The trendy pop-up picnic has taken root in the Haitian community, highlighting the country’s class divide
Haitian-American promoter, Jimmy Moise was determined to have a seat at the table and give the French franchise, Dîner en Blanc (DEB), the upscale international pop-up picnic, a taste of Haiti. Last month, on Dec. 28, over a thousand guests gathered in West Palm Beach, FL for the elaborate picnic dinner. Guests, who were purposely clueless about the location of the picnic, were secretly bused to Mizner Amphitheater in nearby Boca Raton.
For some, however, events like DEB opens old wounds about the class divisions that still permeate throughout Haiti. Even though the rules of DEB apply to every franchise, Haiti is a small country, where close to 60 percent of the population lives under the national poverty line. With strict rules intact for the fancy picnic, the guests received the memo. Diners flew in everything from their china, table settings with their gourmet food tucked away in their baskets. Each diner was able to customize their package if they wanted the DEB team to help with providing chairs and tables, or anything they needed which was purchased locally in Haiti. Fashionably dressed in all-white from head to toe, everyone was eagerly ready to parade their dining décor.
Last year, the event was comprised mainly of Haiti’s elite. Lorraine “Lolo” Silvera, a restaurateur in Cap-Haitien, whose family previously owned the infamous El Rancho Hotel and Casino, said despite its controversy, it’s a fun event shared among friends and open to all who can afford it.
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