Traditional fare and formality
One recent Sunday night, the 2021 Mid-Winter Cotillion took place at the New Orleans Country Club with its annual presentation of debutants. The attire was “costume de rigueur”, meaning, for this type of event, the conventional “white tie and tails” for male guests and prom dresses for the women. True to tradition, the attendees wore long white dresses.
Listed in the program as recognized Paul Albert Bienvenu V and Kelemen Joseph Mikes as midwinter president and vice president, they were 16 debutants. They were misses Isabel Emay Baird, daughter of mr. Robert Wesley Baird and Mrs. Beline Devine Baird; Emily Lillian Blackburn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dale Blackburn; Renée Elizabeth Breaux, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Gerard Breaux; Halle Grace Briede, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Francis Briede; Katherine Elizabeth Page Curtis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Edward Curtis; Elizabeth Patricia Gainey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Douglas Gainey III; Carol Frances Guidry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Collin Guidry; and Elisabeth Grace Hoffman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Foote Hoffman.
Also misses Martha Grace Benedict Lapeyre, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Buckley Lapeyre; Emma Louise Lunn, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Wilburn Lunn (Dr. Mary Lynn Lunn); Jenna Elizabeth O’Dwyer, daughter of Mr and Mrs Joseph Emile Pfister O’Dwyer; Julia Elizabeth O’Dwyer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O’Dwyer; Claire Marcelle Perez, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Christian Perez; Katherine Quealy Schaumburg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Seth Holden Schaumburg; Camille Claiborne must, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David LaPlace must; and Sadie Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth James Taylor. Several of the debutants could not join.
For the presentation, debs were escorted by members of the board, and then handed over to the above-mentioned Messrs. Bienvenu and Mikes. At the end, and in front of the stage set-up with winter-white trees, a group that froze forced the audience’s attention. The pair for the first dance to “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” were the debutants and their fathers.
The evening’s activity began with a presentation reception in the founder’s room and a toast by President Bienvenu for the debs and their parents. The reception was held by the board: Mr. Easton Lamar Baird, Spencer Miles Chunn, William Colton Davis, William Carrere Dodenhoff Jr., William Watson Ellinghausen, John Douglas Gainey IV, Jeffery Lawrence Geary Jr., Brenan Alan Kronenberg, Conley Levy Kronenberg, Christopher Michael Lane, Keil McBride Moss, Jacques Pucheu Reynoir, William Guthans Reynoir, Jack Newton Reynolds, Hutson Patrick Sumrall and Harrison Alexander Trepagnier. They had red belts and, from Villere’s florist, red boutonnieres.
Food attractions came in the form of passed hamburger sliders, eggs, groats and barbecues and a popular ice cream parlor. Red roses and holly arrangements adorned the tables. Throughout the evening, the music was a vital presence, thanks to Deacon John and the ivory, which later set the decibel up for dance until midnight.
The Society of the Founders of the City of New Orleans requested the pleasure of one’s business for the presentation of young women descended from the Crescent City founders. That septet was beautifully set in motion with the beautiful Christmas decorations from the Metairie Country Club.
Prior to their presentation, they and their families gathered for a champagne reception and toast by the President of the Society Alexandre LM Ducros and the miss Lisa Marie Liaci, one of the seven. Board member Lynda Moreau sang France’s national anthems “La Marseillaise” and the United States “The Star-Spangled Banner”. So ball chairman and former community chairman Marie Soniat McKay (whose husband is a judge James “Jim” F. McKay III) started the program by introducing emcee, Christopher Tidmore (whose wife is Barkley Rafferty). As each young lady walked forward, Tidmore read an excerpt about her ancestor.
Misses caught the spotlight Lily Catherine Horridge, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Heath Holden Horridge, descended from Jacques LaChapelle Poché, and escorted by his father; Lisa Marie Liaci, daughter of Mrs. Stephanie Marie-Louise deBoisblanc Liaci, descended from Pierre Jean Hardy deBoisblanc, and escorted by cousin Donald F. deBoisblanc Sr .; Catherine Carlisle Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Loftin Martin, descended from Pierre François Olivier de Vezin, and presented by her grandfather, Dr. Paul Mire Melancon, her escort; and Eleanor McCall Plauché, daughter of mr. Walter Evan Plauché and Mrs. Lisa Breeden Plauché, descended from Etienne Henri Plauché, and escorted by her father, her presenter.
Also misses Sophia Lucille Temple, stepdaughter and daughter of and Mrs. Henry Thomas Arrington Jr., descended from Joseph Chauvin de Lery and escorted by his stepfather; and Adele Christine Autheman Williams and Marie Josephine Kretzschmar Williams, daughters of the pastor and Mrs. Guillaume John Sabaté Williams Sr., descended from Louis Droullion, and presented by their grandmother, Mrs. Marcia May Sabaté Williams. The former participant was escorted by Pastor Williams, and the latter by brother Mr. Williams Jr.
Further features of the lovely affair included flowers by Villere’s florist; gold medals as gifts to the seven participants; and a served breakfast that was enjoyed by the above, as well Angelle Baudier, John Tarlton Olivier, Bryan and Donna Reuter, Martha Curtis, and Dominique and Gilles Courregelongue. To limit frivolity Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra put on music for the night.