Photo from Le Debut des Jeunes Filles de la Nouvelle Orleans, circa 1963; the tradition continues.
’Tis the season for debutantes. In keeping with tradition for several decades, Le Debut des Jeunes Filles de la Nouvelle Orleans hosts the first official presentation of the year for those counted in the coterie of formal debutantes. The season began July 30 with Le Debut, as it’s informally known, and ends at the stroke of midnight February 21, 2012.
As it’s also summer in this sizzling city, Le Debut nods to the season in requesting that the young ladies it presents wear long white summer dresses and short gloves; gents don white linen suits or summer dinner jackets. It is a formal but relaxed affair for families and friends, which was held this year at The Sheraton Hotel New Orleans. Four handsome Jeunes Messieurs tipped their straw hats, á la Maurice Chevalier, before escorting each deb to the podium for one grand group curtsey. (Remember that those Sacred Heart girls have an advantage, as they’ve been curtsying for years.)
This year’s Jeunes Filles included Sara Brennan, Lizzy Cordes, Adair Ewin, Libby Geary, Jennifer Hall, Kacy Hardie, Marguerite Henry, Elizabeth Hughs, Anne Kock, Emily Lagarde, Kathryn Lapeyre, Morgan Mason, Kristie Reily, Lashley Schulingkamp, Ellie Simmons, Page Tompkins, Elizabeth Urquhart, Elizabeth Weston, Mary Scott Willis and Nancy Worley. The lucky young men wearing boaters this year were Chris Baldwin, Charlie Lanier III, Jefferson Parker Jr. and Eben Smitherman.
After all the formalities, the debs hit the dance floor with abandon, waltzing, boogieing
and jitterbugging the night away. It wasn’t a “So You Think You Can Dance?” moment but there was some fancy footwork and tons of fun.
To be clear, those young ladies are not the only ones making their formal or informal debuts this season, but they’re the first to officially “bow” as they say in St. Charles Avenue circles. These and others will be presented at various club occasions – Debutante Club, Bachelors Club, etc. – throughout the year in their long white gowns and gloves, as well as at parties given for them individually and collectively.
Among this year’s deb set are: Laura Adams, Carolyn Baker, Megan Beer, Clesi Bennett, Katherine Boh, Ella Bright, Charlotte Carrere, Mary Margaret Chaffe, Ellie Dorsey, Charlotte Drennan, Logan Eckley,
Meg Ellis, Charlotte Flynn, Cassidy Forman, Sarah Freiberg, Kendall Fritchie, Mallory Geary, Lauren
Hiatt, Helena Huguley, Amelia Koch, Caitlin LeCorgne, Brooke Levy, Francesca Lupo, Maggie McCleskey, Marion McHenry, Logan Melius, Brooke Ochsner, Charlotte Rafferty, Taylor Rees, Ellie Simmons, Celeste Sonnier, Katie Steck, Ashley Tufton, Janie Turner, Amy Claire Viator, Kathryn Weinmann, Elizabeth Weston and Charlotte Young. Many of these debs would have loved to have been at Le Debut; alas, they were abroad in places such as Innsbruck, Paris, Madrid and Rome. School doesn’t let out for the deb season anymore – those days are long gone.
Still, it’s going to be a big year for these girls, one filled with fun, frivolity and Carnival honors. Meanwhile, they’ll be working hard to keep up 3.5 and 4.0 grade-point averages and commutes to New Orleans.
In last month’s column, this writer accidently misidentified the lovely Kay Favrot as her late sister-in-law, Kit. I deeply regret the error.