Today, Jan. 6, the 2015 Crescent City Carnival officially opens and a slew of social events will duly unfold to celebrate the launch of the season. Recent partying has focused on debutante merriment and that of the younger set, eighth-graders, who will, sooner or later, enjoy Carnival honors. Many debs will grace upcoming Carnival and Mardi Gras courts, and for the younger ones, honors will arrive in years to come.
First, the invitation. One of the world’s best-known deluxe logos, that of Louis Vuitton, appeared in impression form on an invitation for a debutante party titled “Destination Celebration.” In Paris in the middle of the 19th century, Louis Vuitton introduced trunks for travel and “voyage” took on a new vibe. Hence the motif for this merriment.
Incorporated into the cover of the invitation, which was designed by Lori Monahan Borden, were, in lieu of the signature LVs, the initials of the five debutantes, the honorees. They were EC for Ellen Claverie Curry; SL, Sydney Alexandra Lowe; GM, Greer Elizabeth McKendrick; CR, Caroline Withnell Reed; and DT, Natalie Danielle Tolar. Within the invitation were their first and last names, along with those of their hosting parents: Guy and Annie Curry, Cy and Martha Lowe, Stuart and Ann McKendrick, Kevin and Michele Reed and Ken and Jan Tolar. In passport style, the party particulars were laid out, including Place: The Chicory, and Attire: cocktail. The “passport” number was the party’s date.
Luminous Events of New Orleans LLC did the décor, which started with the illuminated entryway of The Chicory, where a statement centerpiece was hung with vintage luggage of various sizes, world globes, and lighted grapevines. Upstairs at the party site, more such grapevines and world globes were suspended over the dance floor, while large suitcases were displayed on the buffet table, along with red roses, postcards of yore, and more world globes. Around the world in creative ways!
In the meantime, and with travel time a matter of minutes, guests relished the food, starting with passed hors d’oeuvres and moving on to the buffet, where a crudites platter, fruit and cheese, and Chicken Florentine invited the appetite. So did the soup, hot spinach and artichoke dip, and carved meat. Thanks tapped The Chicory for that catering.
The desserts consisted of wine-filled chocolates created by Domaine Carneros by Taittinger (with thanks to Nicole Hamill of the Napa, California, winery); Dobites from “Debby Does Doberge,” which took the form of mini-doberge cakes; and Joan Farrell cookies resembling passports, suitcases and globes. “Passport Punch” was the late-night signature cocktail.
Curry kin and chums included deb grandparents Sissy and Rene Curry, Mrs. James Reily, Leslie and Snappy Jacobs, and the David Quinns. Enjoying the Lowe levity were deb brother Cyril Gros Lowe III, grandparents Celina and Sidney Waters, Eric Lowe with Cheryl Firmin, Teresa Rockhold (of Charleston, South Carolina), Julie and Rene Paysse, Michael and Mary Whealdon, Susan and Chuck Ives, Michelle and Nick Lorusso, Holly and Kirk Groh, Susie and Vaughn Cimini, and Hank Smith and Dr. Pamela Shaw.
They, and others, complimented Annie and Ellen Curry, respectively, on their Carmen Marc Valvo and Lela Rose dresses; Sydney, in her velvet Roberto Cavalli mode, and mom Martha, in a silk Notte by Marchesa; and Ann McKendrick, in a vintage 1940s R&K Original taffeta design, and Greer, in a Pauli Crepe electric blue by Acne Studios.
Danielle’s designer was Keepsake, while mom Jan obliged the “cocktail” attire suggested. Michele Reed was well suited for the “suitcase” occasion and daughter Caroline donned a halter dress.
Greer gallivanters included deb grandmother Johanna Bernard Huber with spouse Leonard V. Huber Jr., deb sister Sarah McKendrick, Wayne Davis and daughter Ryann, and Tre and Holly Lapeyre. Reed revelers were deb sister Elizabeth, Richard and Barat Leefe, David and Yvonne Adler, the John Stockmeyers, the Karl Kehoes, the O’Neill Pollingues III, the Edward Rapiers, the Paul McKees, the above Whealdons, and the George Clays. Erin Tolar, deb sister of Danielle, joined the Tolar throng, as did Perrin and Mary Grace Rome, Patrick and Erica Costello, Scott Labarre and Elizabeth Rome, Joe and Michelle Brinz, and Molly, Ellie and Patrick Silvia. All five debs counted a pack of their-age pals.
Party paces were within the various rooms of the venue, as well as to the balcony, which was adorned with garland and lights, and overlooked the Christmas-themed Fulton Alley.
The ultimate footsteps were to the dance floor, where Sha’on and the Girls with Success gave everyone a ticket to dance. And dance they did, especially the honored quintet, who made “Destination” their delight.
The impressive home of Machelle and John Payne was the early-night site before the Holiday Dance of the Eight O’Clocks. There, members, parents, and friends gathered for a dessert party co-hosted by Gigi McLeod and Colleen Daly before going to the dance at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club.
Colleen McLeod and invitation designer Lexi Daly were the event chairwomen, along with their above daughters, Gigi and Colleen. Other mother-daughter duos (school representatives and committee members) were Elizabeth Schwing and daughter Ansley, Helen Butcher and Laura, Holly Mentz and Mason, Erin Cook and CeCe, Julie Talbot and Anna Beth, Gwathmey Gomila and Evie, Gina MacLaren and Caroline, Kelly Ellis and Kate, Wendy Macquet and daughter Marguerite Christman, and home hostess Machelle Payne and Grace.
Then it was on to the Tennis Club, where the above Wendy Macquet decorated the premises with white-lighted garland, handmade snow globes, and white Christmas trees with sparkly Eight O’Clocks ornaments. Other features were the party pictures by Sandy Courvoisier, Joan Farrell cookies, and music by DJ Royal.
Among the many guests of Eight O’Clocks, an organization of eighth-grade girls that was founded in 1950, were Albert Kelleher, Buckner Heebe, Martin Butcher, Murray Calhoun, Will Calhoun, and Conner Daly. Plus, a host of chaperones.
Among the many highlights of the Holiday Dance was the selfie station, where the boys and girls took lively pictures in front of a decorated backdrop all night long. Snap! Snap!