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Emeril's Carnivale du Vin Raises $1.8 Million with Food, Wine, Dancing, and a Shoeless Mario Batali in a Blonde Wig

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Chefs Kevin Rathbun, Mario Batali, Gale Gand, and Norman Van Aken joined Emeril to present a decadent five-course meal for 750 guests.

1 Chefs Kevin Rathbun, Mario Batali, Gale Gand, and Norman Van Aken joined Emeril to present a decadent five-course meal for 750 guests.

Two Mardi Gras Indians danced at the entrance to the party.

2 Two Mardi Gras Indians danced at the entrance to the party.

Winemakers Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, and Larry Stone of Evening Land brought the wine.

3 Winemakers Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, and Larry Stone of Evening Land brought the wine.

Emeril's beautiful family was ready to celebrate.

4 Emeril's beautiful family was ready to celebrate.

When photographer Steve Freeman told me to snag a pic with Chef, I couldn't resist.

5 When photographer Steve Freeman told me to snag a pic with Chef, I couldn't resist.

First stop inside the party was a huge raw bar carved in ice that Emeril's chefs had stocked with loads of fresh seafood from the Gulf and beyond.

6 First stop inside the party was a huge raw bar carved in ice that Emeril's chefs had stocked with loads of fresh seafood from the Gulf and beyond.

Guests listened to Kermit Ruffins play while sipping a special Pinot Noir cuvee that Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem created just for this event.

7 Guests listened to Kermit Ruffins play while sipping a special Pinot Noir cuvee that Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem created just for this event.

The hors d'oeuvres included many preparations of oysters, shrimp, crab, mussels, and, as you see here, octopus.

8 The hors d'oeuvres included many preparations of oysters, shrimp, crab, mussels, and, as you see here, octopus.

The hallway was lined with silent and live auction packages for bidders to inspect, with items ranging from Saints tickets or jewelry to custom blended wines or a vacation with Chef Emeril.

9 The hallway was lined with silent and live auction packages for bidders to inspect, with items ranging from Saints tickets or jewelry to custom blended wines or a vacation with Chef Emeril.

Emeril welcomed everyone to the ballroom for dinner, and expressed how grateful he is for the support his foundation would receive.

10 Emeril welcomed everyone to the ballroom for dinner, and expressed how grateful he is for the support his foundation would receive.

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu came to thank Emeril for all that his foundation has done for the city.

11 New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu came to thank Emeril for all that his foundation has done for the city.

Videos showed the projects the foundation has financed, and three budding culinary students spoke about their experiences in the NOCCA program.

12 Videos showed the projects the foundation has financed, and three budding culinary students spoke about their experiences in the NOCCA program.

Once dinner was through, it was time to raise the big money in a live auction.  It started with the sale of Mario Batali's trademark clogs...right off his feet!

13 Once dinner was through, it was time to raise the big money in a live auction. It started with the sale of Mario Batali's trademark clogs...right off his feet!

After the auction ended, Kool and the Gang got everyone onto the dance floor.

14 After the auction ended, Kool and the Gang got everyone onto the dance floor.

Chef Emeril joined he band on drums for their biggest hit

15 Chef Emeril joined he band on drums for their biggest hit "Celebration" to close out a great party.

We broadcast live from Emeril's on Thursday to give you a preview, then on Saturday night in New Orleans, more than 750 guests ate a delicious dinner designed by five top chefs, drank many incredible wines, bid on priceless auction packages, and danced to Kool and the Gang to help the Emeril Lagasse Foundation raise $1.8 million at its annual gala, Carnivale du Vin. The photos above tell some of the story, and after the jump you can see videos of the Mardi Gras Indians who started the party, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu offering a witty welcome to the crowd, Mario Batali donning a blonde wig (and this before allowing the auctioneer to sell the clogs right off his feet), and Chef Emeril on the drums for Kool and the Gang's performance of their hit "Celebration."

Two Mardi Gras Indians in full costume greeted guests at the entrance to the party.

Emeril started the night by thanking all his guests and welcoming New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who explained in just a few remarks what makes his city such a special place.

Winemaker Jim Clendenen was honored for his ongoing support of Emeril's foundation, but first he was roasted by a blonde and beautiful Mario Batali. Shortly after this, Mario let the auctioneer sell the orange Crocs right off his feet to raise well over $1,000, and then he spent the rest of the long evening shoeless. It's all for the kids!

After dinner, Kool and the Gang started a set that included all of their classics, like "Jungle Boogie."

The band ended the night with their biggest hit, "Celebration," with Emeril joining in on the drums.

It was a spectacular party for sure, but the cause it supported is what really matters. Check back for more posts this week showing three of the inspiring places where the money the night raised will go: NOCCA, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, and Liberty's Kitchen.

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