Dauterive’s Dreaming Of A White Christmas
This Saturday the self proclaimed “Mayor of the North Pole” and local New Orleanian, Bob Dauterive, is celebrating his seventh annual “Running of the Santas.” It’s an annual extravaganza produced by his Scat Back Foundation, Inc., and this year Dauterive may be able to gift more than 4,000 seasonal revelers with a little Kris Kringle lagniappe. According to The National Weather Service, there’s a shot we’ll see snow this weekend.
From 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., food and specialty drinks will be served at Manning’s, 519 Fulton St., and after a little yuletide pageantry at this “South Pole” location a crowd of holiday-inspired, costume clad runners from all over Louisiana and the Gulf Coast will enjoy a frosty, four block “Fun Run” to the “North Pole,” located at Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Blvd.
There a merry parade of Santas, Mrs. Clauses, Scrooges, Rudolphs, Jack Frosts, Old Man Winters, Frosty the Snowmen and jingle bells will vie for first and second place prizes awarded in a “Best Holiday Costume” contest at 8:00 p.m. on the main stage.
Visions of sugarplums were dancing in Dauterive’s head when he first produced “Running of the Santas” in New Orleans. He actually participated in a similar run in Philadelphia, where the event originated in 1998 when 40 fellow friends and fruitcakes dressed up in holiday-themed costumes and went barhopping. Now, there are more than 20 host cities that rejoice in “Running of the Santas” spectaculars.
“When I went to Philadelphia and I saw it, I said it was a natural fit because it had the New Orleans trifecta: music, booze and costumes,” said Dauterive. “No other city likes to dress up like New Orleans does.”
“It’s evolved through growth in attendance, acceptance from the public, renewed participation, because once people attend, they want to come back every year, and the venues,” said Dauterive. “It started with us out on the street outside of Ernst Café and Lucy’s. And now, we have two of the best venues in the Warehouse District, Manning’s and Generations Hall, and it’s moved indoors.”
Dauterive, who’s 75, said he loves watching the organized run, but he bucks tradition and walks to the “North Pole” instead.
“I want to make sure I’m here for next year’s event,” Dauterive joked.
Dauterive doesn’t have a proverbial workshop of crafty elves, Santa’s helpers or angels on high to help him organize this event every year. He produces it, with all the trimmings, by himself.
“I’m it for staff, but do rely on an instrumental partnership with Generations Hall,” said Dauterive. “They help me secure the entertainment. Our goal from a cost standpoint is to have ticket sales cover our costs and our commitment to the charity. I start out right after the event working on the next year’s event, securing the venues, booking the bands, and in some cases, you have to book a year or two in advance to make sure you have the bands you want. Then we start working on sponsorships and public relations. By September we like to kick off ticket sales and get things rolling.”
This year, Dauterive presents The Topcats, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and New Orleans funk band Flow Tribe, from 8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., at Generations Hall.
Dauterive makes “Running of the Santas” even more holly jolly with some Christmastime goodwill. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the That Others May Live Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 2002. The foundation provides scholarships, family counseling and aid to surviving children of United States Air Force (USAF) Rescue Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during a rescue mission. The goal of the program is to ensure every child of a fallen personnel recovery service member receives an opportunity for success.
“I chose the That Others May Live Foundation because my son-in-law, Brigadier General Chad Franks, through his career in special ops brought it to my attention,” Dauterive said. “Once I learned their mission was to find, rescue and offer survival benefits to Air Force personnel in combat, I was hoping they would never have to dedicate funds to my grandson – so that he would always return safely. When someone makes the ultimate sacrifice for our country, they and their families deserve our support.”
Modern day Father Christmas Dauterive said he believes Santa has staying power because the legendary figure represents the aspiration to be good and to share.
“I hope that everyone who joins us on Saturday will enjoy themselves, that they want to do it again in the future and that they walk away knowing they were helping the That Others May Live Foundation – and that they had a good time in doing so.”
Registration for the event opens at 1:00 p.m. at Manning’s.
VIP tickets include free draft beer from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Manning’s and an open bar at Generations Hall from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Running of the Santas