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Lady Justice Rocking on the River to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of The Pro Bono Project’s Justice For All Ball on September 20, 2013

Friday, June 07, 2013

  • Pro Bono Project

07 June 2013

Lady Justice Rocking on the River to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of The Pro Bono Project’s Justice For All Ball on             September 20, 2013
Walter E. Blessey, Jr. is Honorary Chair; Blessey Marine Services, Inc. is Presenting Sponsor

(New Orleans, LA) – There’s a good reason that Lady Justice is ‘Rocking on the River’ to celebrate The Pro Bono Project’s (The Project) 25th Anniversary of The Justice For All Ball (JFAB): this year’s Honorary Chair, Walter E. Blessey Jr. is well connected to the Mississippi River through his company Blessey Marine Services, Inc. this year’s JFAB Presenting Sponsor.  Blessey will oversee the 2013 JFAB from the captain’s quarters at The Audubon Tea Room on Friday, September 20, 2013 from 8:00 pm to 12 midnight; a private patron party will precede the Ball.

As Founder, Chairman and CEO of Blessey Marine, Blessey and his leadership team operate one of the youngest and largest multi-faceted fleets of inland tank barges and towing vessels in the world. The firm services the inland waterway system of rivers that flow ultimately into the Mississippi River and then out into the Gulf of Mexico.  His success comes from a simple, yet profound business philosophy, which has served him well over the years, “Create a company culture that is focused and centered around respect for the individual."

“Like Mr. Blessey, the work of The Pro Bono Project centers around the philosophy of 'respect for the individual' and many times this is exactly what the pro bono services, which our volunteer attorneys provide, do for our clients: restore their respect - for themselves and their ability to move forward once their legal issues are resolved. We are thrilled that Mr. Blessey and Blessey Marine Services accepted the challenge and the opportunity to serve as Honorary Chair and Presenting Sponsor, respectively, for this year’s 25th Anniversary Ball, “ explained The Project’s Executive Director, Rachel Piercey.

The JFAB serves as one avenue through which The Project raises funds to enable people to rebuild their lives and this community. So often, many of The Project’s clients don’t have the resources, or even understand that the problem they have requires a legal solution. That’s where The Project makes a difference by matching private bar attorneys pro bono with clients in need. Without The Project, so many of the legal issues that continue to impede the return of citizens and the rebuilding of the metro area will continue to be unresolved. 

As well, the economy has had an impact in two critical areas for The Project and other legal service providers: first, new legal issues and new types of clients have emerged increasing the need for services; and second, federal and state funding continues to be cut each year, placing a greater need to raise funds from within the private sector. Companies, foundations and other private sector groups still require a great deal of education in order to better understand the full impact that a lack of legal services for the underserved has on the overall community.  A study recently presented at the 2013 ABA’s Equal Justice Conference noted that more than 80 percent of civil legal needs among those meeting low income guidelines continue to go unmet each year and this number is still growing.

This year’s JFAB will feature entertaining patrons with George Porter, Jr. and Runnin’ Pardners rocking on the river. More than 20 area restaurants, as well as the Audubon Tea Room will provide food and beverages. Raffle items from the area’s retail and service businesses, along with a special art and travel silent and live auction will provide patrons with other ways to financially support The Project. Art photographer and JazzFest Marketplace Best of Show winner, J. Stirling Barrett is creating this year’s invitation art. His original photographic artwork will be the centerpiece of the live auction.

Tickets are $150 in advance, $175 at the door, young attorneys, $100 advance/$125 at the door and students $75 advance/$100; raffle tickets are $5 each.  Ticket packages and corporate sponsorships are also available.  All proceeds from sponsorships, ticket sales, the raffle, the live and silent auction will benefit The Pro Bono Project. To purchase advance tickets online: at or call the JFAB Hotline at: 504.581.3480. For sponsorship opportunities or more information on the Justice For All Ball or The Project, contact Executive Director Rachel Piercey at or 504.581.4043.

The Pro Bono Project’s continuing mission to provide free, quality civil legal services to the underserved is more important than ever.  By engaging volunteer lawyers and other professionals to render pro bono services, The Pro Bono Project serves clients in Orleans, Jefferson, St Bernard, St Tammany, Plaquemines and Washington parishes.  With funding from the Justice For All Ball and other sources, locally and nationally, The Pro Bono Project works in collaboration with other social service providers to improve the quality of life for our clients and our community.

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