La. Philharmonic sets plantation concert

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2006



LAPLACE — Mike Norton remembers four or five years ago when he enjoyed a nice afternoon at Oak Alley Plantation, with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performing for a big crowd.

&#8220It was so nice to be outside and have that music,” he said. &#8220I always thought we should do it again.”

As a member of the River Parishes Tourist Commission, Norton has also seen the incredible struggle currently underway for area plantations, and figured the time was now to try and pull off such a performance.

The result of all his hard work is a scheduled performance by the Louisiana Philharmonic at San Francisco Plantation on Saturday, April 29 beginning at 4 p.m. The concert will last two hours, and there will also be an art show on the grounds beginning at 2 p.m.

Norton, owner of Bull’s Corner Restaurant in LaPlace, took the lead to put the big day together by gathering sponsorships to pay the $15,000 to bring the orchestra here. Now he is hoping a huge crowd comes out and

pays the $10 admission for the concert to help support San Francisco Plantation.

&#8220All the proceeds are going to the plantation,” Norton said. &#8220And they need it so desperately now since the hurricane cut their tourism business.”

San Francisco Plantation was selected since this will be part of the 150th anniversary of the historic plantation’s construction. It is located on River Road in Garyville.

The Louisiana Philharmonic will perform with 65-70 musicians with a program of pop music. The money was raised with a $5,000 grant from the River Region Arts and Humanities (RRAHC), and then sponsorships totaling $10,000.

San Francisco Plantation will get the gate recipes, as well as proceeds from other sales at the show.

The St. John United Way has already purchased 100 tickets they will be giving out, and other groups have donated food or drinks to the day of activities. Additionally, all seventh graders at the parish public schools are being given free tickets.

&#8220We want kids to hear this music, but otherwise, I just think this is a great family day out,” Norton added. &#8220We’re just trying to help the parish, so I hope we get a great turnout.”

Guests can bring their own food and drinks, and should bring a blanket or lawn chairs to enjoy the show.

Sponsors for the event are St. John Parish Economic Development Committee, RRAHC, Sen. Joel Chaisson, South Louisiana Port Commission, Bull’s Corner, Paul Aucoin, Mark Schneider, Diagio Wine, River Parishes Tourist Commission, the United Way, First National Bank USA, Entergy and St. John Enterprises.

Tickets for the event will be available at the door.