“Our Home, Louisiana” titled the song with words and music by Jep Epstein that said a lot about our state, the resilience and the beauty. For a recent debutante bash, the compass pointed even more specifically to Carville in Iberville Parish in south Louisiana. It is the hometown of Democratic political consultant James Carville and named after his grandfather.
Enter a 2018-2019 debutante surnamed Carville!
The invitations were issued by James Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, for a party in honor of their daughter, Emerson Normand Carville, with the New Orleans Museum of Art as the location. The Scriptura invitation featured a swamp scene printed on the palest sage stock. Butterflies were fluttering about, cypress trees made their iconic stance and the hint of an alligator formed the scene. Suggested dress was “black tie or croctail attire.” Yep, “croctail.”
Guests arriving for the cocktail portion of the evening were awed by the al fresco aspects of the gallivanting. Thematic lighting bathed the façade of the museum, tables were placed around and about, the Pine Leaf Boys rendered snappy zydeco sounds, and food, glorious food, beckoned. What stalwart Louisianian could resist oysters on the half shell served in a pirogue and charcuterie stations offering hog’s head cheese, duck pastrami, alligator sausage and smoked redfish paté!
Large manzanita branches turned the columns of the museum into trees; blue and green marbleized linens suggested camouflage; cypress knees were incorporated; and rustic pots alternated with tin containers filled with Spanish moss, live oak leaves, cattails and palmetto leaves. Dried okra accented Southern roots.
Passed hors d’oeuvres included crispy fried shrimp, quail poppers dipped in Steen’s Creole mustard sauce, fried oysters with Tabasco blue cheese dipping sauce and Louisiana crawfish pies.
As the party pack entered NOMA, they were fronted by a “Champagne Wall” made of reclaimed wood and accented with Spanish moss and monarch butterflies — Emerson has a penchant for them. The main hallway was transformed with a custom 20-foot cypress tree adorned with Spanish moss. On the platform just above the grand staircase, a pine cabin with a tin roof was perched and embellished with a light projection of the marsh at sunset. Reclaimed wood was also used for the stage and backdrop.
More taste treats awaited, thanks to the catering of Margo E. Bouanchaud Inc. The Louisiana-inspired desserts included pralines, grasshoppers and chocolates. Add Zapp’s potato chips, the spicy Cajun Crawtators kind.
Mingling within the swamp-bayou ambiance were some of the Matalin-Carville family’s nearest and dearest, including deb sister Matty Carville. Also noted were Anne and King Milling, Terry and Kathleen “Frog” White, Mary Clare and Danny Conwill, Pixie and Jimmy Reiss, Judy and Louis Freeman, Peggy and Jack Laborde, Mary and Bill Hines, Ann and John “Johnny” Koerner, Monsignor Christopher Nalty, Linda and Gordon Kolb, Louellen and Darryl Berger, Bebe and Bruce Thompson, Bev and John “Johnny” Church, David Schulingkamp, and Jane Scott and Philip Hodges. To name a festive few, who admired the flowers and greenery by Lance Hayes. The party planners and spearheaders were Anna Schaefer and Glenny Beahm of AN.GLE Events.
Add to that glamourati mix, the deb set. A whole new wave of younger guests flooded the dance floor, lured by the music of Atlantic Party Band. The “wow-factor” energy of the music makers and the vocalists had everyone in the groove, swaying and waving to the sounds that filled NOMA for hours and made night moves the right moves.
Cocktails in the Cottage
As a prelude to the intense partying of the Christmas and continuing deb season, two debutantes wanted to amass their pals — just the gals (with three male exceptions) — for relaxed fun and a chance to catch up. “Winter casual” was the sartorial statement.
“Cocktails in the Cottage” was the party plan at which Carlisle Rieveschl and Sarah Read were honored by their mothers, Tiffany Rieveschl (dad David was also present) and Missy Read. Mr. Read, whose full name is William Wilkeson Read, is deceased.
On bright fuchsia stock, a watercolor of the aforesaid “Cottage” was pasted. It is the Tchoup Yard Cottage found in the event complex located on Third and Tchoupitoulas streets. A translucent overlay had the vital information about the 5-8 p.m. revels.
“It was a cozy place for the debs to kick off their heels, throw off their pearls and have a drink with just the girls’’ said one of the hostesses. The party area was filled with warm twinkly lights and Christmas trees and outside, a fire pit and seating around the fire were further attractions, as was the excitement of a chilly night.
Of course, comfort food was the order of the evening. Catered by Tchoup Yard’s Patrick “Pat” White, the passed nibbles were cheese fries, small-bite grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato basil soup, tuna tacos, coconut shrimp and sliders. The venue did a taco bar, where guests could come up with just what they wanted. Capping off the eats were custom Christmas cookies by Kimberly’s Bakery Box. Everyone loved the white, reindeer-shaped creations within that suite of sweets.
The looks of the four ladies were from Lucy Rose and Hemline, respectively for Carlisle and Sarah. Tiffani chose a cocktail dress from Olive and Bette’s in New York, while Missy turned out in a pants outfit from Saks.
Among their family and friends were Carlisle’s three grandparents: Bob and Jan Carr, as well as Barbara Hayward Pearce Olcott, and her sister, Haley Rieveschl.
Sally Montgomery Hayward joined granddaughter Sarah Read, as did the latter’s siblings, Katie Read Mackey and William Read. Others thanking Carlise and Sarah and their moms for the cozy companionship were Sammy Watkins, Grace Burnett, Massey Demmas, Avery Hardie, Alyce Iglesias, Julia Plauche, Lucie Lanier, Maggie Malone, Lillie Kuhn, Olivia Worley, Lee de la Houssaye, Adele de la Houssaye, Leslie Jacobs, Katherine Jacobs, Jamie Agnew, Nancy Hewitt, Liza Hewitt, Dana Hansel, Andrea St. Paul, Suzanne St. Paul, London Maloney and Bella Friedrichs.
Positioned, too, for merry making was pianist Harry Mayronne Jr., who regaled the debs and their buddies with a gamut of songs, most with a nod to Noel.