After months of being buffeted by right-wing critics, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast hosted one its largest and most successful galas ever at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Saturday night.
Ironically, one of the organization's fiercest critics, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was holding a fundraiser in a meeting room at the hotel at the same time.
But that didn't deter more than 400 black tie guests from celebrating the organization's 99th anniversary with a "Generation to Generation" theme and affirming its commitment to offer comprehensive, affordable reproductive health care despite such opposition.
Normally the quiet one, honorary co-chair Matthew Burrus stepped in when his husband, Michael Pearce, unexpectedly became ill and had to miss the gala, and moved the audience with passionate remarks about the impact Planned Parenthood has had on the lives of his family, with support of stem cell research to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease, ALS and diabetes.
Co-chair Anika Jackson also earned a thunderous ovation when recounting a personal story about the effect of Planned Parenthood services on her life.
"Unfortunately in your generation and the ones before you and in my generation and the ones that follow me, the fight has not been won," she said. "We are still fighting for access to basic health care services for people. We thank all of you for being for Planned Parenthood no matter what."
The rest of the evening wasn't nearly so serious as the black-tie crowd, including Mayor Annise Parker and first lady Kathy Hubbard, filled the dance floor to the dynamic tunes of Dysfunkshun Junction.
Also spotted in the crowd were co-chair Dena Winkler (she and Jackson wore matching gowns designed by David Peck), State Representative Gene Wu, Tammy Dowe, Kelly Amen, Rita Lucido, Staci Henderson and Dr. Quang Henderson, Farida Abjani, Edward Sanchez and Enid Sanchez, Dr. Roland Maldonado, Lainie Gordon and David Mincberg, Michele Mullin, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast president and CEO Melaney A. Linton.