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Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005 01:42 am

A big relief

Area groups are jazzin’ up Springfield to help Katrina victims

Since the levees gave way to the forces of Katrina three weeks ago, the only visible remnants of many New Orleans neighborhoods are rooftops resembling lily pads.

As a last refuge for hurricane victims, these rooftops doubtless saved thousands of lives in the Crescent City. With the help of some groups in Springfield, they may save even more.

Downtown Springfield Inc., the Pasfield House, the Illinois Capital Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Illinois National Bank are sponsoring a fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 18, to benefit Hurricane Katrina survivors. “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” celebrates the wounded Louisiana city with the two main ingredients of New Orleans culture: food and music.

Framed commemorative prints of Peter Briant’s “French Quarter Rooftops” will be sold for $100, a sponsorship brunch for those donating $1,000 will be held Sunday afternoon, and the evening will feature an outdoor Dixieland concert and a “Just Desserts” party after the concert. Tickets to the concert and party are $100 each; $250 gets you the concert, dessert, and a framed print.

The Bowling Alley Big Band, the Dixie Daredevils, and New Orleans’ own Roger Kimball, Bruce Hart, and Frank Parker perform at the outdoor jazz concert.

Dixie and Abita brews will be available for guests’ imbibing pleasure. Chef Bill Wade of the New Orleans Marriott, along with downtown-Springfield chefs Michael Higgins, Augie Mrozowski, and David Radwine, will demonstrate what it means to miss New Orleans’ cuisine.

The “Just Desserts” party will highlight a couple of NOLA favorites — cherries jubilee and bananas Foster — and state Rep. Raymond Poe and Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards will serve up andouille (spicy Cajun sausage) and beignets (French-style doughnuts).

According to Pasfield House proprietor Tony Leone, local businesses and individuals are covering all expenses so that 100 percent of the proceeds may go directly to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief fund.

“Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” will be held at the Pasfield House, 525 S. Pasfield St. Tickets may be purchased at all Illinois National Bank locations. For more information, call the Pasfield House at 217-525-3663 or Downtown Springfield Inc. at 217-544-1723.

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