Published on December 13, 2016 | Updated on December 16, 2016
On Thursday, December 15, more than three dozen Happy Santas brought holiday cheer to Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Padua House, 200 Beta Street in Belle Chasse. Perched atop the Drago’s Seafood Restaurant fire truck with sirens blazing and escorted by the Plaquemines Parish Sherriff’s deputies, the Happy Santas arrived bearing gifts to fulfill Christmas wish lists for Padua residents and clients.
Catholic Charities’ Padua Community Services provides a broad scope of services in and around the New Orleans area including specialized care for children and adults with disabilities as well as housing and care for the intellectually and developmentally disabled ages birth to 35 who are medically fragile.
“Our visit to Padua House is the most anticipated event of the year,” said David Blitch, founder of Happy Santas. “We look forward to bringing Christmas cheer to Padua residents and clients to ensure they have a joyous holiday.”
The Happy Santas are representative of the local hospitality community, restauranteurs, and friends who come together each year, dressed in full Santa costumes and armed with sacks of gifts for Padua Community Services residents and clients. Each Padua client receives a bag full of gifts customized to their special needs. The Santas also bring tokens of thanks for the staff who provide loving care and help make Padua a special place. This year, the Happy Santas gave framed pictures of their past visits to Padua to Sr. Marjorie Hebert, along with gift cards for each staff member.
In addition to traditional holiday gifts, this year the Happy Santas will leave a lasting gift to the residents of Padua House. Construction is underway on a remodeled bathroom, complete with new plumbing, cabinets and custom bathing tables. The bathroom remodel is possible thanks to the support of Bradshaw Family Foundation, Holt Plumbing, Southland Plumbing, B&C Cabinets and C&G Construction.
“Everyone looks forward to this fun and heartwarming gesture of love each year,” said Sr. Marjorie Hebert, President and CEO of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. “We are grateful to the Happy Santas for the joy and hope they bring to Padua’s clients and residents.”
The 2016 Happy Santas are sponsored by Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, Ernst Café, L’Auberge Casino & Hotel, Limousine Livery, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Plaquemines Parish Sherriff’s Office and Rotolo’s Pizzeria.