A hushed anticipation enveloped the comely crowd as master of ceremonies Mark Romig announced the start of the formalities of Le Debut des Jeunes Filles de la Nouvelle Orleans and the entrance of the four young men, who, after the debutantes processed with their fathers, would lend a hand in escort to place each deb on the stage. Sporting the de rigueur white suits and boaters, the jeunes messieurs were Messrs. Bristol Favrot Bell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael John Bell; John Havens Jaubert Cary, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Rives Cary III; Edwin August Friedrich Ellinghausen IV, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ellinghausen III; and Matthew McQueen Saer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hayes Saer.
Then the spotlight in the Grand Ballroom of the New Orleans Hilton Riverside turned to the young ladies, the curtsying cotillion. Each one advanced with her father, coursing the length of the ballroom and stopping midway to acknowledge her mother (or stepmother) with a slightly modified curtsy and a radiant smile. To accompany each father-daughter duo, Deacon John and the Ivories played a “song to process by” chosen by the family. Several tunes were specific to the young lady in question. Two chose “Brown-Eyed Girl” for most obvious reasons. Others, settled on more generic numbers that embraced the lovely debutante lot. “The Way You Look Tonight” was universally applicable.
The first jeune fille was Miss Catherine Crawford Adams, daughter of Mr. Jesse Roland Adams III and Mrs. Joshua Edward Lowentritt. Then came Misses Sarah Kent Agnew, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank de la Houssaye Agnew; Ella de los Reyes Baus, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mort Walker Baus; Patricia McCarthy Beron, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edouard Beron; Evelyn Burkenroad Bories, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Alan Bories; and Glenny Ann Brown, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Lafayette Brown III, and one of the ones striding to “Brown-Eyed Girl.”
And, Misses Grace Catherine Mallette Cary, daughter of the above Mr. and Mrs. Cary III (and sister of jeune monsieur Havens Cary); Claire Marie Clay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George William Clay; Allie McCabe Crane, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morell Spencer Crane Jr.; and Eleanor Brennan Davis, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Edward Davis III.
Also, Misses Margaret Coco Ellis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Conner Ellis III; Christina Ann Ewin, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Scott Ewin; Courtney Cooke Geary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Cooke Geary, (and great-granddaughter of Edna – Mrs. Edwin T. – Colton, who was in attendance); Caroline Grace Geary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Covert James Geary, who processed to “Sweet Caroline”; and Ellen Durel George, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Nicholas George III.
And, Misses Elizabeth Ashland Hines, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Hugh Hines; Avery Campbell Hinrichs, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Turner Hinrichs; Katherine Renee Hodges, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Hodges Jr.; Carolyn Wood Holtzman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Louis Holtzman; and Isabel Starke Irvine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Richardson Irvine III.
Also, Misses Isabel Nott Jackson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Harris Jackson; Charlotte Lane Langenstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Langenstein III; Rebecca Buckley Lapeyre, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Charles Lapeyre; Laura Elizabeth LeBlanc, daughter of Mr. Joseph Dwight LeBlanc III and Mrs. Jill Traylor LeBlanc; and Madeleine Moret Livaudais, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marc Moret Livaudais.
And, Misses Karoline Havens Mallette Patrick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Joseph Patrick; Jamie Favre Pellerin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Willis Pellerin; Marylynn Beatrice Smitherman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Rogerson Smitherman; and Kelly Wright Swanson, daughter of Mr. James Richard Swanson and Mrs. Marianne Rapier Swanson.
In the alphabetical sequence of their appearance, the final five young ladies were Misses Katherine Larson Thompson, daughter of Mr. William Howard Thompson and Mrs. Sheryl Larson Thompson; Nicole Elizabeth Weinmann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert St. George Tucker Weinmann; Maia Margaret Weston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert DeWitt Weston; Leah Katherine Whann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert James Whann IV, (and the second “Brown-Eyed Girl”); and Catherine Turner Worley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bruce Worley Jr.
When all of the debutantes were assembled on the stage, emcee Mark Romig announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, les jeunes filles.” With that, the cotillion made a collective curtsy and hearty applause followed. The next step was just that: steps. The 34 debs descended the stage to dance with their fathers to the time-honored “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.”
At that point, the families of the debutantes received at their individual tables as guests arrived to extend their congratulations. In several cases, there was family overlap, as several of the debutantes are related to one another. Many have been childhood friends.
As he has done before for Le Debut, Paul Lacour provided the flowers and the general decoration. The backdrop on the stage was a lush black-green. In front were a trio of white, pyramid-pointed structures with white drapery within, greenery, pedestals, and arrangements of roses. Two prominent white swags and chandeliers of translucent fabric were hung above the ballroom.
On each table, a centerpiece of snapdragons in silver vases was placed atop round tables covered with white linens.
Punctuating the evening that combined the presentation, general mingling and dancing was the breakfast buffet. Homemade waffles, scrambled eggs, fruit and crispy bacon were among the tasty attractions.
With the scheduling of Le Debut des Jeunes Filles, the official debutante season is now launched and dozens of young women and their families and friends will enjoy participating in the myriad related activities. As Miss Weinmann and her father strode forth during the presentation, Deacon John played “Some Enchanted Evening.” During the next months of the season, there will be many more.