A festive flight
“Flying into Summertime” featured a debutante party at the New Orleans Country Club who suggested “Summer Cocktail” as the attire. This was written in fuchsia and orange on the ecru-backed invitation which had a beautiful rendition of a butterfly in shaded watercolors of yellow, gold, pink and magenta on the obverse.
The names of the honored sextet were Aimee Barousse, daughter of Jeanne and Gerry Barousse; Anne Hardy, daughter of Jennifer and Scott Hardie; Ansley Schwing, daughter of Elizabeth and John Schwing; Cece Cook, daughter of Erin and Michael Cook; Joan Benjamin, daughter of Helaine and Ned Benjamin; and Kate Ellis, daughter of Kelly and Bill Ellis. For the debs’ dresses, there were combinations of flowers and roses, some organza and some with decorative butterflies on the bodice.
In keeping with the theme of a butterfly-themed garden party, Pam Georges and Leslie Massony flowers and greenery arranged, starting with foliage and lighted lanterns at the entrance. Potted crape myrtles shimmered with tiny lights, and beautiful flower arrangements of pink, white and yellow roses, hydrangeas and peonies were installed throughout the club. The arrangement on the main buffet table, as well as the flowers and greenery flowing all over the mantels, particularly caught the collective attention.
A large square bar has been placed in the center of the main room with a large tree filled with tealights and butterflies placed at each of the four corners. The lighting also added to the look, thanks to the pink glow of the main room and that of the group.
Hobnobbing with the Hardies was the paternal grandmother Adrienne Hardie and Jimmy Swandeb siblings Emily and Will Hardie, Diana Lapeyre, Stephanie June Aaronson, Denise and Bill Galloway, dr. Richard and Kristy Vanderbrook, dr. Elizabeth Lapeyre, Marion Hardie, Machelle and John Payne, Shara and Patrick Hammet, Maria and Noel Johnson, Anne and Jody Guillot, Odom Heebe, Jimmy and Joy Roussel, and Mimi (Mrs. Eben) Hardie and girls Sarah Hardie Johnson and Kacy Hardie Howard.
For the Barousse brigade, the deb siblings were Lauren Fine and Jeanne Rene Lamson, who were joined by their husbands, joseph and William. More family and friends included Susan and Richard Jaubert, Carolyn Wynne, Virginia Wilson, George Baus, Pat and Sharon Talley, Brice and Jennifer Parkerson, Rob and Katherine Saer, Howell and Katie Crosby, Jimmy and Marguerite Kock, Kim and Helen Butcher, Michael and Donna Riess, Robert and Ann Boh, and Thomas and Wendy Beron. Of course, the six families had several friends in common and overlapping guest lists.
Food, glorious food beckoned at many points of the party. Attractions included grits topped with grilled or grilled shrimp, ahi tuna served with wonton fries, catfish bites, crawfish fritters, Tuscan pasta with chicken, quesadillas and a soup station with turtles. Later, the candy suite beckoned with white chocolate bread pudding and butterfly cookies created by Kate’s Custom Cookies. Feeding the late-night frolics have gone from cheeseburger sliders.
Socializing with the Schwings were Ansley’s brothers Jack and Brent Schwing, grandma deb Tootie Conway, Kimberley and Mark Crawford, Lacey and Jason Conway, Penny and Tip Schwing, Mary and Robert Schwing, Susan and Robert McCay, Kitty and Hookie Jackson, Isabel McCay, Paige and Shaun McCarthy, Erica and James Reiss, Lauren and Hunter McFaddenand Margaret Vidmer and Lyle Hutchison, who came from out of town (Mobile, Alabama) like other “Flying” guests.
William Lyons Cook partied with his sister, Cece, as did the deb’s grandparents Mr and Mrs Lynton Guy Cook, Guy and Beth, and Dr. and Mrs. Robert N. Earhart Jr., Bob and Arlene. Also, Austin and Valerie Earhart, Guy and Ann Cook, Semmes and Catherine Favrot, Molly and Kristen Baumer, Jenny and John Charpentier, Anne Lynne and Storey Charbonnet, Deirdre and Christian Hooper, Ginny and Adam Wirthand Anna and John Ellis.
Over the course of the evening, a number of them, and many more, lined up at the 360 photo booth for party “pictures,” especially lively dance videos.
Taking it all in were Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin and Joan B. HigginsJoan Benjamin’s grandmothers, as well as siblings deb Mary Beth and Teddy Benjamin. Doing rounds was also Helen and Charlie Eshleman, Kathleen and Charlie Van Horn, Sandra and David Scoggin, Sarah and Richard Freeman, West Freeman, Margaret and Bill Benjamin, Anne and Edmund Redd, Ella and Walter “Chip’ Flower”, Harriet Nelson, Katherine and Tony Gelderman , and Fifi and Sean Laughlin.
Like her cohorts, Kate Ellis had plenty of parent representation, starting with grandparents Pat and Conner Ellis and Nancy Gennusa and stepfather Tommy Gennusa. In addition, there were the three sisters of the deb: Coco Howe and husband jonathan, Emily Ellis and Aubry Carmody and Ashley Ellis. The ranks of the party continued with Shannon and Evans Schmidt, Laura and Chip Brooks, Tracy Mason (Tommy could not attend), Larkin and Kathryn Barham, Katherine and Bob Diliberto, Bari Blanksand Tina and Todd Andrews.
As “Summertime” gathered momentum, the dance floor was full of a twirling generation waving pink and orange glowing styrofoam sticks. The band, AZ-IzZ from Atlanta, served up their high-energy music, performing hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Living on a Prayer.” In the spirit of the event, the six debutantes danced onstage with the group as the party wrapped up. To keep the theme going, they wore their butterfly baseball caps created by NOLA Party Pieces. “Don’t Stop Believing” was a conclusive number and gave fiery faith to Aimée, Anna, Ansley, Cece, Joan and Kate, who spread figurative wings for their “Flying into Summertime”.