Students help Richard Murphy Hospice Gala raises money through silent auction


Courtesy of Bailey Haist

These Gnarly Barley items are up for bidding at the silent auction.

The 2021 Richard Murphy Hospice Foundation Gala, being held on Dec. 4, is an annual event that raises funds for terminally ill patients to be treated in a homelike environment. One of the fundraisers at the gala is the silent auction.   

Students in Southeastern’s Communication 466 Special Events Planning course have been assisting the foundation in the planning process. Their responsibilities include media promotion as well as the procurement of volunteers, restaurants and auction items.

Currently, the big ticket auction item that people can bid on is a voucher for eight at The Escape Warehouse in Ponchatoula worth $256. The least expensive is a backpack and coasters from Gnarly Barley worth $84.

Junior communication major Bailey Haist talked about why people should buy auction tickets. 

“One of my favorite parts about the auction is that it’s a lot of experiences. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes materialistic items can be great – but it’s awesome that they include things people can include their families in,” Haist said. 

Laura DiMattia, the instructor who teaches the course, agreed that the contributed items have a wide range of uses.

“There are lots of great items this year, such as signed autographs, gift certificates to restaurants, gift baskets, and jewelry that have been donated in order to make this the most successful gala to date,” DiMattia said. 

There are fitness memberships from Professional Weight Loss Clinic, Next Level Health and Wellness Center, and Spoga Fitness to help you get into better shape. 

There are also art pieces by Revival Art House, Busy B Photography, LA2LA Designs, C&J Designs and Willoughby Studios. Dayna Breaud of Revival Art House talked about the meaning behind her piece, which also encompasses the message of the gala after it got postponed. 

“I created Stronger Than The Storm after Hurricane Ida devastated southeast Louisiana in August 2021. With so many friends and family affected, this hurricane hit home with me. I wanted to create a piece that gave hope that we will all get through this together. As we continue to rebuild, Louisiana truly has proven to be stronger than the storm,” Breaud stated.  

However, it is not just companies contributing. New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. donated an autographed headshot to be auctioned off. Artists Wayne Toups, Chase Tyler and Cowboy Mouth as well as former NFL player Jeremy Shockey also contributed. 

Alongside these original donations, there were more charitable gifts made by various arts and food vendors at the Destrehan Fall Festival that took place Nov. 13-14. 

DiMattia talked about the process one needs to take if they wish to participate in the auction. 

“The Silent Auction is set to open on Friday, Nov. 26 on Handbid. This is a great opportunity to get some of your Christmas shopping done early. There are instructions on how to set up a Handbid account on the Richard Murphy Facebook page,” DiMattia explained.

To learn more about the gala, visit