Grand Ball of Osiris a royal showcase

Every year is special at the Grand Ball of Osiris, but this one included an important event that doesn't happen that often. Rumors before the ball had been swirling about the krewe's Captain "passing the whistle" to a new Captain, but very few knew for sure. It wasn't until the end of the ball that the Captain, who came out to the strains of "My Way," passed the whistle to the new one, receiving loud applause from the audience for his years in this role.  

The ball is just one of the components a captain is in charge for a krewe. It can be one of the most detailed, as well, with the 2017 ball on Feb. 4, celebrating 102nd year of the realm, another glorious night for the court, krewe members and guests.

Once people were seated inside the Royal Tent, adjacent to the New Orleans Country Club, the lights were raised to reveal the magnificent throne room recalling the Palace of the Sun overlooking the sands of Egypt. On stage already were the princesses: Misses Halle Grace Briede, Ella Maxwell Freeman, Claire Marcelle Perez, Shelby Alexander Sundmaker, and Mary Catherine Triche, who came down to create an honor walkway for the king, who made his entrance next. The princesses returned to the stage and the maids appeared: Misses Gillen Catherine Briede, Mary Lucy Lapeyre, Rachael Roberts Moss, Madden Elizabeth Wilbert and McKain Elizabeth Williams.

Reigning as queen was Miss Cynthia Callaghan Nelson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Cabell Nelson.  The trumpet shaped gown, designed by Suzanne St. Paul, was made of pristine white Italian double silk satin embellished with intricate embroidered tulle; diamond, medallion, and leaf pattern embroidery encrusted with crystals, navettes, beads, and sequins, with a geometric grid motif extending down from the bodice, which was repeated within the skirt appliques. A fleur-de-lis scalloped hem border continued around the sweeping train. Finishing the ensemble was an antique filigree diamond necklace with matching earrings, crown and scepter, and the organization's traditional Medici collar and ermine-trimmed and silver beaded mantle (one of the heaviest amongst the krewes) that pages William Swayze Darragh, William Wiley Kessler, Colin McGlinchey Moffett, and Cooper Wells Velie were busy keeping in place for Queen Cynthia (known to family and friends as Callie) when she was in the court's promenade.

The 2016 Queen of Osiris, Miss Shelby Heath Sharp Meckstroth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Alan Meckstroth, was presented to their majesties and received a bouquet of roses, as did the 50-year Queen, Mrs. Edward Douglas Johnson, Jr. who reigned in 1967 as Miss Susan Louise Read.

Seated with the Queen's mother in her box were Mrs. C. James McCarthy III, Mrs. Thomas E. Beron, Mrs. J. Frank Taylor, Mrs. Shaun M. McCarthy and Mrs. Mason H. McCarthy; others in prominent seats included Mrs. J. Lockwood Ochsner Jr., Mrs. Justin B. Schmidt, Mrs. Robert C. Hassinger, Mrs. Newton R. Reynolds, Mrs. John P. Laborde, Mrs. John A. Batt Jr., Mrs. Jeffrey Meckstroth and Mrs. Henry R. Corder Jr.

After the formal presentation ended, guests danced to music from Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, before heading to the country club for the queen's supper, at which The Time of Your Life, from Atlanta, performed.


To reach Sue Strachan, send an email to or call 504.450.5904. Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @suestrachan504, with the hashtag #nolasocialscene. Visit her on Facebook. And, come back to for more New Orleans area event and party news and photos.