Pageantry in Bloom

A demoiselle’s dreams of wearing a crown were realized when Miss Faith Madeline Baggett was selected to be the 78th queen of the Greater New Orleans Floral Trail. She had previously been in the court for 10 years as a demoiselle and maid. Now, the scepter was hers.

Faith, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Joseph Baggett, is the granddaughter of James Pierre Ducote and the late Helen Neumann Ducote and of Beatrice Louise Baggett Monju and the late Joseph John Monju. During her reign representing The Floral Trail, she will tour Louisiana at its many fairs and festivals and will attend the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians Mardi Gras Ball in Washington, D.C., in February.

In New Orleans during the Festival of Flowers pageant, she was joined by her court and admirers for a thrilling day in the Vieux Carre. It started with Mass in St. Louis Cathedral (St. Louis Minor Basilica), photos at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, a bus ride and the crowning in Jackson Square, the national anthem played by the Orchestre De Carnaval under the direction of B.J. Perez, a carriage procession and the tossing of flowers in the French Quarter to family and passersby, and a return to the Sheraton for the formal presentation, dinner and dancing. As one Floral Trail luminary said, “What a day!”

Queen Faith follows in the royal footsteps of Miss Chandler Lauren Burkenstock, daughter of Brent Lawrence Burkenstock and Kelly Gilthrope Burkenstock. The first royal was Miss Rosary Nix Hartel, whose reign was in 1939-40.

Maids to the 2014-15 majesty were Misses Zoe Francis Barovechio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Paul Barovechio; Destiny Ariel Billot, daughter of Charlene Ray Talamo and the late Larry Wayne Billot; Emily Margaret Buck, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Marion Buck Jr.; Vera Ann Fedell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michel Joseph Fedell; Dorothy Gail Perry, whose mother is Dorothy May DeMatteo; and Shelby Ann Robicheaux, daughter of Bret Anthony Robicheaux and Tina Marie Fremen.

The four demoiselles were Misses Emily Rochelle Duplay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Joseph Duplay; Allison Mary Hedrick, daughter of Bryant Bernard Hedrick and Tracie Roddy Hedrick; Callie Renee McDaniel, daughter of Cecel Charles McDaniel and Michelle Deris Doyle; and Margo Irene Weese, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Chaffe Weese.

Continuing the floral loveliness were the little princesses: Misses Isabella Claire Bankston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Paul Bankston; Scarlett Lux Bass, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Lee Bass; Sophia Dianne Cruze, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stacy Ayres Cruze; and Emily Bernard Hedrick, daughter of the above Mr. Hedrick and Ms. Hedrick. Also, Misses Lilian Lee Hernandez and Mercedees Marie Hernandez, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Joseph Hernandez; Shelby Marie LaSalle, daughter of Shelby Paul LaSalle Jr. and Marija LaSalle; and Isabella Grace St. Philip, whose mother is Faith Ann Boudoin.

As narrated during the formal presentation at the Sheraton by master of ceremonies Dr. David Mulnick, “the youngest rose buds in our garden, the flower girls” processed. They were little Misses Khale Brenna Acosta, daughter of Troy Gregory Acosta and Debra Lynn Fleming; Sophia Margaret Dusang, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chad Paul Dusang; Grace Elisabeth Larmann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott James Larmann; Kaelynn Marie Steltz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Michael Steltz; and Kaylee Marie Vargas, daughter of Jesse Joseph Matthews and Terri Lynn Alford.

After the above cortege appeared, Dr. Mulnick announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and welcome the 78th queen.” All hailed her majesty Faith, who caught every eye in a gown designed with a stunning sweetheart neckline and a skirt that featured a flowing satin underlay draped with chiffon. It was accentuated with flowers and crystal sequins.

Her royal accessories were the crown made of imported Swarovski diamond-cut crystals and the scepter, which was decorated with coral ribbon and roses, the radiant monarch’s favorite color.

Figuring as The Floral Trail’s board of directors are President Matthew J. Hedrick Jr., Vice President Harry G. Yeatman, Treasurer Virginia H. Roch, Secretary Cathy R. Schwab, and as executive board members, Sally B. Hedrick, Richard W. Schwab Sr., and Kevin A. Rieth.

Joining them as dignitaries – and sitting at tables decorated with arrangements of carnations in lighted vases on mirrors with small candles on the side – were past President Gasper Schiro and spouse Mel and former queens Courtney H. Dusang, Candice S. Steltz, Brittany R. Thomas and Heather L. Schwab.

In her reflections, past majesty Chandler expressed her many thanks to family, friends and The Floral Trail board, as well as her pride in representing her hometown of New Orleans as a monarch. In 2015, on the second Sunday in June, 2014-15 queen Faith will be relating her gratitude and remembrances, but until then she will relish her role.

Limelighted Libations

“Summer Drinks Party” themed the recent socializing given by The Royal Society of St. George of New Orleans at The Round Table Club. The flag of Great Britain, as well as the St. George Flag of England, was displayed. The flags were provided, in turn, by James J. Coleman Jr., OBE, Honorary British Consul and the St. George Society president, and Dr. Charles Rodney Smith.

In his remarks, President Jimmy Coleman thanked the members for attending and then introduced the guest speaker, Lake Douglas, Ph.D., who talked about a memorial to the British soldiers who died at the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815. Not only will it be a monument to the fallen British soldiers, “but also to the enduring friendship between the United States of America and Great Britain.” Coleman noted in conclusion that the memorial has the full support of the two countries’ governments and that a major event is planned for the 200th anniversary of the battle of New Orleans in 2015.

Among the many in attendance were former society Presidents Robert Acomb III with spouse Kay, J. Peter Labouisse with Diane, Jeff Meckstroth with Sarah, and John Beaumont, along with the current officers: Vice President Paul Masinter with Renee, Treasurer Chris Mathes with Honey, and Secretary John Overby.

Noted, too, were Arthur and Jeanne Landry, Kevin and Haydee Mackay, Timothy and Jeanne Walker, Buddy and Jean Bolton, Keene Kelley, Webb Offutt with Nancy Claypool, David and Marilyn Aiken, spouses James Gulotta and Susan Talley, Bill and Laura Plunkett, and Max and Margaret Maxwell.

They, and the other guests, enjoyed the tasty cocktail party buffet by Saffron Caterers – and overseen by its manager, Arvinder Vilkhu – that featured such taste treats as smoked duck breasts. For dessert, guests delighted in an English fruit trifle. Meanwhile, the musical menu was by Philip Manuel and his band, who added lots of spirit to “Summer Drinks.”

Around and About

It was definitely, “Book Monday” at Octavia Books when Laura Lane McNeal spoke about her first novel (another is to come, set in 1927), which is titled “Dollbaby.” Among those packed into the Uptown bookstore were her husband Rob, parents Charlie and Lou Lane, Lynne and John Combe, Lori and Lock Ochsner, Angele Parlange, Marjory Harper (off to dinner afterward at Flaming Torch), Deborah Huger Valentine, Kaki Kohnke, Chuck and Amy Lapeyre, Ann and Robert Boh, Dorothy and Dick Piner, Beth Dienes, Parker Sternbergh, Cary King, Lilo Simmons, Larry and Kevin Kornman, Martha Landrum, and Catherine Abbott Jones. From the younger set came Laura and Rob’s son, Beattie, who just graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and his former schoolmate Guy Scoggin.

Present, too, and turning an attentive ear as the bookstore’s Tom Lowenburg introduced Laura were Elly Lane, Ned Hemard, Dana Hansel, Margie Scheuermann, and Shelley Welles (who’s just stared a canine business, Happy Dog) with Alan Brickman.

Addressing the title of her Crescent City-set book, “Dollbaby,” Laura smiled and said, “Everybody in New Orleans has a nickname.”

Follow this link to the photos.