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Chris Kelly | Photo: Julie Soefer | October 29, 2013
Pretty lawyer Amanda Edwards leads Project Row Houses through a milestone year.
Stylishly attired and pretty, Amanda Edwards, 31, actually looks a bit like a starlet playing the part of a high-powered Harvard Law grad in one of those high-gloss dramedies on basic cable. But the busy, philanthropy-minded Bracewell & Giuliani associate is for real, and as of this fall, she’s helping one of Houston’s most beloved nonprofits mark a major milestone.
Serving as president of the board of Project Row Houses—which has revitalized one of the city’s oldest African-American neighborhoods, the Third Ward, by combining urban-renewal initiatives with art—is a demanding job at the moment. It’s just kicked off a yearlong series of celebrations and fundraisers in honor of its 20-year anniversary. Edwards isn’t phased.
“I’m a pretty good multitasker,” laughs the lawyer, who’s just raced from her Downtown office to Row Houses, where she quickly slipped into a cocktail dress and posed for a photographer (who observes that she looks like Kerry Washington). Later, she’ll dash back to work and finish out her busy schedule with a dinner party.
This whirlwind of energy grew up in Northwest Houston, graduated from Eisenhower High School and attended Emory University, where she studied political science and became student body president. After college, she moved to D.C. and worked for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Then it was on to law school and, eventually, New Orleans and a clerkship with a federal judge—and weekend work as a volunteer writing teacher for seventh-graders. “It was after Hurricane Katrina, and I wanted to help in some way,” recalls Edwards. “The writing classes were therapeutic for the kids.”
When she made her way back to her hometown, she launched her career as an attorney and “looked for a way to plug in to Houston with energy and passion.” She found her connection at Row Houses. “What we’ve created is an organic part of the community,” she says. “It springs from the community, rather than having programs that are imposed upon the neighborhood.”
Nearby, the bachelorette lives in a Midtown townhouse, where she manages to find time for a few domestic hobbies. She’s “serious about gardening” and loves to cook Creole cuisine. “As the old saying goes,” she smiles, “if you need something done, find the busiest person you know!”
Sweet Cup’s tres leches vanilla bean gelato, morning workouts, “getting on a plane and going anywhere I want to,” family, cooking crawfish étouffée
The underground tunnels Downtown, chocolate, horror movies, cold rooms (“I keep a blanket and a space heater in my office.”)