Glorious Gallivanting

Hailing a Birthday Girl!

“The Big Easy Turns 3-0-0!” subtitled the gala ball held by the Young Men Illinois Club Inc. in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to celebrate the tricentennial of the city of New Orleans. “The birthday girl — New Orleans — is a constant, sumptuous feast!” was a subsequent description in the tribute that ended with “Happy 300th Birthday!”

Another hailing was to the radiant queen, Miss Taylor Nicolle Vigee, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Courtney Vigee. She caught every eye in her custom-designed coronation gown with a white fitted bodice of satin and a trumpet skirt. The mantle was made of royal blue dupioni silk, embellished with rhinestone appliques, and bordered in white fur. The main feature of the train was the Vigee family crest, while a further recognition was to the YMIC, using its initials. Her majesty’s regalia was coordinated by Patricia Halsell-Richardson and her glittering crown and scepter came from Dynasty Collection Inc. in Mobile, Alabama.

Court debutantes included Misses Ellington Dominique Bocage, Kennedi Eve Byers, Taylor Kennedy Collins, Shalaye Armani Lawrence, Kennedi Brooke Pankey, Chrysta Jenee Porter and Jade Marie Watson. The 11 princesses were Misses Jayla Nicole Astorga, Lydia Simonne Evia Brown, Kimberly Reese Buckner, Aubry Celeste Chester, Zoe Jewel Jacques, Gabrielle Marie Johnson, Lea Gabrielle McGeathy, Chandler-Elizabeth Nicole Robinson, Addison Morgan Roussell, Hope Christine Singleton and Madison Victoria  Vidal. Three pages — little Misses Lily Rose McBride, Alysia Faye Raymond and Marselle Angelina Watts — completed the court.

Additional recognition went to the 2017 queen, Miss Candace Nia Smith, daughter of Mr. Clinton Tracy Smith Jr. and Dr. Kelly D. Smith, and to royal mother of 2018, Voris Vigee, who wore a tailored dupioni silk evening gown by Yvonne LaFleur.

A message from club’s President Dr. Terrence M. Augillard included his appreciation to the parents of the 2018 court, along with accolades to the patrons, sponsors and supporters for the YMIC’s time-honored tradition.

More club officers include Messrs. Clinton T. Smith Jr., William D. Aaron Jr., Omar K. Mason, Cardell Ross Jr., Lawrence R. Robinson (director of social affairs), John R. Murchison, Craig B. Mitchell, Milton M. Brown (the Rev.), Magistrate Marion D. Floyd, John E. Wilson and Wayne J. Encalarde Jr. Figuring, too, on the membership roster are Messrs. Mario R. Anderson, Emile A. Bagneris III, Ravi J. Bates, Joseph L. Batiste III, Maurice A. Brown, Glynn L. Durand, Anthony M. Faciane Sr., Carlos O. Hampton, Anthony A. Legeaux II, Marques A. McCormick, Alden J. McDonald Jr., Fitzpatrick S. Nedd, David D. Page, Darrin A. Patin, Wayne M. Preyan Sr., Bernard H. Robertson III, Corey A. Robertson (Dr.), Cornel T. Rogers (Dr.), Adam A. Roussell, Glenn B. Sergeant Sr., Damon L. Singleton, Kent A. Smith, Albert A. Thibodeaux, Nicholas E. Thomas, Cory J. Vidal, Ronald C. Vigee, Michael C. Walcott Sr., Michael E. Watts, Gregg J. Williams (Dr.), Jonathan A. Wilson, Eric A. Wright and Garron M. Johnson. A number are past presidents.

Leading up to the lovely coronation ball, the preparation for the debutantes included an etiquette seminar, a tea (for which they wore suits in pretty soft colors, hats and gloves), and an introduction ceremony. Finally, with the ball, that preparation fused with countless dreams to make the revels real. A night to remember for all, her majesty Taylor will cherish the special crowning moment when she reigned over the ball that paid homage to the city’s tricentennial. And to her.

Silhouette in the Midst

One of the prettiest invitations of the debutante season (with sprinkle “diamonds,” aqua designs and gold “lace”) was that at the JW Marriott for the YMIC queen-elect Miss Taylor Nicolle Vigee. Hosted by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Vigee, it occurred shortly before the ball and recognized the “300th Tricentennial Year of the City of New Orleans.”

Debutantes Ellington Dominique Bocage, Kennedi Eve Byers, Taylor Kennedy Collins, Shalaye Armani Lawrence, Kennedi Brooke Pankey, Chrysta Jenee Porter and Jade Marie Watson; princesses Jayla Nicole Astorga, Lydia Simonne Evia Brown, Kimberly Reese Buckner, Aubry Celeste Chester, Zoe Jewel Jacques, Gabrielle Marie Johnson, Lea Gabrielle McGeathy, Chandler-Elizabeth Nicole Robinson, Addison Morgan Roussell, Hope Christine Singleton and Madison Victoria Vidal; and pages Lily Rose McBride, Alysia Faye Raymond and Marselle Angelia Watts shared the limelight as court members.

As guests arrived for the Ile de France-located party in the hotel, they immediately noticed “Taylor” in huge, lit-up marquee letters. White lanterns with candles and photos of the honoree lined the walkway into the ballroom, which was draped at the entrance with silver sequined fabric. “Silhouette in the Midst” titled the lovely event that had Tiffany blue, black and silver as thematic colors. The stage was set with a black Victorian leather chaise accented with crystal pedestals. Further accents were silver crystal candelabra, Tiffany blue LED up-lighting, silver chivari chairs, a back drop of silver sequins, and stage covering and skirting of white satin. Crystal Floral and Event Décor coordinated and provided the decorations.

For the tables, black linens were used with Tiffany blue satin toppers and same-color chair sashes. Crystal tulip-styled centerpieces, crystal candle holders and white floral centerpieces furthered the lovely look.

Dynasty Collection Inc. of Mobile, Alabama, designed honoree Taylor’s Swarovski tiara. Her ballgown was of silky white tulle. Voris Vigee, the beaming hostess and mother, wore a Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman design.

Special family included deb siblings Jaelyn C. Vigee (the 2015 YMI queen) and Jeremiah V. Vigee, and grandmother Patricia V. Johnson. Joining them, among many others, were Dr. Sarah Moody-Thomas, Alden and Rhesa McDonald, Charles and Vonda Rice, Nell Nolan, Diana Bajoie, Phil and Karen Martin, Dr. Derrick and Leontyne Jones, Billy and Rosie Dupre, Dr. Darren and Shasta Vigee, Kevin and Belkis Katner, Royce and Krystle Duplessis, Cardell and Christy Ross, Stephanie Navarre, Joan Rhodes, Kathleen Rhodes Astorga, Judge Steven and Tonya Jupiter, and Michael and Sylvia Dukes. Alfred Parker Jr. was the master of ceremonies and Dr. Hazel Spaulding Parker, Okyeame Gene Haley, Marion Dean Floyd, former state Sen. the above Diane Bajoie, the Vigees (Ronald, honoree Taylor, and Dr. Darren) were program principals. Taylor thanked her parents and family in a presentation that was followed by a presentation with roses by Ronald Vigee to his wife, Voris, for her love and support.

More features of “Silhouette” were the delicious food offerings, such as lamb lollipops and coconut lobster; the amazing four-tiered cake by Zoe; performance artist Celeste Jupiter; and music by The Original Pin Stripe Brass Band and Black Cat Productions with Clark J. Knighten & the 4x4 Band, featuring a violinist.

Certainly a choice moment of the evening was the Honoree’s Waltz for which Taylor and her father paired to “Daddy” by Beyonce. All the while, she radiated happiness, as she greeted her and her family’s guests during a party that will be one of the highest profiles in her life.

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