Every year as the calendar draws nearer to Carnival time, Galatoire’s ups their dining ante by auctioning off coveted first floor dining room tables for the Friday before Mardi Gras. So on Monday, February 9, the restaurant held their seventh charity auction since Hurricane Katrina, with money from this Mardi Gras auction benefiting Animal Rescue of New Orleans as well as the International Shrine of St. Jude. Before the frenzied bidding began, Executive Chef Brian Landry mingled with patrons in the upstairs bar area, enjoying cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres like Crabmeat Maison, salmon rillettes and pistachio-crusted grapes. Guests also enjoyed a seemingly endless supply of Champagne Mandois, the evening’s special sponsor.

After the fun upstairs, bidders moved downstairs to begin the frenzy, as professional auctioneer Ruthie Winston started the bids at $150 a seat. Within an hour, all seats were gone and more than $75,000 was raised for the charity, to the delight of the grateful executive director of ARNO, Charlotte Bass-Lilly. Restaurant manager David Gooch thanked patrons, who also helped contribute money to St. Jude. Fr. Anthony “Tony” Rigioli of St. Jude was also in attendance. In total, the seven Galatoire’s auctions held in the past three years have raised nearly half a million dollars for local and area charities.