With a Little Bit of Puck
In the gorgeous ambiance of the Orpheum Theater, the Elves of Oberon cavorted with Carnival flair at a bal masqué titled “The Delicate Dilemma of Sleeping Beauty.” Founded in 1895 with Miss Josephine Craig as the first queen, and Miss Virginia Logan, as the second one a year later, the krewe drew from legend and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to recall Oberon, king of Fairyland; Titania, his queen; and the mischievous sprite, Puck. Another fairy tale, that of Sleeping Beauty (and given a timely retelling), unfolded for the 2018 gallivanting.
Beauty manifested itself at the ball with the queen and her court. Reigning was Miss Mary Fleming England Redd, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund England Redd. She succeeded Miss Mary Nolan Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael James Brown. In 1915, Fleming’s great aunt, as Dorothy Spencer, held the scepter, and, in 1898, great-great-grandmother Brainetta Spencer was a maid to queen Louise Denis.
Maids to queen Fleming were Misses Bailey Elizabeth Batt, Madeleine Anne Bienvenu, Ellen Ashley Feringa, Megan Lane Feringa, Elizabeth Allen Texada Hotard, Elle Colton McLeod, Catherine Claire Walker and Eugenie Cecile Whealdon. Recently, and before, they ruled as queens: Misses Batt, Athenians; Bienvenu, Squires; M. Feringa, Achaeans; Hotard, Dorians; McLeod, Nereus; and Whealdon, Momus.
Pages to their majesties, queen Fleming and the Oberon king — who delighted in his role with the Elves, was touched by the surprise arrival of his son from out of town, and praised his lovely queen — were Masters Charles Wilhelm Adriance, William Carriere Cook, John Benjamin Cowan and Brandon Freret Favrot. A highlight of any Carnival ball is the appearance of the 50-year queen and the former M’Adele Scott Read (Mrs. James Kee Irwin) returned to grace the 2017 ball.
Mr. Horace Mark Adams chaired the ball’s court committee with Mr. Walter Chew Flower III, queen Fleming’s grandfather, as vice chairman. Serving on the committee were Messrs. James McCall Baldwin Jr., Thomas Edward Beron, Edward Howell Crosby, Peter Hillyer Dupuy, Thomas Carter Jahncke, Lawrence Noel Johnson Jr., Godfrey Bruce Parkerson and William Parker Stewart. The Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra made merry music.
Her majesty Fleming was a radiant presence in her gown of silver lamé layers and bead-encrusted tulle by Suzanne St. Paul that incorporated the ethereal qualities of Oberon and the theme of violets and fairies in its design. In addition to the glittering Medici collar, crown and scepter, her necklace held sentimental value, having been worn by her mother, as Anne Stuart Flower, and sister, Elizabeth Flower Redd, when they reigned in 1989 and 2017 at Atlanteans.
Gowned by KVH Designs, queen mother Anne used the Elves’ deep violet as a color in her stunning dress. In addition to daughter Elizabeth “Lizzie,” she was accompanied in significant box seats by royal grandmothers Mmes. Walter Chew Flower III and Uhland O. Redd III, as well as Mmes. David Y. Proctor, Henry William Mitchell Redd, Edward H. Bergin, Gore Friedrichs, Edward N. George, Daniel H. Johnson (Oberon queen in 1963 as Sally Chapman) and many close family friends, who enjoyed a pre-ball reception at the Redds’ residence.
Former queen of Carnival Charlotte Lane Langenstein enjoyed the thrill of the ball, as did her mother, Mrs. William Henry Langenstein III, Ms. Sandra Langenstein, and Mmes. Bruce David Furlow, John Edward Koerner III, Erik Lee Johnsen, Glyn Bailey, Rolf Christian Johnsen, and scores more. Many wore the jeweled beetle krewe favor and/or that of the king: an oval gold wreath pin, created by Adler’s, with a wee crown.
A charming, thematic invitation by Scriptura beckoned guests to the Blue Room in The Roosevelt, across the street from the Orpheum, for the Queen’s Supper that evoked the playful nature of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Violet and white flowers, curly willow, papier-maché flowers and butterflies — with floral credit to Matt D’Abadie and party planning to Angle Events, as well as breakfast fare, king cake, and the sounds of the Boogie Men added atmospheric excitement.
All the while queen Fleming worked “midwinter” magic during an evening that will forever be a “Dream.”
The Prophets of Persia, at their masked ball in the Orpheum Theater, presented a Grand Reception in 1840 at the Royal Garden of Athens of King Otto of Bavaria and Queen Amalia of Oldenburg in honor of Herr Frederick S. Schmidt. In 1832, the autonomy of Greece (having risen up against the Ottoman Empire) was established and Otto and Amalia were the first monarchs. German agronomist Schmidt created a 40-acre park in the center of Athens, which became the Royal Garden of Athens.
At 9 p.m., the gala bal masqué commenced with the arrival of Otto, the Prophets king; his page; maids of honor Misses Cameron Bay Lowry, Charlotte Marshall Mitts and Ashley Elizabeth Sanders; and ladies in waiting Misses Margaret Elizabeth Adams, Kristina Schwing Bickham (the queen’s sister), Taylor Michelle Franks, Emma Winn Freeman, Mary Kathleen Haase Luetkemeier, Lane Katherine Whitsell and Cecelia Frances Zimmermann. Misses Jeanne Elizabeth Adams, Eileen Perks Dugan, Eleanore Scott Habetz, Julia Paige Mahfouz, Amelia Claire Moore, Merritt Lucille Ott, Riley Helyn Ralston and Laine Campbell Schreiber were the princesses, and Masters James Michael Adams Jr. and Harrison David Joint, the pages.
Mr. Bret Alden Clesi served as general chairman with assistance from Messrs. Arthur Seldon Mann III, Alan Guy Brackett, Hilton Sutton Bell, Gunther Richard Michaelis, Stephen Henry Schonberg, Hugh Ramsay Straub and Dr. Jerry Joseph St. Pierre.
The appearance of the queen was a stunning moment. As Amalia, Miss Katherine Michelle Bickham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Andrew Bickham, was a true cynosure. Last year, the royal honor befell Miss Madison Colleen Mikes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Steven Joseph Mikes. Several years ago, Miss Bickham wore the crown of the Children’s Carnival Club. For the 2018 regal gown, Ilaine Hartman designed and created one of silk satin covered with heavily beaded French lace. Further accents came from sequins, Swarovski rhinestones and crystals. The same beaded lace was used for the specially made Medici collar, a royal accoutrement along with the lush mantle, crown and scepter.
His majesty, who later praised his beautiful queen, was dressed in the gala staff uniform of a Greek general officer to portray King Otto. Mrs. Bickham, the royal mother, was gowned in beaded black French lace.
A significant moment occurred when tenor Casey Candebat began singing, the last of his three numbers being “Be My Love.” The Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra played. During the dance-floor mingling, guests noticed the Marisa Baratelli gown in midnight blue of Mrs. Eugene Hendrix Countiss, and the Black Halo one-shoulder ball dress of Mrs. Graham Mears Ralston, the 1997 queen as Miss Adele Helyn Michaelis. They wore the krewe favor, a gold pin of the royal crest of Greece.
Joining queen mother Melissa Bickham in prominent seats were her majesty’s grandmothers, Mmes. Barbara J. Cornay and Katherine A. Bickham; Mmes. Robert E. Johnson III, Leo E. Bickham, Shannon Walgamotte, Alan Sheen, Tim Peterson, Glen Carter, David Klein, Russ Copping and Patricia Gallagher; Dr. Kristi DeGenova; and Misses Blythe Bickham, Jasmina Carvajal and Genevieve Walgamotte.
Noted, too, were former PoP maid Elizabeth Elena Countiss and Mmes. Margaret Countiss Harbison, Samuel L. Carriere V, Marcelo Fanjul, Kelly Duncan, O’Hara Croswell, John Ernst, and Ellis Frater. Also, Barbara Carr, Carol Thompson, Marigny Ernst, Susan Dossett, Kay Van Skiver, Maria Vallejo, Penny Varner, Nanetta Smith, and Marja Falk.
From the Orpheum, the merry movement was on to the New Orleans Country Club (where past PoP queens lunched on the eve of the ball) for the Queen’s Supper with Maxwell music, a tasty breakfast and the opportunity to praise the monarchs, especially queen Katherine, the beautiful bloom in the Royal Garden of Athens.