Deb To-Dos and Tea Time

Katherine Michelle Bickham and Isabelle Walet Mulkin were honored separately at debutante parties, respectively equine and artistic. “Christmas Tea Dance” billed yet another party for Katie, as she is called, which was held on a Saturday. The following day, the English-Speaking Union United States New Orleans Branch made tea its tout at the annual afternoon Christmas Tea.

Hats On!

“Let’s Celebrate a Debutante Party ‘Kentucky Derby Style’ in honor of Miss Katherine Michelle Bickham” beckoned guests to The Black and Gold Room at the New Orleans Fair Grounds. The receiving line was at noon and, according to the invitation, “Hats and Bow Ties Encouraged.”

Holding out the hosting hands, along with the honoree, were her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Andrew Bickham. Among those they greeted were deb sister Kristina Schwing Bickham; grandparents Mrs. Leo A. Bickham Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Leon F. Cornay III; Leon E. Bickham and daughter Blythe; Dr. Naomi Mann; Patricia Gallagher; Mr. and Mrs. Glen Carter; Suzanne de Montluzin; Mr. and Mrs. George A. Coiron III; Mr. and Mrs. Shannon Walgamotte; Dr. and Mrs. Tim Petersen; and Drs. David and Kristi Soileau DeGenova.

Black, gold and red were the party’s colors and the tables were decorated with race-horse accents. For the drinks, brandy milk punches and bloody marys were favorites, and for the menu, gumbo, roasted pork loin, roasted chicken, penne Alfredo and bread pudding were culinary attractions. Additional features were the photo booth with Kentucky Derby props by Kim Lejeune and the signature race, named the Katherine Bickham Classic Chip Leader. James Graham was the jockey and Louie Roussel III, the horse’s owner.

A number of the above gathered for “Christmas Tea Dance” honoring Katie at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Zimmerman. She was a hostess, along with Mmes. Joseph Browning, W. Kenneth Mann Jr., George A. Coiron III, Alan Sheen, William Beatty, Charles F. Childress Jr., Shannon Walgamotte, Tim Peterson, David Klein and Dr. Kristi Soileau DeGenova. For the first hour, ladies assembled, many decked out in tea dresses, hats and gloves. Following tradition, they presented their calling cards. After 5 p.m. gentlemen were invited to call.

As the guests mingled, many circling the fabulous feast on the dining room table, they admired the Zimmerman home that was beautifully decorated for the Christmas holidays.

A Warhol Whirl

“Join us for a cocktail party in honor of Izzy’’ topped the invitation issued by Joan Walet Hartson and her daughter and son-in-law, Joanie (the event planner) and Jon Mulkin, parents of the debutante. Because she has lived away for years, the focus of the festivity was really on Izzy’s out-of-town friends and close family, the bulk of the guest list. They all headed to Lula Restaurant Distillery on St. Charles Avenue for “Izzy Pop Cocktail Party.” “Izzy Pop Andy Warhol Pop Art” themed the caper that also celebrated the deb’s 21st birthday.

Dress aspects of the bash were Izzy’s colorful Alice + Olivia frock; dad Jon’s Campbell soup tie; and the black and white chromatics sported by the guests. In that number were deb siblings Mathilde and Pearce Mulkin, Connie and Michael Winsberg, Frances and Joel Mulkin, a Winsberg threesome in Stafford and Matthew and Meyer, Eliza Harmon, Hartson Harmon, Will McDowell, Steve Baker (who did the flowers), Katherine Durkee, Anne Shea, Chaise Belt, Talford Wharton, Ridley Culp, Caroline Barber and Ellison Grey.

The decorations were Warhol all the way: posters, a huge banner with Izzy as a baby (Andy Warhol style), and the artist’s iconic Marilyn Monroe (as also seen on the invitation). Also used were silver “Izzy” balloon letters, light-up dinner rings and ice cubes, table toppers with a camera motif, colorful pompoms, and sunflowers with colorful LED lights wrapped around the bottle containers.

Noshes included boudin eggrolls, several salads and dips, fried mirliton pickles in Andy Warhol Campbell Soup cans, shrimp grits, beef tenderloin, and, of course, a birthday cake, graced with a picture of the invitation and sparkler candles for Izzy’s 21st birthday.

All the while, the Jumbo Shrimp Jazz band made merry music as the Mulkin crowd reveled in the Warhol whirl.

Tea with a Noel Nod

Hostess Pam Georges Dongieux, a florist, embellished her showplace digs with arrangements that she created out of white lilies, pink orchids and roses. Guests of the English-Speaking Union New Orleans Branch complimented her on the pretty posies as they meandered about her home, a renovated school. She lives with her family on the second floor, which has soaring 16-foot ceilings. Winter sunlight flooded the main rooms and people enjoyed sitting on comfortable sofas, with a roaring fire nearby, while drinking tea and wine and eating various tasty treats. Chez Nous catered the traditional English tea items, and Brady’s Wine Warehouse sourced the beverages.

Many guests chatted about the organization’s recent black-tie fundraiser at the Theatres at Canal Place for a private showing of “Murder on the Orient Express.” Others at the host home perused and purchased books, namely “To Marry an English Lord” by Nancy MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace and “Churchill on the Riviera” by Nancy Smith. Authors Wallace and Smith, on different occasions, spoke at ESU-NOLA events.

Noted were David “Dave” Grissett, who presides over the local ESU branch, and spouse Shauna; National ESU President Dr. Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold; and Anne Holmes Drewry and Thomas Cumberland, who was visiting from England. And, Diane Dupin, Kathy Singleton, Rosemonde and Carlo Capomazza, Brent Day and Kevin Wicher, Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Betty Brooks (who also answers to Betty Brooks Doss), Irene Klinger, Alex Asprodites, Joan Eckholdt, Rick Normand, Austin and Jane Sumner, Julie Jardine for picture-taking, Chuck and Diane Zatarain, Melissa and Bruce Gordon, Anne and Herschel Abbott, Paula Dickey and Richard Gill, and Cassandra Sharpe and Richard Look, who played lively Christmas carols on the grand piano.