It’s starting to look a lot like Carnival
“Your rejoicing is mandated.” Such was the script of the invitation for the Olympians, who held their masquerade ball in the royal tent on the grounds of the New Orleans Country Club. After the closures and health issues, the coterie acknowledged “seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”
Reigning was Miss Martha Grace Benoit Lapeyre, newbie girl from Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Buckley Lapeyre. In 1986, Mrs. Lapeyre, as Martha Close “Crickett” Borgman, wore the crown of the Olympians. Two years ago, the royal designation touched Miss Kaitlin Monica Daly, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael M. Daly.
The court housekeepers of 2022 were Misses Christy Rayne Charbonnet, Catherine Elizabeth Page Curtis, Claire Andrée Dinwiddie, Mary Lynn Fitzpatrick, Trinity Joan Foster, Elizabeth Patricia Gainey, Vivienne Claire Lapeyre (Her Majesty’s First Maid and Twin Sister), and her sisters Elizabeth Stallings Talmadge and Harper Victoria Talmadge.
Complete the court were princesses Scarlett Jane Beasley, Lillie Giacobbe Brown and Nola Pearl Brown (another group of sisters), Eloise Shay Clary, Francesca Claire Lavigne, Elizabeth Leigh Lovell and Caroline Elizabeth Waltz; and John Littleton LeBlanc pages and Jefferson Waltz (brother of Miss Waltz).
Mr. Arthur Seldon Mann III served as General President of the Ball with the assistance of MM. Alan G. Brackett, H. Mark Adams, Charles T. Walsten and others. The ball honored the late Mr. George Douglass Jr.
“Radiant” described Queen Martha, whose ornately embellished gown was crafted from diamond-white Italian silk-satin covered in re-embroidered French lace in a soft trumpet silhouette. Her necklace was a family heirloom. Suzanne Perron Saint-Paul designed the royal dress and that of Madame Lapeyre.
Joining the royal mother in the boxes were Mrs. Martha Collins Borgmanthe Queen’s grandmother and a 1960 Olympian maid, and Mrs. Charles B. Morton, Robert S. Lapeyre, Robert P. McCleskey, Jeffery Gui, Theodore J. Borgman, Eric B. Linquest, Victor B. Atkins, William R. Powe and James R. Oakes. Nearby were Mrs. Arthur S. Mann III, Christopher S. Mann, Lincoln Pranikoff, René E. Dupaquier, Paul N. Kogos, Glenn K. Landrum, Douglas W. Tyler, Andrew J. Watson, Wayne G. Zeringue, David L. Haydel Jr. , John C. Hadden Jr., Jerome D. Steiner (the former Melissa Douglass, daughter of Mr. Douglass above), Jeffrey Hoffman, Jacques Carrere, John Hadden, John Hadden Jr., Sidney Steiner, John Shiroda and Cleland Powell. Also Mrs. Jane Rubenstein and miss Jordan Tyler and Mrs. Hannah Tyler Barry, the 2011 and 2014 queens. Many wore the Adler-designed ball favor of a lotus flower, the symbol of the Olympians.
the jimmy maxwell The orchestra set the musical tone for the ball. For dinner, held at the Country Club, BRW provided lively entertainment that made dancing (almost) mandatory.
“She was beautiful, really beautiful,” said His Majesty the King of Olympians of Miss Lapeyre, who bears the name Benedict found in that of her great-grandmother and great-aunt, respectively Violet Grace Benedict Collins and Violet Benedict Collins, the two former queens. A special queen brooch by Dominique Giordano featured tiny violets in enamel. The invitation to the Queen’s party was written in purple.
Sentiment was constantly at the forefront of the party. Her Majesty said after the outburst of the evening: “I am so happy to have had the honor of being part of such a beautiful family tradition.”
Celebrate a conference
The name “Lawrence of Arabia” evokes the historic acts performed by TE Lawrence, along with Winston Churchill and Prince Faisal, in association with the Cairo Conference of 1921. He sought to settle the conditions created by the “Arab Revolt” during the World War I and the liberation of Arabs from centuries of Ottoman rule. On the beautiful Manuel Pence-invitation designed for the 2022 Cairo Caliphs Masquerade Ball, profiles of Lawrence and Churchill flank the Great Sphinx and the nearby Giza pyramids, all just outside Cairo, Egypt.
miss Marcia Elizabeth Skrmettadaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Frederick Skrmetta, was hailed as queen in the royal tent at the New Orleans Country Club. She succeeds Miss Adelaide Grace Rome (2020), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Perrin Rome III.
Adorning the yard like the maids were Misses Helena Odinet Koclanes, Emma Louise Lunn and two sets of twins, Kaitlyn Claire Lanaux and Marigny Marie Lanauxand Jenna Elizabeth O’Dwyer and Julia Elizabeth O’Dwyer. The treatment as ladies-in-waiting was Miss Carson Louise Browne, Molly McKay Coman, Isabella Marie Dennis, Mary Ellen Edwards, Ella Grace Gilbertson, Anna Sofia Hayne, Meghan Lynn Keen, Jane Calistoga Luetkemeier, Sloane Alexandra Paysse, Hailey Reese Sisung, Christine Campbell Stumpf and Katherine Kelleher Tober.
Princesses were Misses McKinley Grace Convenuto, Lillian Helen Friel, Adelaide Ann Hull, Gretchen Leona Schoenfeld, Eleanor Louise Tafaro and Alina Nicole Wardand the four pages were Masters Francis Julian Barry IV, Harris Cameron Drennan, Michael Joseph Frey and Samuel Bennett Wheeler.
Mr. Charles Tusa Walsten served as general president of the ball with MM. Christopher Seldon Mann, Stephen Henry Schoenberg and William SellersNalty as committee chairmen.
Royal Design House of New Orleans created Her Majesty’s stunning robe inspired by royal silhouettes from the Tudor and Elizabethan eras and made from heavy silver silk, woven with metallic silk threads. It was covered in ornate white lace.
The queen’s mother, Debbie Skremetta, chose an Aidan Mattox dress reminiscent of Hollywood’s most glamorous eras and designed to complement her daughter’s royal dress and krewe silver year. Joining her in the royal caskets were Mrs. Robert Stumpf, Patrick H. Patrick, Charles Porter, Charles Schibler II, Anna Smith, Corey Bourgeois, Harris Theriot Sr. and miss Peyton Webb. Admiring the courtyard and the beautiful masked ball were also Mrs. René Navarre, Ryan Waldron, Tim Peterson, Shannon Walgamotte (Lynda Moreau), John Hirsius, Danielle Townsend, Robert Jardin and Tim Van Coningsloo.
A good number of them appeared on the dance floor, attracted by the sounds of the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra. Noted, too, were Mrs. Alan Brackett, George White Jr., Wesley Bryan, C. Perrin Rome III, John Dunlap III, René Paysse Jr., Derek Gardes, Ted Ruddock, Adam Laurie, Samuel Rosamond III, E. Peter Urbanowiczand Paul Duncan Sr.
Unable to attend prom but recognized with roses elsewhere was 1971 queen, Mrs. James Cordill Plummer, who wore the crown of Miss Mary Houston Hainkel.
Before the ball, Her Majesty, Miss Skrmetta, hosted a reception at the Metairie Country Club. Special features included personalized ‘crown’ cookies and silver candles emblazoned with ravens and ‘Queen Elizabeth’. Creative touches were plentiful by the rookie monarch, who applied her talent to many aspects of the evening.
The final festivity was the Breakfast in Honor of the Queen, where the Maxwell Orchestra stirred up the danceable beat and compliments galore were paid to the two Majesties and their retinue. Queen Elizabeth, who has been described as brilliant during her reign, made the Krewe’s Silver Year themed chromatics shine with royal brilliance.