Upcoming Events



This months blog features a dynamic New Orleanian, Tonya Armbruster whose creativity and energy is unparalelled!  Enjoy her gorgeous photography and our discussion about our jewel of a city. 

Holly-Anne – Tonya, I'm so thrilled to get your feedback for our MPI Gulf States Blog for November!!!  Thanks for taking the time to chat with me!

Tonya Armbruster – Thanks so much for having me!

H-A – You are a busy lady wearing many hats here in NOLA and beyond!  For our members that haven’t been lucky enough to meet you yet can you let us know a little bit about what you do in your day to day professional life, as well as other positions that you take on outside of the 9 to 5?

TA – By day, I’m a mild-mannered HR Manager working in the healthcare industry.  However, on the side I am also a photographer capturing weddings, portraits, and more.  


H-A – Being a New Orleans native, you’ve clearly attended your fair share of events, parties, Mardi Gras Balls….if you had to pick three – ONLY THREE that were you absolutely favorite and stand out in your mind – what are they and why?

TA – Oooh...good question!  Surprisingly enough, this isn’t a hard one to answer:  one of my favorite events to attend all year is the 610 Stomper Debutante Ball.  Those guys know how to throw a party!  I also love the Mr. Legs competition in support of Bridge House.  Perfect girls’ night out, and absolutely hysterical!  Last but not least would be any Krewe of Tucks event.  I ride on the signature Tucksedeauxs float and absolutely adore my Mardi Gras family.


H-A – As a photographer, what is your favorite type of event to shoot here in New Orleans?  What makes the subjects of those shoots unique?  Do you feel like there are elements of these events could ONLY happen in New Orleans?

TA –  Funny you should mention “Only in New Orleans”.  I’m actually working on a coffee table book by the same title!  There are SO many events that are unique to our city.  Where else can you catch cabbages off of a parade float, see homes with For Sale signs declaring “not haunted”, and have a funeral procession where dancing is not only involved but encouraged?  I’d have to say my favorite event to shoot are the Super Sundays with the Mardi Gras Indians.  First of all, they’re all very kind and obliging to pose for my camera.  Secondly, I’m always amazed at the detail in their costumes - it’s incredible!  Knowing the origination of this tradition makes it truly special.



H-A – Thinking about some of your travels during the last year (for business or pleasure) can you describe a memorable evening for us, be it a dinner, a music event or something out in nature?  Is there something about this event that you would like to incorporate into future events here in NOLA, or photo shoots for clients?

TA – This past March I travelled with some girlfriends to Thailand, and one of my favorite moments from that trip was our first night in Krabi - the islands.  We arrived to our hotel late at night and were encouraged to walk three doors down to a little bar.  To our delight, this bar was an elaborate sort of tree house that wasn’t an actual formal establishment.  The owner simply provided beer (for a small price) to anyone who happened in.  He was cooking up prawn and mango sticky rice, and shared some with us while we drank and listened to music and chatted with a handful of other tourists.  I love those serendipitous moments!

Being such a random moment, I’m not sure how you could recreate it here in NOLA.  That said, my photography tends to be a study in contrasts.  I love the juxtaposition of placing a pretty dancer in a flowy dress in an abandoned building surrounded by graffiti.  I suppose the current Diner en Blanc event could be an example of this.  The idea of dropping a formal event into a formerly neglected place appeals to me.


H-A – I’ve been speaking to a great deal of HR Executives over the past few months and very interested in the role that they play in not only inviting new employees into the business culture but building company morale.   Let's say you're looking to put together a team building event for an HR client after giving a talk about how to better communicate in the workplace.  What would the "after hours" team building event be?  What would the goals of the event be, and how could a planner help you to achieve them? 

TA –  I haven’t personally done one of these yet, but the use of one of those “Escape Rooms” seems to me like it would be perfectly suited for such a scenario.  The team would be forced to communicate effectively and collaboratively in order to escape the room and afterwards, the group could rehash the exercise and discuss what worked, what didn’t, and how they could bring what they learned back into the work environment.


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