Oooh-la-la — a 14-foot tall Eiffel Tower replica gracing the entrance to the Hermann Park historic clubhouse! Merci beaucoup, Ellie Francisco and Kim Tutcher for putting that yummy French twist on the annual "Hats in the Park" benefit and adding dozens of smaller Eiffels for table decor.
The duo adopted Chapeaux (French, as you know, for hats) as the luncheon theme.
Besides the wind, the challenge on this day was the popular kissy-face greeting that was stymied by all the big brims.
The champagne flowed, the air kisses attempted and the chapeaux abundant as the wind whipped through the party tent overlooking the Hermann Park Golf Course. Besides the wind, the challenge on this day was the popular kissy-face greeting that was stymied by all the big brims.
A "Hats in the Park" regular, Mayor Annise Parker was moved to comment on the rich tableau of chapeaux. "Love the hats. The wind is a challenge, I know. But love the hats," she said in comments to the gathering of 275. Parker introduced the luncheon honoree, the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, recognized for its widespread philanthropy and for a significant gift to the Hermann Park Conservancy for the Centennial Gardens project.
With $22 million of the needed $30 million already raised, Centennial Gardens co-chair Phoebe Tudor, wearing a fetching fascinator, verbally passed the hat for additional donations. The luncheon raised $240,000.
Among those donning hats for the midday fundraiser were Dan Tutcher, Michael Francisco, Susie and Sanford Criner (Centennial Gardens co-chair), Franci Crane, Cherie Flores, Cynthia Petrello, Lynn Wyatt, Bobbie Nau, Laurie Morian, Ann Short, Cerón and Todd Fiscus, Nidhika Mehta, Jana Arnoldy, Gracie Cavnar, Hermann Park Conservancy board chair Ann Kennedy and executive director Doreen Stoller.