At the most recent ball of The Squires, which took place in The New Orleans Theatre of the New Orleans Convention Center, Miss Rebecca Emerson French stepped into the role of her majesty and graced the festivity with her youthful poise and presence. The first maid was Miss Miriam de Buys Ellis. Their respective parents are Mr. and Mrs. John Fenner French and Mr. and Mrs. John Cothran Ellis. Last year, the queenly honor befell Miss Ashley Linfield Murphy.

All admired queen Rebecca in her regal dress, “a study in simplicity.” Made of Italian silk faille from a Vogue design of 1965, it was fashioned with a fitted bodice, a high square front neckline and a plunging back. Additional accoutrements were the crown, scepter, mantle and jewelry, all family heirlooms.

The maids of honor wore white dresses of their choosing. Gracing the court were Misses Katherine Isabel Balart, Kelly Manning Batt, Laurel Ann Box, Lydia Vivian Calhoun, Lucille Caliste Currence, Mignon Eloise Daly, Emily Brierre Davidson, Charlotte Sprunt Freeman, Charlotte Hollingsworth Friend, and Ellen Lorraine Gambel.

And, Misses Lindsey LeJeune Gibert, Mary Mitchell Ives Henry, Alexandra Rae Herman, Caroline McDaniel Hughs, Sara Elizabeth Jenkins, Camille Palmer Kelley, Margot Jane Koch, Sarah Eleanor Lane and Hayden Dawson Livaudais.

Also, Misses Elizabeth Carter Macdiarmid, Helen Anne Mason, Meredith Kuebel Mentz, Kathryn Anderson Payne, Lillian Miles Rufty, Shannon Elizabeth Schmidt, Caroline Louise Viator, Marguerite Abaunza Walk, Eleanor Jean Wenzel and Marcy Jean Williams. Several of them have connections to Squires royalty, such as Lucy Currence, whose mother, Mrs. Richard M. Currence Jr., reigned in 1986 as Miss Mathilde Bernard Villere.

The first queen of Squires was Miss Patricia Forsyth Strachan, who wore the crown in 1963.

In the evening’s pageantry, and with music played by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, Santa Claus arrived in a sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer led by the red-nosed Rudolph. He was enacted by Master Collier Pratt Villere, son of Mr. and Mrs. St. Denis Julien Villere III. The other reindeer, the ball’s boy and girl pages to their majesties, were Charles Wilhelm Adriance, Litchfield Clark Barba, Katherine Tierney Bilbro, Camden Haynes Billups, Charlotte Elizabeth Bush, Albert Peyton Bush V, William Carriere Cook, Ellen Patricia Ellis, Garrison Joseph Franks and Lyla Dayton Gordon.

And, Christopher Forsyth Hovet (a great-nephew of the first queen, Patricia Strachan), Kingsland Eastman LeBourgeois, Catherine Davis Lapeyre, Francis Rivers Lelong III, Madeleine Anne Long, William Mitchell Long, Katherine Harper Montgomery, Livie Freret Montgomery, John Elliott Paige, Margaret Collier Ramsey, Isabel Louise Schmidt, Dorothy Grace Scriber, Porter Wailes Sinnott, Sarah Gibbs Smallpage, Robert Wade Van Horn and Foster Frye Woods.

Mr. John R. Cook IV was the general chairman of the ball.

Among those noted in prominent box seats were Mrs. French, the queen’s mother, who also answers to Dr. Shane French. Her classic strapless gown was made of Carolina Herrera fabric with a horizontal striped black-and-fuchsia ribbon adorning the fitted high waist band. She, too, wore coordinating family jewelry.

Seated nearby were Flora Fenner (Mrs. Ronald J.) French, the queen’s grandmother, who said, after the formal fact, that Rebecca had such a wonderful time. Invited, as well, to be seated in prominent boxes were Mmes. Hardie French, James Fenner, Scott Slatten, Robert Rosen, Robert T. Weinmann, Robert St. George Weinmann, Robert E. Howson, John G. Weinmann, Peter Coffman, George G. Weinmann, James Laborde, Peter B. Feringa, St. Denis J. Villere III, John R. Cook IV, Olivier Clement Dabezies, Mason G. Couvillon, Mark W. Brown, Clayton Geary, Dunbar Healy, Brett O. Reynolds, William Claiborne Perrilliat III, Peter M. Tufton, John C. Ellis, Ralph G. Breaux and J. Storey Charbonnet.

Prior to the ball, the royal parents, Fenn and Shane French, held a reception at their home, while the king (who is not identified) enjoyed similar socializing at the Convention Center. After the excitement of the 52nd anniversary ball, the Queen’s Supper unfolded in the Convention Center, where general revelry prevailed as everyone hailed radiant Rebecca.

Opera Director’s Dinner

One of the choice dinners during the holidays is that given by the New Orleans Opera Association to say thank-you to its major sponsors, known as The Mastersigners, and special guests. More than half of the Opera Association’s annual individual support comes collectively from The Mastersigners, which is co-chaired by Drs. Nicolas and Haydee Bazan. (She was unable to attend; a new grandchild was about to be born.)

Once again, the dinner unfolded in the Grill Room of the Windsor Court Hotel. Prior to taking their seats, guests enjoyed cocktails in a private dining room. Then they moved to the Grill Room itself, where white roses and tea lights adorned the tables. Butter-poached lobster was the first of several courses, which culminated with Bourbon apple bundt cake.

During the course of the prandial pleasures, NOOA President Dr. R. Ranney Mize, who was joined by spouse Emel, delivered an update of the opera season and thanked the Grill Room staff and the hotel’s general manager, David Teich. Then maestro Robert Lyall, general and artistic director, introduced tenor Casey Candebat, who rendered classic operatic favorites and a bilingual “Oh, Holy Night.” In March, Candebat will perform in the opera company’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

Notables in attendance included NOOA immediate past President Meredith Hathorn Penick and husband Rawley, past Presidents Edward F. “Ted” Martin and Joseph Young with Louise and Aysen, Price and Christine LeBlanc, James Gulotta and Susan Talley, Drs. Rand and Terry Voorhies, Robert Pope, Betty Brooks Doss and Jim, Leopold and Karen Sher,Philip and Eleanor Straub, Catherine Burns Tremaine and E. John Bullard III, and Jerry W. Zachary and Henry Bernstein. Some of the conversation was about Saturday’s Opera Ball, which will take social flight in the New Orleans Lakefront Airport.