March 6, 2018


Branford Marsalis, Legacy Tribute Award Recipient

The NORD Foundation Legacy Tribute Award recognizes a former NORD participant for excellence in both professional endeavors and personal philanthropy. Branford Marsalis is a world-renowned musician and composer, co-founder of the Musicians’ Village/Ellis Marsalis Center for Music…and a self-described benchwarmer on his NORD football team.

The Coaches of "Harrell University"


The NORD Foundation’s “Unsung Hero” Award recognizes a long-time volunteer within the NORD system who has demonstrated selfless commitment to youth. In 2018, the honor went to the 30 volunteer coaches of Harrell Playground for their commitment to teaching their youth participants in life skills as well as sports. 

300 Years of Play in New Orleans

The 2018 CHAMPIONS Gala was an Official New Orleans Tricentennial event, so fittingly, we documented our city's history of recreation, where play has always been a serious undertaking!

In honor of the founding of NORD in 1947, NORD’s co-founders Johnny Brechtel and Morris F.X. Jeff, in memoriam, were recognized with the NORD Foundation’s Wall of Fame Distinction. Their daughters, the Honorable Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson and Jolene Jeff, received the awards, and both are featured in this video.

CHAMPIONS Gala Proceeds support our work and help underwrite free NORD Summer Youth Camp for children from low-income families.

You can make a contribution anytime and in any amount to support our work and help send kids to NORD Summer Camps where they will benefit from culture and arts programs, sports and physical recreation, water safety lessons, academic enrichment, and summer feeding, keeping them learning, safe and healthy during the summer months.

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Above, NORD Foundation Legacy Tribute Recipient Peyton Manning joined NORD's kids and the Tulane University Athletic Staff on the Yulman Stadium field during the CHAMPIONS Gala.

Benefitting the NORD Foundation and NORD, this informal, energetic celebration highlighted NORD’s phenomenal progress since the establishment of the public-private partnership in 2010, its first-class facilities and growing array of programs.


The program recognized individuals and business leaders who have made significant investments to improve NORD and those from NORD who have made significant contributions in their areas of professional expertise and community endeavors. NORD presented samplings of its wide range of athletic, youth, teens, seniors, swimming, outdoors and cultural programs on the field and in the Glazer Family Club throughout the evening. Scroll down to see the list of honorees. 

Proceeds from the gala underwrote free summer camps for over 1,000 youth from low-income families, who enjoyed a safe, educational and FUN summer of 2017.

Below, watch the video tribute to our Unsung Hero Award Recipient, Jerome Smith.

Jerome Smith, Unsung Hero Award Recipient 

2017 Champions Gala Honorees

Peyton Manning - Legacy Tribute Recipient

Recognizing professional excellence and personal philanthropy

Jerome Smith - Unsung Hero Award

An exceptional, long-time volunteer within the NORD system who has demonstrated selfless commitment to youth

Wall of Fame

Acknowledging people and companies who have made major commitments to revive a historic recreation system and improve the quality of life in New Orleans: 

City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Former Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin

Recreation Citizens Advisory Panel   

Arnie Fielkow

Bobby Garon

Roy Glapion

Rod West

Consistent, Major Supporters

Boh Brothers Centennial Fund



First NBC Bank

Other Ways to Support Our Work

GALA Sponsorships

All tickets are valued at $125 each.

Individual Gala Sponsorships


One ticket to the Patron Party

Name inclusion in event program


One ticket to the Gala

Name inclusion in event program


One ticket to the Gala