Society / The Seen

Tilman Fertitta’s River Oaks Home Turns Into a Christmas Wonderland: This is How a Billionaire Does the Holidays

BY // 12.11.18
photography Michelle Watson/

With a children’s chorus singing carols on the sweeping staircase, multiple Christmas trees scattered throughout the River Oaks manse and Santa with his reindeer on the lawn, the Christmas spirit was in full throttle when Paige and Tilman Fertitta opened their River Oaks home for the 13th annual Santa’s Elves fundraiser.

More than 300 holiday-attired guests contributed their own high spirits to the evening that raised funds for M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital.

As is tradition with this popular fundraiser, the Fertitta home was decorated to the hilt in holiday glamour as the sounds of the Houston’s Children’s Chorus, directed by Stephen Roddy, wafted through the vast dwelling. Food stations across the terrace and in the summer kitchen provided a host of delicious treats from the family of Landry’s Inc. restaurants. Open bars flowed with seasonal spirits.

The brief program included a welcome, thanks and remarks from Greg Fourticq, co-founder of Santa’s Elves, Dr. Peter W.T. Pisters, M.D. Anderson president, and Dr. Richard Gorlick, division head and chair of pediatrics at M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. Pediatric cancer survivor Caitlyn Mortus, now a nurse at the children’s hospital, added her thanks to the program.

Special support came from the Galleria, event sponsor, which provided the Galleria Giving Tree. For a donation, guests had the opportunity to open a gift from the Galleria’s luxury retailers with a total value of $25,000. That included a diamond bracelet contributed by Tiffany & Co.

Santa’s helpers: Nellie Connally, John B. Connally IV, Patsy Fourticq, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Brooke and Holding Rushing, Diane Lokey Farb. Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, Christine Falgout and Bill Gutknecht, JoLynn and Gregg Falgout, Amber and Tony Bender, Rachel and Todd Auwater, Dr. Anne Kleiman and Catherine and David Herr.

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