By ALAN SMASON
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, John Travolta reaped hearty helpings of admiration at last night’s “Free the Tatas” Disco Ball given as a gala fundraiser and social event at the Cannery in Mid-City by the Greater New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah.
A crowd of 330 turned out to help the Women’s Zionist organization raise thousands of dollars to fight breast cancer in an unusual fashion. The central fundraising efforts came about in the live and silent auctions of 18 canvasses rendered from special photographs taken months ago. At that event 18 breast cancer survivors – some bearing the scars of radical surgery – consulted with body painting artists to render unique artistic expressions, which were then photographed.
The event served to highlight the advances made by Hadassah Hospital and others in determining the BRCA1 genetic mutation that has led to the successful implementation of aggressive therapies used in preventing the onset of breast cancer.
Two of the honorees – sisters Cathy Bart and Judy Lieberman – were honored as pioneers who chose the then-unproven aggressive therapy path more than 15 years ago in the hopes of staving off the onset of possible cancer. They were hailed for their thoughtful actions on behalf of all those who might learn from genetic testing that they too have the BRCA1 mutation.
Colorful costumes from the disco era complemented the theme of the event, while mirror ball lighting and popular dance tunes from the disco era permeated the social hall at 3803 Toulouse Street.
Jewish burlesque performer Trixie Minx freed much more than tatas, while performing twice before the crowd, disrobing to musical numbers to the delight of the partygoers.
Meanwhile, more than 30 area restaurants donated food for the event co-chaired by Evette Ungar and Cheryl Bauman.