Getting to Know You!

An ACE for the Crescent City

“Ashley, Caroline and Eugenie” bannered the invitation for the debutante party given by three sets of parents for their daughters. “There’s ‘NOLA’ Place Like Home” announced the thematic thrust that featured such cherished landmarks as St. Louis Cathedral, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Pat O’Brien’s, the streetcar and the Roman Candy man with a mule to pull the white wagon. Significant buildings added still more affectionate nods to local ambiance.

“Black tie” was the stated dress and the New Orleans Country Club, the venue. To focus on the site for the night, the front of the invitation featured the country club’s 300-plus-year-old oak tree and its outreaching branches. Included, too, were the names of the parents: LouAnne and Craig Sanders in honor of daughter Ashley, Suzanne and David Perlis in honor of Caroline, and Mary and Michael Whealdon in honor of Eugenie.

According to a party principal, every room of the country club that was used for the party suggested a notable area of the city. Guests could pick out the French Quarter, the Garden District and all that Mardi Gras evokes. The main bar featured the Steamboat Natchez’s famous smokestacks, complete with a photo backdrop of the boat. The main stage where the band Escalade performed had light-up letters spelling out “NOLA” back-lit by purple, green and gold.

Around and about, there were candelabras wrapped with greenery and gold vases with Mardi Gras feathers.

As for their looks, the deb trio made sartorial statements of the fashionable kind. Ashley Sanders chose a creation by Tiziani Alemanni, while mom LouAnne wore Shoshanna. Caroline Perlis chose a dress by Chase Zibilich and mother Suzanne, a Kay Unger mode. For both Eugenie and Mary Whealdon, the dress letters were KVH Designs.

Socializing with the Sanders family were Ashley’s brother, Robert “Bobby” Sanders, and their grandmother, Diane Bunge. And, Mr. and Mrs. Langdon Stone, Mrs. Esmond Phelps, Peter Tuz, Robert Livaudais, Mr. and Mrs. Marc Livaudais, the Rev. and Mrs. Jackie Ward, Jacqueline Ward, Mr. and Mrs. Steven Mikes, and Capt. and Mrs. Paul Vogt.

They, and countless others, made their way to the food areas that were principally in the Founder’s Room and the formal dining room. New Orleans’ staples were the culinary hits and included crabmeat ravigote displayed in pirogues and crawfish beignets served with remoulade sauce.

David George Perlis, deb Caroline’s grandfather, was among the immediate family present. So were deb grandmother Nancy (Mrs. Robert Lowry) Gonce and Caroline’s siblings, Lauren Michelle Perlis and Robert Wicker Perlis. More kin and kith were Sharon Anne Perlis, Charel Katz, Elizabeth Gonce Messer, the John Patisons, William M. Katz, Lyn Hallaron, Craig and Mary Margaret Brewer, Thomas and Kate Patin, Peter and Catherine Freeman, Edmund and Anne Redd, Willie and Megan Nelson, John and Amy White, and Charlie and Reecee Lanier.

Mike and Thomas Whealdon were part of sister Eugenie’s party pack. So were Howell and Katie Crosby, Tac and Caroline Crosby, Billy and Elizabeth Crosby, Wilson and Tippins Crosby Gandy, Patty Smith, Helen and Brooks Gibert, Patrick and Jan Whealdon, Hunter and Connor Whealdon, Jay and Phoebe Whealdon, Thomas and Wendy Beron, Susan and Chick Ives, Lynne and David Gibons, Karl and Lisa Hoefer, Marguerite and Jimmy Kock, Charlotte and Bush Benton, and Peter and Debi Dupuy. Also, three family, two-generational groups in Conway, Bo and Morgan Farrell; Dwight, Kirsten and Caroline Acomb; and Kathleen, Charlie and Knox Van Horn.

Three generations mingled, as did scores of other friends, who were on the invitation lists of all three hosting families. Many overlapped.

As for the music making, Swamp Donkeys started off the night, even playing a New Orleans version of “Game of Thrones.” As the party progressed, and at 9 p.m., Escalade commanded the club’s Gold Room, rendering such hits as “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Soul Man.” Dozens bounded out to boogie.

To cap the caper, the three honorees joined the Escalade band on stage with festive second-line umbrellas, and danced to “Mardi Gras Mambo.” Guests also joined the on-stage fun, all wearing the signature light-up beads with the debs’ name on them. The first initial of each name, Ashley, Caroline and Eugenie, underscored how the bash will be remembered. An “ACE” of a NOLA good time!

Dancing at Eight

Kelley Abbott with Write-On Stationery created the invitations for the Eight O’Clocks Winter Dance that took place in two segments at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club. For one hour, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the dessert party gathered notables. Then from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., “Dance” was the matter at hand. And foot!

Within, garlands and lighted wreaths with metallic bows were part of the look, while disco balls added decorative energy. Noshes were ever-popular chips and queso, as well as cookies by Joan Farrell Mathis.

The event co-chairwomen and their daughters were Meredith Picou and Caroline and Helen LeBourgeois and Nina. School representatives and their daughters were Dena Bach Waters and Katie Main, Robyn Nowak and Allie, Robyn Schwarz and Marguerite, Courtney Le Clercq and Susan, Catherine Favrot and Eliza, and Molly Baumer and Emma Rose Baumer. Committee members and their daughters were Tina Andrews (decorations) and Cameron, Ginny Wirth (treasurer) and Charlotte, and Nicole Johnson (for the check-in) and Laine.

Just under 400 kids made their rounds, coming from the six Eight O’ Clocks member schools — Country Day, McGehee, Newman, Sacred Heart, St. Martin’s, Trinity — plus Lusher, Ursuline, Mt. Carmel, Jesuit, Brother Martin and more.

Committee dads, such as David Pico, Charles LeBourgeois, Eric Nowak, Ted Le Clercq, Kristin Baumer and Adam Wirth, got a hearty dose of gratitude, as did other parent chaperones. In that latter number were Joann Davidson, Suma Ammari, Anya Dunn, Selaima Henderson, Jane and Greg Bensel, Ashley and Tim Francis, Doris and Tommy Bryan, Shelley and Tony Barreca, Paige Morrison, and Sara and Mario Munoz.

DJ Dave conjured up the sounds with numbers by Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran among the favorite numbers for the eighth-graders and their pals. As souvenirs, Jackson Advertising printed dance-themed T-shirts.