In Carnival annals, the krewes of Nereus and Osiris both enjoy centennial-plus status. The former, the seventh oldest krewe, was founded in 1896 and given the name of a sea god. Osiris — who in Egyptian mythology was the beloved god of (among several associations) fertility and resurrection — gave his name to a krewe that came to Carnival life in 1916. The Palace of the Sun overlooking the sands of Egypt is his domain. Both organizations held gala balls, Nereus on a Friday and Osiris on a Saturday, in the Royal Tent on the grounds of the New Orleans Country Club and then, post-pomp, frolicked at a queen’s supper. All the while, royalty at both enjoyed accolades.
To Sea and Got to Sea
The invitation extended by the Krewe of Nereus was done by Tim Trapolin and depicted a swimming stingray with his tail flowing through the Nereus jeweled crown. That idea was recreated in the krewe favor created by India Stewart. Thus, the piscine motif!
In addition, the Bard was brought in. For the 121st grand ball, Nereus commanded his Tableau Players to perform the Broadway hit musical “Something Rotten,” which harks back to the time of William Shakespeare. “Welcome to the Renaissance” was both theme and dream.
A dream come to regal life was that held by Miss Katherine Woodworth Slatten, daughter and stepdaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Tappan Slatten and daughter of Mrs. Michelle Browder Slatten, who reigned as the 2016 queen. Last year, that honor was held by Miss Kaitlin Peters Kehoe, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Roth Kehoe II. Her twin sister, Miss Meghan Kammer Kehoe, was the maid of honor.
Maids to queen Katherine were Misses Grace Ann Bellone, Genevieve Marie Bienvenu, Evelyn Frances Brooks, Emily Anne Lewis, Sarah Ehret Martin, Alison Marie Mikes and Ashley Elizabeth Pou, who, just prior to the ball at a small reception in the country club, related her excitement about the imminent bal masque. The others agreed.
The remaining maids of the court were Misses Mary Callaghan Rome (who wore the crown the preceding weekend for the Caliphs of Cairo), Marjorie Ann Ryan, Torre Aitken Sossaman (sister of the 2013 Nereus queen, Allain Walker Sossaman), Alexis Allain St. Paul and Anne Elizabeth Whitsell.
Six pages to their majesties completed the entourage. They were Masters Ronald Gerard Bourgeois III, Griffin Michael Landry, Clifton David LeBlanc Jr., Collin Matthew Pelitere, Alton Whitten Wise and Philip Louis Zazulak.
The 2016 court committee included Co-Chairmen Mr. Henry C. Schonberg and Mr. Roy A. St. Paul and Vice Chairmen Messrs. Dwight L. Acomb, H. Mark Adams, Michael O. Barry, Hilton S. Bell, Alan B. Brackett, Donald G. Charbonnet, Donald O. Collins, John O. Humphreys III, Arthur S. Mann III, Graham M. Ralston, Charles T. Walsten and George E. White Jr.
Special features of the gala masked ball were the performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Kirk Redmann, music by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, and the presence of the 50th anniversary queen, Mrs. James R. Commagere Jr., who reigned as Miss Ann Marie Rowley in 1966.
Queen Katherine of 2016 was a regal picture in a gown designed by Suzanne St. Paul of tulle, lace and diamond white double silk satin with rhinestone embellishment. Her impressive accessories included the organization’s ermine-trimmed mantle and traditional Medici collar.
Applauding her and his majesty, the Nereus king, were royal mother Michelle Slatten, stepmother Mrs. Scott T. Slatten, and Mmes. Robert L. Pettit Jr., Charles M. Browder, Hyde D. Healy, as well as Michelle B. Slatten and Allison E. Slatten. Seated with the 50th anniversary queen, Mrs. Commagere Jr., were her four daughters, Nicole M. Commagere and Mmes. Jeremy Seale, Jason A. Hijuelos and Andrew J. Fuller.
Nearby were Mmes. Stephen H. Schonberg, Thomas A. Woods, Henry C. Schonberg, Oliver S. Delery and Jr., Roy A. St. Paul, Ralph G. Breaux, John Cressend Schonberg and Robert J. Schonberg.
Then on it was on to the country club for the Queen’s Supper, at which the Nereus captain and his wife presented the court to the organization’s members and guests. Then all sat for breakfast at aqueous-decorated tables. Their majesties had festive flowers atop their tables — the queen had a brace of long-stemmed white roses arrangements on hers — while the captain’s furthered the stingray theme. He added a sweet fillip by giving his guests 2016 stingray-shaped cookies.
All the while, guests danced to the sounds of Harvey Jesus and Fire, whose music added incandescence to the glow manifested by Miss Slatten and her court.
“Amid the sweeping Saharan sand …” started the poem that graced the program at the Grand Ball of Osiris in its 101st year. The verses paid homage “to all tales and legends Egyptian,” as well as to his majesty Osiris, the king, and to his radiant queen, Miss Shelby Heath Sharp Meckstroth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Alan Meckstroth.
For the centennial celebration, Miss Nicole Elizabeth Weinmann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert St. George Tucker Weinmann, wore the glittering crown.
In the Palace of the Sun, queen Shelby was a vision of Carnival loveliness in a trumpet-shaped gown designed by Suzanne St. Paul and made of diamond white Italian double silk satin and lace. Crystals, navettes, beads and appliqued flowers encrusted the royal robe. Monarchal accoutrements included the ermine-trimmed, silver beaded mantle with rhinestones streaming down the back and the Medici collar.
Maids to her majesty Shelby included Grace Ann Bellone, Evelyn Frances Brooks, Shawn Elizabeth Conner (sister of the 2011 queen, Carlin Lee Conner), Alexandra Bedsole Demmas, Ara Alexandra Ellison, Sara Layne Gambel, Aby Dixon Hamrick, Mary Callaghan Rome (the 2016 Caliphs of Cairo queen) and Meredith Anita Tufton.
The princesses of the realm were Misses Erin Selber Autenreith, Kelly Manning Batt, Maureen Burke Blaum, Laurel Ann Box, Lydia Vivian Calhoun, Camille Elise Ciolino, Charlotte Hollingsworth Friend, Ellen Lorraine Gambel, Lindsey LeJeune Gibert, Winifred Diane McCarthy, Meredith Kuebel Mentz, Allyson Anna Pitalo, Adelayde Grace Rome, Caroline Louise Viator and Marcy Jean Williams.
Garnering the limelight as their majesties’ pages were Masters Parker Townsend Davis (son of the queen of 1994, Miss Lauren Marie Reynolds, now Mrs. Alan Townsend Davis), Allen Conner Ducanes and Arnold Christopher Ducanes (whose royal connection was the 1989 majesty, Miss Mary Catherine Corder), and Walter Douglass Goliwas.
Many of the above have significant Carnival connections to royalty and to previous courts in Osiris and various other organizations.
Serving as His Majesty’s Ambassadors to the Most Honorable Court of Osiris were Chairmen John P. Laborde (a former Rex), Newton R. Reynolds and Charles T. Walsten and 10 vice chairmen.
Applauding all the liveliness and loveliness were queen mother Mrs. Meckstroth and those ladies seated with her: Mmes. Joy Meckstroth, George E. Brower III, George Rives Cary III, David L. Shall, Sanford B. Kaynor Jr. and Edward D. Dienes. (Standing behind the box seats was the queen’s proud twin brother, Mr. Miles Meckstroth.)
Nearby were Mrs. John A. Batt Jr. (mother of a princess), Bailey E. Batt, Dorothy D. Clyne and Mmes. John C. Schramm, Martin D. Claiborne, Walter F. Becker Jr., Justin B. Schmidt (in a cobalt blue Marisa Baratelli gown), Robert C. Hassinger, Reynolds, Laborde, Henry R. Corder Jr., William C. Nelson. Thomas J. Lutkewitte, Robert F. Spencer Jr., Donald A. Pitalo and Ernest R. Malone Jr.
Socializing both preceded and followed the ball. On the eve, past queens were honored at a luncheon at Ralph’s on the Park. On the day itself, several friends and relatives of the queen gathered at her home, quite near the royal venue, to compliment her majesty and the court at 5:30 pm. After the glorious gallivanting, the Queen’s Supper beckoned at the country club with the taste treats of breakfast and the dance-floor ones of The Boogey Men. Late-night dancing was joyous.
Just before going to the supper, queen Shelby paused and recounted what she and his majesty had just experienced (with, of course, more to come). “It was wonderful, and we had so much fun,” she exclaimed with majestic enthusiasm and the glow of Osiris royalty.