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Hemelt: Rock in this New Year for 2 great causes

Oldies But Goodies are sure to keep the night rocking Sunday during a River Parishes party that rings in the New Year for a good cause.

In this case, there are two good causes.

The Oldies But Goodies Dance and Social Club is sponsoring a Benefit New Year’s Eve Dance from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. Sunday at the KC Home, 375 Spruce St. in Norco.

Tickets are $40 per couple. Hats, noisemakers and Midnight Champagne Toast are included, and attendees are asked to bring their own additional alcohol if interested.

Founder and organizer Erick St. Amant said Oldies But Goodies would split the night’s revenue between Get High on Life and Perry’s Posse, adding the money comes from donations, the gate and a 50/50 raffle.

“The Oldies But Goodies supplies the music, plus the building and we pick up the expenses for that,” St. Amant said. “That is our donation to them. Believe it or not, the DJs pay to get in, I pay to get in and everybody pays to get in. All the money that we collect goes right through our hands and we give it away.”

The charitable formula has been working for 12 years, according to St. Amant, who said the organization has raised and given away $349,000.

He described the total as nothing short of “amazing.”

Those interested in contributing or participating are asked to call 985-764-9402, 985-764-9245 or 985-652-9101.

St. Amant said Get High on Life ministry’s Harold Keller has been a friend of his for years, adding he knows personally how much good Keller does for the community. St. Amant said cancer support group Perry’s Posse is also quite special.

“They are two of the finest, as far as I am concerned, clubs in the River Parishes that are volunteers,” St. Amant said. “Those two organizations are fantastic. They don’t get enough ink.”

Oldies But Goodies has been able to thrive because of its volunteer nature and busy schedule.

Dances take place once a month, and St. Amant said the DJs don’t get paid.

A loyal group of business people, merchants and elected officials help out “because they know what we are about,” according to St. Amant.

More than 100 people are expected for this weekend’s fun and fundraiser.

The strong turnout is nothing surprising for fans of the Oldies But Goodies “Blast From the Past,” which takes place each April and has grown to attract between 350 and 400 people.

Donation hauls routinely settle in at more than $10,000, and St. Amant said the Shriners of New Orleans are ticketed for the next contribution to support the organization’s effort in providing transportation for sick children and their families to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The more regular dances take place every third Sunday of the month with different giveaways.

“We feel good about it,” St. Amant said. “God has been good to us. We can’t rave enough about the people. We have some people that have been coming (to these dances) for 12 years. They don’t miss and are always helping the cause. We blow the whistle and they come in there to set up. We blow the whistle and they tear things down.

“We have some people who come, believe it or not, and all they do it take care of everybody with the washing of the dishes and setting up the food.”

The group’s potluck food presentations even became so popular that is spawned a cookbook that generated 3,300 copies in sales.

This weekend is sure to produce plenty of fun and festivities, but the Oldies But Goodies New Year’s Eve dance just might have them all beat.

Stephen Hemelt is publisher and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or stephen.hemelt@lobservateur.com.