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June 26, 2008 12:04 PM

Ernestine Anderson needs help: Pioneer Square restaurants offer it up

Posted by Nancy Leson

Jazz and blues legend Ernestine Anderson's home is facing foreclosure, and friends and fans are rallying to her cause. They're hoping to raise $45,000 to keep the septuagenarian singer's Central District home from being sold at auction June 30th. Dany Mitchell, owner of Mitchelli's (still known to many of us as "the Trat"), is coordinating a fundraising event. Several Pioneer Square restaurateurs have stepped up to the plate to join him. Here's how you can help:

Head to Pioneer Square Sunday night on June 29th from 5 to 8 p.m. for benefit dinners to be held at Mitchelli's, the Collins Pub, DeNunzio's and al Boccalino, the New Orleans Creole Restaurant and Cafe Paloma. The suggested donation: $100 per person -- with $70 of the proceeds going to Ms. Anderson. Your donation buys a three-course dinner with wine and live jazz, says Mitchell. Final details of the Pioneer Square event are still in the works, but Seth Howard, owner of the Collins Pub (and "Papa Mitchelli's" stepson), told me that dinner there will include wild Alaskan salmon, a glass of wine and a visit from the legend herself.

Randy Finley of Mount Baker Vineyards has graciously donated wine for the event. The winemaker's father, former Supreme Court Justice Robert "Bop" Finley, was a clarinet player who jammed with the singer back in the day at Red Kelly's jazz-fueled restaurant, the Tumwater Conservatory of Music. "I've very fond of Ernestine, though I don't know her personally," Randy says, recalling when Ms. Anderson raised her voice in song at his father's funeral three decades ago. Moved by her generosity, he was happy to make the donation. Though you may not know the jazz great personally, perhaps you'll be moved to eat, drink and make merry Sunday night, on her behalf.

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