Nell Nolan: Christmas belles

n Pickwickian Socializing

In 2012, the literary world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. On a recent Wednesday evening, the social swirl revisited one of the city’s loveliest venues, The Pickwick Club that bears the name of a favorite Dickensian character: Mr. Pickwick. Noted for his portly profile and most agreeable conviviality, he sprang to life at the pen of Dickens in 1836.

For the 63rd annual debutante presentation in the elegant clubrooms, two dozen young ladies were presented to a host of fellow Pickwickians, family and friends. All of the debutantes were escorted by their fathers.

They were Misses Margaret Claire Adams, daughter of Mr. Bruce Harold Adams and Mrs. Claire Meyer Adams; Lindsey Taylor Baker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Anderson Baker III; Eleanor Reid Bergin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hart Bergin; Eleanor Barrett Beuerman, daughter of Mr. Greg Jamison Beuerman and stepdaughter and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Walton Brown; Blakely Durand Brennan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas John Brennan; Claire Catherine Brown, daughter and stepdaughter of the above Mr. and Mrs. Brown and daughter of Ms. Elizabeth Torres Brown; Catherine Talbot Dienes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Downey Dienes; and Hannah Grace Fay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Francis Fay Jr.

And, Misses Elizabeth Parks Gambel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Joseph Gambel; Cheney Behrens Gardner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Russell Gardner; Virginia Caldwell Giroir, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Patrick Giroir; Hayley Louise Hoefer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Ernst Hoefer; Caroline Lee Johnsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rolf Christian Johnsen; Katherine Blair Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Settoon Johnson; and Chandler Christine Moody and Katherine Josephine Moody, twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. William Archer Moody III.

Also, Misses Lauren LeQuesne Murphy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard LeQuesne Murphy Jr.; Mary Elizabeth Soule Rodrigue, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Patrick Rodrigue; Isabel Timony Ross, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Legendre Ross; Lauren Elizabeth Terral, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Albrecht Terral; Shelley Elizabeth Tompkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bedford Tompkins; Frances Montgomery Truett, daughter and stepdaughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Henry Truett Jr. and stepdaughter and daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Alan Dockery Row; Elizabeth Anne Twomey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Michael Twomey; and Margaret Anne Viator, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stafford Jude Viator.

As each debutante processed, the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra played a song selected by her father to befit her personality. “It Had to Be You” was the number that accompanied Miss Adams, and “Crazy Rhythm” for Miss Viator closed the choices. The first dance of the evening, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” was reserved for the debs and their dads.

Certainly a picture of Pickwickian pulchritude was projected by the 24 radiant young women, but the 19th-century clubrooms were equally attractive as a setting. Fresh seasonal greens, garlands, red poinsettias, and a collection of towering Christmas trees in the main ballroom offered lush ambiance.

Acting as a collective group of hosts were the club’s dignitaries, starting with President Dwight L. Acomb, Vice President Karl E. Hoefer (proud father of debutante Hayley) and Secretary-Treasurer P. Albert Bienvenu. Messrs. William H. Langenstein III and Patrick A. Talley Jr. co-chaired the presentation, while Messrs. H. Mark Adams and Justin B. Schmidt served as the presentation’s vice chairman. Further assistance came from Messrs. Creed W. Brierre, Edward H. Crosby, Oliver S. Delery Jr., Covert J. Geary, Joe Inabnett, Graham Arceneaux, Thomas J. Lutkewitte, Ernest R. Malone, Paul J. Masinter, Mahlon D. Sanford, Daniel E. Sullivan, St. Denis J. Villere III and Charles T. Walsten.

After the formalities, the focus was on breakfast and dancing. A traditional New Orleans menu consisting of Mr. Pickwick’s “famous” grillades and grits, crawfish etouffee and pastries fueled the fun that was given a burst of ebullience via champagne toasts. When it came time to pack the parquet, Jimmy Maxwell’s players made near-midnight music the merry momentum.

A Nicholson Noel

The invitation announcing Afternoon Tea at the Opera Guild home in honor of Miss Kimball Elizabeth Nicholson depicted one of the season’s most familiar (and ubiquitous) characters: the Nutcracker. Outfitted in his handsome blue-and-red military uniform, he stood in a spray of greenery with a peppermint candy cane as an accent. Attached to the invitation by a red-and-green ribbon was a tiny card stating, “Gentlemen invited to Cocktails, five o’clock to seven o’clock.” The tea was from 3-5 p.m.

At the top of the invitation were the names of the hostesses: Kimball’s mother, Mrs. Leonard K. Nicholson, and her grandmother, Mrs. Donald I. Mackenroth, respectively Jennifer and Irene. The debutante’s late father is Leonard K. Nicholson.

A blue lace dress by Tadashi Shoji outfitted Kimball, while Jennifer wore a greenish-bronze design by Candice Gwinn, and Irene a mauve silk and lace look by William Pearson. The table decorations included Jennifer’s nutcracker collection with greenery and Christmas-red roses. Credit for the table decorations that complemented the beautifully decorated Guild Home went to Glenda Ivy. Atop the table were delicious tea-time selections purveyed by Elizabeth Anderson Catering. Once again, Jimmy Maxwell delighted the assembly with his pianism.

Among those attending were Melissa and Bill Legier, Fred Querens with Sarah Lowman, Olga Rome, James Fox, Clerc Cooper, Nina Farris, Elizabeth Gambel, Jessica Gerhart, Peggy and Rebecca Gelpi, Martha Curtis, Irma Stiegler, Virginia Roddy, Sue McKinnon, and several family groups, such as a Metzinger foursome in Rebecca, Stephen, Fritz and Ann. Ditto that number for the Rodrigues: Brooks, Soule, Mary Brooks and Robert. Sending their regrets were the Florida-domiciled Jerry and Harriet Nicholson, Kimball’s paternal grandparents, who were unable to come to town. During her debutante year, Harriet, as Miss Smither, reigned as queen of Carnival (Rex).

Around and About

The invitation for a multihosted debutante party began with a “Fa-la-la” series honoring LaLaLa Lauren. That’s deb Lauren LeQuesne Murphy, who was entertained by Susan and Mark Blanchard, John Ellinghausen, Mimi and John Farrell, Catherine and David Faure, Molly and Lange Gambel, Julie and Semmes Hughs, Elmore and Jim Inscoe, Priscilla and Barry Morse, Tammy and Patrick O’Shea, Mary Frances and Jimmy Rosamond, Kelly and Mason Rudolph, Molly and Rick Smith, and Ann and Gordon Stewart. LolaDeux! catered and Christmas décor set the social stage.