Circus and Celebration

Big Top, Big Time

Double limelight focused on Miss Emily Baldwin Johnson and Miss Elizabeth Brent Montgomery, who are related (sharing a great-grandmother, the late Mrs. Lawrence Jacob Baldwin), as they caught every eye at the Les Pierrettes annual ball. It is devoted to the French master of pantomime and unfolded in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Always a source for delight, the planning powers took guests to the circus with the ball titled “Les Pierrettes Goes Under the Big Top.”

Reigning as captain was Miss Montgomery, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bullard Montgomery IV; Mrs. Montgomery wore the Pierrettes crown in 1989 as Miss Courtney Scott Butcher, while the monarchal role was assumed by Miss Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Noel Johnson Jr. It was most fitting with a father called Noel that Emily found out about her queenship at Christmas, a bit over a year ago.

Fitting in a sartorial sense were the Kathleen Favrot Van Horn-created outfits they wore. As captain, Miss Montgomery wore a ringmaster-style costume of pink moiré accented with black, gold and hot pink sequins trims over a short circle skirt. Her majesty was garbed in a gown of white silk shantung with a full, A-line skirt. White flowered guipure lace accented with rhinestone margaritas formed the top, while the skirt was embellished with rhinestones and crystal margaritas.

Their immediate predecessors received due recognition. The present court’s pages — little Misses Elizabeth Mitchell Charbonnet, Kathryn Simmons Dupuy, Amelia de Luze Edrington, Scarlett Elizabeth Stone, Charlotte Vivienne Williamson and Lesley Blythe Williamson — presented bouquets of pink sweetheart roses to Misses Katherine Mills Ellis and Constance Gresham Brooke Overby, the respective queen and captain of the year before.

Court maids to queen Emily were Misses Evelyn Blain Argote, Sophie Wilson Brewer, Caroline Whittington Casey, Adair Guion Cook, Frances Villere Currence, Hailey Merida Dondis, Mary Katherine Flournoy and Kathleen Pierce Gibbons, who reigned many months before as the Squires queen. And Misses Molly Gahagan Heurtin, Ellie Elisha Kelleher, Molly O’Neill Moore, Elizabeth Downing Petagna, Eliza Atlantic Powers, Margot Marie Roussel, Catherine Adair Rufty, Marguerite Conery Schmidt, Olivia Angelle Sperling, Mathilde Frances deVerges Tubbs, Charlotte Conway Williams and Helen Elizabeth Wisdom.

Mr. Todd Porter Andrews, son of Mr. and Mrs. Todd Michael Andrews, was the queen’s consort. More notables were the dukes: Messrs. William Reese Andrews, Jackson Luis Bewley, Grant David Browne, John McIlhenny Dinkins, James Wilbourn Downing, John Irwin Early, Timothy Semmes Favrot Jr., Clifford Pipes Fitz-Hugh, Cole Emmett Herrington, Taylor Barclay Herrington, John Middleton Polk Huger, William Daniel Huger, Reagan Alexandre Lapeyre, William Martin Picou, Nicholas Theodore Provosty, Thomas Hughes Saer, Jonathan McRae Schrantz, Richard Lawrence Simmons III, Michael Quirk Walshe III and Adam Duke Wirth. The latter’s middle name certainly came in handy.

Still others garnering the spotlight were the ball’s lieutenants: Misses Allison Hughs, Caroline Pitalo, Brie Reginelli, Caroline Sillars, Marin Trepagnier, Emma Tuleu, Grace Waguespack and Kelly Weinstock.

The dancers, 19 all, were Misses Taylor Bienvenu, Grace Brady, Tess Brewer, Elizabeth Brooks, Elizabeth Drennan, Betsy Feirn, Rolland Grady, Madison Hales, CiCi Hardin, Gracie Jenkins, May Manning, Morgan Nalty, Livie Nieset, Hayward Parrino, Tatum Reiss, Elizabeth Rogers, Lanie Talbot, Marianne Villere and Elise Vickery, who just reigned as the queen of Squires, with a number of the Pierrettes dancers in her court. Sarah Sumrall was the co-captain, and Julie Simmons directed the choreography.

Seated in the royal box with the queen’s mother, Maria Johnson, were the queen’s grandmothers, Mrs. Elizabeth Baldwin Barkerding and Mrs. Lawrence Noel Johnson (who reigned in 1961 as Miss Marion Macdiarmid), as well as her majesty of 1984 Elise Leone Johnson, and Mmes. Mark Douglas Talbot, Robert Russell Barkerding III, Christopher Bruce Barkerding and Matthew Mallon Stedman.

Flanking the ball were two parties. The first was the Queen’s Reception at the Orleans Club, where the radiant Emily welcomed her many subjects and received congratulations as she expressed her delight in experiencing her reign with family and friends, and the post-ball Queen’s Supper elsewhere in the Convention Center. There, the circus motif prevailed with such features as a balloon arch; popcorn buckets, Cracker Jacks boxes, cotton candy and Barnum and Bailey Animal Crackers on the tables; a photo booth with circus-themed props; and the music of the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra.

“Big Top” played out in glorious fashion for Queen Emily and Captain Ellie, who will cherish memories of “Circus” for decades to come.

Cheers to a Sparkling New Year!

Hundreds headed to La Chinoiserie Ballroom of the Windsor Court Hotel as 2018 was tipping into the new year. Attendees, covering a gamut of at least three generations, responded to one of the debutante season’s prettiest invitations: a sparkling, lacey-effect cover, tied with a black silk ribbon, encased wording for the party in honor of Elizabeth McKenzie Cummins. Her mother, Holly McKenzie (Mrs. Guy Dugue) Perrier, greeted the glitzy-garbed guests. Nearby were deb McKenzie’s dad, Harold Hackett “Kett” Cummins Jr.; siblings Harold Hackett Cummins III, Adelaide Elizabeth Perrier and John Larkin Perrier; grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Derrel McKenzie Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hackett Cummins — the ladies answer in turn to Betty and Nan; stepgrandmother Mrs. Claude Victor Perrier Jr., Alice; and stepfather Guy Perrier, the party host with wife/deb mom Holly.

Champagne-colored sequins over iridescent metallic lamé was the basis for honoree McKenzie’s dress designed by her cousin, Suzanne St. Paul.

The party “look” was equally festive and sophisticated with a chromatic theme of black, gold and silver. Several café tables were covered with sequined overlays, while others had round mirrors. Centerpieces included buckets for bubbly with silver “bubble” balls, glitter sticks and stars. The creative forces were hostess Holly and McKenzie (both also designed the invitation), Jim Perrier and the hotel’s Meagan Cook.

Food and drink were holiday happening. As folks quaffed McKenzie’s Cotton Candy Countdown specialty drink, they made rounds to the tables for crabmeat, ahi tuna, smoked salmon and dessert. Especially the dessert. No one was shy returning for seconds (thirds, fourths) of chocolate-dipped Oreos and macaroons with metallic glints and an “M.”

Within the party pack were Lynn and Scott Brown, Sallye and Brett Reynolds, Stephen Brett Reynolds Jr., Shannon and Frank Davies, Susan and Chuck Ives, Lisa and Dug Mills, Elly and Merritt Lane, Boo and Sid Charbonnet, the above Jim Perrier with James C. “Jim” Ashbee, Betty Perrier, Patti and Claude Perrier, Julie and Shelton Shugar and Peggy Perrier Helling. Scores more, too, who headed to the white dance floor for the beat and the fun of Third Generation Band.

Midnight brought on requisite revelry and the excitement of the traditional countdown with streamers and, not far away, fireworks over the Mississippi River that McKenzie and pals enjoyed from the Windsor Court’s rooftop, adding joyful “Bang! Bang!” to a fabulous bash.

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