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magnolia cotillion xxvi
Volume 16/Issue 18

by Brad Benedict

Moonlight and Magnolias
Usher In Magnificent Cotillion
With 282 Guests

The brilliance of the moonlight paled in comparison to the glow emanating from the elegant mansion at 828 Bourbon St. in the historic old French Quarter of New Orleans. It was the occasion of the 24th Magnolia Cotillion, honoring the residents known as one of the Crescent City's most prominent and philanthropic Gay couples, Rip and Marsha Naquin-Delain.

The home was decorated elaborately for the occasion, and the anniversary cake was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. It was a double tiered cake with a pillared centerpiece holding a miniature replica of the lower portion. Magnolia blossoms with chocolate centers and an abundance of green leaves added to the sheer beauty of this creation. The cake was cut and served to guests later in the evening.

Ms. Naquin-Delain wore an elegant red beaded full-length gown with matching red shoes and red earrings. Her hairstyle, created by Arthur Severio of Arthur's House of Glamour, was upswept which was most becoming for her serenely beautiful face and lovely smile. She absolutely glowed with happiness for this wonderful occasion. It was her first evening in heels in over a year, due to complications from a compound fracture. Mr. Naquin chose turquoise pants, black shirt, and black shoes, which also seemed to fit him to perfection.

The 282 guests represented New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and surrounding areas, including some from Pensacola, and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Unlike prior years, there were many, many new faces. Some of those who couldn't make it called to make sure they would remain on the mailing list for this annual function. Others, who wanted to watch President Bill Clinton's speech, took a break and went to the newly remodeled master chambers on the third level to watch it. It was here in this area that the two new and very special individual paintings of the couple by Jackson Square artist Brandi Downs, given by longtime friend Marquita Irland, were on display for all to see. Ohio artist David Chrobak designed a marvelous crown on display, highlighting the lavender and pink color scheme of the third level.

There were a number of special guests, the most prominent being Louisiana Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. 1st City Court Judge Charles A. Imbornone, State Senator Dennis Bagneris and quite a few of the Crescent City and Gulf Coast's foremost business owners and professionals. The guests were received in the Ambush offices, located in the front portion of the main level. Down the passageway, guests could stroll to the charming patio and the Belle Lain Magnolia Bar area where drinks were being served. Imported crisp miniature breads and caviar were offered in the downstairs area, along with various chips and dips. The masterfully created main dishes, including Crawfish Maison and Shrimp/Artichoke Antipasto, were offered in the second floor dining area, where guests could go onto the balcony and look down Bourbon to Canal or Esplanade.

From the inside balcony on the second level, guests could look down onto the patio where blue lights twinkled over those enjoying the sights of the multitude of flowers and other decorations.

Donations received at Magnolia Cotillion are used to sponsor Rip in the NO/AIDS Walk each year. Most of the guests who could not attend sent donations in advance to assure that they would be remembered for this very needy cause. In lieu of gifts, the Naquin-Delains take the opportunity of their anniversary to open their home and their hearts to this very worthy cause. For the past five years, Rip's total has been tops raising over $48,000 collectively since 1991.

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