Galatoire's Restaurant (209 Bourbon St., 525-2021) raised $96,000 for two hurricane-relief programs by auctioning seats for its pre-Mardi Gras lunch. The novel fundraiser took place in the restaurant's dining room on Feb. 13, with 150 pre-registered guests bidding on seats for the Feb. 24 lunch. This pre-Mardi Gras meal has developed into a ritual over the years, as has standing in line for a seat since the restaurant takes no reservations for its popular ground floor dining room. More recently, some patrons had begun paying people to hold their place in line up to a day before the meal. By auctioning those seats this year, Galatoire's found a way to raise significant money for the Louisiana Restaurant Association's Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (www.lra.org) and the Young Leadership Council's Proud to Call It Home campaign (www.proudtocallithome.org). Each seat at the 24 tables in the ground floor dining room went for no less than $500, with a large table for 12 bringing in $12,500 alone. The bids did not cover food and drink at Friday's lunch.
Dinner at Dooky's
The legendary Dooky Chase Restaurant (2301 Orleans Ave., 821-0535) has helped keep some of the great traditions of African-American Creole cooking alive in its Sixth Ward dining rooms, though since Katrina the landmark restaurant has been waiting on its own rebirth from devastating flood damage. To help the restaurant and Chef-owner Leah Chase get back in business, the New Orleans chapter of the nonprofit Slow Food USA is hosting a fundraiser in the form of a cooking class at the Savvy Gourmet (4519 Magazine St., 895-2665; www.savvygourmet.com) at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 4. Chase will lead the "Dinner at Dooky's" session in the Savvy Gourmet's demonstration kitchen, which will be followed by dinner. The contribution is $125 per person and seating is limited to 50 people. To RSVP, send an email to email@example.com.
New Order in the Court
The new chef at Court of Two Sisters (613 Royal St., 522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com) is beginning to put his own stamp on the landmark French Quarter dining institution. Peter Chan , formerly the chef at the Uptown bistro The Flaming Torch (737 Octavia St., 895-0900), is preparing a new lunch menu to augment the restaurant's famous daily buffet of traditional Creole fare. Dishes such as braised Mississippi rabbit with wild mushrooms and green onion corn grits or pan-roasted mahi mahi with crawfish risotto, wilted spinach and citrus butter are highlights on the daily-changing menu, which is served as a three-course lunch for $25. The restaurant is also serving martinis and bloody Marys for $2 each at lunch. — McNulty