In Louisiana alone, 193 babies are born prematurely every week. Since 1938, March of Dimes has been striving to eliminate such statistics and to bring healthier babies into the world through its programs with a mission to aid expecting mothers and research difficulties that threaten the health of babies. On November 4, the New Orleans Division March of Dimes Foundation held its 27th annual “Signature Chefs Gala” in the hopes of doing just that. The gala, held at the New Orleans Marriott, brought numerous celebrity chefs together in collaboration for the cause.

Fifteen local chefs served some of the best signature dishes around, giving guests the opportunity to sink their teeth into everything from Sautéed Shrimp with Andouille Grits and Smoked Tomato Aioli prepared by chef Chad Penedo of Court of Two Sisters to Eggplant Parmesan, compliments of chef Andrea Apuzzo of Andrea’s Restaurant.

WDSU-TV’s own Camille Whitworth was the master of ceremonies for the evening, while ABC-26’s chief meteorologist Bruce Katz took on the role of presenter and Johnny Abdella served as the evening’s auctioneer.

While the evening was one of both good spirits and company, the cause was just as present among the tables embellished with second-line umbrellas and sparkling drinks. Charlotte Brunell, who was the evening’s honoree and recipient of the Freda Lupin Butterfly Award, has made quite the impact herself through her 20 years of involvement and her service on the board of directors.