Film By: UNO student and documentarian Kat Durel
Editor’s Note: NolaVie partners with students of UNO professor László Zsolt Fülöp, pairing them with artists, non-profits, environmental groups, and cultural entities to facilitate a live curriculum that results in a short documentary. Filmmaker Kat Durel interviews Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar Managing Director and Shuck Cancer founder John Michael Rowland about the Shuck Cancer fundraising event. Shuck Cancer raises money to support cancer patients in the New Orleans community and across the United States, in connection with the American Cancer Society.
[Read the full transcript of the interview below]
You know what New Orleans loves, you know what our community loves, we love a fundraiser. My name’s John Michael Rowland, Managing Partner for Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar, and I am the founder of Shuck Cancer.
I think there’s a lot of importance in this event; this year we’ve raised $415,000 dollars for cancer research and access to care. So that’s the important part is it’s raising money for a good cause and helping our community directly. It provides rides to cancer treatments; it provides lodging for patients who may be coming from out of town and can’t afford you know lodging of rooms for themselves.
The great thing about the American Cancer Society is it’s a volunteer based organization. So all you really need to do is get in contact with the American Cancer Society and say, “Hey I wanna be involved in Shuck Cancer, seems like a great event, I wanna be on [or] I wanna be on the junior board.”
Run by a junior executive board, all young professionals spend the year raising money that goes towards the events. So it’s almost like a competition, and our winner is announced tonight.
Some other aspects that are really great for the community are this opens our eyes to a world of oysters that we’re not familiar with. New Orleans is all about our oysters, we’ve been forever; it’s intertwined into what the culture of New Orleans is and Louisiana Gulf Coast in general.
We have oyster shuckers here tonight from Virginia, from South Carolina, from Texas, from Florida, we got ’em from all over that are here tonight to represent their state and their culture of oysters.
Shuck Cancer has taken hold in Charlestown, South Carolina, in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Austin, Texas hopefully next year. There are representatives from Phoenix, representatives from California, representatives from the East Coast all here right now tonight to view the event and get one started in their own towns.
So the ultimate goal for this event is by ten years I want to raise ten million dollars across all the cities that are participating. An idea to have a party with oysters and wine and turn it into a ten-million-dollar-a-year fundraising event across the US.