Magnolia Cotillion

Anniversary Elegance Among the Magnolias
August 17, 1994


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by Brad Benedict, AMBUSH Mag 2000

White was the fashionable color of the evening at the elegant 20th anniversary celebration at 828 Bourbon Street in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans.

The surprise of the evening came when Jim Wilterger halted the cutting of the anniversary cake and presented a proclamation to the hosts. Below the heading for the City of New Orleans, it read: "Be it known that the mayor of New Orleans has this day proclaimed August 17,1994 to be the 20th Anniversary of Rip Naquin and Marsha Delain Day in New Orleans. Signed - Marc Morial, Mayor."

The radiant couple accepted with graciousness and cut the fabulous anniversary cake, once again sealing their commitment to each other among the splendor of this magical setting.

From that first meeting twenty years ago, Rip Naquin and Marsha Delain have had an almost fairy-tale life together. As the years progressed, their love grew even stronger. That was evident as the evening advanced and the guests continued to arrive, many making first appearances and others renewing long-standing friendships. These guests came from all over the state, and in lieu of anniversary gifts, the hosts accepted donations to the NO/AIDS Walk to be held later this year.

The Magnolia Cotillion has been their anniversary celebration since those early days in Baton Rouge, but this one was the most lavish of them all.

Magnolias adorned the stairwell and upper balcony overlooking the interior patio, along with orchids and numerous other plants. White doves and netting was lovingly draped from the front entrance and along the passageway leading to the circular staircase and upper landing. The end of the passageway had a lovely statuary encircled with white lattice work with smaller magnolias and netting draped around it. Live and artificial ivy enhanced the beauty of the area.

Marsha was beautifully attired in a mother-of-the-bride white silk dress with long borealis crystal and rhinestone earrings and white open-toe heels. An AIDS pin was over her heart.

Her gift for this anniversary was a cluster ring made up of 20 diamonds, a lavish gift from her beloved.

Rip wore a white suit with short pant and verticle striped shirt which showed off the pounds he has shed. His outfit was accented with black shoes, and an AIDS pin was also over his heart.

The white attire gave them a virginal quality which only enhanced the seriousness with which they projected on this fabulous occasion.

With the artifacts collected on their travels, the home was a showplace of Southern charm. The large magnolia wreath on the front balcony was only a hint of what was on the interior. With the statue of David, the abundance of plants and the cool summer breeze, the balcony showed off the serenity of this locale, a place in time returned to its former elegance.

The food served in the living quarters on the upper level was superb. It was a spread fit for the fashionable people who came to this function. And as a centerpiece, the couple chose magnolias, of course, draped over a silver heart with a golden dove placed across the heart.

Among the dishes offered on beautiful silverware were: Pork and rabbit pate with calvados brandy; smoked salmon mousse; dark liver mousse with cognac; Old South cheddar cheese bisquits; and a huge honey-baked ham that would have made Nero envious.

The food downstairs was also delectable and opulent. Here was smoked salmon, salmon caviar, boiled shrimp with Petunias' Chef Jay Loomis' cock-tail sauce and remoulade sauce, smoked salmon pastrami, golden whitefish caviar, and several cracker and bread varieties.

The white cake itself had four layers, each representing five years of love and adoration. It was decorated with small magnolias that had been draped around it.

Drinks were served on both levels. Of course the lower level is the headquarters for Ambush Magazine, and the decor is marvelous. Even the main desk is adorned with a large vase filled with huge artificial bird of paradise stalks. The outer area is also accented with numerous artificial arrangements, pictures and paintings.

From Roman memorabilia downstairs to the King Tut memorabilia upstairs, the residence was smashingly luxuriant in all respects. And above the mantel in the living room is the ever-present red ribbon sculpture, lighted and sending out rays of hope for the end to this dreaded disease.

The Magnolia Cotillion is a delightful escape from the realities of the real world. It offers an escape into the charm and grandeur of another period. Not only is it an impressive affair, but it also offers a rare look at what love, loyalty and extreme happiness can do in a devoted union. The guest list of approximately 400 people is most impressive.

Councilman Troy Carter arrived and had said he would stay a short time, but he stayed longer and seemed to relish the excitement of the evening.

The lovely and charming Judge Miriam G. Waltzer, a candidate for the Louisiana State Supreme Court, First District seat, was also among those enjoying the evening.

For the happy couple, the evening was one that memories are made of. It was a glowing finale to a glorious event and to a glorious couple.

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