A mountain of meatballs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2010

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – The VFW Hall in LaPlace on Thursday morning was crowded with dozens of local community members working feverishly as the smell of spaghetti sauce wafted through the air.

Some, armed with paddles, stirred huge bubbling cauldrons of the red elixir while an assembly line inside the building packed scores of Styrofoam containers with spaghetti and meatball lunches. Many of them had been there since the wee hours of the morning.

And if it seemed as though their work was a matter of life and death, in many ways it was.

Their effort was the latest fundraising effort for Reserve resident Daphne Triche, the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office employee who was diagnosed with liver cancer in February 2009.

“The community is unbelievable,” said Natalie Tatje, the LaPlace businesswoman who has spearheaded many projects to aid Triche.

In addition to all the hours of time given by local community members, local businesses, organizations and agencies contributed both money and products to make the fundraiser a success.

Tatje had set a goal of selling 1,500 lunches for the cause. That goal was met with plenty of room to spare as more than 1,850 lunches were delivered to all corners of the River Parishes Thursday. It was the most lunches ever sold for one of these fundraising events, according to Tatje.

Renee Boudreaux, herself a cancer survivor, was one of the people working tirelessly to make this small miracle happen.

“She didn’t even go to sleep last night,” said Tatje.

According to Boudreaux, although the final numbers are not in yet, they expect to be able to present Triche with a check for more than $10,000 to cover skyrocketing medical bills.

“We want to thank everyone who donated to make this possible,” said Boudreaux.