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Hornets Host Annual Prom-Dress Giveaway

NEW ORLEANS How important is finding the perfect dress for the prom?

So important that young ladies have traveled from as far away as Mississippi to attend the Hornets yearly prom-dress giveaway event. Important enough that some high school girls and their mothers arrived at Saturdays fourth annual prom-dress giveaway at 8 a.m., in order to get in line four hours before the event began.

Once the doors opened on the campus of the University of New Orleans, hundreds of young ladies picked out the outfit from a selection of over 900 dresses. The gowns were donated to the Hornets by the clothing companies Cache and Lillie Rubin.

Given how expensive formal events can potentially be for youngsters and their families, the prom-dress giveaway serves as a way to help girls defray some of the costs. With many families in the New Orleans region having suffered from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, this years event took on even more significance.

In the past, this event has meant a lot to the girls and a lot to the Hornets organization to be able to help, said Denise Shinn, wife of Hornets owner George Shinn. This year it means so much more, because there are people who last year could have afforded to buy a prom dress, but now they cant.

The girls this year, it seems like they appreciate it even more. I think its because everyone has been through so much. They realize how quickly things can be taken away. That makes this event even more valuable to us.

Hornets Vice President of Community Relations Suzanne Werdann generated the idea for the giveaway in 2002. Ever since its inception, the event has been extremely popular in 2005, for example, young ladies from 98 different Gulf Coast high schools participated. This year, the Hornets received donated dresses from as far away as Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

The Hornets are the only NBA team that organizes and hosts a prom-dress giveaway.

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