Elves and Prophets! A brace of balls, significant highlights of the Carnival season, occurred thanks to the Elves of Oberon, which presented its first tableau bal masque in 1895, and the Prophets of Persia, which dates to 1927. For the 2016 revels, a tableau took place at both, as did the reigns of same-name debutante queens.
Puck and Pluck
Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, died in 1616. Now, 400 years later, Folio fans are honoring him and his oeuvre, a highlight of which is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with its playful Puck. Oberon, King of Fairyland in the play, was the name used by the new krewe in 1895.
Eight days prior to Shrove Tuesday 2016, the Elves of Oberon staged their masked ball at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with “The Replacements” as the theme and a call for Puck to act. The Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra rendered the scintillating sounds.
Holding the scepter was Miss Sara Layne Gambel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Joseph Gambel. Last year, the wearer of the crown was Miss Rebecca Buckley Lapeyre, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Charles Lapeyre. In 2011, Miss Gambel first enjoyed royalty as the Squires queen. Her 2016 king, who garnered many compliments, was the son of a former Oberon king.
Oberon maids to her majesty Sara were Misses Agnes Robeson Bell (Mithras queen), Genevieve Marie Bienvenu (Achaeans queen), Isabel Louise Collier, Elizabeth Brooks Ellinghausen, Gladys Grace Gille, Corinne Adele Guillot (Twelfth Night Revelers monarch), Mathilde Michinard Kepper, Aimee Druilhet Lapeyre, Shelby Heath Sharp Meckstroth (the Osiris queen), Emily Louise Eble Nelson, Katherine Woodworth Slatten (Nereus queen) and Meredith Anita Tufton (Athenians queen).
The pages were Masters William Swayze Darragh, Ryan Patrick Farnsworth, James Ted Rogers IV and Charles Frederick Seemann IV.
Messrs. Horace Mark Adams and Chester Theodore Alpaugh III were the respective chairman and vice chairman of the court committee that included Messrs. James McCall Baldwin Jr., Thomas Edouard Beron, William Hart Brundige Jr., Joseph Storey Charbonnet, Peter Hillyer Dupuy, Bryan Westfeldt Fitzpatrick, Thomas Carter Jahncke, Lawrence Noel Johnson Jr., John Peter Laborde, David Taylor Pointer, Godfrey Bruce Parkerson and Justin Burton Schmidt.
Acknowledged “in memorium” was Mr. John Peter Labouisse III.
When queen Sara arrived on the scene, she was a picture of monarchal splendor in a gown of Italian silk satin designed by Anne E. Garber and created by Jocelyn Glanzman of Studio Z Custom Creations. Shimmering, intricate diamond patterns of Austrian crystals, bugle beads and pearls adorned the bodice and split over-skirt. Her diamond necklace was that of her great-grandmother, who reigned as Lorraine Nalty (later, Mrs. Charles Lange Gambel) at Proteus and Osiris, both in 1933. More sparkle came from the Medici collar of Oberon, the scepter and crown.
A Monique Lhuillier gown of magenta and lavender, which reflected Oberon’s royal colors, bedecked royal mother Layne. She was joined in the box seating by monarch Sara’s grandmothers, Mmes. Charles Lange Gambel Jr. and Joseph W. Wolfe, as well as royal sisters Elizabeth Parks Gambel (an Oberon maid and Proteus queen in 2014) and Ellen Lorraine Gambel. And, Mmes. Patrick Martin Gambel, Michael Hardin Ellis, Timothy R. McGoldrick, Raymond K. Hunter, William Christian Gambel Jr., William Joseph Goliwas Jr., Joseph Storey Charbonnet, Louis McDaniel Freeman Jr., and Peter L. Freeman.
Mrs. Thorn B. Himel, nee Beverly Ann Favrot and the Oberon queen of 1947, was a special guest at the ball. The theme that year was “A Reverie.” Two other former Oberon queens Miss Mallory Geary (2012) and Barbara Geary (Mrs. Thomas Gerard) Diano (1975) — were seated nearby, as were Mmes. Jeffrey Lawrence Geary, Patrick Gillin, Clayton C. Geary, James F. Geary, Cyril P. Geary III, Charles J. Van Horn, David T. Pointer, Gerard J. Sonnier, Donald B. Petagna, Frank J. Lopiccolo, Morell S. Crane and John J. Girault.
Many — most wearing the magnolia krewe favor pin (inspired by the 1916 ball) — had hobnobbed prior to the ball in the foyer outside La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom, the site for the night.
On to the New Orleans Country Club it was afterward for the Queen’s Supper, where E of O accents figured in the décor and the Tip Tops from Atlanta added groove to gallivanting. Gorgeous, too, thanks to queen Sara, who was Oberon royalty personified.
El Pardo Pomp
At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the 89th annual bal masque of the Prophets of Persia hailed Miss Sarah Ehret Martin, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Edward Joseph Martin III, as queen. Another queen, Maria de las Mercedeson of Spain, was recalled in the tableau depicting events of 1878. At that time, she and her husband, Alfonso XII, King of Spain, gathered nobles to the Royal Palace of El Pardo to celebrate and to honor a special guest, Brig. Gen. Arsenio Martinez-Campos y Anton.
In the PoP insignia, there’s a helmet at the top, and, on the heraldic crest, two crescents and a swan. Swanning their way at the ball as maids of honor were Misses Alison Marie Mikes and Meredith Anita Tufton (the Athenians queen). Misses Whitney Kent Churchill, Bergen Loren Sanderford and Marguerite Abaunza Walk were the ladies in waiting.
Ten princesses graced the court: Misses Evangeline Claire Barras, Caitlin Parker Estrada, Caroline Kelly Falgoust, Katherine Margaret Farris, Alyce McCollum Gordon, Brooke Elizabeth Habetz, Ella Suzanne Lansford, Clare Lee Sanders, Josie Kate Sanders and Anna Elizabeth Watson. Masters Nathaniel Joseph Sanders, Michael Francis Michaelis Jr. and Patrick Michael Volner were the dutiful pages.
Of particular interest was the presentation of Suzanne Marie Kuhn, the 50th anniversary queen, whose amethyst gown was her late mother’s.
Mr. Bret Alden Clesi served as the ball’s general chairman; Messrs Arthur Seldon Mann III (a former next-door neighbor of the Kuhns) and Alan Guy Brackett chaired, in turn, the floor and reception committees. Assisting them were Messrs. Hilton Sutton Bell, Donald Gilbert Charbonnet, Gunther Richard Michaelis, Stephen Henry Schonberg, Hugh Ramsay Straub and Dr. Jerry Joseph St. Pierre.
In 2015, Miss Virginia Dove Mitts, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Mitts, wore the PoP mantle of royalty.
During the tableau, tenor Casey Candebat sang in Spanish (“Granada”), English (“Be My Love”) and Italian (“Nessun dorma”) to great applause. The Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra played.
More applause occurred when queen Sarah joined his majesty (whose wife did not recognize him at first in his splendid military costume) for the grand march. Royal House Design created her dress of silver, embroidered and sequined organza over white silk satin and rich embellishment. She debuted the organization’s glittering Medici collar.
Teri Jon was the designer chosen by queen mother Julie Martin. Noted, too, was Mrs. Graham Mears Ralston, the 1997 queen as Adele Helyn Michaelis, with “Christmas in Lisbon” as the theme. Her Boss gown of silk chiffon featured sharp accordion pleats. On the eve of the ball, she and many of the past PoP Queens (quite a few were at the ball) had lunch at the New Orleans Country Club.
Julie and Dr. Martin III, were the first individuals presented to their majesties. Seated with Mrs. Martin was royal grandmother Mrs. Martin Jr., and Mmes. James E. Granskog, Harvey S. Bartlett, F. Otway Denny III, Neal A. Fischer, Kenneth E. Harrell, Eugene J. Gibert III, H. Jeffery Burkhardt, Michael Pou, Bruce P. Sossaman, Brian J. Gille, Charles C. Zatarain, James B. Bassich, David Weidner, Eugene W. Gambel, Brian Pagragan, Barry L. Tanner, Logan J. Martin, and Colin W. VanDervort.
And, Miss Ana L. Coutin and Dr. Suzanne Fournier.
Dr. Melanie Sheen, and Mmes. William Young, Alan Edward Sheen, Alfred Sommer, Michael Sachs, John Martin, James Young, Shannon Walgamotte, Aaron Friedman, John Bradley, Leigh Traverse, John Knott, Mark Bickham, F. Clegg Strong, and Marvin Russell were noted, as was Claudia Fitz-Hugh Kelleher, a former queen of Carnival.
Revelry continued at the New Orleans Country Club-located Queen’s Supper with music by the JMO and breakfast as the fare. All the while, queen Sarah radiated the joy of royalty.