Following 146 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 evening at the Sheraton Hotel.
A Spring-like 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 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 3 Michael Smith. The band played a stirring selection of music, including the National Anthem. During its lively performance, the Marine Band also played some of his majesty’s favorite Carnival music before departing the ballroom.
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 organization, entered the ballroom, proceeded to the center of the floor and split three to each side of the stage. Two costumed herald trumpeters entered, 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 2017, Dr. Stephen Wilson Hales, escorted by the captain, and the queen of Carnival, Miss Anna Eugenie Huger, escorted by the Rex president, entered and proceeded with the Grand March.
The queen is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Middleton Huger.
Their pages, Masters Frank Polk McIlhenny Dinkins, son of Mr. John Hyatt Dinkins and Ms. Rosemary McIhenny Dinkins; and Thomas Westervelt Werner, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Donelson Werner, followed the monarchs.
After Rex and his queen were regally enthroned, the court paid homage to the monarchs.
The maids of honor, escorted by dukes of the realm, were followed by former kings of Carnival and Rex officials. They were Misses Charlotte Villars Delery, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Stanislaus Delery Jr., escorted by Mr. Matthieu Poché Robert, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marc Lewis Robert II; Reagan Nicole Hairston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Michael Hairston, escorted by Mr. Bristol Favrot Bell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael John Bell; Katherine Stafford Winsberg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jay Winsberg, escorted by Mr. William "Will" John Kallenborn, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Jacob Kallenborn; and Margaret “Margaux” Elisabeth Hoefer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Ernst Hoefer, escorted by Mr. William Kirchhoff Kelleher, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Clark Kelleher.
Also serving in the Rex court were Misses Mary Nolan Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael James Brown, escorted by Mr. Clark "Max" Mayo Barousse Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Clark Mayo Barousse; Elizabeth "Liz" Fenner French, daughter and stepdaughter of Mr. Hardie Christian French and stepdaughter and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Eades (Rebecca) Hogue, escorted by Mr. Wilson Saunders Sharp, son of Mr. and Mrs. Garvin Saunders Sharp; Caroline Emily Lane, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Merritt Lane III, escorted by Mr. Richard Joseph Brennan III, son of Mr. Brennan Jr. and Mrs. Leslie Bateman Brennan; and Marcia Madeline Conwill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Oza Conwill IV, escorted by Mr. Charles "Charlie" Waterhouse Goodyear III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear Jr.
After the court was seated, in keeping with its traditional ties to the United States military, the Rex Organization extended greetings to and decorated Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian, commander, Marine Forces Reserve, and commander, Marine Forces North.
A number of debutantes of the season were present to his majesty. They included Misses Colette Elysse Crouere, daughter of Mr. Joffre John Crouere Jr. and Mrs. Vanessa Rigg Prentice; Caroline Chapman Hewitt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stewart Hewitt; Ellen Lane Horn daughter of Mr. Darrell Lane Horn and Mrs. Ann Walker Horn; Rachel Elizabeth Schulingkamp, daughter of Mr. David Paul Schulingkamp and Mrs. Miriam A. Schulingkamp. 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 1967, Mrs. Ashton Phelps Jr., who reigned as Suzanne Charest Dupuy, was presented to their majesties, who in turn had their pages present a bouquet in tribute.
With the court seated members and their ladies paid tribute to Rex, his queen and the members of their court in the Grand March. At the conclusion members and ladies enjoyed 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 floor had been cleared, the Comus captain and his lieutenants entered and were greeted by the Rex captain, resident and the two pages. The Comus captain and lieutenants were presented to Rex and his queen. The Comus captain then gave Rex’s page a personalized, scroll invitation for his majesty, the queen and their court to join the Comus Ball. Rex then accepted the invitation.
Shortly thereafter, to the music of “If Ever I Cease to Love,” the monarchs and their court left to attend the Comus ball. Dancing resumed until the conclusion of the reception.
The chairman of the Rex ball was Mr. Lynes R. Sloss, and Mr. Michael L. LeBourgeois 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., Scott M. Ham, Kevin M. Kiser, Gordon H. Kolb Jr., William H. Langenstein III, 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, 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. Mr. Christian T. Brown was an ex-officio committeeman.