By MAGGIE CARTER O’CONNOR
When Feb. 17 arrives, so will the Beaux Arts Krewe. As hosts of the 45th annual Beaux Arts Krewe Ball, these gentlemen will don the red velvet regalia as they welcome guests of this year’s royal court. Since its inception in 1967, the ball has featured a King and Queen as well as their courtiers: Guards, Dukes, Ladies-in- Waiting, Princesses and Pages. In the spirit of Mardi Gras, the festivities center around the King and the presentation of the Queen and her Court.
The Krewe Ball’s origins date back to the eleventh Beaux Arts Jewel Ball for the Birmingham Museum of Art. That year’s ball chair, Mrs. James Mallory Kidd, Jr., observed the discarding of the ball’s elaborate decorations year after year. She decided to organize a support group for the museum that would have permanent costumes and decorations. Thus, the Beaux Arts Krewe began, and with 125 charter members they were off to a grand start.
As a testament to Mrs. Kidd’s original idea, the Krewe Ball continues to use the same capes, banners, crest and candelabra as always. For the past 28 years, Ms. Deborah Fleischman has directed the program and created the Page costumes. She works with as many as 40 children of the Krewe to present an entertaining and detailed spectacle at the ball. The Pages welcome the court with tumbling and joyful antics. Following the pages are the Dukes, the King, the Ladies-in-Waiting, the Queen, and the Princesses. The young ladies all wear ball gowns of white accessorized with long white gloves. Each is presented by her sponsor from the Krewe and wears a Mardi Gras mask hand-made by the ladies of the Krewe.
The 45th annual Krewe Ball will present the following 37 Princesses: Miss Elizabeth Ann Bean, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Nelson Straub Bean; Miss Anne Hayden Bromberg, daughter of Mr. Frank Hardy Bromberg, III and Ms. Anne McMillan Bromberg; Miss Elizabeth Bentley Bruhn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hansel Peacock Bruhn and Ms. Elizabeth Bentley Bruhn; Miss Koula Michelle Callahan, daughter of Dr. & Mrs. Michael Alston Callahan; Miss Anna Kathryn Clark, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Lange Clark; Miss Kathryn Quinn Corey, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Allen Rushton Corey; Miss Sarah Bunnell Crosier, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ray Crosier; Miss Elizabeth Grier Darnall, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Palmar Darnall IV and Mr. & Mrs. Dan Hughes Bundy; Miss Margaret Fairfax Davis, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Robert Davis; Miss Catherine Kelsall Dodson, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William Selden Dodson, Jr; Miss Evelyn Adams Drennen, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Hagood Drennen; Miss Elisabeth Gaillard Foster, daughter of Dr. & Mrs. John Caffey Foster; Miss Virginia Lyle Hazelrig, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Keith Hazelrig; Miss Madelyn Fletcher Hereford, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William Schley Hereford; MissFrances Elizabeth Jones, daughter of Mrs. James Stivender Holbrook, Jr. and Mr. Michael Craig Jones; Miss Lillian Halcott Jones, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Williamson Jones, Jr; Miss Rose Caldwell McCraney, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Michael Robert McCraney; Miss Virginia deVilliers Miller, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Boyd Miller; Miss Mary Jordan Moore, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John David Moore; Miss Sarah Walden Morris, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James Claiborne Morris; Miss Mary Ryan Nielsen, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Axel Nielsen; Miss Lynn Otey Priester, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James Louis Priester; Miss Margaret Tutwiler Priester, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James Louis Priester; Miss Margaret Carson Scott, daughter of Mrs. Melissa Fick Scott and Mr. Drayton Trucks Scott Jr.; Miss Barbara Gage Smith, daughter of Mr. Hatton Coulbourne Valentine Smith and Mrs. Virginia Ellen Jackson; Miss Carolyn Adele Smith, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Don Cecil Smith, Jr.; Miss Elizabeth Marie Smith, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Don Cecil Smith, Jr.; Miss Katherine Theresa Sprain, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Henry Sprain, Jr.; Miss Margaret Loyd Stone, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Ira Stone; Miss Emily Elizabeth Suggs, daughter of Dr. & Mrs. Stephen Patrick Suggs; Miss Collier Dickinson Tynes, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Ingram Dickinson Tynes; Miss Elissa Handley Tyson, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Marc Bryant Tyson; Miss Elizabeth Parker Wade, daughter of Mrs. Walter Bellingrath Sandlin Wade and the late Mr. Wade; Miss Roxanne O’Neal Walker, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. James Orr Walker, Jr. and Ms Joni Brown Walker; Miss Elisabeth Smith Welden, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William Bowen Welden; Miss Rushton Elizabeth Wood-Thuston, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Dixon Thuston.
One of these ladies will be revealed as the Queen at the Ball, while four others will be presented as the Queen’s Ladies-in- Waiting.
To usher in the week of Mardi Gras preceding the ball, the Beaux Arts Krewe members fly flags at their homes. Although these flags were at one time given solely to those Krewe members who had been King, they now grace the homes of each member of the Beaux Arts Krewe. Each flag boasts the Beaux Arts Krewe Coat of Arms emblazoned with symbols that represent the organization’s commitment to Birmingham and the arts.