Emilie Wendel was a senior at Newcomb College and John Garoutte was a pre-med student at Tulane University when they met for the first time at Alphonse Picou’s jazz funeral at Basin and Canal streets. Their love of music led them to this fortuitous meeting. After they met, Emilie dated many young men and had several dates with John every once in a while, so this wasn’t love at first sight! After dating for four years, they were invited to a family friend’s home for Thanksgiving. After dinner their friends showed an old home movie of adorable Emilie running around in her birthday suit! John thought, “Oh, my God, perhaps, I’m supposed to marry this girl!” The next week, Emilie, who’s a gourmet cook, fixed John her homemade shrimp Creole. As they were eating, John realized this was the girl for him and asked her to marry him. Of course, she said “Yes!”
The planning began with Emilie’s mom and her sister, Nancy Jane, doing most of the work. Emilie was working for IBM at the time, so she picked out her dress and the church, St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian, and they worked on the rest! Her dress was white silk organza over taffeta with a bateau neckline and appliques of embroidered lace with seed pearls as accents. Her cathedral length chapel train and veil of French illusion tulle was held in place with a pill box hat à la Jackie Kennedy. She carried a nosegay of white rosebuds. The flowers at the church and reception were done by Rohm’s Florist and featured peonies, Emilie’s favorite flower. The cake was created by Gambino’s Bakery.
Friends of the Wendels, Dr. and Mrs. Jack Wickstom, had the rehearsal dinner at their home, and the reception for about 100 friends and family was held at a reception home on St. Charles Avenue. Emilie and John had planned a lavish vacation in Bermuda, but after spending a lot of money on their first home they didn’t have a lot of money left! Instead they went to Destin, Florida, with a detour to the Congress Inn in Gentilly (the same place that the Beatles stayed when they came to New Orleans). They spent the first night there because they were a little overserved at their reception! When they got to their romantic honeymoon, they were surprised by many of their friends from New Orleans. Oh well; Bermuda could come later!
John and Emilie have been married for 55 years and have one daughter, Langley. Emilie is an accomplished cook and an expert in Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging. John is a retired orthopedic surgeon and they live in New Orleans and Ashville, North Carolina.