There was a proud mom at Cafe Sydnie Mae for LOPA Night. That proud mom was ME! The restaurant hosted LOPA Night on Wednesday and called it "Breaux Bridge City Limits". The event was sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and the menu was prepared by Chef Bonnie Breaux, "LA Seafood Queen". During the Wednesday night event, 60% of the select seafood menu, along with 15% of the rest of all food sales, was donated to the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency. I want to share a personal story so you will understand why this night was so special to me.

My son, Christian. Photo credit: Jenn Nelson

As many of you know, my eldest son, Christian, died 6 years ago. Christian was an organ donor. He saved 4 lives and enhanced the lives of many through his gifts. LOPA has given our family so much peace and hope because they constantly remind us that Christian is a Hero. Christian's favorite thing to do in his short time here on Earth, was sing and play his guitar. When he died, I gave his guitar to my son, Cameron, who at the time was 14 and had never played a guitar. It wasn't until a couple of years later that he picked it up and started playing around with it. Over the next couple of years, he taught himself how to play and would eventually sing along. He never took one lesson.  It was a treat when he would sing for us at home or for his friends in private. But, he was too shy to share his natural talents with anyone in public. The Campus Ministry Director at his high-school would beg him to sing and play his guitar for school mass but he would always say he wasn't comfortable doing it. After high-school, Cameron started to come out of his shell and picked up a few gigs. He even started writing his own music. Now, he is booking gigs every chance he can between his regular job and his classes at UL. When the owners of Cafe Sydnie Mae, David and Cheryl Puckett, asked Cameron if he would be the live entertainment for their LOPA night, it was the perfect fit. He was so happy to be able to perform for this special evening honoring his brother and so many other Heroes. And Cam couldn't have asked for a better setting to share the song he wrote for Christian.

Cam performing at Cafe Sydnie Mae. Photo credit: Jenn Nelson

The restaurant had a display of framed photos on the wall of Donor Heroes, which included Christian. It's hard to describe the feeling in my heart when I  was sitting in that restaurant with my family having dinner, listening to Cameron sing while feeling a strong presence of Christian. It was pretty amazing. Needless to say, I was very proud. You see, Christian gave the gift of life to others. But, he gave his little brother a special gift too. The gift of music.

Photo credit: Jenn Nelson

Thank you to the sweet owners, David and Cheryl Puckett, for opening their doors and their hearts for the special LOPA event. It was an evening full of delicious food, great community camaraderie, and all to support a great cause.

Cam with the owners of Cafe Sydnie Mae, David and Cheryl Puckett. Photo credit: Jenn Nelson