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  • Writer's pictureLisa Lazard

First Tinsel & Treasures chair recalls first year of holiday market

Thirty years is a long time, and who better to take us all the way back to the thought process and planning of the very first Tinsel & Treasures than the very first chair, Denise Giosa.

Listening to the very first chair talk about the journey, I hung on to her every word as she gave a glimpse of how it all started.

It made me think, “Wow, T&T has elevated so much over the years but never lost its purpose – to serve as a cornerstone of the League’s fundraising efforts, with all the proceeds benefiting community projects sponsored by JLL.”

The year 1994 was special for Denise in that it was the year the first Tinsel and Treasures was to take place, October in fact, and right in the middle of it all she had a baby! She shared that the first holiday market was actually in the arena of the CAJUNDOME, and later moved to the Convention Center.

She talked about how the committee was 100 percent hands on.

“All of the décor was made by them, down to the aprons!” Denise said. "We even had to bring our own vacuum cleaners from home to clean and leaned on the inmates that the sheriff’s department provided to help us set up the event.”

She said it was a real labor for the committee, but a real labor of love. Though it was 30 years ago, it definitely was a demonstration of a League that is women powered and Mission driven.

Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry was a sponsor from the very first T&T and is still providing sponsorship 30 years later. She mentioned great giveaways for the first Tinsel and Treasures -- a trip to Paris and a trip to New York, just to name a few. Also, teas and fabulous fashion shows, Preview Party, Sustainers’ early shopping, children’s night, reading with Mrs. Clause, and many of the things that we still enjoy today.

I asked what her fondest memory was in reflecting on the very beginning of Tinsel and Treasures.

“When you work so intensely with a group of ladies, true bonding takes place. That was special,” Denise said. “The other special thing was knowing that all of the proceeds go back into the community.”

Not much has changed in 30 years. Bonding, giving back to the community, serving, sponsorship, merchants, shopping, laughter -- all still very much at the heart of JLL’s Tinsel & Treasures.

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