For the first time in over a century, a woman is poised to be on American paper money. The redesigned $10 bill will be out in five years, just in time to coincide with the female right-to-vote anniversary. And while the federal government is busy canvassing the public for suggestions as to who should be on the note, there are a couple of criteria the lady must meet: She has to be dead, and she has to embody democracy.

I’d like to put my money on Dolley Madison.

Arguably America’s first society lady, Madison shaped the role of presidential wife and is still considered the most beloved woman ever to occupy that role. Admired and respected by rich and poor alike, she not only established the White House but transformed it into the center of society.

Yet she was far from being a simple hostess. She buried two husbands, survived a yellow fever epidemic, was a savvy diplomat in her own right and later was awarded an honorary seat in Congress. She also established a home for orphan girls, all while being a lady of virtue, even though the Quakers kicked her out for marrying James.

Dolley Madison was stylish, regal, yet accessible, and legendary for risking her life to protect a national treasure — the White House portrait of George Washington. It was during the War of 1812 as the British advanced to burn the Capitol that Madison ignored her husband’s orders to evacuate, lingering among the last to leave in order to save the father of democracy for future generations. Some historians dispute this and claim it was a Frenchman.

That makes Dolley one of the first women to have a man take credit for her work.

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

Well Worth it

The Petroleum Club hosted Laura Myers and Worth New York for a style show with tea. Members anted up $75 for the daytime event, which included all the trimmings, not the least of which was Sinatra singer Spencer Racca. “True style is ageless,” said Myers. “It’s how you wear it that counts. I can make anyone look taller and 10 pounds lighter.” Wearing it well was beautiful Wanda Batiste and Myers herself, who sported some summer leather, as well as Carol Trosclair, Kathleen Williams, Frankie Castille, Jan Frost Williams, Mary Kathryn Scott and Kathleen David. Ladies registered for a $300 door prize and shopped at a discount when they could tear themselves away from Racca, who incidentally croons every Friday night at the Petroleum Club. We liked the grown-up biker jacket and the new take on the tennis sweater.

Hat and Gloves Dinner party

These ladies could give lessons on how to wear hats. Delta Sigma Theta held their second annual Hat and Gloves Dinner at the Opelousas Civic Center, and they didn’t disappoint. Proceeds from the event fund scholarships and projects, and keynote speaker Delores Wilkerson-Smith addressed the audience on the subject of empowering women. “This is a great fundraiser,” said Shirley James. “All our sorority sisters work very hard, and each year our numbers increase. It’s great to empower women.” Looking pretty empowered already were fundraising Chairwoman Brenda Toston, President Maude Nevills, Johnnie Simmons, Shaunn Caillier-Harden, Edwina Mallery and Angela Ewell-Madison, who flew in from Maryland for the event. What we loved: Gilda Thomas’ bold chapeau, Toston’s warm welcome and founding member Lillie Ewell, who loves The Advocate’s society column.