Every Monday, our My Top 5 series showcases a Houstonian who is helping to craft and shape our city’s culture, character, and impact; and reveals what they do when not hard at work. This week, we’re privileged to feature Renee LeBlanc, chair of Empty Bowls Houston, a unique fundraiser that brings together art and community to fight hunger by benefitting Houston Food Bank. This year’s preview party and annual event are being held respectively on Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 2017, at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft with a chance for attendees to enjoy bites, beer, wine, purchase Empty Bowls, and of course, fight hunger.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Renee LeBlanc
- Discovery Green – Truly one of my favorite places in Houston. There’s great programming all year and I love taking my family here, getting a picnic lunch, and just enjoying our time together. I took my young granddaughter to a performance there the other night and she was so inspired that she danced and sang the whole way home. I love that we can all be exposed to art at this wonderful park in the heart of Downtown.
- Empire Cafe – My family and I have been dining at this Montrose mainstay for years. The staff has become like family to us –they know us, about our kids, and make us feel right at home. We can sit for hours drinking coffee, enjoying the food, and friendship that it nurtures.
- The Big Easy – Located near Rice Village off Kirby Drive, this is my go-to place for live music in Houston. They have everything from Blues to Zydeco in an environment that makes it hard to keep from getting up and dancing. Great bands, fun people-watching, and just the right amount of down ‘n’ dirty. I’m a native of NOLA, and I feel right at home here. They always have live Zydeco on Sundays, which is a great way to end the weekend.
- Houston Center for Contemporary Craft – This is one of my favorite museums in Houston. I love their focus on craft as art and that they reach the entire community. I have taught classes there and I love the creativity that the whole team cultivates. They are also the venue for Empty Bowls Houston, and I couldn’t think of a more ideal space for the event. They are a big part of our event’s success each year. Plus, they have an amazing store.
- Prohibition Supperclub & Bar – Monday night is oyster night over at this elegant Downtown restaurant and bar. Being from Louisiana, I am always on the hunt for great oysters here in Houston, and this is one of my favorite places for them. Great atmosphere for dining and people-watching in general.
About Renee LeBlanc
After teaching at a school where 97% of the kids were living below poverty level, Renee LeBlanc saw the need firsthand to fight to hunger. Upon retiring as an elementary school teacher, LeBlanc wanted to take a sculpture class at a local college, but when she found it wasn’t offered, she signed up for Pottery 101 instead. The artist has been creating works of art in clay and taking the fight to hunger with Empty Bowls Houston ever since. Empty Bowls Houston is a grassroots effort by artists, skilled crafters, students and teachers dedicated to alleviating hunger in the greater Houston area. Since its inception 13 years ago, the organization has raised more than $745,000 for the Houston Food Bank, enabling them to provide over 2.2 million meals.