Garfunkel concert at AcA traces its roots to Katrina

by Kailey Broussard

Art Garfunkel’s performance will benefit a foundation dedicated to alleviating child and family grief through art and music.

Art Garfunkel, foreground, with Tab Laven

Art Garfunkel’s performance Friday at the Acadiana Center for the Arts’ James Devin Moncus Theater will benefit a foundation dedicated to alleviating child and family grief through art and music — a mission born of the suffering of South Louisianans in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

Proceeds from the intimate performance by one half of the famed Simon & Garfunkel folk duo go to the Perfect Day Box Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to delivering “emergency kits” full of activities, CDs and books to families in distress, children in pediatric care hospitals and students in less-privileged circumstances. Locally, the concert will help bring Perfect Day boxes to four local schools of the AcA’s choosing as well as Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

In the two years since its founding, PDBF, based in Brentwood, Tenn., has garnered more than 60,000 requests worldwide for its imaginative tool kits. However, the idea for the organization started in 2005 when founder Annie Laven visited an Abbeville shelter after Hurricane Katrina with her son.

“It was almost miraculous to have a child who essentially had no hope in an environment where you just felt everyone was broken, and just move out of that through their own power of imagination,” Laven recently told The Advertiser, recalling the therapeutic property of creativity for storm victims.

Garfunkel has joined performers such as the Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston, The Bangles’ Vicki Peterson and The Cowsills’ John Cowsill to sing background to guitarist Tab Laven — Annie Laven’s husband — on Laven's record, Cranberry Red Balloon.

Tab Laven and Garfunkel began touring together in 2013 and have performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York and Olympia Theater in Paris. The Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ, recently gushed of a Garfunkel performance that the singer was accompanied by “a guitar virtuoso who made the show an acoustic delight.”

Few tickets remain for this performance; they’re $120 apiece. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, which is set for 7 p.m., with artwork from “Cajun Picasso” Dusty Reed, Jann Harrison and Jim Warren.