Just blocks away, the Carnival masked balls of the Krewe of Hermes and the Knights of Babylon celebrated in glorious style the ritual of Crescent City royalty. They also showcased glittering parades with Babylon rolling right before the ball using the theme “Enchantments and Transformations” and Hermes, the following day with “The Tempest,” which, coincidentally, was about enchantments and transformations.
Miss Luciana Elizabeth Bertucci, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Philip Lee Bertucci, reigned at Hermes, and Miss Rosalie Sarah Hemphill, daughter of Drs. Philip and Valerie Hemphill, wore the Babylon crown, sharing royalty with Sargon LXXI.
The Bard’s Beauty
Shakespeare and the denizens of the island world of “The Tempest” themed the beautiful Friday-evening parade that traveled on the traditional Uptown route. One of the most recognized lines from the play is said by Miranda, who has been isolated from home, hearth and humans for most of her life. She sees people (other than her father, Prospero) for the first time and exclaims, “Oh wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here!”
Certainly, there were “goodly” and, as Miranda continues, “beauteous” individuals that graced the Hermes court on the parade’s eve at the ball in the Hilton Riverside. Dazzling arrays of queenly and court comeliness prevailed. Echoed, too, was that of last year, when Miss Anna Elise Reed, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marc Leslie Reed, held the scepter. She reappeared in her dazzling gown for the 2016 ball, along with court maids Misses Courtney Kayellen Brock, Caroline Virginia Crosby, Alyssa Rose Cruse, Lucille Anne Harrison and Victoria Lael Slack.
Another dazzling gown was worn by her majesty Luciana: a luminous gold creation by Suzanne St. Paul with beaded metallic tulle and lace, silk satin organza and netting encrusted with Swarovski crystals, metallic beads and sequins. As did the gowns of many queens of the season, hers was complemented by a stunning Medici collar and mantle.
Bertucci family members have figured in Hermes courts. Queen Luciana has been in three prior courts; aunt Barbara was queen in 1978; a grandfather was king, called Hermes, and others have had honors.
Maids to queen Luciana were Misses Margaret Mary Dowling, Peri Claire Dupepe, Margaret Keil Shapiro and Sydney Julian Steib; Misses Margaret Godchaux Roos and Ana Luisa Rodriguez were the respective bearers of the Flowers and the Scepter; and Masters Ellis Armstrong Adatto, Aidan Alexander Ayestas, Armand Louis LeGardeur, John Scott Stassi, Sebastian Alexander Strauss, Brendan Mark Truxillo and Cooper Wells Velie were the seven pages.
Ten ladies in waiting graced the court: Misses Olivia June Ayestas, Holly Britcher DeMarcay, Isabella Marie Dennis, Grace Ryan Gootee, Gabrielle Marie Fischer Jaubert, Serena Elizabeth Klebba, Estelle Claire LeGardeur, Kathleen Reese Miller, Aubre Marie Olivier and Camille Claire Truxillo, who, as well as page Brendan, is a cousin of the queen.
A champagne reception preceded the formalities, which had a program design by Manuel Ponce. At the ball, and right after the U.S. Coast Guard’s playing of the national anthem, the captain entered to “Rule Britannia.” Further entrances ensued, highlighted by those of his majesty Hermes LXXVII, whose identity was not made known, and the queen.
Judge Robert M. Murphy and Mr. Andre S. Montz, were the general and ball committee chairmen; and, in other chairing roles were Messrs. Walter J. Baudier Jr., Dr. Raoul P. Rodriguez, Anthony J. Capritto III, Robert E. Smith Lupo, Rick S. Rees and H. Britton Sanderford Jr.
The 50th anniversary queen, Susan Marie Schoen Holmes, who was joined by granddaughter Ada Schoen Holmes, was also presented.
Among the many applauding all of the beautiful pageantry were Mrs. Bertucci, the queen’s mother, who donned an appliqued lace/taffeta design by Suzanne St. Paul, and Mmes. Jeffrey Richardson, Gregory Bertuccci, Llewellyn Toulmin, Douglas Wellons, Michael McCabe, Sydney Rose and Susan Cologna. Nearby were Mmes. Kevin G. Mackey (wearing a Tadashi Shoji ball gown of sequined lace) and Mmes. Hector Penagas, Carl Ayestas Jr., Kevin Ayestas, George Thompson, John G. Boyd, Carlo Capomazza di Campolattaro, Charles C. Zatarain, Neil Wolfson and James B. Bassich. Also, Caroline Thompson and Courtney-Anne Sarpy.
Post-ball activity was formatted as an adjacent supper dance, with Mardi Gras Productions credited for the décor; music by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra (which played at the ball) and I Love This Band; flowers designed by Richard Bartholomew; and a Hilton-prepared of an arugula salad, filet mignon, and an apple tart.
Her majesty Luciana beamed before the ball, and expressed her anticipation of the impending excitement and royal honor. Afterward, although (from “The Tempest”) the “revels now are ended,” she will remember that her reign was “such … as dreams are made on.”
Attendees at the grand ball of the Knights of Babylon delighted in all aspects of the printed program that depicted, in miniature, each float in the 2016 parade; themes and queens through the ages, starting with 1940 — Julie H. Peytral and “Travelogue” – and concluding with 2015, Miriam Mae Lobrano (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Joseph Lobrano) and “Babylonian Pantheon.”
Mastheading the program was the name of her majesty of 2016, Miss Rosalie Sarah Hemphill. The maids to the royal court were Misses Sarah Elizabeth Seal, Mary Elizabeth Hemphill (sister of the queen), Sidney Alicia Jones, Emily Ann Ribando Gros, Chloe Margaret Pelitere and Crista Elizabeth Ribando. Four princesses — Misses Cameron Crawford Metzinger, Isabella Sophia Farrugia, Olivia Caroline Ribando and Abigail Claire Gourgues — and five ladies in waiting — Misses Emily Grace Persich, Camille Marguerite Hymel, Kay Genevieve Frederickson, Therese Louise Hymel and Faith Alexis Ogden — completed the cortege, along with pages Masters Collin Matthew Pelitere, Matthew Joseph Seal, Reilly Connor Tafaro, Ari Marion Friend and Eli Reuben Friend.
The evening was full of many social delights. Prior to the ball and later supper dance at the Marriott, the Royal Court reception in honor of the queen took place at Desi Vega’s Steakhouse on the parade route. Following the parade, the Knights presented their beautiful tableau ball, also “Enchantments and Transformations.” An abundance of fresh, fragrant flowers filled the Marriott’s Mardi Gras Ballroom and embellished the gold and silver lame-draped stage area.
Retired Lt. Col. Robert A. Brown chaired the ball with Mr. J. Ronald Atchley acting as vice general chairmen. They were assisted by 16 committeemen, including Jefferson Parish President Michael Yenni.
As the Babylon monarch, Miss Hemphill made a stunning picture in her regal gown and royal accoutrements. Her mother chose a dress from design house Jovani. Seated with her were royal grandmothers, Mmes. Phillip Hemphill and Diane Ribando; and Mmes. Jack Jeff Jacob, Larry Jones, Charles Mary, John R, Knott, Michael Seal, Frank Guidry and Dr. Mignonne Mary and Ms. Julie Jaye Jacob. A number of past queens were also in attendance, remembering the thrills of their reign.
After the magnificence of the bal masque and the music of BJ Perez and his Orchestra Carnavale, the fun of the supper dance awaited in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. A four-course filet dinner sated the collective appetite. As for the joys of dancing, Jubilation provided the beat that kept folks on the floor until 4 a.m.
“Reigning as queen of Babylon made me realize the reasons I love the city of New Orleans,” said her majesty in royal reflection. She added, “It was an amazing experience and one I will always treasure.”