On a recent Sunday, the Children’s Carnival Club of New Orleans held its 90th annual bal masque at the Sheraton Hotel to celebrate “Once upon a time when the world was young.” Reigning were Queen and King Once Upon a Time Cecelia Frances Zimmermann and Garrett Thomas McNamara, whose parents are Mr. and Mrs. Paul Michael Zimmermann and Mr. and Mrs. Gary Joseph McNamara. As Gayle Comer, Mrs. McNamara wore the CCC crown in 1979.
After the ball, and later that Sunday, a number of guests settled in front of their televisions for another type of “once upon a time” in “Downton Abbey” as shown on WYES-TV. Taking advantage of the popularity of the television series, and scheduled for a Tuesday from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., was “An Afternoon with WYES.” The “Downton Abbey”-inspired tea benefited the television station and drew many a period-attired guest at the home of Jennifer and Fred Heebe on St. Charles Avenue. The event was sold-out.
Children’s Carnival Club
In addition to their majesties queen Cecelia and king Garrett of the Children’s Carnival Club, there were many members of their court, all enjoying the honor of participating in the 90th anniversary celebration.
William Christopher Johnson, Mikes Hadfield Ogden, Shane Aubrey Langston and Connor Frederick Langston were the pages, and James Raymond Villa, Audrey Adele Victoria Klein, Catherine Marie Zimmermann, Colleen Elisabeth Daly and Shannon Elizabeth Plough, the captains.
The attendants, 10 of them, included Gabrielle Marie Dennis, Margaret Chamberlin Kane, Lillian Whitney Oufnac, Miranda Lisette May, Chloe Elise Shannon, Sarah May Bergeron, Collette Elizabeth Shannon, Grace Francesca Lucia Guidry, Vivian Ruth Kane and Mignon Vallee Ogden.
As dukes, there were Bryce Cowen Oufnac, Gatlin William Anthony Klein, Brady Maslin Oufnac, Evan Harriss Michell, Blake Paul Makofsky, Coleman Edward Guidry and Cameron Creech Drouilhet, and, as maids, Colette Bleu Acosta, Amelia Devereaux Alberts, Isabella Marie Dennis, Mackenzie Leigh Langston, Meredith Anne Guy, Mary Maxine Guy and Alice Lane Read Calhoun.
Each year, CCC presents a skit and for the gala 90th ball, the Emerald Anniversary, it was activity in the Emerald City of Oz. Portraying special characters were Camille Rosalie Borne Curran (Auntie Em), Liam John Borne Curran (Uncle Henry), Joseph Warren Zimmermann (Nome King), Jason Barq Johnson Jr. (Wizard), Cecile Valentine Borne Curran (Ozma), John Colby Shannon (Lion), Brendan Connolle Johnson (Scarecrow) and Collin Laird Shannon (Tin Man). Rebecca Gabrielle Langston portrayed Dorothy.
To launch the gala levity in the Sheraton’s Armstrong ballroom, the captains entered and then the krewe. Last year’s royals, Andrew Glen Carter and Alston Adele Bagot, arrived next, along with court members.
Then came this year’s King “Once Upon a Time” Garrett and Queen “Once Upon a Time” Cecelia. All admired her in a dropped-waist, full-skirted gown designed by Katie Johnson of Ilaine Hartman Couturiers.
Mrs. McNamara, the king’s mother chose a deep aubergine silk taffeta gown by Carol Lin, while royal mother Mrs. Zimmermann wore an Empire gown of emerald green silk chiffon by Ilaine Hartman.
Subsequent activity concerned the presentation of 2014-15 debutantes who had participated in CCC activity, namely Lane-Larkin Davis, Kristen Jeanne Pouey and Emily Elizabeth Tastet, who wore the Children’s crown in 2009 and that of the Caliphs of Cairo on Jan. 17 of this year.
The tableau, “The Emerald City of Oz,” followed, as did the presentation of the mayoral proclamation; the Royal Entertainment by the New Orleans Youth Ballet of the Maria and Joseph Giacobbe School of Dance that has Richard Rholdon as ballet master; and the presentation of past monarchs. Among them were Ann Porteous Vickery, who reigned (as Miss Porteous) in 1949 when she was nine; and her relative, Mildred Porteous Ball, and her husband, Keith Marshall. The latter couple both were monarchs in 1958 and married years later.
Concluding moments were the presentation of the Royal Gift to St. Michael Special School, the grand march, the court dance, the krewe drill, royal greetings, dancing to the music of the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra and the grand finale. Chairing various committees were Alan Brackett, W. Kenneth Mann Jr. and Curtis Rome.
Noted in prominent box seats were Mrs. Barbara Comer. Mrs. Eugene Gambel (who reigned as Eileen Comer), Mrs. Matthew Even, Adele Dauphin (the 1993 queen), and Mmes. Constance Stoltz Zimmermann, Cecelia Frances Browning, and Anna Maucele Bonneval.
With the trip to Oz concluded, another one awaited in the confines of the hotel. Everyone then went down to the Waterbury Room at the invitation of their majesties King and Queen “Once Upon a Time XC” for their “Gala Celebration.”
It was truly a joyful occasion with three (maybe four) generations having a lot of fun together. Green-theme decorations, good food, a candy bar (people keep grabbing mini Mr. Goodbars), a Snap photo booth, and music by DJ Tim Plunkett kept the floor ever so lively with tunes by Katy Perry and others. And young and less young danced away with many a tiny tot wiggling around, loving the sounds. All the while, 2015’s Garrett and Cecelia reveled in their royalty.
Tea, Anyone? Everyone?
Glorious weather allowed for a few last-minute ticket sales to “An Afternoon with WYES” for which “Downton Abbey” came alive in cast-member portrayals. When guests arrived at the Heebe home, they were greeted by the butler of the series, an actor as Mr. Carson. Photos were snapped in front of “Highclere Castle” (Downton Abbey in the TV world) and period music was played. Guests strolled inside and out on the spacious front lawn, basking in the suggested ambiance of the Edwardian era. Pigeon Caterers provided afternoon tea fare and an auction abetted the event’s coffers.
Top sponsors (Monarch) were First Bank & Trust and Russ and Sandra Herman, while the Noble ones were Al and Penny Baumer, John and Bonnie Boyd, Jacquee Carvin, Joel and Sandra Chaisson, Crescent Sterling Ltd., Frances and Calvin Fayard, Dunn & Sonnier Flowers, First NBC, Lanier Hosford, and Frank and Paulette Stewart.
Jean Rice was radiant in her period attire as the tea’s chairwoman. Her Core Committee consisted of Gayle Benson, Sue Ellen Canizaro, Heidi Dugan, Nadia Al Hashimi, Angela Hill, Faith Peperone and the above Jennifer Heebe and Sandra Herman. Allan Pizzato is the president of WYES.
Still others were Shane French, Kim Abramson, Constance Cowart, Gayle Dellinger, Diane Hollis, Teresa Guzzetta, Tommy Westervelt (chairman of the “Downton Abbey” event of 2014), Howard Thompson, Dianne Breaux, Mary Katherine Tusa, Steven Putt, Carolyn Elder, Roy Dunn and Stephen Sonnier, representatives from Moss Antiques, Tim Fields, Sammy Steele, Ann Fuselier, Fred Holley, Peggy Scott Laborde, Juan Barona and Bob Phillips, and dozens more. Quite a few sipped champagne at the one-hour patron reception. The tea itself ran from 3-5 p.m.
All the while, a certain “once upon a time” ambiance prevailed as the WYES supporters delighted in an imagined tea-a-tete conviviality with the Crawleys.