‘Strut Your Stilettos’ LOPA fundraiser, contest shoes in winners

T’Shanda Baldridge
Contestants in the LOPA fundraiser called 'Strut Your Stilettos' show off their shoes. With a total of eight ladies registering, only three finalists would be chosen. The contestants were given pointers on the balance of walking in spikes.

The concept started when Y’zell Williamson, managing partner of LaMestiza Mexican Bistro, wanted to promote a night for ladies.

Y’zell and a local friend, Eric Bertolet of 1150 WJBO Safe Nation Radio Broadcast, discussed the possibilities of an interesting night of fun, while at the same time having a good purpose.

Renee Rhodes Community Educator of LOPA was contacted and asked to be involved. She was excited about the invite because LOPA has wanted to increase its knowledge and awareness in the community.

The Strut Your Stilettos for LOPA Fundraiser and Contest was held July 31 at 6 p.m., hosted by LaMestiza Mexican Bistro, located at 17424 Airline Hwy. Prairieville in the Oak Grove Shopping Center.

Rhodes says it’s not a easy subject to discuss, while most people support organ and tissue donation and transplantation (as such as 96 percent of Americans, according to some Gallup studies) but many still do not understand the process.

Since 1988 Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency focuses on educating the medical community and the general public, about organ and tissue donation issues.

It is about recovering donated organ and tissues and placing them with compatible recipients. LOPA's mission is to save and enhance life.

With a total of eight ladies registering, only three finalists would be chosen.

The contestants were given pointers on the balance of walking in spike heels.

With the music playing lyrical songs pertaining to shoes, feet and legs, Eric Bertolet of WJBO announced the entire event, giving the women inspiring words as they strutted.

With positive and sassy attitudes the contestants started strutting their stilettos down the lighted catwalk one at a time, with a videographer at the end of the catwalk filming only feet and shoes.

Judges Jim Urdiales, owner of Mestizo in Baton Rouge and LaMestiza in Prairieville; Curtis Marchand, owner of Salon Marchand; and Kiresten Kendrick, owner of Miss Priss Boutique, sat on the opposite side of the bar viewing a TV screen showing the video feed as the ladies walked the catwalk.

Neither contestants or judges could see each other.

First place winner Yvonne Olivier, a Dutchtown resident, wearing silver stilettos won a three-month membership to Fitness in Motion, and a Mall of LA shopping spree. She said her shoes were purchased three hours before the event.

Second place went Jessica Slade in red and black stilettos.

Third place was won by Megcon Graves with her strappy brown stilettos.

All contestants were given a bag of gifts. Raffle tickets sold for door prizes to raise money for LOPA.

The fundraiser was a success and LaMestizas had a great atmosphere, packing the restaurant with standing room only.

Sponsors and donations were made by The Body shop, Miss Priss, Silver Village, Dillards Especially and artist Alex Harvey for his artistic ceramic shoes.

To learn more about the process of organ donation, or to register to be a donor visit LOPA’s Web site www.lopa.org to reach Renee Rhodes Community Educator e-mail rrhodes@lopa.org by phone 1-800-521-GIVE ext. 308.

First place Yvonne Olivier, a Dutchtown resident, shows off the winning shoes she bought three hours prior to the event.