Originally from Pánuco, Veracruz in Mexico, Irma Rodriguez moved to Louisiana more than 25 years ago, where she juggled a full-time job and sold traditional Mexican baked goods after Sunday mass. In 1997, she made her mark on the community when the Smithsonian Institution’s annual Folklife Festival featured her well-known tamales – and even archived her recipe. This honor made Rodriguez realize she might have some success opening a Mexican restaurant in Forrest Hill, Louisiana. She opened Mi Tierra Caliente in September 2004 with a $20,000 loan from a family friend. In 2012, she received a $50,000 Accion Texas SBA microloan and broke ground on a 650-square-foot patio, featuring a full -service bar and grill, with plenty of outdoor seating and new TVs to view sporting events. Mi Tierra Caliente is now poised to double its earnings in the coming year.