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January 20, 2010

Public enjoys Putnam performance and Miss America preview

The Miss Louisiana Organization and the University of Louisiana at Monroe hosted a Miss America Send-Off Trunk Show featuring Miss Louisiana 2009 Katherine Putnam on Jan. 9.

Putnam delighted a packed audience who had gathered on the ULM campus in the Biendeharn Recital Hall as she modeled many of the outfits she will wear during the Miss America competition next week.

The Trunk Show also featured Putnam’s talent for the competition, a rousing piano performance of “The Hallelujah Chorus.”

The senior music performance major relished the opportunity to share her wardrobe choices with family, friends and fans at ULM, which she described as her second home.

“What a beautiful facility and a perfect location for Katherine’s trunk show as this is her home and her University,” said Wayne Gentry, master of ceremonies. “We’d like to offer a very special thank you to Dr. and Mrs. James E. Cofer. Katherine’s year has already been made easier because of your love and continued support.”

Putnam served as Miss ULM in 2007 and later, as Miss Shreveport, before being crowned Miss Louisiana in June 2009. She heads to Las Vegas on Jan. 21 to compete in the Miss America Pageant.

Putnam modeled about 10 different outfits for the Trunk Show, beginning with the black cotton rib turtleneck sweater dress she will don for her departure at Monroe Regional Airport.

“If you would like to see Katherine off at the airport, you might want to arrive around 5:15 a.m. to wish her well … Does the world start turning at that hour?” joked Gentry.

There were many audience favorites among Putnam’s choices, including dark wash skinny jeans and a leopard print top casual outfit she will wear for a Planet Hollywood promotional video required of all Miss America contestants.

Among Putnam’s stunning outfit choices are the evening gowns she must wear during various phases of the competition, including the so-named “ramp gown” because it is worn when the Miss America contestants are called back out on stage to receive the coveted swimsuit and talent awards.

For her ramp gown, Putnam modeled a purple silk gown by Sherrie Hill, with one shoulder and a pleated sweetheart neckline, front slit and stone brooch. For the evening gown competition, Putnam wore another Sherrie Hill ensemble, a velvet gown with plunging back and trumpet skirt covered with garnet crystals.

“It is quite fitting that Katherine will be wearing the color of her University,” noted Gentry.

Putnam’s final outfit for Saturday’s event was the one she will wear during the talent competition, a stunning original one-shoulder white jersey knit gown, which shimmered with gold, clear and Swarovski crystals under the glow of the stage spotlights. The gown was paired with Johnathan Cayne shoes and a custom designed pair of earrings, provided by Stephanie Somers.

The pageant returns to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas this year for a week of preliminary competitions, culminating in the live telecast at the end of January. The final competition airs at 7 p.m., Central Standard Time, on the TLC Channel on Jan. 30.

Because of limited space and shipping costs, fans and supporters are asked not to send gifts to Putnam while she is in Las Vegas. Instead, pageant officials encouraged the public to show their support through cards and letters to the hotel’s address at 3667 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nev., 89109.

Putnam heads to competition as the National Miracle Maker award-winner, after having raised over $13,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. The non-profit organization raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals around the country.

Saturday’s show included special performances by Drs. Seiler and Sandra Lunte, friends and professors of Putnam at ULM, as well as singing from Kelly Bernard, Miss Louisiana’s Outstanding Teen. Putnam’s family also delivered a crowd-pleasing performance of gospel hits before the event came to conclusion.

“It’s been a period of growth in every aspect of my life – physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” said Putnam. “I’m ready to go to Las Vegas. Thank you and God bless every one of you.”

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