In 1895, principals from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” appeared on the Carnival horizon with the Elves of Oberon, whose namesake was the king of Fairyland. Moving into the 20th century, the Prophets of Persia, in 1927, began a tableau tradition that continues to this day. “The Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine” titled the first masked ball and the commitment to an authentic theme of by-gone times remains intact.
Gracing the two courts as queens were Miss Rebecca Buckley Lapeyre (Oberon) and Miss Virginia Dove Mitts (Prophets of Persia). Their respective parents are Mr. and Mrs. George Charles Lapeyre and Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Mitts. Each monarch radiated regality.
n Elves Ask for Answers
The Elves of Oberon staged their bal masque in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center after an on-the-premises cocktail reception. “Quarantine” titled the skit that lamented the Crescent City’s situation of torn-up roads, construction and the small city budget. Add to this, a late-arriving debutante and a tropical mosquito that created havoc with his majesty’s tableau. The solution? It was Puck to the rescue, who staged an alternate tableau even though the original actors were quarantined.
In addition to her majesty Becca, there was a first maid: Miss Charlotte Lane Langenstein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Langenstein III. Additional court maids were Misses Glenny Ann Brown, Allie McCabe Crane, Avery Campbell Hinrichs, Emory Lafaye Lopiccolo, Sydney Alexandra Lowe, Marylynn Beatrice Smitherman, and Nicole Elizabeth Weinmann. From their lovely lot of eight, three wore Carnival crowns of the 2015 season: Miss Langenstein, Rex; Miss Smitherman, Dorians; and Miss Weinmann, Osiris.
Four boys tended to duties as pages: Masters Matthew Gambel Ellis, David Cartan Loker Gibbons, Avery Allen Kessler Jr. and Padraig Raegan McCausland.
Holding the scepter 50 years ago (but not present at the 2015 ball) was Miss Martha Augusta Eshleman. Last year, the honor befell Miss Lindsey Taylor Baker.
Mr. Horace Mark Adams chaired the court committee with assistance from vice chairmen Chester Theodore Apaugh III and Philip Gensler Jr., and committeemen Messrs. James McCall Baldwin Jr., Thomas Edouard Beron, William Hart Brundige Jr., Peter Hillyer Dupuy, Lawrence Noel Johnson Jr., Godfrey Bruce Parkerson, Justin Burton Schmidt and Robert Joseph Stumm Jr. The music at the ball was provided by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra.
Her majesty Becca was oufitted for her regal role in a gown by Kathleen Van Horn of KVH Designs. Made of Italian white silk satin, it had a fitted bodice, an A-line skirt with an asymmetrical overlay, and encrustation of silver bugle beads, rhinestones, and Swarovski crystals. The royal ensemble was complemented by the traditional Medici collar, lush mantle, and sparkling crown and scepter of the organization.
Amy Lapeyre, the queen’s mother, was joined in the box seating by daughter Katherine Timney Lapeyre (an Oberon maid in 2012), Sarah Michael Howick (from away, as were others), Kathryn-McColl Simons, and Mmes. Susan Miller Howick, Michael Shelton, Charles Torrence and Jane Barnard Bland, her majesty’s godmother.
Noted, too, were Delphine Williams Gilly, Kelly Puckett Gregory, Lisa Puckett Sinders, and Mmes. Henry Honore St. Paul III, John W. Puckett, Todd Bennett Johnson, Edwin T. Colton and Kenneth J. Taylor.
Quite a few of them attached the krewe favor pin to their ballgowns, many of which were violet, Oberon’s color. Inspired by the theme of the 1915 ball, when Miss Dorothy Spencer reigned, the 2015 keepsake depicted a cotton boll.
Talk about Oberon balls of the past revealed that several sisters of the king were Oberon court maids and one of them wore the crown. His majesty, however, ruled anonymously.
After the kicks of “Quarantine” and the elegance of the grand march of the majesties and their court, a different merriment unfolded. Guests then trekked to the Audubon Tea Room for the queen’s supper and the culinary fare of beef grillades, cheese grits, scrambled eggs, fruit and king cake.
Jessie’s Girls, a dance band from Atlanta, performed, luring a throng out to the floor for some late-night, gleeful gyrations. All the while, the party pack relished the beauty and the bounty of Becca.
- A Tsar-filled Evening
The Prophets of Persia presented their annual bal masque at the Ritz-Carlton, following a Royal Viewing for the court and a very select few at the New Orleans Country Club. The latter invitation was extended by her majesty the queen of Prophets of Persia. Guests were able to chat informally with the radiant Miss Mitts and to see her and her regal dress up close.
She sparkled in a silver embroidered and white silk A-line gown by Ilaine Hartman Designs. Among the features were a flower and leaf pattern highlighted by Swarovski crystal rhinestone lochrosens and strands of rhinestones, and appliqued silver floral lace with beading that accented the sweetheart neckline. In addition to the crown atop her upswept coiffure and the scepter that she held, she wore the organization’s collar and mantle. And when she stepped out in the ballroom, she did so in her late grandmother’s shoes, which perfectly matched her gown.
At the Ritz-Carlton, the ball commenced with, as the theme and reenactment, the Grand Reception of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov and Tsarina Edvokia Streshneva honoring Wladyslav IV of Poland after the signing of an important treaty with that country. The place was Moscow’s Kremlin and the time, 1626. Thirteen years before the gala reception, Mikhail Feodorovich was, at age 16, chosen as the new Tsar. His Romanov dynasty saw Russia expand into a vast empire, encompassing one-sixth of the Earth’s surface.
The PoP king, as the Tsar, was period-garbed in a floor-length tunic of silver and off-white brocade, also from Ilaine Hartman Designs. Topping the tunic was a heavily embellished silver collar. Completing the ensemble was the organization’s floor-length cape.
Completing the court of queen Virginia Dove Mitts and the unidentified Tsar were maids of honor Misses Hallie Reid Harris, Frances Jane Moffat, Madison Mitchell Byers Prince and Christine Marie Walsh; ladies in waiting Misses Alison Ross Chain, Margot Louise Childs, Merry Alston Farris, Spencer Page Olivia Harris, Lauren Lee Paysse, Ysabella Carmen St. Amant, Marie Danielle St. Pierre, Elizabeth Colon Toso, and Alexa Rene Zaheri; and pages Masters Christian Charles Byrd and Grayson Patrick Joint.
New to the courtly structure were princesses to her majesty. They were Misses Virginia Grace Churchill, Phoebe Ann Cox Kaynor (a descendant – as were others – of Prophets royalty and, in this case, through her in-attendance mother, Grace Williams Kaynor), Jane Calistoga Tierney Luetkemeier, Chloe Caroline McConnell, Olivia Leigh Merington, Sloane Alexandra Paysse, Caroline Celeste Rareshide, and Christina Mattingly Rareshide.
In keeping with tradition, queen Virginia presented the 2014 monarch, Miss Nina Margaret Farris, with long-stemmed red roses.
Mr. Bret Alden Clesi served as the ball’s general chairman, aided by Messrs. Arthur Seldon Mann III, Alan Guy Brackett, Hilton Sutton Bell, Donald Gilbert Charbonnet, Gunther Richard Michaelis, Stephen Henry Schonberg, Hugh Ramsay Straub and Dr. Jerry Joseph St. Pierre.
Noted at the ball were royal mother Mrs. Mitts, a 1983 court maid, in a gown of red jersey with a contrasting silver-beaded mesh yoke; Mrs. Gustavo Manuel Coutin, whose jacket, worn over a black velvet gown, was an Oleg Cassini design created for Jacquelyn Kennedy; and the 1997 queen, the former Adele Michaelis, whose married name is Mrs. Graham Mears Ralston. Her Teri Jon design combined a sleeveless, cream top with a full black skirt cinched by a taffeta waistband.
They applauded all the historical happenings and turned an attentive ear to the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra. So did Mmes. Edwin Sylvanius Mitts Jr., James R. Brown, Andrew P. Mitts, Joseph R. Giardina, Gregory S. Christman, Howard J. Platt and John W. Boling, as well as Charlotte M. Mitts, Margaret F. Mitts, Terie J. Capella, Madison J. Bruno, Ashley J. Segal, Sara M. Davis, Olivia L. Brown, Susanna C. Whitman, and Genesis M. Rodas. And, Drs. Jamie Toso Miner, Dale Peterson Coutin and Julia V. Coutin.
Noted, too, were the 2012 PoP queen, Ana L. Coutin, along with Mmes. D. Brent Wood, Peter M. Tufton, Jerry J. St. Pierre, Michael Howard, Ledoux Faust, Richard Kirschman, David Adler, Donald Bennett, Edward J. Martin III and George E. White Jr.
A gala queen’s supper at the New Orleans Country Club was enlivened by the flashing neon rings given to her majesty’s guests and the scintillating sounds of the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra. Throughout the fun, scores of attendees paid homage to the beaming queen Virginia.