The luncheon chimes rang and rang and rang across the ballroom foyer at the Hilton Americas-Houston — to no avail. Even after 90 minutes of shopping the boutique alley at the Latin Women's Initiative fundraiser, few among the 650 women and sprinkling of men were willing to put away their credit cards and head to their tables.
With a score of vendors offering everything from leather jackets to dazzling jewelry to children's clothing, the temptations were just too inviting to pass up. And with Lucy Corona's Slim Ritas and other bar offerings fueling spending bravado, there was just no stopping. The fun was thanks in part to Titanium Tequila, the event's tequila sponsor. Now how many ladies luncheons have tequila sponsors!
Finally in the ballroom, guests were welcomed by luncheon emcee KPRC Channel 2 newsman Anthony Yanez. Joining him in the brief program were luncheon chairs Lucinda Loya and Ericka Bagwell and LWI president Rosi F. Hernandez. The jovial mood of the day turned serious briefly when Father Flavio Bravo offered the luncheon blessing and included a prayer for Father T.J. Martinez. The popular Jesuit priest and founder of Cristo Rey High School was a regular at the annual luncheon until being diagnosed earlier this year with late-stage stomach cancer.
As is tradition, the luncheon menu is derived from recipes in LWI's award-winning cookbook Latin Flavors, making it one of the tastiest meals of the social season. Friday's feast included nopales salad with queso fresco, chimichurri-basted pork tenderloin, chicken pibil and for dessert warm guava empanada with cinnamon-dusted ice cream.
Tootsies joined the party this year bringing in designer Rene Ruiz for a runway presentation of beautiful gowns that, as is tradition with the LWI event, included a handful of muscle-bound gents in bathing trunks. And as is tradition they were met with enthusiastic hoots and hollers.
Applauding the runway scene were Lucia and Michael Cordua, Patricia Herrera, Ceron, Mayte Weitzman, Laura Murillo, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, Maria Bush, Gina Gaston, Tiffany Smith, Amy Lee, Alex Martinez, Alex Blair, Chree Boydston, Katy Caldwell, Karina Barbieri, Jessica Rossman, Elizabeth Petersen, Cyndy Garza Roberts and Nick Espinosa.