We've barely scratched 2018's surface, and we've already been to plenty of parties. So, let's not waste any time.
Le Bal de Noël
Fifteen young women made their formal debuts at the Charity Ball Association's 58th annual Le Bal de Noël on Dec. 29 at the Crowne Plaza. Welcoming guests to the gala were President Connie Miller and ball chairwomen Ashley Guglielmo and Caroline Lemann.
The debutantes are Claire Kraemer Couvillion, daughter of Jean and Marc Couvillion, escorted by Thomas Wagasky; Camille Catherine Delaune, daughter of Susan and Warner J. Delaune Jr., escorted by William Logan Delaune; Wellesley Jane Dittmar, daughter of Millicent and Edward Dittmar, escorted by Charles F. Duggar Jr.; Alden Elizabeth Guerin, daughter of Debra and Scott Guerin, escorted by Mark Todd Hollingsworth; Kayleigh Elizabeth Hoppe, daughter of Michelle and Scott Hoppe, escorted by Michael Scott Hoppe Jr.; Mary Elizabeth “Mimi” Keller, daughter of Jason and Joan Keller, and the late Kelli Katherine Hornsby Keller, escorted by Sinclair Bert Kouns III; Olivia Grace King, daughter of Jan and Rodney L. King, escorted by John Michael King; and Anna Claire Lusco, daughter of Missy and Mark L. Lusco, escorted Michael Salvador Lusco.
Also, Adair Christine McCanless, daughter of Dr. Christopher and Anne McCanless, escorted by Nicholas Andrew Patty; Isabelle Brooks Maxwell, daughter of Susan and Billy Maxwell, escorted by John Terrell Brown III; Elisabeth Claire Popov, daughter of Jennifer and George Popov, escorted by Aleksander Dimitri Popov; Anna Maeve Reilly, daughter of Jennifer and Sean E. Reilly, escorted by Aidan Christopher Reilly; Caroline Groves Schroeder, daughter of Denise and Eric Schroeder, escorted by Benjamin Dalton Schroeder; Elizabeth Carolyn Upp, daughter of Dr. James Robert and Susan Upp Jr., escorted by Jacob Charles McCain; and Ashlyn Everett Womack, daughter of Ellen and Milton J. Womack Jr., escorted by John Dermott Snowman.
Kayleigh Elizabeth Hoppe was presented by her grandparents, Kay and Dr. John William Hoppe Jr. The other debs were presented by their fathers.
The presentation was followed by the first dance of the evening, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," for the debs and their fathers. It was followed by the debs and escorts dancing to "It Had to be You." The final dance of the evening, "Stand By Me," was for all former Le Bal de Noël debutantes. The night's festivities wrapped up with breakfast for all debutantes, their family and friends.
Over the past 58 years, the Charity Ball Association has raised $320,000 for various charitable organizations. This year’s ball recipient was 4theKids, which was created in 2012 to expand and improve the children’s hospital facilities in Baton Rouge as well as to encourage and promote teen involvement in the capital city.
Ball production chairwoman were Danna Hodges and Krista Valluzzo. Debutante liaisons were Kelli Stevens and Missy Robinson.
It was a short rest for Charity Ball debs Anna Reilly and Adair McCanless, both of whom are members of the court for the Mystick Krewe of Louisiana's Mardi Gras festivities in the nation's capital later this month. Anna is reigning as queen, and Adair is one of 14 princesses from Baton Rouge. And, along with the 25 other princesses and 23 festival queens, they were fêted at a tea hosted by parents Jennifer and Sean Reilly at the Baton Rouge Country Club on Jan. 6. Joining in the celebration were King Todd Graves and wife Gwen Graves, ball Captain Garret Graves and wife Carissa Graves, senior krewe lieutenant Mark Ackal and grandmothers Dee Dee Reilly and Mary Jane Eplett.
And let's just say Queen Elizabeth has nothing on these festival queens' crowns, many of which were towering, jewel-encrusted creations. One of them confessed it does give her a headache by the end of the day. I can only imagine.
Party with the 100
The Twelfth Night partying continued that evening with the 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, who were holding their 25th annual Party with the 100 Gala at the L'Auberge Event Center. And they certainly had something to celebrate! L'Auberge general manager Mickey Parenton presented the organization with $25,000 to help fund its "Four for the Future" focus on mentoring, education, health and wellness and economic development. Joining this dynamic group of gentlemen was National Chairman Thomas W. Dortch Jr., of Atlanta.
The night's celebration also included President Fred Sibley presenting Members of the Year honors to Billy Duncan, Stanley Savage, Max Madhere and Damon Gardner. Power of the People honors went to Rosie Washington and Alejandro Perkins. The formal portion of the evening was followed by dancing to the sounds of Euphoria.
Stop No. 2 was a lovely cocktail party hosted by Karnival Krewe de Louisiane's King Chambliss Harrod, Queen Dee Keller and ball Captain Terrie Sterling at the Capitol Park Museum. Joining in the celebration were Duchesses Mary Beth Chevalier, Samantha Fisicaro, Krystal Howell, Catherine Katzenmeyer and Mary Raven; and dukes Henry Barham, Victor Gregoire, Mike Kimble, Scott Nyboer and Nial Patel.
The food was great, the libations flowing and the V-Tones rocking. I had fun visiting with Mary Beth and husband Fred Chevalier, Krystal and husband Victor Howell, Debbie and Rickey Heroman, Janet Boles, Jan Daley, Tereasa and Andy Olinde and Catherine Harrell. Nial and Dixon McMakin invited me to join them at Ivar's after my last stop of the night. The look on their faces when I walked in was priceless!
'A Wicked Evening'
Before Ivar's, I dropped in at the Marriott, where "A Wicked Evening" masquerade ball benefiting Alzheimer's Services was well underway. The brainchild of board member Carl Kennedy and Carbon Copy lead vocalist Tina Mancuso, the theme was a blend of the Broadway hit "Wicked" and "The Wizard of Oz." The decorations featured vignettes of the Scarecrow's cornfield, the forest where Dorothy stumbled upon the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man, the house that fell on the Wicked Witch of the East (her legs peeked out from underneath), the poppy field and the Wicked Witch of the West flying over her castle.
There was a costume contest, so most of the guests were dressed as one of the many characters from either the play or movie. Taking home the prize for most original costume was Scott Griffin, who came as a member of the Lollipop Guild. Denise Claus' impression of the Wicked Witch of the West earned her the prize for sexiest costume. Melanie Bierd came as a tornado and captured the prize for best-themed costume.
Ringing in 2018
Party hopping for the New Year began, as always, at the fabulous New Year's Eve open house hosted by Ann and Rob Guercio. I got to ring in 2018 with Jane Wood, Dana Cummings, Ann and Steve Storey, Terri and Conway LeBlanc, Ben LeBlanc, BeBe Facundus and Zeke Weimert, Vicki Kellum, Margaret and Palmer Perque, Debbie and Hunt Odom, Carole and Charlie Lamar, Kathleen and Vic Howell, Ann and Paul Conway and Ann and Rob's precious daughters, Mimi and Merritt.
Even though it was freezing outside, that didn't stop the midnight fireworks display put on by Rob and friends. They rang out strong and clear in the frigid air — a perfect kickoff to the new year!