With the building of a Level III Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ochsner on Jefferson Highway underway, patrons gathered at an Audubon Boulevard home to raise funds for the precious cause with “Palettes and Palates.” The NICU will treat babies needing surgery and preterm sons and daughters; some weighing less than a kilogram. Ochsner reports that along with growing multiple births in the past decade, the national preterm birth rate has also risen – by 36 percent. Here in Louisiana, the rate is 23 percent higher than the nation’s and has increased 18 percent in the last 10 years.

The evening was chaired by Dr. Harley Ginsberg, Medical Director of the NICU, and wife Susan. The Patron Party kicked off at 7 o’clock and was organized by chairs Lori Savoie and Pamela Steeg. Bubbly flowed, naturally, and the Ritz-Carlton’s Executive Chef (and father of Ochsner-born quadruplets) Matt Murphy prepared hors d’oeuvres.

As more guests arrived so did wine tasting and auction time! There were vintage wines donated from Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s and Clancy’s restaurants;
valuable oil paintings; and limited edition signed prints such as a crowd-pleasing “Blue Dog” by George Rodrigue. The live auction livened things up with, among other, a one-week stay in a Rosemary Beach, Fla., retreat courtesy of Doug and Cheryl Moodie; Baroque-Style Golden South Sea Pearls form Wellington & Co. Fine Jewelry; VIP seats to a taping of “Ellen”; and passes to a private stand on the Avenue for the upcoming Mardi Gras.

Dr. Ginsberg reports that the addition of beds and renovation of the unit “will benefit our tiniest patients and their families.”