ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Ian Somerhalder just can't get enough of the Mardi Gras party spirit, or his furry friends. Luckily, the enterprising star has managed to combine his interests into one big four-legged festival!

The Vampire Diaries star has been receiving considerable column inches for his role as Co-Grand Marshal at Mardi Gras in his native New Orleans, but he has another important party in his diary!

The animal activist is heading back on the 9th of March to chair the 20th annual Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws dog parade as the Celebrity Monarch. While he was accompanied by Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead at Mardi Gras, this time his co-marshall has a much lower profile.

Ian Somerhalder will be walking alongside Grand Marshall Emily Whitehead who is just 8-years-old. Emily's mom has said that her daughter is not at all star struck though, in fact she wouldn't know Somerhalder from Adam! Kari Whitehead told the press;

She doesn't know who Ian is. She's a little young yet, so she's more interested in the cute dogs

Emily Whitehead who has bravely battled leukemia
Emily Whitehead who has bravely battled leukemia

The philantropic thespian was connected to the parade through his charity, The Ian Somerhlader Foundation and it aims to raise money for a handful of good causes. The local nonprofits that will benefit are Have a Heart Thru Art, which provides access to art for underprivileged and disabled children; the St. Tammany Spay and Neuter Group, helps low-income pet owner access spay/neuter clinics and Scott's Wish, a children's cancer charity.

Local people have been singing Somerhalder's praises for his eagerness to get involved and Denise Gutnisky, the Mardi Paws organizer has said;

It's very unusual for someone with his popularity and fame to give his time so freely to so many organizations

A competitor from last years Mardi Paws
A competitor from last years Mardi Paws

I might spend a lot of time joking about Ian Somerhalder's saccharin sweetness and 'Goodnight beautiful world' tweets, but it is refreshing to see a star who genuinely seems to care so much about helping others. The actor not only gives up his money, but he is also willing to part with his valuable time and anyone who follows his Instagram will know there is not much of that to spare!

Does anyone else think Somerhalder might just be one of the most genuine guys in showbiz?


Ian Somerhalder is...

(Source: International Business Times)

(Images: People, Nola and Uptake via Sandestin)


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