Clay Center News

Celebrate the spirit of New Orleans at the party of the year

Slip through cypress trees and Spanish moss into the revelry of a celebration on Bourbon Street at Carnaval New Orleans, Saturday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Clay Center. The popular masquerade will benefit the education programs of the Clay Center and The Charleston Ballet.

Discover the mystery of the swamp and the magic of the French Quarter with authentic Louisiana cuisine prepared by Embassy Suites, cocktails, live music and more on a bewitching night in the Big Easy. Enjoy live entertainment straight from the bayou as the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band and “the prince of New Orleans piano” Davell Crawford bring funk, soul and R&B.
Other entertainment includes original dance routines by The Charleston Ballet and a performance of “Appalachian stompgrass” by W. Va. string band The Wild Rumpus.
Carnaval New Orleans is being organized by the volunteer group Friends of Clay Center, with the help of Clay Center and The Charleston Ballet staff, board members and volunteers.
Friends of Clay Center Board President Madeleine Nibert said the group wants to deliver a fresh take on a New Orleans-themed party.
“Instead of doing our own version of Mardi Gras, we want to celebrate the dark, soulful side of New Orleans,” she said. “The theme – ‘Voodoo on the Bayou’ – is a tribute to the spirit of the city and all the things that make it such a fun, interesting place.”
The event will also include a live auction and, for the first time, an online silent auction through, an auction website for nonprofits. The silent auction will open January 3 and close during the event on January 19. Nibert said the online auction is open to both ticket buyers and people not in attendance.
“The silent auction is just another way for people to show their support for the Clay Center and The Charleston Ballet,” she said. “Even if they can’t attend Carnaval, they can still take part in the fun and support two important organizations.”
Bids can be placed online through the website and by mobile phone.
“For event guests not comfortable with mobile bidding, no worries! We’ll have plenty of easy-to-spot volunteers on hand to provide assistance or place bids for them,” Nibert said.
The silent auction will feature a variety of trips, autographed merchandise, gift certificates and much more. Register online at
Last year’s sell-out event, Carnaval Rio, brought in more than $92,000 to help fund school field trips, outreach projects and distance learning programs for West Virginia students.
Tickets are $200 per person, or just $175 if purchased by 5 p.m. on Jan. 4. Guests must be at least 21 years of age. The event is black tie-optional, and masks and costumes are encouraged.
Carnaval New Orleans is presented by Jackson Kelly PLLC. To purchase tickets, visit or call 304-561-3521. For more information on Carnaval New Orleans and other fundraising events, visit

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