A brace of activities occurred in the Vieux Carre to mark vernal vitality, while elsewhere, patriotism made socializing happen. All three had the underscoring of history. n Spring Fiesta
“Thankfully, mild ‘temps’ and no rain,” said Tara C. Doskey about the coronation ceremony of the annual New Orleans Spring Fiesta Association that took place in Jackson Square. Occurring for more than a week, the annual event and all its many facets “has continued to be committed to promoting the beauty and heritage of the Crescent City.” Since its beginning almost 80 years ago, the Fiesta festival has grown “into a major cultural event focusing on the historical and architectural delights of the city.” And those of lovely young ladies, as well.
Reigning as queen was Miss Ellen Jane Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steven E. Miller. She made a radiant picture in a white antebellum dress created by Sally Hedrick. It featured a white organza bodice with pearl trim, a scalloped portrait collar and puffed sleeves made of lace, and a three-tiered skirt. White orchids embellished her scepter. A sentimental accessory was the heirloom cameo pendant, which belonged to her grandmother, Jane V. Woodruff, and was worn by queen Ellen’s mother, the former Helen Woodruff, as the 1980 Spring Fiesta queen.
The maid to her majesty was Miss Emily Elizabeth Tastet, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David A. Tastet, who, on Jan. 17, was hailed as the Caliphs of Cairo queen during her just-finished debutante year.
Queen Ellen’s younger sister, Elizabeth Catherine Miller, participated in the 2015 court as a demoiselle, sharing that limelight with twins Allison Riegel Woolverton and Madeleine Marie Woolverton, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory D. Woolverton; Eugenie Devereaux Cates, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael M. Cates; Elizabeth Anne Mentz, daughter of Mr. Charles N. Mentz III and Ms. Jane Faia Mentz; and Katherine Melissa Bickham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark A. Bickham.
Four jewel bearers completed the court: Misses Charlotte Elizabeth Bush, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Peyton Bush IV; Annabelle Gray Siklos and Henry Alex Siklos, whose parents are Mr. and Mrs. Richard Oscar Siklos; and Mignon Vallee Ogden, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Roger H. Ogden II.
Prior to the Jackson Square formality, the court and SF dignitaries gathered at the Spring Fiesta Association headquarters in their 19th-century townhouse on St. Ann Street in the French Quarter. The house boasts large double parlors, an elegant dining room and a spiral staircase, while outside there’s a courtyard, fountain and garconniere.
After the reception in the townhouse, a promenade of antebellum-dressed ladies and gentlemen, and boys and girls, advanced for the presentation at Jackson Square. The master of ceremonies was Stephen Rosenthal, mayor of Indianola, Mississippi. Tourists and locals alike loved the excitement.
After freshening up in the SF house, notables proceeded to the mule-drawn carriages, horses and antique cars for the parade, with music by two Treme brass bands, that ended up at the Sheraton Hotel. From street level, it was on to the Armstrong Ballroom for the gala, the “Night in Old New Orleans,” and the presentation of the court. Prandial pleasures and music for dancing by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra added further delights.
Within that assembly, all admiring the bouquets by Tommy’s Florist and the emceeing by Dr. W. Kenneth Mann Jr., were past queens Tracey Riegel (Mrs. David) Koch, Elizabeth Weidner Ehrensing Bush (the above Mrs. Bush), Ms. Ardyn Tyra Treadway, Ms. Caroline-Kerstine Ellen Mann, and of course, the beaming queen mother, Helen Miller.
Also, family members of the queen in Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Childress Jr., Mr. Childress III, Mr. and Mrs. James R. Danner Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Martin Larsson, and Mr. Paul Wedig. Board members included former SF President C.J. Blanda, Gayle Ehrensing, Rhonda Laizer and Mrs. W. Kenneth Mann Jr.
In her thanks, the radiant monarch raved about what a wonderful opportunity it was for her, continuing with “I enjoyed every minute of it.” She closed saying, “I will cherish these memories forever.”
n Paschal parading
Easter Sunday may be associated in its secular stance with pastel colors, but for members of the Historic French Quarter Easter Parade, it’s a red-letter day. Members first gathered at Antoine’s Restaurant for a continental breakfast prior to their ride through the Vieux Carre under the leadership of parade President Amy Carbonette Cioll, who was joined by husband Nick. Amy’s sister, Madeline Carbonette, had the honor of leading the 2015 parade.
The next stop was to St. Louis Cathedral for Mass, where the celebrant, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, in his address to the overflowing crowd, commented on all the festive hats the parade pack sported. Following Mass, some parade members participated in the traditional promenade in Jackson Square, while others joined the fun at the Easter Egg Hunt in St. Anthony’s Garden (behind the cathedral) sponsored by cathedral rector the Rev. Philip Landry and Archbishop Aymond. Children delighted in the “easy” hunt.
The parade then returned to Antoine’s, where Janice Foulks and the above Amy Cioll welcomed parade participants and their guests on behalf of the restaurant’s Yvonne Blount. Lunch followed in the Twelfth Night Dining Room, culminating with baked Alaska with chocolate sauce. Paper-glittered Easter bunnies and eggs nestled in beds of “grass” decorated the tables.
Noted were Dr. Ed Foulks with the above Janice, Ginger Gould with David Speights, Bonnie Lee with husband Walter, Penny Baumer with Al, Amy Gray with Jason and daughter Alexis, Julie Herlihy with John, and Shane Sibley Levy with spouse Dr. Russell Levy and Barbara Ryans.
Carol and Dr. Douglas Greve were joined by family members from Texas: a mother-daughter twosome in Catherine and Peyton Hall, Katheen Goemer and Becky Hall. Still others were Pam and Larry Pickett, Susan and Al Guillot, Lynn Abide and Cindy Janecke, Rita and Jerry Satawa, Pat and Greg Kahn, Terry and Dr. Tom Keister, and others who are already red-circling Sunday, March 27, for their 2016 peregrination and celebration.
The Southern Yacht Club was the venue for a soiree given by, and for, the New Orleans chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Established in 1975, the mission of the New Orleans chapter is to send nine students and a high school teacher every year to the Valley Forge Campus in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. All the expenses are paid.
The evening started with the pianism of Nancy Mayberry. A special treat was the subsequent performance by Donna Darling and her tap dance group to “New York, New York.” Dinner, set up as a bountiful buffet, had such attractions as turtle soup, salad with pecans, Gulf fish Oscar and trifle for dessert. Giving buoyant bounce and lively color to the ambiance were the green, blue and yellow balloon centerpieces.
Joining in the FFVF funding and friendship were Frank Arnemann, Alicia Ohlmeyer and guest Jimmie Hines, Dr. Louis Trachtman, Carol McPhearson, Leda Sobon, Dottie Rivenbark, Loretta Clark, Direen Arnold, Charles Ostarly, Helen Loeb, Jeanne Bernard and daughter Sue, John and Carol Grout, Gasper and Mel Schiro, and Patrick Lee Lynch. “Spring Fling” marqueed their patriotic partying.