It almost never happens that the tranquil and highly-secured neighborhood of River Oaks encounters a blast of gunshots, bombs exploding and scores of police on the move — except that one night each fall when Paige and Tilman Fertitta open the expansive grounds of their home for the Houston Police Foundation "True Blue" fundraiser. And that explains the hullabaloo that had River Oaks residents, at least temporarily, on edge last week.
Dozens of police cruisers with light bars and headlights flashing blindingly lined Willowick, pointing the way for the 650 guests that swarmed over the Fertitta backyard for the outdoor soiree that each year delivers an edgy police demonstration. The glamorous, resort-style surroundings were juxtaposed once again with the presence of 100 armed policemen including those from the K9 detail, the bomb squad, the dive team and the mounted patrol.
"The mayor does a good job of giving us what we need. But there are some things that would be nice to have."
Seated at the table where honoree Mayor Annise Parker and Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland took it all in, one dinner guest remarked, "This has to be the safest backyard in the nation." Indeed. That was until the serene setting was disrupted by the staged burglary as it erupted with gun fire (blanks), bombs, police dogs, lots of shouting, a perp in the pool and choppers overhead.