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Jan 27, 201408:04 AM
New Orleans Voices

Our City Talks Back

Podcast: Galatoire's Benefit Auction

Melvin Rodrigue says the restaurant hopes to hit the $1 million mark at January's auction.

Melvin Rodrigue

Melvin Rodrigue is the president of Galatoire's Restaurant. In 2006, Rodrigue introduced an innovation that patrons of Galatoire's quickly embraced: the restaurant began auctioning off tables for lunch on the Friday before Christmas and the Friday before Mardi Gras. Because of Galatoire's first-come, first-served policy, people were lining up as early as Monday to secure seats for lunch. Rodrigue realized that an auction for coveted tables on these dates made sense. The money from the auctions goes to the Galatoire's Foundation; proceeds from this year's auction will help Cafe Reconcile and the Idea Village. To date, the auctions have raised $900,000 and Melvin hopes this 2014 year will push the total over the $1 million mark. The 2014 Mardi Gras auction will be on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Galatoire's 33 Bar & Steak (215 Bourbon St.). Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will start at 5 p.m. and the auction will begin at 6 p.m. In this podcast, Rodrigue shares information about the auction and describes Galatoire's exciting expansion, including the restaurant's popular new steakhouse.

Listen to the podcast here.

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Our City Talks Back

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Craig Kraemer grew up in New Orleans on Lowerline Street, across from the Carrollton Cemetery. As a child, he watched countless Jazz Funerals wind their way into the cemetery long before Jazz Funerals became cool. He remembers Hurricane Betsy and Mayor Vic Schiro’s famous quote to panicked citizens: “...don’t believe any false rumors unless they come from me...”

 

Kraemer lives now in Faubourg Saint John near picturesque Bayou St. John. (He prefers the term "faubourg" to"neighborhood" to reflect his pride in New Orleans’ French heritage.) Although his father’s family was originally from Germany, Kraemer’s ancestors—who established the town of Kraemer, Louisiana— adopted Cajun culture and traditions. His mother's family came straight from Paris to settle in New Orleans.

 

Kraemer's day job is as a videographer and graphic designer for his company, Kraemer Advertising. Kraemer's ongoing projects include filming productions for the New Orleans Opera, and symposiums and events for the Historic New Orleans Collection. In addition, he provides a variety of web videos and other film and graphic services for corporate and business clients. Kraemer's love for history and tradition have led him to recently open a new business: CK Digital Memories. This unique service allows Kraemer to apply his skills as an award-winning documentarian, film editor and visual designer to film and produce very personal and comprehensive Family History Video Documentaries for discerning clients. These broadcast quality productions capture the life stories of traditionalists who value their family legacies and heritages.

 

Kraemer’s clients understand the importance of preserving family history and achievements. They put high value on their history and want lasting video tributes to share their family pride with generations to come. In his work, Kraemer films clients as they recount family stories and share personal reminiscences. He then edits the video to include photographs and home movies the family provides. To add richness and ambiance, Kraemer adds music selections that relate to the stories and their eras, and includes photo images of cherished heirlooms or objects that have special family meaning. The result is a unique family chronicle, an enduring testament to a family’s continuing heritage. 

 

Kraemer started his New Orleans Podcasting site as a community service four months following Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans was in dire need of positive stories after the massive devastation of the storm. The national media were taking care of the negative stories. However, those who had stayed through Katrina, who were still in the city or who had just returned were eager to talk about the good things that were happening, however small they were. Kraemer’s weekly podcast interviews provided much needed injections of hope as they regularly highlighted positive stories throughout the city. Today, Kraemer continues to gather positive and unique stories to inform locals and the world about the wonderful place we call home.

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