Deb Duos

Urban Chic Set

The wow! factor was clearly manifested when guests arrived at the Ace Hotel New Orleans on Carondelet Street for “Une Soiree,” the black-tie debutante party given by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Ellender Stall and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Joseph Bickham for their daughters, Eugenie and Reese. Eight o’clock was the time call for the elegant caper.

Neon signage with the duo’s names identified the private entrance to the hotel’s event space. Upon entering, guests were dazzled by the effect of the hundreds of candles that lined the walls of the entry alley. Once within the courtyard, they eyed the suspended crystal cloud that was custom designed and illuminated by special lighting, and reached for bubbly from the shelves of the boxwood-backed Champagne Wall. Nearby was glowing pedestal furniture.

The social buzz of “welcome” became the early order of the evening in the receiving line, where the mothers and daughters greeted their family and friends. All four were outfitted beautifully. Debs Reese (Catherine Reese Bickham) and Eugenie (Eugenie Elizabeth Stall) wore dresses by Suzanne St. Paul and Gucci, while moms Elisabeth Wallis Bickham caught attention in her St. Paul creation and Susan “Susu” Lane Stall, in her Costarellos design.

As for the party’s decorative accents, it was “pink, white and everything nice!” The décor that complemented the theme was a creative collaboration between Z Event Company (Susan Zackin), Urban Earth and SeeHear Productions. Combined were elegant draping, specialty lighting and fabulous ice sculptures. Ice blocks with life-size frozen photos of the honorees were unique features.

As for the food, passed hors d’oeuvres were the early offerings and included coccoli, tuna, hamachi, grilled andouille, and fried oysters. Food stations attracted one and Urban Chic-all with canestri, beef tenderloin and barbecued shrimp. Late-night passed noshes fueled the fun with chicken biscuits, mini pimiento-grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries served in cones.

Within the Bickham brigade were close relatives, such as deb brother Will Bickham, grandmother Mary Ann Reese, as well as Mrs. Basil J. Rusovich (Marilyn), Katherine and Robbie Saer, Mrs. James G. Coulter (Penny nee Saer), Karen and Chris Johnsen, Karen and Mark Gundlach, Christy and Kia Brown, Jill and Sam Giberta, Tee and John Zimmerman, Ashley and Edgar Bright, and Jon and Joanie Mulkin.

Socializing with the Stalls were five deb grandparents, Susan and Jimmy Gundlach, Merritt and Nickie Lane, and Susan Stall, as well as deb siblings Lindsay, Andrew and Thomas Stall. And, Clay and Malise Kearney, Kim and John Elms, Elizabeth and Keith Crawford, Lizzie and Brent Peus, Merritt and Elly Lane, David and Mary Lucy Lane, Sally and Jay Lapeyre, Archie and Olivia Manning, Cathy and Rivie Cary, and Faith Cochran and Christina Alvarez-Correa, who danced up a storm. Both families had many other mutual friends reveling from the three-generational guest list, a number of them from out of town.

Tracks were made to the seafood room, The Barnett Dining Room, which was filled with a 10-foot long ice sculpture displaying fresh seafood. Above was a glowing chandelier. Lighting and design elements in the main hall included wooden frames displaying florals, Gobos, and the Salad Wall to dispense small plates. In the concert hall, moving lights accented the dance floor and the LED-lighted wall provided the backdrop for the Los Angeles band, Gen8. Many guests waited until the 9 p.m. opening of the dessert room that was embellished buoyantly with soft white, peachy-pink and silvery-gray balloons. In front of the balloons, souvenir photos were snapped. Taste treats — lots of chocolate! — had welcome takers, as did the coffee station.

Back to the beat! “Are you ready?” called out a band member as the crowd thickened in front of him. From then, until the “oui” hours of the morning, dancing was the dictum and glee, the gusto for Reese and Eugenie.

Christmas Cheer              

With every nod to Noel, Charmaine Texada Hotard and John Arnold Hotard, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lawrence Simmons Jr. (Julie and Richard) and Jane Faia Mentz and Charles Nicholas Mentz III celebrated the season with a wonderful party to honor their daughters, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Allen Texada Hotard, Katherine “Kat” Kergosien Simmons and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Anne Mentz. An invitation by Scriptura in colors of red and green announced the bash’s title, “Christmas Cheer,” and the location, Tomas Bistro on Tchoupitoulas Street. Valet parking was available and welcomed. Melanie Martin, of New Orleans Celebrations, was the event planner.

Ambient lighting created the feel of a “white Christmas.” More special aspects were multiple wreaths, a fully decorated Christmas tree, six-foot topiaries, and tables topped with orchids floating in clear cylinders of various heights. Hundreds of candles were placed on the tables, bars, walkways, and buffet areas, and holiday-themed arrangements added a floral complement. Particular credit tapped The Plant Gallery.

Outfitting the mothers and daughters were looks by Suzanne St. Paul for Lizzy Hotard and Caroline Constas for mother Charmaine; Alexis for Elizabeth Mentz; and for the Simmonses, Acler for Julie and Ahivago for Katherine.

Their family and friends delighted in the thrills of an old-fashioned Christmas and the party attributes of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” as it was titled. Deb Lizzy Hotard’s brothers, Hobie and Welsh Hotard, were in attendance as were grandparents Jimmy and Patsy Hotard and Donald Texada. Likewise, Elizabeth Mentz had two siblings present, Charles IV and Margaret Mentz, and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald L. Faia Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Gregory G. Faia.

From the Simmons family came grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Simmons, Dick and step-grandmother Betsy Nalty, along with Ashley and Edgar Bright and Peter and Evelyn Kissel. Deb Katherine’s brother, Richard Simmons, could not attend because of finals but got an after-the-fact accounting of the fun.

The location, Tomas Bistro, had an extensive array of food, starting with the Mediterranean display of hummus, eggplant tapenade, olives and cheeses. More culinary assets were butternut squash bisque, pasta, carved beef filet, mini pizzas, vegetables and desserts.

In the Gallery Room, where the band, BRW, The Recording Artist, commanded the show, a special twosome looked around and about: Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Both were red-suited and smiling at the party scenario. Overhead in the high-ceiling room were white swags and on the ground level, white branches twinkled with tiny white lights.

Then came the male singers, who sported red sequined jackets. “Stand By Me” was a first number, but the title was belied when duos got up to dance. The pace quickened and so did the tempo as the debutante honorees, Lizzy, Kat and Lizzie, mingled, both absorbing and generating Christmas merriment.