Thanks to the perpetual popularity and recent demise of “Downton Abbey,” what’s old is new again. Long a symbol of gentility, there are now new reasons to own a set of fine china that have nothing to do with torturing people and wedding registries. Read that as dinner service for 12, from soup bowls to demitasse, coffee pot included. Spode will be only too happy to speed up your order, just as they did the Crawleys, only without the crest, of course. (It was a transfer stuck on ordinary Spode anyway.)

Since 13th century London and long before Lord Grantham, the possession of tableware was to a large extent determined by individual wealth. The greater the means, the higher the quality that was owned and the more numerous its pieces.

Fine china is a feminine legacy. Like my mother before me, I have my own set of china and long ago inherited hers also. Mine happens to be English Wedgewood, hers was German gilded porcelain. Much like the Mountbatten-Windsors, we have both in our family background, la-di-da.

The moment I realized I had a daughter on the way, I bought her, in utero, a luncheon service for four of Wedgewood Queensware, cream on lavender, to be her own one day. I carted it around for some three and a half decades until she and the dishes had their first permanent home. That she might prefer something of her own choosing never entered my mind and did not matter. The dishes stood for something bigger: The finer the china, the finer the lady, and she never questioned it.

That’s the only thing she never questioned.


Prestwick Court Potluck

Penny Edwards hosted one of her well-known potlucks chez elle to celebrate a newly-renovated terrace and just being at home. Guests followed their organic guidelines right down to the lemon pie, and by the way, the company wasn’t bad either. The lady of the house saw to everyone’s slightest wish, including The Advocate, and enjoying the Edwards’ ambiance was a glowing Judy Dunn, newly-appointed ASO director Rebecca Doucet in — what else — symphony black, Maestro Mariusz Smolij, Dark Roux’s Jacab Gibson and fiancée Ashley Brink, and Brit Bob Dunn, who’s going home soon to see about Brexit.

Rule Britannia

The Krewe of Victoria held their new members ice cream social at the River Ranch home of royalty chairman Barbara Bloomer. Victoria’s had an infusion of pretty newcomers, not the least of which is Alex Alleman, brought along by mother-in-law Debbie Alleman. Strawberries, ice cream, brownie bites and lemon squares, it was sugar and spice and everything nice on a June afternoon. “My goal is to bring this krewe up a notch,” said new dame commander Jeanie Domingue, formerly on the Carnivale en Rio board. “More exciting.”

BMW Goes to the Dogs

Moss Motors BMW hosted Acadiana Animal Aid for BMW’s Drive for a Cause. Folks who test-drove a BMW helped homeless critters at $5 per ride, with car queen Sharon Moss providing light refreshments from Champagne’s. Duncan the tabby clearly liked her more than The Advocate, while puppies Wylie and Tatum were less discerning in their friendships. Richard Foard and Michelle Newland took pet breaks, GM Wayne Skinner showed off his own cat guardian photos, and all of the kittens knew what to do with a bag of Temptations. “We try hard to socialize our cats,” said Animal Aid spokesperson Carolyn Wentworth.

For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow

Connie Guidry upped her age another notch feted by family and friends at the City Club. Told she was going there to celebrate Father’s Day, what actually awaited was an old-fashioned surprise party at the Eleven Hundred Room, complete with jumping out of the dark. Guidry was genuinely overcome, a good time was had by all, and who says getting older isn’t any fun.

Inaugural Showcase

The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum kicked off its new series showcasing the museum store with a little mid-afternoon meet ’n’ greet. Joey’s provided the bar and snacks as guests met and mingled with Baton Rouge artist Caroline Coe, whose butterfly art made of vintage paper can be found at Ann Connelly Fine Art. “I don’t even know where to start,” said Coe. “It came about as a way to repurpose old maps and beautiful paper, both reminded me of a butterfly’s wing.” Also flying off the shelves was jewelry by Los Angeles-based Anano Trading and Restrung out of New Orleans.


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@theadvocate.com.