Shopping with a Purpose

Tracee Dundas
Fashion Editor @fashionablyyoursnola

It’s the ultimate shopper’s experience…. finding amazing fashion deals and supporting a great cause at the same time.Dress for Success New Orleans will once again open its stockroom doors to allow shoppers to peruse through their warehouse of incredible women’s fashions ranging from frolic spring dress to fabulous cocktail dresses in sizes from 0 to 24.

The Fill-A-Bag (F.A.B.) Sale is a Seasonal Inventory Reduction Fundraiser Event that allows the organization to purge its overstock of fashions donated by the community, companies, and corporate sponsors such as Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor, and Talbots.

The shopping event will take place on Friday, March 25th, 4PM-7PM and Saturday, March 26th, 9AM-4PM at the Dress for Success facility located at 1700 Josephine Street. With the purchase of a single ticket this reserves the shopper their “Power Hour” to shop at their hearts desire for one hour, filling a12X16X4 shopping bag to the brim with fabulous goodies. Shoppers can reserve their Power Hour shopping shift by purchasing a ticket for a nominal price and additional shopping bags can be purchased during their shopping hour for another low cost.

“It’s a great way to build your wardrobe inexpensively and at the same time make a donation to support the Dress for Success New Orleans mission of empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life,” explains Lori Byargeon, Executive Director. The services offered by Dress for Success are free and funding is continually needed to maintain the programs offered which include the suiting clients in professional attire, job readiness assistance through the Capital One Career Center, employment retention program and mentoring.
The goal to identify women who, with a hand up, not a handout, can gain employment and economic independence.

For ticket and more information on the F.A.B. Sale visit, call 504-891-4337 or email lori@dfsneworleans.


Another example of excellence is Takeshia Davis, MD, MPH is the CEO of New Orleans East Hospital. In addition to running the hospital, she is an advocate for Women’s Health, and works to empower young women across the city.

Speaking of the women who inspire and motivate her she says, “I am inspired by many trailblazing women like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Dorothy Mae Taylor, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell because of their groundbreaking accomplishments and empowerment of other women.”

Continuing she says, “It is vitally important that as women to continue to break glass ceilings across the world, that we mentor and sponsor other women along the way to ensure that they are prepared to elevate those ceilings even higher. The historic nomination of The Honorable Katanji Brown Jackson to serve as the first African American woman as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in its over 200-year history, reminds us that there is much more work for us to do together. Therefore, I am inspired to keep fighting for health equity despite long standing, systematic health disparities and I am motivated every day by my Mother that the impossible is possible.”

It Takes A Village
Being in a city like New Orleans, it marries the old a new world. This is something that has an impact on how women are viewed and treated. “Being a woman in New Orleans is different than being a woman in other parts of the world. There is a reverence to how women are treated in the public space,” says Asali Devan Ecclesiastes, CEO of Ashe Cultural Center, who has also worked in lead roles in government and worked in communities advocating for equity.

While acknowledging the city’s problems, she feels that New Orleans and the support she received growing up gave her the wings to fly high. “New Orleans has provided me the opportunity in my upbringing to do all kinds of amazing things and exercising all kinds of power. It made me feel different about what I could do and become. I would define a Phenomenal Woman as a free woman. She is one who cherishes her freedom so much that she tries to help free others.”

The Crescent City is one that houses many jewels, and one of those places is Xavier University. A HBCU that is the only Black and Catholic University in the Western Hemisphere. Throughout its storied history, it has produced many women who are making an impact in the City of New Orleans. Dr. Takeshia Davis and Dr. Tami Chrisentery-Singleton are both alums of this august institution that continues a legacy of producing leaders.

“I received an amazing opportunity to attend Xavier University. During my time there, it gave me the strength to do what I do today, says Dr. Tami Chrisentery-Singleton, who is Chief of Pediatric Hematology, and Director of the Hemophilia Treatment Center at the Mississippi Center for Advanced Medicine, and the Louisiana Center for Advanced Medicine.

Indeed, she is accomplished, but speaks of her commitment to spirituality as a guiding force in her life, “The whole foundation of my life has always been God. It was the place where I solidified my interest in medicine. Where I solidified the belief that I could do it.”

Giving Back and Serving Others 
While these women have all achieved success, they are dedicated to giving back and pouring into the next generation, so they can reach their full potential.

“On the City Council Helena Moreno and I are working on establishing a young women leadership academy. This is something that would be aimed at young women in college and girls that are in high school or younger. Shape them into great women who can accomplish great things in life.”

Ashe Cultural Center has always been a place where community empowerment has been in the forefront of its mission and vision. Under the leadership of Asali Devan Ecclesiastes, she plans to expand on it to increase the center’s impact on the residents of the city.

“Ashe had amazing programming for me to build on. I have a perspective around policy and from my time in government and how much policy and bureaucracy will shape our outcomes. I wanted to use the programming to build on what we have done to empower marginalized communities and being intentional around creating a dialog around access and creating spaces for equity to emerge.”

Climbing the Ladder to Success the Need for Mentors 
Getting to the next level sometimes is more than simply your ability. It is a professional networks that often time increase your net worth. Today women not only in New Orleans, but around the country are beginning to build professional networks to assist those following in their footsteps, preparing them to pursue excellence. Dr. Takeshia Davis says to students who are interested in going into medicine and/or healthcare administration, “Excellence cannot be denied! No matter your gender, race, lived or learned experience, excellence cannot be denied so always strive for excellence. Strive for excellence in your studies, appearance, mentors, professional engagements, etc.…because unfortunately, only 2.6% of Doctors in the U.S. identify as Black or African American and less than 4% of hospital administrators…but excellence cannot be denied!”

Dr. Tami Singleton, who is a renowned physician in her field, says early in her career she was able to have a Black Female mentor. This is something that let her to know a career in medicine was obtainable. During my time in college, I was awarded several research grants. This improved my profile participating in research. My attending physician was a Black female name Dr. Renee Gardner, and at that time I saw very few Black physicians and certainly very few Black female physicians, I found her inspiring.”

These bridges to opportunity and access are important in the lives of young people. Dr. Singleton also belongs to the New Orleans Chapter of the Links Incorporated. Speaking of her work with the group she says, “It’s been an honor and I love working with them because these are other amazing women who believe in God, family, and community. It is something that gives us as likeminded women an opportunity to give back.”

The Definition of a Phenomenal Woman 
While some women may achieve greatness in their jobs. But excelling in the marketplace is not the only way to be a Phenomenal Woman according to Lesli Harris, “We can be great in our own way, and that is an individual thing defined by each woman on her own terms.”

This sentiment is echoed by Dr. Tami Singleton, “Being true to yourself, putting God first, living with passion and purpose. If you do this, you can’t go wrong, and your life will be phenomenal.”

small print Tyana Jackson Contributed to this story

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