“I chose to do a Mardi Gras themed dinner that will celebrate the cuisine, culture and spirit of New Orleans as a way to give something back to a city that I love and that has had its share of adversity. My hope is that by giving dinner guests a true New Orleans experience they will be inspired to go find for themselves the same great city that I discovered first through work and then through multiple personal trips," he said in a memo.


The dinner will have four New Orleans-based bands and there will be beads, masks and parasols on every table. There will be beignets and chicory coffee at the after-party.

Wallace points out that Lagasse will be the dinner's first celebrity chef. The TV personality is known for his Cajun-Creole-inspired New American cuisine.

The dinner, which is celebrating its 69th year, brings together journalists and lawmakers for an evening that is more low-key than this past weekend's White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

It takes place June 5 at 7 p.m. at the National Building Museum.