San Luis Salute

The Fertitta family at the 22nd annual San Luis Salute in Galveston.

Gary Fountain/Courtesy

The 22nd annual San Luis Salute, themed Galveston’s Hollywood Dinner Club, earned riotous applause as revelers from near and far gathered for this year’s Mardi Gras! Galveston celebration. Known as one of the region’s largest galas, the black-tie affair sold out once again with more than 1,800 tickets snapped up within hours.

To kickoff the invitation-only celebration, VIPs sipped bubbly at The San Luis Resort’s reimagined outdoor oasis, The Cove, as heads turned to watch the world’s most glamorous water ballet entertainment company, The Aqualillies, perform a synchronized swimming routine in the lavish new pool.

Hosted at The Galveston Island Convention Center at The San Luis Resort, Richard Flowers of the Events Co. once again masterminded the event’s design and transformed the grand foyer into a monochrome vision of Galveston’s famed Hollywood Dinner Club, transporting guests back to the glory days.

Guests arrived dressed to the nines and sipped on signature cocktails, Veuve Clicquot artfully poured by an aerial bartender and martinis served by a model dressed in a life-size martini glass, while a DJ on a truss above the crowd entertained.

A black-and-white light display filled the room and guests were greeted with a jaw-dropping visual spectacular complete with an old-fashioned cigarette girl, high-flying aerialists, vintage candelabras as centerpieces and black-and-white linens. The Big Beyond entertained as guests were escorted by painted models to their tables, creating an out-of-this-world party.

Following the show-stopping reveal was a grand procession of notable guests, included honoree Dr. Joan Nichols, former NASA astronaut; Capt. Mark Kelly and his daughter Claudia; U.S. Rep. Randy Weber and wife, Brenda; dean of the Texas Senate, Sen. John Whitmire; president of UTMB, Dr. David Callender and wife, Tonya; Texas A&M Galveston’s vice president and COO, Col. Michael Fossum and his wife, Melanie; state Rep. Wayne Faircloth and wife Cheryl; state Rep. Dennis Paul and wife, Eliza; state Rep. Carol Alvarado; Houston’s police chief, Art Acevedo and wife, Tanya; and the entire royal court from the Knights of Momus.

The grandiose gala rolled on for the Hollywood Dinner Club with a crowd-pleasing headline performance by special guest, Blondie. Highlight of the night, lead singer Debbie Harry lit up the stage with performances of irresistible dance-floor hits “Heart of Glass,” “The Tide is High,” “One Way or Another,” and more.

Paige Fertitta and three of the Fertitta kids, Patrick, Blayne and Blake, were found on the checkered dance floor enjoying the best-selling, American rock band’s show. The extravagant evening paid tribute to an extraordinary individual, Dr. Joan E. Nichols, who has been recognized nationally as a pioneer in advanced research in the bioengineering of the human lung.

Adding to the fun were: Maria and Neil Bush; Joan and Doug McLeod; Sheriff Henry Trochesset; University of Houston Chancellor and President Renu Khator and husband, Dr. Suresh Khator; Lisette and Tony Brown; Joy and Vic Fertitta; CNBC’s Power Lunch co-anchor Brian Sullivan; Dancie and Jim Ware, V.J. Tramonte; Terry and Lawrence Estes; Coronation Ball Chairmen Michelle and Dr. Bryan Ritchey; Martha and Scott Livanec; King Frivolous CIII James McLean and his wife, Tessy; Dr. Joaquin Cortiella; Queen of Momus Ari Brown; Jocelyn and Billy Sullivan; Debra and Tom Perich; Brenda and Tom Koch; Betty and Jess Tutor; Libbie and Bill Ansell; Sidney and Johnny Sullivan; and Jennifer and Frank Dominguez. Following Blondie’s surprise show, guests enjoyed non-stop entertainment by The Big Beyond until the wee hours.

Happy birthdays to Breck Porter, Karla Levy, Janice Hallisey, Doreen Durrschmidt, Angie Abbott, City Guy Michael Gray, Joe Giusti, Joe Sireno, Kevin Daughtry, Jessica Rochkind, Gary Mink, Christine Ruiz Hopkins and Irina Pinchuk.

Frances Powell is a columnist for The Daily News. Send deets ’n’ pix of your parteez ’n’ proceedings to or call 409-744-6540.

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