Beauty and the ‘Beasts’

On Lundi Gras, the parade of the Krewe of Proteus rolled with 20 floats under the title “Nature of the Beasts.” Founded in 1881, Proteus is the second-oldest parading organization (and the oldest nighttime parading krewe), taking its name from the sea deity considered the shepherd of the ocean. After the peregrination, a beautiful bal masque followed in the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street with Miss Elizabeth Ashland Hines, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Hugh Hines as queen.

Maids to her majesty, 24 in all, included a host of queens from the 2015 Carnival season. Processing were Misses Catherine Crawford Adams, Sarah Kent Agnew, Ella de los Reyes Baus, Patricia McCarthy Beron, Glenny Ann Brown, Margaret Magee Brown, Grace Catherine Mallette Cary, Allie McCabe Crane, Eleanor Brennan Davis, Margaret Coco Ellis, Caroline Grace Geary (in absentia) and Courtney Cooke Geary. And, Misses Avery Campbell Hinrichs, Katherine Renee Hodges, Charlotte Lane Langenstein, Laura Elizabeth LeBlanc, Madeleine Moret Livaudais, Regan Starnes Nelson, Karoline Havens Mallette Patrick, Kelly Wright Swanson, Nicole Elizabeth Weinmann, Maia Margaret Weston, Leah Katherine Whann and Catherine Turner Worley.

In addition to Misses Courtney Geary, Weinmann, Whann and Worley, who ruled respectively over Achaeans, Osiris, Mithras and Mystery, the court included two queens who made their Carnival mark the next day: Laney Langenstein for Rex and Scout Beron for Comus.

Serving as pages, and riding with Proteus for the parade, were Masters Frank Polk McIlhenny Dinkins and Luc Odem Carriere.

A sentimental note occurred when Mrs. Patricia McCarroll Wynn was presented as the 50-year anniversary queen. She was accompanied at the ball by her daughter-in-law, Margaret Villere (Mrs. Bo) Wynn, who, during her debut year, was the Atlanteans queen.

After the captain, the 11th one of the krewe, presented Mrs. Wynn, Proteus and queen Ashland then led the grand march with the complete cortege around the ballroom to effusive ovation.

Mrs. James J. Reiss Jr. was the ball’s general chairman. Included among the many vice chairmen were former Rexes Louis M. Freeman, Richard M. Freeman Jr., William F. Grace Jr., John E. Koerner III, John P. “Jack” Laborde, R. King Milling, Robert M. Monsted Jr., and Michael J. Rapier. Queen Ashland’s father, Bill Hines, was also Rex.

Ashland, as the radiant and poised monarch, caught every eye in a gown designed by Mary Werthern Williams. Made of netting and silver marquisette over Italian silk satin, the unique hand-beaded dress represented the undersea world of Proteus. Subtly suggested were sea ferns, grasses, and jeweled sea creatures, including sea horses, starfish, sea shells and jellyfish. As Miss Hines moved, the gown seemed to flow in an aqueous illusion. Regal accessories included the glittering collar, scepter and crown, as well as an impressive new mantle that was depicted in small form in the favor-pin sent out by the queen.

Mary Hines, the royal mother (and a former queen of the Mystic Club), applauded her daughter and the beautiful proceedings in a gown also designed by Mary Williams. A-line in design and made of silk satin, the fabric was hand painted in Paris in black and silver metallic with an abstract floral design. Also joining her in the box seating was daughter Mary Wyatt (Mrs. Kerry S. Jr.) Milano, a former Comus queen.

Sighted, too, and enjoying the music by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, were Mmes. Lawrence N. Johnson Jr., Kimberlin P. Butcher, Edouard James Kock III, Christian T. Brown, Thomas D. Westfeldt II, John D. Mills, Ryan T. McKinnon, Michael J. Bell, R. Parker LeCorgne, Jefferson G. Parker, Blair F. Scanlon Jr., Patrick A. Talley Jr., Devereux P. Moring, Bruce H. Thompson, and Clark P. Fitz-Hugh. Also, former Proteus queens Mrs. Gary H. Brewster, Cathy, and daughter Miriam “Mimsy.”

Ambient socializing included the annual luncheon for the krewe and Proteus friends at Antoine’s (which featured ecrivisses Cardinal, beef filet and bread pudding with pecans), the invitation extended by her majesty for “at home” at 3 p.m., the parade viewing, a general reception, and, after the ball, another invitation extended by the queen for supper. There, and with special Proteus props as decoration, a full breakfast fueled the Carnival crowd, who hopped to the floor for the siren sounds of Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.

Her majesty and her many subjects reveled in all the protean pleasures, which coursed a circuit from sea to Ashland.

Mystery’s ‘mystery’

With rises and roses to the occasion, the Krewe of Mystery gathered its festive forces to the Convention Center for “Mystere a Monte-Carlo” as announced on the beautiful Patricia Hardin-designed program. With apologies to the original movie “To Catch a Thief,” the organization held, in their wording, a “mercifully brief tableau” recounting the Grace-ful presence of its heroine, the Pink Panther, and the notorious cat burglar. James Bond saved the day — or night.

Reigning, and with her own very graceful presence, was Miss Catherine Turner Worley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bruce Worley Jr. She was escorted by her father and by Messrs. William Manley Hines, Herschel Lee Abbott Jr. (a former Rex), and Dwight LeBlanc Acomb, all fathers of past Mystery queens, who reigned as Meredith Elizabeth Hines, Cathryn Boyd Abbott and Margaret Sharp Abbott. Last year the queenly mantle was worn by the in-attendance Miss Mathilde Stafford Mulkin.

Yet another important majesty was Mrs. C. Gary Schaefer, who wore the crown in 1965 as Miss Louise Stewart Kepper. Accompanying her was her nonagenarian mother, Louise (Mrs. James Henry Jr.) Kepper.

Maids of honor to queen Catherine included Misses Caroline Elizabeth Drennan, Hailey Burke Housey, Greer Elizabeth McKendrick, Laura Elizabeth Nance and Claire Michelle Zeringue. Trainbearers Misses Cecile Amanda Abbott, Vivian Bryce Jones, Catherine Carlisle Martin and Hazel Kathryn Drury, as well as pages David Cartan Loker Gibbons III and George Gardner Martin completed the court, which had additional monarchal presence in his majesty, who cut a striking presence in a costume reminiscent of the Bourbon kings of France.

Further sartorial excitement was provided by her majesty’s Suzanne Perron St. Paul-created gown. It featured ornate metallic thread work and beaded adornment in the shape of the rose motif so dear to Mystery. A dazzling collar, crown and scepter, along with the Dior red mantle, completed the regal picture.

Other ladies noted included the royal mother, Cassie Steck Worley, in a magenta silk faille gown by the above Mrs. St. Paul, and the black-garbed Mrs. Robert Frank Spencer Jr., Maureen, the mother of the 2007 queen Mary Alison Spencer. They, as did others, wore the ball favor-pin by Adler’s of a red rose in full bloom with a rhinestone “dew drop.”

Nearby were royal sister Nancy Worley, the Achaeans monarch of 2012, grandmother Linda (Mrs. R. Bruce) Worley, and Mmes. John Steck (with daughter Katie), Edouard James Kock III (with 2012 queen of Comus daughter Anne), William Hugh Hines, Michael Bell, John L. Ochsner Jr., Robert Whann IV, Robert Saer, Mary McCarthy, Scott Beach, William Manley Hines, Mahlon Sanford, John Zimmerman, George Brower, and H. Mark Adams with daughter-in-law Cameron (Mrs. M.P. Pierce) Adams. Also Kathryn Spencer, Claire Clay, Scout Beron, Ashland Hines, Isabel Jackson, Ellie George, Katie Whann, Isabel Irvine, Karoline Patrick and Marylynn Smitherman.

Further features of the Monte Carlo merriment were the queen’s 5 p.m. reception at the Orleans Club, another reception prior to the ball, music at the ball by the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, the distribution of hundreds of long-stemmed roses to the ladies, and the queen’s supper at the New Orleans Country Club. The mantels and tables were adorned with signature roses, breakfast and food favorites (such as sliders and cheeseburgers) provided midnight nutrition, and Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters commanded the dance floor.

“I was so lucky to have such great captain and king (and) stunning maids,” said a most grateful queen Catherine, about whose lovely reign there was no mystery. Only regal presence.