The event has two goals for multitasking organizer Jeanne Nathan, of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans.

“I have always wanted to do a really arty, fun, wild Carnival ball, so we really kind of ran with that,” Nathan told me.

The Bal des Artistes will transform the Morning Call into a French brasserie, and outside, models will show off evening wear both classic and cutting-edge.

Nathan also promises “floating characters,” and she’s not talking about those bossy geese in the lagoon.

Instead, the Everything Collective, a group of young downtown artists, will create moving entertainment in the crowd, she said, hinting at a beaux-arts-style Salome tableau in wild costumes.

The event’s other goal is to build support for CANO.

“We are basically about supporting the business careers of artists, helping them to become more self-sustaining,” Nathan said.

The organization offers business training for working artists with the goal of cranking up that under-recognized part of New Orleans’ economy.

Perhaps the most important, and demanding, work CANO does is its outreach to students at John McDonogh Senior High School, Nathan said.

A program called Creative Futures offers visits by mentors to discuss the business side of an artist’s life, a radio broadcast planned from the high school and the creation of a database of colleges that offer arts training, Nathan said.

Help with résumés and college applications also is offered.

There’s plenty of time to think about a costume that is chic, wild, bohemian or mysterious — whatever your mood.

Tickets to the Bal des Artistes are $75, and tables are available. Call (504) 218-4897 for information.

Nativity scene and caroling

The Mount Zion Lutheran Church will stage a Nativity scene at 6 p.m. Saturday at the church, 1401 Simon Bolivar Ave., New Orleans, , according to Gladys B. Brown, of the church.

The public is invited to attend and sing carols.

Pastor is the Rev. Limakatso Nare.

For more information, call Mount Zion at (504) 522-9951.

Annette Sisco is Community editor. She can be reached at asisco@theadvocate.com or (504) 432-9257.