La Vie Ville: ‘Bodacious bras’ support fight against cancer

The newest festival to join the ranks of New Orleans busy summer calendar will soon take center stage. The objective: celebrating women while giving back to the community.

FestiGals 2013 runs June 20 to 23. True to the nonprofit organization’s mission of supporting causes close to women’s hearts, FestiGals recently unveiled its community initiative: Bodacious Bras for a Cause.

More than three dozen bedazzled bras were unveiled at Stein Mart’s Veterans Boulevard store in Metairie. On hand for the event were some celebrity artists who showed off their handiwork to the public for the first time.

Iconic entertainer Chris Owens was joined by actress Becky Allen and Wendy Vitter, president of the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans, for the official kick-off event that initiates an auction to support the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans.

“I am honored to be part of this wonderful fundraising effort for such an important cause,” Owens said. “My dear sister passed away from cancer, so finding a cure for this disease is very personal.”

FestiGals Founder Diane Lyons has also suffered the pain of losing a sister to cancer. “From the beginning, we wanted to give back to our community because that’s just what women do,” Lyons said.

“We thought, ‘What could be more feminine than bras?’, so we approached Stein Mart to donate the items as a FestiGals sponsor. Last year we raised over $23,000 in a single afternoon during our Bodacious Bras for a Cause luncheon. This year, we’ve set that bar even higher because we know that the funds raised from the auction will help support underserved women in our community during their battle with this dreaded disease.”

The creative art project transforms ordinary women’s foundation garments into one of a kind works of uniquely collectible art.

FestiGals reaches out to celebrities and artists early in the year asking each to create a single entry that will join a collection of art for the auction.

The artists’ creativity seems limitless. Some artists not only submitted fabulous works of art they also “stuffed their bras” with all sorts of prizes and goodies.

Wendy Vitter, for example, upped the ante by stuffing her bra with a dinner for six with her husband, Sen. David Vitter, and Sen. Mary Landrieu. Vitter calls her creation ‘Bra-Partisan’ since both senators signed the piece and agreed to attend the dinner party with the winning bidder.

For a complete list of all the bras with details on their “stuffings,” visit http://www.FestiGals.org.

Online bidding began Wednesday and culminates June 21 at FestiGals’ annual Bodacious Bras for a Cause Luncheon at Hotel Monteleone.

The 2013 FestiGals Bra-ART Collection remains on exhibit at Stein of Metairie through June 19.

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in The Advocate New Orleans Community News Section. Email information on your upcoming event to robertagrove@hotmail.com.