The 2017 Best Dressed Ball was a celebration of 50 years, raising over $1 million. Photo by Wil Norwood.

Behind the cause: Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball

Every August, Baton Rouge men and women fill the Raising Cane’s River Center in their sleek tuxedos and high-fashion gowns for a night that is known for putting the fun in fundraiser. With months of planning going into making sure every little detail is in place, it’s no wonder why the Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball is one of the most anticipated nights of the year. In order to get a closer look into the cause behind the event, we met with Michelle Lanoix, the ball’s chairwoman, and discussed with her everything we need to know going into the August 10 celebration.

According to Lanoix, the most rewarding part of being involved with the Best Dressed Ball and American Cancer Society is the ability to connect with the community, raise awareness and give back to the thousands of patients who are currently fighting cancer or have fought in the past.

“Cancer does not discriminate, and affects every single one of us in some capacity, directly or indirectly,” explains Lanoix. “I am so honored and grateful to be able to volunteer for an organization that is changing lives every day.” 

Blast from the past: One of the most memorable Best Dressed events involved a runway over the pool at the Country Club of Louisiana in the late 1980s and a 007 theme.

Beginning 52 years ago as a small fashion show for the Sertoma Club of Baton Rouge, the  event has evolved into one of the top 10 American Cancer Society fundraisers in the nation, raising over $1 million in 2017.

The Best Dressed Ball honors 10 women and 10 men as the Best Dressed honorees of the year. The honorees are nominated and selected by the community, and get to enjoy a year of working with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and hope for the Baton Rouge community and beyond.

Because of the money raised through the Best Dressed Ball, the American Cancer Society is able to address cancer both in Louisiana and at a national level. Lanoix describes the list of opportunities that have been made available from donations as immense and extremely moving. The funds have helped to launch innovative research and initiatives that reduce the heavy burden of cancer, allowed for patients and their caregivers to get to treatments and have lodging when necessary, and empowered people with 24/7 helplines and websites–just to name a few.

Al Landry and Shannon Blackstone Smith, walking down the runway as honorees at last year’s Best Dressed Ball. Photo by Wil Norwood.

Knowing the impact that the Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball makes on cancer research gives a crystal clear vision why so many people to want to be involved with the event in some capacity. Honorees, chair members and ball attendees alike can make a difference by contributing to the event and its fight against cancer.

“The Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball is a fun-filled night that allows our community the opportunity to come together as one and make a difference in the lives of our neighbors, friends, family and strangers.” says Lanoix. “It’s our chance to say, ‘I support research, hope and someday a cure!’

Learn more about the history of the Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball, and how it is continuing into the future, in this story from the inRegister archives.

Interested as to how you can be involved with the Baton Rouge Best Dressed Ball? Visit the event’s website here. And for more information on the American Cancer Society and its impact on the fight against cancer, visit