The first unofficial Mardi Gras ball of the 2014 season, Bridge House/Grace House’s annual “Cochon Cotillion” kicked off Carnival at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World this past April. Bridge House and Grace House are dedicated to serving men and women who have become dependent on drugs and alcohol and to provide them with gender-specific treatment, long-term residential services, and, most importantly, dignity and respect.

Brian McDonald, Arlene Rome and Tiffany Markley-Truxillo co-chaired the ball, which crowned King Michael Hecht and Queen Racquel Smith of the Krewe of Pork and Beads. Hecht is chief executive of Greater New Orleans, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and small business growth in the Crescent City. Smith, the wife of New Orleans Saints’ Will Smith, works with her husband to promote opportunities for women and youth through their foundation Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.

The cotillion was a fun and funky party, where “costume and tacky attire” was politely requested. The New Orleans-based show band ELS gave a dazzling and enthusiastic performance. Over 40 restaurants provided fine dining for the event, which included curry smoked chicken plantain soup from famed Commander’s Palace and Drago’s seafood pasta. Guests also delighted in a silent auction. Items included a deluxe lady’s shogun Japanese bicycle and gift certificates to some of New Orleans’ finest restaurants.

The cotillion raised over $200,000 for Bridge House/Grace House, which opened a brand new 84-bed residential facility in 2011.

Event at a Glance

What: “Cochon Cotillion XVII,” benefiting Bridge House/Grace House
When: Saturday, April 13
Where: Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World Eastbank