By the time you read this, you’ll have noticed the city seems to be a sea of white clothing. It is not just because it’s so very hot; August is a month traditionally dominated by White Linen Night, when a sea of artists and revelers take to the Warehouse and Arts districts. That night fell on the same night as Le Debut, formally “Le Debut des Jeunes Filles de la Nouvelle Orleans,” where white linen is also quite de rigueur along with long white dresses. The latter, held at the Hilton Riverside was the first of many formal bows to be made by this coterie of 23 who will surely show up wearing Carnival regalia of some sort before the season ends. We may seem to be getting a head of ourselves thinking of crowns, scepters and bijoux fantastiques, but you can be sure that the jeunes filles curtseying August 1, Kristen Brennan, Caroline Burlingame, Allison Hardin, Anne Chandler Lykes, Ashley Elizabeth Parker and Helen Waller, to name a few, may have such things on their minds.
Artist Alex and wife Amy Beard are back from cold, gray New York City where Alex was born (he’s photographer, author and naturalist Peter Beard’s nephew) and they moved post-Hurricane Katrina. They have set up house Uptown, opened a gallery in the French Quarter and enrolled their son Landry at Newman, so you know it’s serious.
Tina Halstead Bartlett Hinckley and husband Bob are also returning to their roots, somewhat. The couple, originally from New Orleans (she of St. Martin’s and Newcomb), met in San Francisco where they both lived. Over lunch at the country club, Tina talked of Bob’s forthcoming book in connection with a Woodward show scheduled for this fall at New Orleans Museum of Art with old pals Diane Manget, Bootie Boles and Marilyn Aiken before jetting back to San Fran for a few weeks.
If it’s summer, it’s sailing. The night before the start of the Gulfport to Pensacola race, many of Southern Yacht Club’s captains, crews and the commodore partook of Caesar Salad, made tableside, at Vrazelo’s. At race’s end, hot shot sailors Andy Lovell and Stephen Murray joined old salts Jack Hulse, Peter Kahle and Waldo Otis with Pontchartrain Yacht Club’s famed “Bushwackers” celebrating the rebuilding of so many yacht clubs on the coast wiped out by Katrina.
The Chamberlain family has been sailing out of Bay-Waveland Yacht Club for generations. But most didn’t seem to make the big race this year. That is because Gilly (Walter Jr.) was busy. He married Vicki McDonald at a ceremony at the Audubon Tea Room. The seaworthy shed their formal duds fast for shorts, Topsiders and Tevas, and took to the dance floor. At one point, Gilly grabbed a guitar and rocked out with the band. Chamberlain cousin Peter Labouisse made the wedding and the race, and still found time to walk this columnist down a very short aisle in Trinity Church’s chapel. At the intimate service, attended by 12, Peter’s son Charles served as best man and daughter Muffin Adriance as matron of honor. One member of each family represented a compete generation, otherwise the ceremony would have been neither small nor intimate (we come from rowdy stock). Lunch followed at Ralph’s on the Park and, at present, we are in Chile and Argentina where it’s winter. So don’t cry for us! Artist Grace Jahncke and Kenneth Newburger met when she was attending an Army-Yale game November 5, 1955. While, in truth, she had her eye on someone else, one thing led to another and 50 years later, surrounded by their seven children, 11 grandchildren and a few close friends, they threw open the doors to their wonderful Jake Smith Road home in Carriere, Miss., for a good old-fashioned country picnic bash.
Dr. Quinn Peeper surprised his parents with the sort of wedding cake Bette and Coy should have had 50 years ago. (They eloped, and the rest is history.) When old friends started dropping by Quinn’s home they were astonished and thrilled.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the wonderful Barbara Motley asked the talented Karen Akers to come sing something special at Le Chat Noir. And sing she did; opening en Français, closing with “The Rose” and astonishing with numbers from Nine – the Tony-Award winning play soon to premiere as a movie. Among those giving the world-famed chanteuse applause were Gretchen and Charlie Bosworth, Gayle Dellinger, the opera’s Major General Tom and Barbara Sands, Billy and Peggy Bradburn, Gay LeBreton and James Farwell, who weeks earlier hosted a party for supporters of his work The Murder Game which hit the boards in London this past spring.