Girls in white dresses and pink starfish top this Sunday’s agenda.

Bal de la Symphonie

Fourteen senior members of Les Jeunes Amies were presented at the Baton Rouge Symphony League’s annual Bal de la Symphonie Nov. 29 at the Crowne Plaza. Welcoming guests and sponsors were Symphony League President Jenny Gray, ball Chairwoman Mary Jane Dillenberger and Co-chairwoman Maia Jalenak.

The debutantes were introduced by emcee Ronnie Johnson and presented with a silver tussie mussie of red roses by Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Carey Byrd Jr.

The debs are C aroline Olivé Bradford, daughter of Anne Marie and Trey Bradford; Taylor Flynn Carmouche, daughter of Trisha and John Carmouche; Alexandra Elizabeth Craft, daughter of Jill Craft and Jim Shannon, and Bruce Craft; Madison Jane Dillenberger, daughter of Mary Jane and Kelley Dillenberger; Caroline Frances Esposito, daughter of Stephanie and Todd Foust, and Dean Esposito; Emily Anne Frazier, daughter of Deane and Scott Frazier; Hannah Elise Gale, daughter of Adrienne and Timothy Gale; Peyton Olivia Gutierrez, daughter of Desirea and Daniel Gutierrez; Sarah Elaine Haymon, daughter of Barbara and Brian Haymon; Chloé Angelle Hossley, daughter of Sarah and Nathian Hossley; Elle Lauren Keegan, daughter of Elena and Kyle Keegan; Erin Danielle Rhynes, daughter of Susan and Keith Rhynes; Kaitlyn Mallory Walker, daughter of Kim and Kevin Walker; and Sara Alice Witcher, daughter of Kara Dunham and Robert Witcher Jr. Esposito was escorted by her grandfather, Paul Fredrickson. The other debs were escorted by their fathers.

Under the direction of D avid Torns, associate conductor/Louisiana Youth Orchestra director, a 13-piece ensemble from the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra provided music during the presentation. In keeping with tradition, the debs performed two waltzes immediately following the presentation, the first of which was reserved for the deb and her escort. Once dinner was served, the V-Tones played for members and their guests.

Symphony League members assisting with the ball included LJA advisor Susan Love and LJA Chairwomen Ann Marie Bradford and Shannon Hyde along with committee members Michelle Pricer, Michelle Sclafani and Kim Wigley. Special guests for the evening were presentation choreographer Tranane Lissard and husband Randy Lissard.

The 30 Fraser fir trees donated by Kristy and Mitch Mayes , of Louisiana Nursery Home & Garden Showplace, served as part of the event’s décor and were then donated to area children’s homes and local families in need with the assistance of Volunteers of America, Potters House and Connections for Life. Over 900 ornaments included with the trees were hand made by Les Jeunes Amies. The table centerpieces were donated to area nursing homes and delivered by the freshmen LJA Class and their sponsors as one of the LJA’s service projects.

BR Assembly

The night before, the Baton Rouge Assembly introduced its 54th debutante coterie at a presentation ball at the River Center. Welcoming guests were Assembly Chairman John Fahrmann, who introduced next year’s Assembly Chairman Scott Folse and wife Julie, assistant Chairman John Selser and wife Kyler; ball Chairman Dr. Chris Hall and wife Kathy; and assistant ball Chairman Keith Armstrong and wife Mary Elizabeth.

Taking their formal bow were Jane Cameron Barney, daughter of Jane and Scott Cameron Barney; Mary Katherine Bernard, daughter of Ann and Floyd Bernard Jr.; Kathleen McCraney Brown, daughter of Kate and John Terrell Brown Jr.; Caroline Blakeley Cordell, daughter of Holli and Robert Cordell III; Elizabeth Brady Countryman, daughter of Shannon and Clay Countryman; Lauren Nadine Dabadie, daughter of Rachel and Joseph Dabadie III; Rainey Elizabeth Gerald, daughter of Meg and Donald Gerald Jr.; Charlotte Washburn Gladney, daughter of Pamela and Wallace Gladney Jr.; Mary Katherine Freeman Koch, daughter of Lisa and Burton Guidry, and K.J. Koch; and Susannah Lee LeBlanc, daughter of Terri and Conway LeBlanc.

Also, Taylor Katherine LeBlanc, daughter of Teri and Gordon LeBlanc Jr.; Lauren Gray Martin, daughter of Janie and Richard Lauve, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and David Keith Martin; Mary Gail McCowan, daughter of Autumn and Charles McCowan III; Lauren Nicole McKowen, daughter of Erin and John McKowen Jr.; Mae Amanda Murrell, daughter of Charlotte and George Murrell, of Sunshine; Gwendolyn Ann Peek, daughter of Gwendolyn and Robert Peek Jr.; Allison Claire Poché, daughter of Shannon and James Poché III; Elise Frances Richard, daughter of Virginia and Patrick Richard; Anna Marie Singletary, daughter of Kimberly and Scott Singletary; Austen Siebert Turner, daughter of Sari and Thomas Turner; Mary Caroline Vinning, daughter of Cindy and Lance Vinning.

Koch was presented by her stepfather, Burton Paul Guidry, Martin was presented by family friend Patrick Baldwin Broderick and Countryman was presented by family friend John Michael Selser. The other debutantes were presented by their fathers.

Music for the presentation was by the Brad Walker Orchestra; while Sha’on & Success got everyone dancing. After the ball, the debs’ parents hosted a midnight breakfast in the River Center.

The debs began their day with a rehearsal under the direction of debutante Co-chairwomen Barbara Anne Eaton and Ashley Lawson and former debutante Sheryl Womack and her daughters, Reed and McKenzie. Debutante chaperones for the evening were Barbie Pipes, Tessie Edmonds and Dorsey Peek. Following the rehearsal, Fahrmann welcomed the debutantes and their presenters to a brunch at the City Club, where each deb received an engraved silver bracelet to commemorate the occasion.

Pink Starfish

I was in some very impressive company when the Louisiana Coalition of African-American Breast Cancer Survivors handed out its annual Pink Starfish Awards for making a difference in the lives of cancer survivors at its “Decade of Thanksgiving” luncheon Nov. 22 at the Renaissance Hotel. My fellow honorees included state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, Mary Charles, Betty Kennedy, Kyle Perriloux, Dr. Rani Whitfield and Tony’s Seafood.

Featured speaker for the luncheon was former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who got a rousing round of applause when he pointed out that 223,000 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and, that while most would be Caucasian, the death rate would be highest among African-American women. “Whatever the cause, it’s intolerable that we talk about that number,” said Edwards.

The several hundred attendees also heard from Dr. Claude Tellis, who said that one of the greatest causes of death from cancer is poverty. He urged everyone to know their family history and be proactive in their health care.

One of the more touching aspects of the luncheon was the bundling ceremony conducted by the Rev. Mary Ann Robinson and Pastor Darlene Moore. With help from breast cancer survivors, they wrapped handmade blankets around those diagnosed within the past year and prayed over them for recovery and healing.

Entertaining throughout the luncheon was jazz vocalist Phillip Manuel.

To view photos, please click here.

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