Following 147 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 Tuesday at the Sheraton Hotel.
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 flower beds 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 wood 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 imperial reception began with the entrance of the Marine Corps Band New Orleans under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer 2 DeMarius Jackson. 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 also played some of His Majesty’s favorite Carnival music before departing.
After a short pause, the Rex captain sounded a whistle, and the organization’s orchestra began a drumroll. A group of six lieutenants costumed in the traditional green, gold and purple colors of the organization entered, proceeded to the center of the ballroom floor and split three to each side of the stage. Two costumed trumpeters entered, sounded their horns, walked onto the 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 2018, Mr. Lynes R. “Poco” Sloss, escorted by the captain, and the queen of Carnival, Miss Sarah Jane Holbrook Freeman, escorted by the president, entered the ballroom and proceeded upon the grand march.
Their pages, Masters Tullis Ritter Gambel, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Christian Gambel Jr., and Walter Douglass Goliwas, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Joseph Goliwas Jr., followed the monarchs.
After Rex and his queen were regally enthroned, the maids of honor, escorted by dukes of the realm, each followed by former kings of Carnival and Rex officials, paid homage to Rex and his queen.
Maids and dukes presented included Misses Ellen Ashley Feringa, daughter of Dr. And Mrs. Peter Anthony Feringa III; escorted by Mr. Stephen Henry Boh Jr., son of Mr. Boh and Mrs. Jacqueline Fontenot Montgomery; Catherine Reese Bickham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Joseph Bickham, escorted by Mr. David Merrick Lane Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Lane; Elizabeth Lockwood Atherton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Curwen Atherton, escorted by Mr. Frank Mooney Nalty III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nalty Jr.; Julia Anne Charbonnet, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Taylor Charbonnet, escorted by Mr. William Robert McNeal, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Beattie McNeal; Bailey Elizabeth Batt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John August Batt Jr., escorted by Mr. Edouard James Kock IV, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kock III; Elise Lockett Clay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George William Clay, escorted by Mr. Harold Granberry Tabb III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tabb Jr.; Jane Talley Hodges, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Nalty Hodges, escorted by Mr. William Kethely Dossett Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Dossett; and Shelby Jane Ottley White, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Bright White, escorted by Mr. Morgan Williams LeCorgne, son of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Phillips LeCorgne.
After the Royal Court was seated, in keeping with its long-standing tradition of presenting medals to visiting dignitaries, and in homage to the tricentennial anniversary of the beloved city of New Orleans, the organization was honored to extend its greetings and decorate Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, founder of the city.
Following that presentation, several debutantes of the season were presented to his majesty. They included Misses Whitney Caroline Appel, daughter of Sen. and Mrs. Conrad H. Appel III; Madeleine Anne Bienvenu, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Albert Bienvenu IV; Mary Elizabeth Conwill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Oza Conwill IV; Megan Lane Feringa, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Feringa; Elizabeth Macon Hamrick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hamrick; Elle Alexandra Lovick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grayson Lovick Jr.; Elle Colton McLeod, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Evans Martin McLeod; Isabelle Walet Mulkin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Pearce Mulkin; and Caroline Elizabeth Perlis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Wicker Perlis. Each approached the throne and were greeted by the king and queen of Carnival and presented a special decoration.
One of the ball’s fondest traditions is the opportunity to greet its 50-year anniversary queen. The queen of Carnival 1968, Delia Lane Hardie, was presented to their majesties, who in turn had their pages present a floral bouquet in tribute.
With the royal court seated, 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 their 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 Mystick Krewe of Comus arrived at the royal reception. After the 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 presented to Rex and his queen. The Comus captain then gave a personalized, scroll invitation for the Rex monarchs and their court to join the Comus ball. His majesty’s page presented the scroll to Rex, who accepted the invitation of the Comus captain.
Shortly thereafter, to the music of “If Ever I Cease to Love,” Rex, his queen and their court left the Rex reception to attend the Comus ball. After the court left, dancing by all guests resumed until the conclusion.
The chairman of the Rex ball was Mr. Sloss, and Mr. James J. Reiss III served as assistant chairman. 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, Michael D. Milling, R. King Milling, John D. Mills, David M. Mize, Richard B. Montgomery IV, D. Digges Morgan III, William M. Prieur, James W. Rapier, Andrew Rinker Jr., Mark C. Romig, Mahlon D. Sanford, Blair F. Scanlon Jr., St. Denis J. Villere III and Thomas D. Westfeldt II. Mr. Christian T. Brown was an ex officio committeeman.