The free Alice Brown Thanksgiving Day Dinner, sponsored by the Gretna Civic Association-District 1 is an annual tradition in Gretna. It will be held on Nov. 26 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Due to Covid-19, the dinner location this year will be at the OJ Dunn Masonic Lodge, 1100 Cook St. in McDonoghville and there will be NO eat-in service available.

You can get a free take-out meal, with a requirement that everyone picking food up must wear a mask to enter the hall.

Delivery to a limited area is possible, by calling now to Erica Hill at 504.367.8464 or Katherine Davillier at 504.210.7014 to pre-arrange a delivery. All orders must be in by 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Cancer patients that need delivery are asked to call Gwen Cook at 504.366.4247.    

Dozens of volunteers lovingly work in their own special way that usually feeds 500 people, either at the center or by making home deliveries.

Co-directors and sisters Kathleen Davillier and Erica Hall took over operations of the major Thanksgiving Day tradition from Alice Brown, a McDonoghville resident, now deceased, who had cooked for the elderly and members of the community for 25 years in her home. The sisters are helped by their mother, Mildred Daniel, sister Cynthia Stevens and many others in the neighborhood who devote efforts to the cause.

“My sisters and I grew-up around the corner from her house,” Davillier said. “We had volunteered with Mrs. Brown for many years and didn’t want this tradition to be discontinued, so we took over in 1999 when she was up in age and couldn’t do it anymore. Since Alice Brown was the driving force behind the program, we honored her by naming the event after her.                                  

“We had the Thanksgiving Day dinner at the OJ Dunn Masonic Lodge in Gretna for a couple of years, but once the Gretna Community Center was open, we moved the event to that larger location,” Davillier said. 

With all City of Gretna public buildings closed due to the pandemic, the event has gone full circle with the event returning for this year to the Masonic lodge.  

The Alice Brown Dinner is the largest event held locally, but other groups certainly helped the needy to enjoy Thanksgiving in other ways.

Rotary Westbank…

The Rotary Club of the Westbank certainly stepped up again this year like they have for at least six years with its Rotary Thanksgiving Baskets Program. Rotary Westbank distributes to the needy 100 large boxes of traditional Thanksgiving fare, including a $20 gift card for either a turkey or ham from Rouses Supermarket and a note from the Rotary Club. To make sure the recipients have everything needed to cook a meal, pans are even included in the boxes.

Rotary Club member, James Barse who coordinates the gathering of grocery products and arranges for the gift cards and boxes said, “Rotary Westbank pays for this wonderful program. On the day of packaging a dozen or more Rotary members arrive around 11:00 a.m. that starts a lot of “organized chaos.” Everything is unloaded and sorted in order to form an assembly line to stuff the boxes for distribution.”

The boxes are distributed to non-profits like Raintree Children Services in New Orleans and some go to local churches, all to be distributed to the needy. Rotary member Maria Ramirez distributes boxes to the local Nicaraguan and Honduran communities.

Society of St. Vincent De Paul… 

Always aware of the needs of the community, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for both St. Joseph and St. Anthony Churches in Gretna held its annual reverse food drive this month. 

“Over 1,000 food items were collected and distributed to 22 households, where 70 family members were treated to a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables and pasta non-perishable food items,” President Paul Coles said.  

“The reverse food drive works like this. Selected food items are written on a slip of paper and parishioners randomly choose among these items to donate. This method brought in an even amount of different canned meats, vegetables and fruit.”  

KC 1905 Auxiliary…

Archbishop Blenk KC 1905 Ladies Auxiliary’s goal this year was to offer the needy a basket of traditional Thanksgiving food items with which to prepare a meal for this special holiday.

“With 100% participation, our members each donated 10 of any item on the list and gift cards were included to purchase a turkey and perishables. Member Mary Fay Legnon, Customer Service Manager for Entergy supplied us with a grant toward filling the baskets and Gretna Councilman Jackie Berthelot made a donation. We made up pretty baskets for the gifts, not only to help to feed, but to make it beautiful and put a smile on the recipients’ faces,” Sandy Sider, chairperson for the program said.

St Anthony Church…

St. Anthony Church repeated their annual Thanksgiving giveaway, distributing 13 baskets included groceries and a $25 Gift Card to buy a turkey. Marie Cannon, longtime chairperson for this project said, “We are so appreciative of the Elks Lodge No. 2496 on Monroe Street who contributed the food products to fill the baskets. The Elks are always so generous to us.”

School Collections…

Jefferson Parish Public Schools in District 1 collected canned goods that were donated to the Gretna Food Bank at 1400 Jefferson St. According to Gayle Pittman, food bank president, people who live in the 70053 zip code can pick up these free food items as needed when the facility reopens after the Thanksgiving holiday. The Gretna Food Bank is open on Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Hopefully, ALL locals will have a wonderful Turkey Day with love and good food in their bellies.  

Gretna Social Ride…

Rene Poche and the Gretna EZ Social Ride rode in front of City Hall to enjoy the decorations. Bicyclists meet on Huey P. Long Avenue at 1st Street to roll out at 7:30 p.m. each Friday.  

Encouraging his regular riders and locals to join the ride on Nov. 27, the night after Thanksgiving, Poche said, “Next week will be the “after-Thanksgiving, I-ate-too-much-leftovers- ride!”


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