Adelaide Dabezies Goodyear’s birthday — Jan. 14 — always falls during Carnival, that celebratory whirl from Twelfth Night to Mardi Gras.
“Whenever possible, I like to have a king cake for my birthday,” said the 21-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles “Chip” Waterhouse Goodyear IV. Adelaide’s mother is the former Elizabeth Morris Dabezies.
This year, Adelaide’s wish was granted a few days early, when the customary huge king cake was rolled out at the Twelfth Night Revelers’ Jan. 6 ball and she received a silver bean, designating her as a court maid.
So began the Yale University geology student’s Carnival celebration as a debutante.
At its glittering conclusion Tuesday, Adelaide will reign as queen of Carnival over the Rex Organization ball at the Sheraton Hotel.
“Excitement” was her reaction — following surprise — on the evening last year that she learned of her royal honor, Adelaide said. “We went to Antoine’s and after dinner, my parents wanted to check out the rooms, because my deb party was going to be there.
“When we went into the Mystery Room, the Rex captain was there and gave me a scroll with a poem. The last line was: ‘I wish to inform you that Adelaide will be our Carnival queen!’
“It turned out that my parents had been leaving me hints all day” — a porcelain Frog Prince on her place mat at breakfast, a book about the Rex Organization left open on a couch, her mother wearing a Rex Royal Run T-shirt to a tennis match — “and I didn’t pick up on any of it.”
After all, in a bit of Mardi Gras misdirection the week before, they had told her she probably would not have any role in the Rex ball, and even a Yale student can fall for such a ruse.
At Yale, Adelaide is a founding member of Alpha Phi sorority.
Other extracurricular activities include being an art gallery tour guide and a tutor for New Haven students with learning disabilities.
Before undertaking college studies in New Haven, Connecticut, Adelaide had not attended school in this country. When she was 4 (and her brother, Charlie, was 5), her father’s work took the family from New Orleans, where he had been executive vice president and chief financial officer of Freeport-McMoRan, to Melbourne, Australia, where he was CFO of BHP and, later, chief executive officer of BHP Billiton mining company.
Over time, Adelaide attended school not only in Melbourne but also in London and Wiltshire, England; Beijin, Tianjin and Shanghai, China. Along the way, she learned to speak Mandarin, supervised an after-school club for disadvantaged children, co-founded a charity think tank and was a lance corporal in the Combined Cadet Force (the U.K. version of ROTC).
Wherever her family went, they took Carnival with them.
“We tried to bring Mardi Gras to Melbourne,” said Adelaide’s mother, Elizabeth Goodyear. “Of course, it was summer there, and people were in bathing suits.
“We brought beads everywhere. Whenever we moved, we’d take the decorations with us.”
Now the Goodyears are back in New Orleans with plans to stay, the queen’s mother said. Their St. Charles Avenue home puts them within blocks of Elizabeth Goodyear’s family, and Adelaide said she is excited about celebrating her special Mardi Gras with relatives of all ages.
Those relatives can prepare to be dazzled by her Rex ball gown, designed by Suzanne St. Paul.
“It is absolutely stunning,” her majesty said. “We started by looking at flowers around the world, from where I lived.” (This year’s Rex theme is “Royal Gardens.”)
“Then we looked at queens’ gowns from the past. I picked design elements I liked, and we went from there.”
St. Paul also designed the dress and coat that Adelaide will wear for viewing the Rex parade. Yvonne LaFleur designed the hat.
“Effervescent” is the adjective that best describes her daughter, Elizabeth Goodyear said.
“Her glass has always been completely full. She attended eight schools before she finished high school, and every time we moved she was so excited: There were all these people she hadn’t met yet.”
Living abroad has enhanced her appreciation of Carnival, Adelaide said. “It’s really made me see the impact that Mardi Gras and all the organizations, like Rex, have on the city. It’s an entertainment that is enjoyed by everyone together, all generations.”
“And that,” her mother said, “doesn’t happen anywhere else.”
Indeed, there’s no place like home, where king cakes are easy to find for January birthday parties.