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Shelby's Social Diary

Billionaire host, buxom beauties, mega-yacht and Las Vegas spirit rock Mardi Gras Galveston party

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24 Larry Gilaspia and Kimmy Matthews at San Luis Salute March 2014
Momus King Frivolous Larry Gilaspia and Queen Kimmy Matthews. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
2 Models at San Luis Salute March 2014
Photo opps with these topless lasses were very popular. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
42 The crowd at San Luis Salute March 2014
The dance floor was packed with dancing kings and queens. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
16 Paige Fertitta, from left, Vic and Joy Fertitta and Tilman Fertitta at San Luis Salute March 2014
Paige Fertitta, from left, Vic and Joy Fertitta and Tilman Fertitta. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
29 Deanna Barton, from left, Maria Bush and Karen Thompson with models at San Luis Salute March 2014
With beefcake bar tenders, Deanna Barton, from left, Maria Bush and Karen Thompson. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Dancers at San Luis Salute March 2014
Las Vegas dancers welcome guests to the ballroom. Photo by Shelby Hodge
37 NAME, left, and Jim Ware at San Luis Salute March 2014
Dr. Aristedes Koutravelos left, and Jim Ware. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
31 Pole acrobats at San Luis Salute March 2014
Pole acrobats provide a show-stopping routine. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
30 Doe and Henry Florsheim at San Luis Salute March 2014
Doe and Henry Florsheim. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
The 26 Philadelphia Mummers at San Luis Salute March 2014
The Philadelphia Mummers crank up the party action. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 Faith and Lee Majors at San Luis Salute March 2014
Faith and Lee Majors. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
39 Dancie Ware at San Luis Salute March 2014
Tambourines for everyone including Dancie Ware. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
23 Miya Shay and Gene Wu at San Luis Salute March 2014
Miya Shay and State Rep. Gene Wu. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
9 Tom Koch and Emily Koch at San Luis Salute March 2014
Tom Koch and Emily Koch. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
22 Patti and Don Murphy at San Luis Salute March 2014
Patti and Don Murphy. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
28 Jan Carson and Tim Connolly at San Luis Salute March 2014
Jan Carson and Tim Connolly. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
12 NAME and Bob Allen at San Luis Salute March 2014
Sally Salners and Bob Allen. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
6 Todd Fertitta, from left, Scott Kelly, Richard Handler and Tilman Fetitta at San Luis Salute March 2014
On board The Boardwalk Todd Fertitta, from left, Scott Kelly, Richard Handler and Tilman Fetitta. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
3 Elle Moody, left, and Kimmy Matthews at San Luis Salute March 2014
Momus duchess Elle Moody, left, and Queen Kimmy Matthews. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
1 The Duchess Court at San Luis Salute March 2014
Momus duchesses live the high life on The Boardwalk. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
24 Larry Gilaspia and Kimmy Matthews at San Luis Salute March 2014
2 Models at San Luis Salute March 2014
42 The crowd at San Luis Salute March 2014
16 Paige Fertitta, from left, Vic and Joy Fertitta and Tilman Fertitta at San Luis Salute March 2014
29 Deanna Barton, from left, Maria Bush and Karen Thompson with models at San Luis Salute March 2014
Dancers at San Luis Salute March 2014
37 NAME, left, and Jim Ware at San Luis Salute March 2014
31 Pole acrobats at San Luis Salute March 2014
30 Doe and Henry Florsheim at San Luis Salute March 2014
The 26 Philadelphia Mummers at San Luis Salute March 2014
5 Faith and Lee Majors at San Luis Salute March 2014
39 Dancie Ware at San Luis Salute March 2014
23 Miya Shay and Gene Wu at San Luis Salute March 2014
9 Tom Koch and Emily Koch at San Luis Salute March 2014
22 Patti and Don Murphy at San Luis Salute March 2014
28 Jan Carson and Tim Connolly at San Luis Salute March 2014
12 NAME and Bob Allen at San Luis Salute March 2014
6 Todd Fertitta, from left, Scott Kelly, Richard Handler and Tilman Fetitta at San Luis Salute March 2014
3 Elle Moody, left, and Kimmy Matthews at San Luis Salute March 2014
1 The Duchess Court at San Luis Salute March 2014
Shelby Hodge, head shot, column mug, white off-shoulder blouse
Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis
Get Directions - 5600 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston Galveston

GALVESTON — Everybody wants to party with Tilman Fertitta. Not because of his mega-yacht (but that does play a role), not because of his Golden Nugget casinos or his private jet. Rather everyone who's anyone wants to be in the rollicking crowd that packs the Galveston Convention Center each Mardi Gras for the San Luis Salute.

Friday night, 1,600 black-tie attired, ready-to-party guests poured into the convention center ready to rock and roll with the Galveston-born billionaire entrepreneur. It was tough luck for the 400 on the wait list scrambling to get a seat at the most coveted tables of the season. The Mardi Gras-savvy crowd had booked all the tables before invitations were even printed. It was the largest gala in island history.

As is tradition, Mr. Mardi Gras threw one of the best parties of the year — a little naughty and a lot nice. Consider the intoxicating decor — 70,000 yards of 6-inch wide, boldly-colored ribbons soaring from ceiling to tabletop and massive pop images Andy Warhol-style lining ballroom walls. Add wicked entertainment as in topless and bootie shaking, and two bands — KC and the Sunshine Band and the rocking show band Simply Irresistible. 

Two willowy, yet buxom, beauties, wearing nothing more than panties and paint posed for photos. 

"It's magical," said one guest as he surveyed the ballroom. "Tell me, why is it that no one else can create this?" The answer to that question: Because no one else has Fertitta's unlimited resources and the talented hands of Richard Flowers and Kirksey Gregg of The Events Co. on the payroll. 

"Nobody gives a party like this," observed Jim Daniel, who has seen more than a few black-tie galas as steady escort for Margaret Williams. That comment was made just after the Philadelphia Mummers strutted through in their glittering costumes and before the scantilly-clad aerial acrobats gyrated around a pole in the center of the vast party space. 

Two willowy yet buxom beauties, wearing nothing more than panties and paint posed for photos with a line-up of, dare we say, dirty old men. Disco dancers in cheek-skiming shorts churned away on the performance dance floor before the crowd took over. For the ladies, a crew of topless bartenders a la Chippendales contributed beefcake notes to the party. Add a hula hoop diva and roller skaters to the endless flow of diversions.

The main dance floor was packed with the likes of Diane Lokey Farb and Mark Sullivan, Anne and Noble Carl, Ellie and Michael Francisco and Joan and Doug McLeod as well as the Krewe of Momus duchesses and their dates, special guests on this evening.

The VIP guest list — those joining Paige Fertitta and Tilman at the head table — included Jefferies CEO Richard Handler in from New York with his daughter Skylar, Amber and Steve Mostyn, Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Dancie and Jim Ware, Maria Bush and Faith and Lee Majors.

This raucous evening that inspires dancing all night long has a brief serious side — that of recognizing the honoree, this year Dr. Eric M. Walser, chairman and professor of radiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Proceeds from the gala will support the purchase of new radiology equipment for the new Jennie Sealy Hospital, scheduled to open in 2016.

The partying throng included emcees Tom Koch and Bob Slovak of KTRK Channel 13, president of Texas A&M at Galveston Rear Admiral Robert Smith III, president of UTMB David Callender, astronaut Scott KellyLori and Allen Matthews, Ross Moody, Frances Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg, Brian Teichman and Andrew Cordes, Ann and Robert Moody, and a host of elected officials including State Sen. Larry Taylor, State Rep. Craig Eiland and wife Melissa and State Rep. Gene Wu and wife Miya Shay.

Now about that yacht — Tilman Fertitta hosted the Knights of Momus royalty and VIP friends from both Galveston and Houston to a pre-San Luis Salute party in a lavish tent (red Venetian chandeliers overhead, carpet underneath) on the pier next to The Boardwalk, open for tours and photos. Champagne flowed as this merry crew ginned up for the remainder of the really big night.

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