Behind the Bash

December 3, 2009


My introduction into the world of BBR Creative started with a bang. Or, more accurately, with a bash. It all began in 2007, back when I worked as a feature writer (though I called myself the features editor) for a local newspaper and entertainment magazine. There, nestled all snugly in the print media’s nurturing arms, I wrote a weekly humor column that resonated strongly with:

1. 20-something slackers and…
2. Moms who usually recognized me at the grocery store

One sleepy afternoon in the newsroom, I figured it might be in my best interest to check my mailbox. Good thing I did, because packed amidst low-fi band demos and event listings for The XXth Annual X Festival, I received a curious invitation to something called the BBR Beer Bash. The invite’s contents included one admittance pass along with a poster designed especially for this particular event. (That poster, for the record, instantly became my most prized cubicle decoration — right next to a lonely plastic Spider-Man figurine usually set up in a compromising pose.)

“You have got to go to this thing,” said my then-editor, one Mrs. Jan Risher. “I know the BBR partners and … just trust me on this one.”

Jan’s never steered me wrong before. Not even that time she convinced me to try this dish called “salad.” So I figured it might be a good idea to RSVP. As a public servant (read: poor journalist), I considered it my obligation to cover the event (read: to have plans on a Friday for once). Plus, the event poster teased that Tante Sue (of Fred’s Lounge fame) would be in attendance. We go way back, Tante Sue and I. And by “way back,” I actually mean she once fed me a shot of Hot Damn straight from the bottle. Which she kept in a holster. On her hip. On a Saturday at 10 a.m.

Sue and I shared a lower-profile meet-and-greet that particular Friday. Good thing, because that Beer Bash (the 10th one, I would learn) ironically would serve as my first handshake with the agency I work for today. And it was all in a fun, carefree environment, meticulously engineered to stand out as a night few would forget. I set up shop in the photo booth area of the party because, quite frankly, it was a joy to rub elbows with the agency’s employees. I watched, smiling, as a slideshow chronicling BBR’s decade-long history was projected over our heads. These were some pretty special people. And, boy, did they know how to host a party.

Cut to 2009. I’m sitting in the BBR creative department and Cathi Pavy is applying rouge to my cheeks. How far I had come. In the span of two years, I transformed from happy-go-lucky journalist to ragtag master of ceremonies for the 11th BBR Beer Bash. As aBBR employee, I was thrust in the middle of a celebration of friends, families and the clients who make our business possible. South Louisianans are known for their affinity for partying, but this was new to me. Every element of the celebration, from graphics denoting “SWEET COTTON CANDY” to the aforementioned makeup sessions just screamed authenticity.

Thankfully, I wasn’t put in charge of decorations or refreshments — otherwise, our guests might have faced a selection that included at 12-pack of Natural Light and a bowl of bite-sized Snickers bars. Instead, Brand Managers Mallory Joseph and Kristen Wilson acted as our official party-planning committee, securing delicious foods, beverages and an absurd amount of JELLO shots. And then there was the beautiful artwork courtesy of our very own creative department’s Burton Durand and Denise Gallagher. During the party, Andree Gonsoulin kept the machine turning, ensuring everyone (including yours truly) was in the right place at the right time. A pair of DJs, costume contest, talent show, magician and even a startlingly accurate soothsayer padded the entertainment roster. I consumed a case of meatballs.

This post primarily serves as an archive for the photo galleries, which I’ve linked below. But let this also function as a testament to all the action that goes on behind the scenes — coming from a guy who’s seen it both ways. And, on behalf of our office, as a thank you to our families, friends and clients who make it all possible.

Click to view and order Beer Bash booth photos. »
Click to view Beer Bash candid photos by Mammoth Visual. »
Click to view Beer Bash candid photos by Tim Landry. »