Melvin Rodrigue has dedicated his career to cultivating the tradition and experience of one of America's grandest fine dining institutions - Galatoire's - and showcasing New Orleans as a world-class destination. A Louisiana native, Rodrigue joined Galatoire’s as their chief operating officer in 1997, rising to the company's presidency in 2012. In that time, he has led Galatoire’s to the highest of culinary distinctions, being recognized in 2005, by the James Beard Foundation as the Most Outstanding Restaurant in the United States. Working with Galatoire’s ownership group, Rodrigue opened new doors for guests worldwide to take part in Galatoire’s dining tradition in 1998, through an extensive renovation of the venerable restaurant’s second floor dining room, which had been shuttered since World War II. Growth continued with the 2012 acquisition and subsequent renovation of 215 Bourbon St., unveiling Galatoire’s "33" Bar & Steak and new private dining spaces for guests, conceived in the Galatoire tradition of fine dining.
As part of Galatoire's Centennial in 2005, Rodrigue co-authored the Galatoire's Cookbook to critical acclaim. Originally appointed in 2005, Rodrigue was named president of the Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in 2008. During his leadership, the $650 million New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center increased its reputation as a top location for the nation's premier conventions, special events and meetings, accounting annually for more than $1.5 billion in economic impact and 23,000 jobs. Rodrigue served as the chairman of the Louisiana Restaurant Association in 2012, and continues his work on the association's board of directors. He also sits on the board of directors of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. His previous industry contributions include serving three terms as a board member, executive committee member and treasurer of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the marketing force behind drawing more than 6 million leisure travelers to New Orleans each year.
Rodrigue has developed new ways for Galatoire's to connect with the community as a founder of The Galatoire Foundation and creating the restaurant's annual Christmas and Mardi Gras table auctions. Launched in 2006, this twice-a-year tradition has raised more than $1 million for The Galatoire Foundation and dozens of New Orleans non-profit organizations, as guests bid to reserve a table in Galatoire's famed first floor dining room on the two busiest days of the year, the Fridays before Christmas and Mardi Gras. Rodrigue has been personally honored by Gambit Weekly as an outstanding achiever in the "40 Under 40" business category and as a member of the city's "Power Generation" by New Orleans CityBusiness. Rodrigue lives in New Orleans and has four daughters, Caroline, Savanah, Eugenie and Adelaide.
Phillip L. Lopez
A native of New Orleans, Chef Phillip Lopez was born into a military family, traveling the world in his youth. Spending time in Germany, France, Spain, Austria and parts of Asia, his international worldview influenced his palate as a chef.
Chef Lopez comes to Galatoire’s with more than two decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. Most recently, he served as executive chef, creative director and owner of six culinary concepts around New Orleans, including Root, Square Root, The Test Kitchen, Petit Lion and Monkey Board. Previously, he spent time at Restaurant August and Michel Richard's Citronelle in Washington, D.C.
In addition, Chef Lopez has earned a number of accolades, including being named “Chef of the Year” by Eater New Orleans, StarChefs’ “Rising Star of New Orleans,” Gambit’s “40 Under 40,” and was nominated three times for Food and Wine magazine’s “People’s Best New Gulf Coast Chef.” He has also been recognized by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine as a “Chef to Watch,” as well as by Bon Appétit magazine.
As General Manager of Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s "33" Bar & Steak, Billy Clark is responsible for the daily operations of the 111-year-old dining institution and its steakhouse counterpart. A veteran in the hospitality industry, Clark has prepared for his new role by spending more than 30 years at some of New Orleans’ most successful dining establishments. Clark is a lifelong resident of New Orleans. He holds a degree from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of Jesuit High School.
Director of Sales
Lisa Larsen, a New Orleans native and graduate of LSU, is living her dream of being part of one of New Orleans’ famous fine dining establishments.
Working in hospitality since 2004, Larsen built her skills in marketing and sales and eventually joined the Galatoire’s team in 2012. Thrilled to start off as assistant sales manager at a grand dame French Quarter restaurant, Larsen’s enthusiasm for the restaurant has allowed her to grow into her current role as director of sales of the Galatoire’s family of restaurants.
She has greatly impacted the restaurants by assembling a team of professional sales managers possessing a passion for planning exceptional private dining events that create lifelong memories for guests. Her team skillfully and seamlessly coordinates events of all sizes and nature such as wedding celebrations, intimate dinner parties, large corporate functions, Mardi Gras bashes and everything in between.
In addition to Larsen’s work with Galatoire’s, she serves as president elect for the Gulf States Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the largest and most vibrant global meeting and event industry association.
René Sudduth oversees operations as wine director and sommelier at Galatoire’s Restaurant and Galatoire’s "33" Bar & Steak.
Working behind the scenes in the wine and spirits department for three years prior, René took over as wine director and sommelier in July 2017. René’s talent is an invaluable asset to both Galatoire’s Restaurants.
A native of California, René always had family working in the wine industry, making him passionate for his family’s trade.
René has been with the Galatoire’s family since March 2013, where he started as the first-ever waiter to work both sides of Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s "33" Bar & Steak on a regular basis.
René is quickly making a name for himself and continues to successfully apply his skill set as an instrumental resource at Galatoire’s.
David Gooch, a lifelong resident of New Orleans, is the manager of Galatoire’s. A son of Clarisse Galatoire Gooch and grandson of Leon Galatoire, Gooch began his career in the family business in 1967. He spent four years in the kitchen before moving to the front of the house. He earned a Bronze Star during a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he served as a combat engineer platoon leader. He holds degrees from Louisiana State University and Tulane University.