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Three years ago, Elaine de la Houssaye Hardie met James Spencer Montgomery at a Fourth of July weekend in Point Clear, Ala., at the home of mutual friends Joanie and Patrick Browne. When the two returned to New Orleans, James asked Elaine to dinner and they soon started dating. Sometime later, James told Elaine that he had actually met her before the Fourth of July weekend and that he had secretly asked Patrick to invite her to the party.
On Friday, December 17, 2010, James called Elaine to tell her that they were invited to attend a client’s Christmas party at the Windsor Court Hotel, even though they already had plans to go to a friend’s Christmas party. After arriving, James led Elaine into a suite and out on to the balcony where he got down on one knee and proposed. She immediately said yes, and they celebrated in the freezing cold. Elaine and James were so excited that they didn’t even realize they were shivering. Once inside, the happy couple toasted the occassion with a bottle of champagne.
The engagement ring that James gave to Elaine was made from his late grandmother’s engagement ring. James’ grandfather, the late James McCall Baldwin, gave it to his grandmother, the late Hedy Baldwin, when he asked her to marry him. James added two emeralds on either side of the diamond to personalize the ring with Elaine’s birthstones.
A few short weeks later, on January 29, 2011, Elaine and James married at 10:30 a.m. in Trinity Chapel. The couple decided on the location because it was perfect for an intimate family wedding. Elaine and James were very happy to have his 94-year-old grandmother, Ella Montgomery, in attendance and made sure to have Red Photography snap a picture with her after the ceremony.
Elaine wore a short white dress with a lace overlay and a satin ribbon around the waist while James wore a dark blue suit. Elizabeth Favrot de la Houssaye, Elaine’s sister, served as maid of honor, and Richard Bullard Montgomery III, James’ father, served as best man. Katherine Harper Montgomery, James’ niece and goddaughter, was the flower girl.
After the ceremony, the happily married couple and family guests went to Arnaud’s for brunch. The restaurant is one of Elaine and James’ favorite locations, and they love the windows in the Jazz Room that look out onto Bourbon Street. The group enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres of soufflé potatoes with béarnaise sauce, oysters en brochette and crawfish tartlettes. Guests had an entrée choice of eggs Sardou, gulf fish Pontchartrain or filet au poivre. In lieu of wedding cake, guests enjoyed Arnaud’s signature dessert: baked Alaska with chocolate sauce. A jazz trio played at the reception.
Elaine and James took a relaxing honeymoon trip to Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands, where they stayed for six days.
The two live in Uptown New Orleans. Elaine works as the Director of Annual Giving and Special Events at the Academy of the Sacred Heart while James works as a commercial real estate appraiser at Murphy Appraisal Services. He also works for Retails Specialists, Inc.
Elaine was previously married to the late Frank Winter Hardie from Mobile, Ala. Frank died of a rare cancer in 2007 and even though James claims to have arranged his meeting with Elaine in Pointe Clear, Elaine believes that Frank had a hand in bringing the two together.