Police Work at Galatoire’s: Oestreicher and the case of ‘The Christmas Mink’

David Oestreicher has many stories to tell from his days as a reserve officer on the New Orleans Police Department, but few quite as strange as the story of “The Christmas Mink” at Galatoire’s Restaurant in the French Quarter.

galatoires bistro book cover. Marda Burton, Kennth Holditch. Story excerpt about David Oestreicher

This story was adapted from the Book Galatoire’s Biography of a Bistro, written by Marda Burton and Kennth Holditch. The story was originally published in the book as one of the vignettes about Galatoire’s in the French Quarter.

On duty one day during the holiday season, Oestreicher, a Galatoire’s regular, was called on to handle a theft at the restaurant. No one had robbed the famed restaurant, no one held up the patrons. He wasn’t even there to investigate kitchen staff that had made off with the fine china.

Oestreicher was called by a woman he knew named Colleen Foley. She proceeded to tell him about a mink coat she owned that was stolen earlier that week while she was visiting the Absinthe House.

Oestreicher listened to her with intent, but said, “I’m afraid I can’t do anything about it now.” But Foley assured him, “yes, you can.”

“My mink coat just walked into this restaurant on the back of that blonde over there.”

Oestreicher turned to see the woman, who was with a married man whom Oestreicher knew.

He called the woman outside to the small vestibule, where Officer Oestreicher told her that the coat had been reported stolen, and kindly asked her where she got it. “Why my boyfriend gave it to me just this morning as a Christmas present,” she said.

Oestreicher next interviewed the boyfriend, whom he informed that this small world, for him, at least, was about to get even smaller if he did not return the coat to its rightful owner.

After a bit of indignant crowing, the perpetrator turned over the coat to Oestreicher, who promptly returned the coat to Foley, and the matter was dropped, although the entire restaurant (many of whom knew Oestreicher personally or professionally) was agog as the unlikely drama played out.

Oestreicher’s wife, Tiffany, explained is: “All worlds meet at Galatoire’s!”

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