Sirens blaring in the distance grew closer and closer while a crowd gathered outside of Padua Community Home in Belle Chasse earlier this month. As Plaquemines Parish police escorted a Drago’s Seafood Restaurant fire truck and passenger bus to the facility, nearby construction workers paused to see dozens of Santa Clauses descend upon the home bearing twice as many red sacks full of toys. The residents cheered for what has come to be known as Happy Santas Day.
The Happy Santas are sponsored by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, representing the local hospitality community where restaurateurs and friends come together each year dressed in full Santa costumes and other holiday flair armed with sacks of gifts for Padua Community Services residents and clients. Prior to their 2019 arrival, the Happy Santas purchased brand new commercial restaurant-grade equipment to improve the quality of the residents’ food service operations.
To get inside, The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation volunteers had to greet the “Mayor” of Padua House, Russell, to be officially welcomed. Russell has been a resident of Padua for over ten years and is well known for assisting the residents and staff, his love of music and Jefferson Parish Parks and Recreation’s annual prom, and his sunny disposition. Shaking everyone’s hands who passed by, Russell started the event off right by making spirits bright. Each Padua resident then received a bag full of gifts customized to their special needs. A group of carolers sang holiday favorites accompanied by a guitar, and resident Andre broke out his best dance moves and musical stylings.
Padua is certainly having a merry little Christmas in 2019! Learn more about Padua’s services here.