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Chicago Jack and Jill chapter parties with a purpose

The mask table
The mask tableDwana Amos

New Orleans came to Chicago Saturday, March 8, as the Chicago Jack and Jill chapter partied with a purpose and hosted a Mardi Gras fundraiser at Zhou B Art Center on West 35th street on the cities south side. The ticket read, "party like a king, give back like a saint," a motto chapter president Spring Capers takes to heart.

"Our belief in education as a tool to better ourselves gives us the opportunity to give to deserving students in need of a helping hand with their college journey,"said Capers. "It is our cultural way of showing gratitude for how far we have come as a people to come back to the communities."

Capers, who has never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, said she felt connected to the rich culture of the Cajun and Creole people from Louisiana through this experience.

Food is an important part of any true New Orleans cultural experience, and it was plentiful last night. Options ranged from the savory- Creole gumbo, blackened tilapia, Cajun pasta, corn bread and southern style greens-to the sweet, cake pops, Creole pralines and cookies shaped like Mardi Gras masks.

Guest Rhonda Gumbel-Thomas, who was born in New Orleans, said the fundraiser was a wonderful evening from start to finish. I loved the "authentic New Orleans live music, savory food, handsome decor, and killer hurricanes."

Chapter member Robyn Dent-Alexander agreed. "I loved the location, the food, the second line and the fun!"

Jack & Jill of America is a national organization of African American mothers that was established in 1938. A key objective of the organization is support of African American youth in their educational endeavors. Proceeds from last nights event will fund college scholarships for deserving high school seniors from the Chicago area.