Following 144 years of tradition, Rex descended from his Summer Palace on Mount Olympus, high above the Vale of Tempe, for his annual royal ball and imperial reception, held on Shrove Tuesday evening at the Sheraton New Orleans.
A springlike atmosphere prevailed on the white canvas covered ballroom floor. Framing the dance floor were majestic arrangements of white cherry blossom, yellow forsythia, Casablanca lilies and hydrangea. Arranged on either side of the long garden throne-bench were flowerbeds of white daisies banked by fern. Suspended above the throne was a plush-lined, hand-carved golden crown. Elegant gold and white drapes formed the backdrop for the throne that was flanked by wooden carved shields and tropical palms. Benches were aligned on either side of the king and queen’s throne for the Rex maids of honor and dukes of the realm.
The reception began with the entrance of the Marine Corps Band New Orleans under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bryan Sherlock. The band played a stirring selection of music including the national anthem of the United States of America. During its lively performance, the Marine Band played some of his majesty’s favorite Carnival music before departing the ballroom floor.
After a short pause, the Rex captain sounded a whistle, and the Rex organization’s orchestra began a drum roll. A group of six Rex lieutenants costumed in the traditional green, gold and purple colors of the krewe entered the ballroom, proceeded to the center of the ballroom floor and split three to each side of the stage. Two costumed trumpeters entered the ballroom, sounded their horns, and then walked onto the ballroom floor and sounded their horns again, signaling the entrance of the King and Queen of Carnival.
To the music of the Rex anthem, “If Ever I Cease to Love,” Rex 2015, Mr. Christian Trousdale Brown, escorted by the captain; and the Queen of Carnival, Miss Charlotte Lane Langenstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Langenstein III, escorted by the Rex president, entered the ballroom floor and proceeded upon the grand march. Their pages, Masters Frank Hampton Gomila, son of Mr. and Mrs. Moylan Feild Gomila Jr., and John Middleton Polk Huger, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Middleton Huger, followed the king and queen. After Rex and his queen were regally enthroned, the maids of honor were escorted by the dukes of the realm, each followed by former kings of Carnival and Rex officials, and paid homage to their majesties.
Maids of honor in the court were Misses Glenny Ann Brown, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Lafayette Brown III; Sage Lyons Laborde, daughter and stepdaughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Peter Laborde Jr. and daughter of Mrs. Pia Lyons Laborde; Grace Catherine Mallette Cary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Rives Cary III; Rebecca Buckley Lapeyre, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Charles Lapeyre; Leah Katherine Whann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert James Whann IV; Evelyn Burkenroad Bories, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Alan Bories; Laura Elizabeth LeBlanc, daughter of Mr. Joseph Dwight LeBlanc III and Mrs. Jill Traylor LeBlanc; and Ellen Durel George, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Nicholas George III.
Dukes of the realm were Messrs. William Henry Hodges III, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Hodges Jr.; James Harcourt Burlingame, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Montgomery Burlingame IV; Brooks Jardét Kiser, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Michael Kiser; Hunter Wood Ham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Scott McDonald Ham; Robert Parker LeCorgne Jr., son Mr. and Mrs. LeCorgne; McClain Ronald Forman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Ronald Forman; John Havens Jaubert Cary, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cary III; and Sanders Phelps, son and stepson of Mr. and Mrs. Ashton Phelps Jr. and son of Dr. Mary Ella Sanders.
After the court was seated, in keeping with its long-standing tradition of ties with the United States military, the organization was honored to extend its greetings to and decorate Coast Guard Rear Admiral Kevin Cook, Commander, 8th Coast Guard District.
Following that presentation, the 2015 Rex debutantes each approached the throne and were recognized by the king and queen and presented a special decoration.
The debutantes honored were Misses Ella de los Reyes Baus, daughter of Mr. Mort Walker Baus and Mrs. Donna Weisler Baus; Claire Marie Clay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George William Clay; Catherine Clare Conwill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Oza Conwill IV; Katherine Renée Hodges, daughter Mr. and Mrs. Hodges Jr.; Jamie Favre Pellerin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Willis Pellerin; and Nicole Elizabeth Weinmann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert St. George Tucker Weinmann.
One of the ball’s fondest traditions is the opportunity to greet its 50-year anniversary queen. The queen of Carnival 1965, Mrs. Denis Henry McDonald , was presented to their majesties, who in turn had their pages present a bouquet of flowers in tribute.
With the court seated upon the throne, the members of the realm and their ladies paid tribute to Rex, his queen and the members of their court. At the conclusion of the grand march, the members and ladies danced the first dance. Then the succeeding dances commenced for all who were in attendance.
At 9:40 p.m., the captain of the Mystic Krewe of Comus arrived at the royal reception. After the ballroom floor had been cleared of dancers, the Comus captain and his lieutenants entered and were greeted by the Rex captain, president and the two Rex pages. The Comus captain and his lieutenants were escorted to the throne and presented to Rex and his queen. The Comus captain then gave Rex’s page a personalized, scroll invitation for Rex and the court to join the Comus ball. His majesty’s page presented the scroll to Rex, who accepted the invitation of the Comus captain.
To the music of “If Ever I Cease to Love,” Rex, his queen and their court left the reception to attend the Comus ball. After the court left, dancing by all guests resumed until the conclusion of the reception.
The chairman of the Rex ball was Mr. Lynes R. Sloss. Committeemen were Messrs. Gerard W. Barousse Jr., Christian T. Cannon, John D. Charbonnet, J. Storey Charbonnet, Oliver S. Delery Jr., Brooke H. Duncan II, G. Perry Eastman IV, Louis L. Frierson, Moylan F. Gomila Jr., William F. Grace Jr., Dr. Stephen W. Hales, Scott M. Ham, Kevin M. Kiser, Gordon H. Kolb Jr., William H. Langenstein III, Michael L. LeBourgeois, Matthew P. LeCorgne, Denis H. McDonald, R. King Milling, David M. Mize, Richard B. Montgomery IV, D. Digges Morgan III, William M. Prieur, James W. Rapier, James J. Reiss III, Andrew Rinker Jr., Mark C. Romig, Mahlon D. Sanford, Blair F. Scanlon Jr., St. Denis J. Villere III and Thomas D. Westfeldt II. Christian T. Brown was an ex-officio committeeman.