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Trying New Things - Event Photography of Miss Latina New Orleans

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Earlier this month, I was contacted by Jambalaya News, a news station located in Metairie, LA. They had asked me if I would be interested in sponsoring an upcoming event as their photographer.

Gretel Llopiz, one of the two directors for the event explained that they were looking for a photographer to sponsor and capture the first ever, Miss Latina New Orleans event. My first reaction was that I should pass on the offer, since it didn't seem like something I would typically photograph.

After thinking it over, I contacted Gretel to let her know that I was interested. We scheduled a date to meet and talked things over. Even though I've never photographed an event, much less a fashion show before, I realized how great of an opportunity this would be for me and my photography business.

On my way home, the shock that I was in had my stomach in knots. I was almost forced to pull my truck over, because I had felt sick. The reality of my work being found and someone wanting to collaborate with me for such a big event had hit me like a ton of bricks! Nervous, but even more ecstatic, I had planned and made sure that I had everything to nail the shots at the Latina New Orleans event!

Gretel (Left) and Brenda (Right), Directors for Miss Latina New Orleans


On the day of the event, I arrived at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center with confidence. I trusted my knowledge and my instinct, even though this was the first time I ever photographed something like this. I had time to get my gear together though and made sure all of my settings were where I needed them. Suddenly, people started arriving. It was showtime!

Andrea Jofre-Peatrini, the lead journalist for Jambalaya News had worked promptly, beginning interviews. She had set the tone for me, as I hurried over to start capturing what I could!

Andrea, Lead Journalist


The performers for the event were the first to arrive. Followed by them were sponsors and then the general audience. A pink carpet walkway was set up with a photo booth area towards the end. As people made their way down the carpet, I started getting requests for photos to be taken. I had the pleasure to meet and talk with numerous people, including dancers, singers, and some of the staff's family members.


Karlita (Left), Jambalaya News and Cricket Wireless (Right), Event Sponsor


The main event comprised of 13 Latina women competing to win the first ever title, Miss Latina New Orleans! Their vision was to help promote the current and future developments of diverse cultures throughout southeast Louisiana. The countries that were represented by the candidates included Brazil, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico.

With four judges, the winner was chosen based off of "attitude, intelligence, charisma, and moral character," a site said.


After a great show and the hard work put in from each candidate, it was time for the first ever, Miss Latina New Orleans to be announced. Representing Nicaragua, Marlen Castillo had taken the crown!

The audience was very lively throughout the event, but I was amazed to see how active they were right at the end. Families rushed onto the stage and everyone celebrated together.

My last photos were taken of Marlen, before packing everything up. All in all, I felt good about the job I did that night. I couldn't believe how the photos came out once I had finished going through them all! It wasn't an easy job, but I am beyond proud of myself for taking a huge leap and trying something so different!

Marlen Castillo, Miss Latina New Orleans 2022


This was an absolute amazing experience and opportunity for me. I cannot thank Jambalaya News enough for allowing me to work with them. The staff was very welcoming and patient with me, as I learned the dynamics for the event. Everyone did a fantastic job and the whole event was a success! I will never forget the adrenaline rush and wonderful time that I had that night.

Since the event, some of the staff and I have discussed working together again in the future. I am excited and look forward to being at more events with Jambalaya News!


Founded in 2004, Jambalaya News is a Spanish-language news site and radio station. They have grown tremendously, while informing locals through their journalism, news reports, and event attendances. Prove to be a reliable resource for Latino communities, Jambalaya News is here to stay!

National Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized every year from September 15th through October 15th.

The Que Pasa Fest will be held at Lafreineire Park, in Metairie, LA. You can join the celebration and show your support on October 8th and 9th, 2022. The admission is free and the event will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both days! They will have play areas for children, live performances, and over 16 food booths offering a bite from a variety of different Latin American countries.

In conjunction with Jambalaya News, the Que Pasa Fest will be honoring Jorge Vides. Through his humor, positive energy, and strong charisma across media outlets, Jorge was a beloved public figure to the Latino community in New Orleans.


Thank you to anyone taking their time to ready my blogs and visiting my website. I truly appreciate the support that I have been gaining in the recent months! As always, if you are interested in planning a photo shoot or just have a question, never hesitate to reach out to me!


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