Society / Featured Parties

Inside Tilman Fertitta’s Wild Mardi Gras — Pitbull Rollicking, Superyacht Fun and Billionaire Glamour Bring Magic to Galveston

This 26th Annual San Luis Salute Is One Unforgettable Party

BY // 02.23.23

What: The 26th annual San Luis Salute

Where: The Galveston Island Convention Center at The San Luis Resort

PC Moment: For more than two decades, this Mardi Gras bash, hosted by billionaire Tilman Fertitta and his family, has set the bar for out-of-this-world partying in the stratosphere of revelry. The 2023 bacchanal was no exception with Pitbull reprising his Mardi Gras star turn from 2016, with 1,800 partygoers (who made it a sellout within mere hours) donning Fat Tuesday finery, and with Richard Flowers and The Events Company delivering on the ever fabulous decor.

As any hospitality-focused billionaire would do to launch his special evening, Fertitta invited a select coterie of VIPs to board his 77-meter $150 million mega-yacht The Boardwalk, shoes left dockside thank you, for a sunset champagne fête. This included the Knights of Momus Duchesses, their dates and parents, politicos and Fertitta’s powerhouse investment buddies from New York and beyond. Veuve Clicquot, yes.

Pitbull performs at the San Luis Salute Friday Feb. 17,2023 in Galveston.
Pitbull performs at Tilman Fertitta’s San Luis Salute Mardi Gras ball at the Galveston Island Convention Center at The San Luis Resort. (Photo by Dave Rossman)

Tilman & Pitbull’s Special Friendship

Fertitta had hosted Pitbull aboard his Feadship earlier in the day for a bit of BFF schmoozing between the two dynamos who over the past 12 years have forged a close friendship. It was then that a children’s Mardi Gras parade came winding down the pier. When participants spotted the famed rapper they headed to The Boardwalk where the amiable star joined the youngsters to create the hottest Instagram moments of the day.

Partying Mardi Gras Style

“The Gilded Masquerade” theme of the gala was a nod to the glamour of Mardi Gras. Masks neither required nor encouraged. Guests entering the ballroom were greeted by fire dancers, an aerial violinist, showgirls adorned in bright yellow feathered costumes, silt walkers, seductive dancers, sword-swallowing showmen and the rocking sounds of The Big Beyond.

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In the grand entry, the Fertitta family was introduced and recognized for their contributions to Mardi Gras Galveston and the ball’s support of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). The evening honored Dr. Gulshan Sharma, senior vice president and chief medical & clinical innovation officer at UTMB.

San Luis Salute 2023
Paige Fertitta, Blake Fertitta, Blayne Fertitta at the San Luis Salute Mardi Gras ball at the Galveston Island Convention Center at The San Luis Resort. (Photo by Gary Fountain)

Among those joining the grand entry procession were King Frivolous CVII H. Kevin Teichman and Momus Queen Ashton Grace Teichman, mayoral candidate and State Representative John Whitmire, Jefferies Financial Group CEO and billionaire Rich Handler and wife Martha, CNBC anchor Brian Sullivan, founder and managing director of North Point Advisors Dave Jacquin and wife Heidi, University of Houston System president and chancellor Renu Khator and husband Suresh Khator, along with a host of local and state officials. Add Hollywood and New York Influencers Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum, Jeff Beacher and Doug Jacobs to the mix.

PC Seen: The fashionable crowd included Paige Fertitta, Blake Fertitta and Dana Wempe, Blayne Fertitta and Peter Mavredakis, Patrick Fertitta, Joy and Vic Fertitta, Momus president Scott Rice and wife Renee, Maria and Neil Bush, Dancie and Jim Ware, Kelley and George Georgiades, Vicki West and Ralph Burch, Dash Kohlhausen, and Kirstin and John Burger.

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