Fundraiser truly makes Robottom a public servant

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – Times must really be tough. Last Saturday, a few of the servers at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. in LaPlace seemed somewhat overqualified for the position.

But these rookie waiters had not fallen on hard times. They were there to support St. John Theatre. Parish leaders including Parish President Natalie Robottom and Judge Sterling Snowdy donned aprons and bused trays as part of the theater’s first such fundraiser.

The theater partnered with the popular eatery, which donated a portion of the night’s profits to aid in the upkeep of the Reserve venue.

According to St. John Theatre Managing Director Denise Borell, no coercion was needed in getting Robottom to don the red apron.

“We’re very appreciative that she came out to support the theater,” said Borell.

“When we asked, she jumped on it,” added St. John Theatre Board member Debbie Stricks.

The event is part of a larger initiative to make the theater a more visible presence in the community. The initiative also included staging more grassroots productions such as the Living Christmas Tree in December and the upcoming Harriet Tubman show coming to the theater at the start of February, which is Black History Month.

“It’s time for the community to come back to the theater,” said Borell.

Borell explained that the new direction for the theater is partly because of an influx of new board members. She said they bring new energy and new ideas, such as the fundraiser, to the theater.

For Robottom, the choice to take part in the event was a no-brainer. She said that while she has never taken part in theater as a performer, she was happy to be able to be involved in some way.

“We support the theater, and it’s always been a draw,” said Robottom. “The theater crew is a very special group.”

Robottom added she was enjoying the opportunity to see people she might not see otherwise. She even had the pleasure of serving Mary Kremer, who was Robottom’s children’s preschool teacher.

In all, the event raised about $600 for St. John Theatre. Another similar fundraiser will be held on Feb. 10 at the Italian Pie on Belle Terre Boulevard.

“The community’s coming back (to the theater),” said Borell. “It’s just a matter of getting the word out.”