Alyssa Nicole Porter, daughter of Shanna B. Porter and James Porter Jr., reigned as queen when Swans Inc. held its 26th biennial debutante ball Dec. 27 in the Celestin Ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel. In all, seven young ladies were introduced to society during the ball, which had the theme “Continuing the Legacy: Lifting Others as We Climb.”
The first princess was Rachael Janai McGee, daughter of Raye Sr. and Lisa McGee. Second princess was Emily Terriane Sharpe, daughter of Terry and Debra Sharpe.
Debutantes were Amber Michelle Dawson, daughter of Deanna Dawson and Darence Rogers; Jacy Ashley Long, daughter of Anthony and Stacy Eugene Brown and James Long Sr.; Da’Ranisha La’Tia Raymond, daughter of Dynell Raymond and granddaughter of Alphonse Eugene; and Jai Jean-Tené Wilson, daughter of Nakisha Wilson, Hugh Blatcher and Quay Brisco.
Ladies in waiting to the queen were: Marianna Richelle Bazley, daughter of Deloise Bazley and Robert Johnson; Layla Betty Jean George, daughter of Oliver and Clarritta George; Maci S’Mar Johnson, daughter of Khallid and Sabrina Asiel, and Rodney E. Johnson, of Houston; Meshia Marie Slack, daughter of Samuel Sr. and Alisha Slack; London Evangeline Smith, daughter of Lenard Jr. and Melissia Smith, of Houston; and Traci Alexandria Smith, daughter of Byron Smith and Jennifer Jackson. Special attendant to the queen was Alanna Michelle Porter, daughter of Shanna Brimmer Porter and James Porter.
Herald and pages to the queen were Tailor Christopher Duvernay, son of Todd and LaToinya Duvernay; Lenard Smith III, son of Lenard Jr. and Melissia Smith; and Michael Joseph Allen Jr., son of Natalie King and Michael Allen Sr.
Appearing at the ball to salute the queen was past Queen Alex Julia Soniat, daughter of Willie III and Richelle Soniat, with her ladies in waiting: Taylor Lovancia Lewis-Crockem, daughter of Sonia Crockem and the late Lovance Lewis; Bria Davis, daughter of Meschelle Duplantier; Najah Patrice Nichols, daughter of Johnny Little and Danielle Little; and Janee Azalia Young, daughter of Dionne Lewis and Freddie Young.
The debutantes’ escorts were: C.B. Anderson Jr., Walter Laroy Johnson Jr., Ty Martin, Jeffery Myran Pelrean, Ryant Donnavan-Frank Price II, Benjamin L. Rhone and Willie Soniat IV.
Mistress of ceremonies for the festive evening was Raijanel S. Crockem, of Houston. A toast to the queen, princesses and debs was given by Kenner City Councilman Gregory Carroll. The seven young ladies also were presented with citations from U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; U.S. Rep. Cedric Richardson and Kenner Mayor Michael Yenni. General dancing began with the traditional second-line complete with umbrellas decorated by each debutante.
After a sumptuous meal, in celebration of the 62th anniversary, a crest-decorated cake was served. Culminating the evening of splendor was the finale second-line. The music was provided by Clark Knighten and the 4X4 Connection Band.
The SWANS (Sagacious, Willing and Noble Samaritans) of Greater New Orleans was organized in 1952 by 10 educators at Kenner Colored High School. After a reorganization in 2011, Swan Debra Houston Edwards serves as president and ball chairperson with the assistance of 14 Swans and their cobs. Swan Quintella Boult Cola serves as director of debutante affairs. Swans Gwendolyn Robichaux Crockem and Dr. Carol Davis Henry co-chair the Junior Court. Swan Shirley G. Williams chairs the Presentation Tea.