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New Orleans-themed Crystal Charity Ball 2018 lets the good times roll in Dallas

New Orleans-themed Crystal Charity Ball 2018 lets the good times roll

Ciara Cooley, Jake Fraze
Ciara Cooley, Jake Fraze Photo by WJNPHOTO
James Tarpeh, Jessica Johnson, Annette Watkins, C.A. Anderson
James Tarpeh, Jessica Johnson, Annette Watkins, C.A. Anderson Photo by WJNPHOTO
Piper Wyatt, Cara French, Alison Malone
Piper Wyatt, Cara French, Alison Malone Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kara Goss, Randall Goss
Kara Goss, Randall Goss Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kate Rose Marquez, John Levis
Kate Rose Marquez, John Levis Photo by WJNPHOTO
Susan O’Brien, Brooke Hortenstien
Susan O’Brien, Brooke Hortenstien Photo by WJNPHOTO
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
The casino tables were popular. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Holly Riefe, James Riefe
Holly Riefe, James Riefe Photo by WJNPHOTO
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
The head table enjoys dinner and entertainment. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Nardos Iman, Maria Villanueva, Delayna Minter
Nardos Iman, Maria Villanueva, Delayna Minter  Photo by WJNPHOTO
Sami Arslanlar, Muffin Lemak, John Clutts
Sami Arslanlar, Muffin Lemak, John Clutts Photo by WJNPHOTO
Tiffany Work, James Emanuelson
Tiffany Work, James Emanuelson Photo by WJNPHOTO
Tiffany Divis, Susan Farris, Tucker Enthoven
Tiffany Divis, Susan Farris, Tucker Enthoven Photo by WJNPHOTO
Tracy Fulton, Dotti Reeder, Joseph Mahoney
Tracy Fulton, Dotti Reeder, Joseph Mahoney Photo by WJNPHOTO
Julie Castro, Gabe Castro
Julie Castro, Gabe Castro Photo by WJNPHOTO
Ed Hellwig, Kelly Hellwig
Ed Hellwig, Kelly Hellwig Photo by WJNPHOTO
Jamie Watley, Rhandi Bobo
Jamie Watley, Rhandi Bobo Photo by WJNPHOTO
Bela Cooley, Chase Cooley
Bela Cooley, Chase Cooley Photo by WJNPHOTO
Booker T. Washington School  School for the Performing Arts choir
Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts choir gives the opening performance as guests sit down to dinner. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Shawn Kaplan, Tish Cruciani
Shawn Kaplan, Tish Cruciani Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kinfolk brass band, Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Kinfolk Brass Band leads a second-line parade into the ballroom for dinner. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Leonardo Gonzalez, Andrea Devaldenebro
Leonardo Gonzalez, Andrea Devaldenebro Photo by WJNPHOTO
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
The Garden Gate created the floral design, which included wisteria trees that towered over tables and arrangements of roses and hydrangeas. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Rhonda Marcus, Frasier Marcus
Rhonda Marcus, Frasier Marcus Photo by WJNPHOTO
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Dancers join in the second-line fun. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Rob Bowlby, Sarah Bowlby
Rob Bowlby, Sarah Bowlby Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kathy Crow, Michael Crow
Kathy Crow, Michael Crow Photo by WJNPHOTO
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
A display of mini muffaletta lollipops at cocktail hour. Photo by WJNPHOTO
Lynn McBee, Tracy Lang
Lynn McBee, Tracy Lang Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kate Ford, Christel Crigler, Tracy Madans
Kate Ford, Christel Crigler, Tracy Madans  Photo by WJNPHOTO
Ciara Cooley, Jake Fraze
James Tarpeh, Jessica Johnson, Annette Watkins, C.A. Anderson
Piper Wyatt, Cara French, Alison Malone
Kara Goss, Randall Goss
Kate Rose Marquez, John Levis
Susan O’Brien, Brooke Hortenstien
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Holly Riefe, James Riefe
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Nardos Iman, Maria Villanueva, Delayna Minter
Sami Arslanlar, Muffin Lemak, John Clutts
Tiffany Work, James Emanuelson
Tiffany Divis, Susan Farris, Tucker Enthoven
Tracy Fulton, Dotti Reeder, Joseph Mahoney
Julie Castro, Gabe Castro
Ed Hellwig, Kelly Hellwig
Jamie Watley, Rhandi Bobo
Bela Cooley, Chase Cooley
Booker T. Washington School  School for the Performing Arts choir
Shawn Kaplan, Tish Cruciani
Kinfolk brass band, Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Leonardo Gonzalez, Andrea Devaldenebro
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Rhonda Marcus, Frasier Marcus
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Rob Bowlby, Sarah Bowlby
Kathy Crow, Michael Crow
Crystal Charity Ball 2018
Lynn McBee, Tracy Lang
Kate Ford, Christel Crigler, Tracy Madans

To say the 2018 Crystal Charity Ball had a "New Orleans" theme would steal the elegance of its official motif: "A Celebration in Nouvelle-Orléans."

Chairwoman Claire Emanuelson had chosen the theme not only as a nod to her mother's French heritage but also to fete the tricentennial of the beloved Southern city, she announced last spring. 

Upon arrival to the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 1,500 guests — dressed in their finest ballgowns and tuxedos — walked down a hallway of moss-covered trees and into a postcard-perfect French Quarter vignette. A bubbling fountain that seemed straight from a famous old New Orleans courtyard provided one of many Instagram-worthy backdrops.

Inside the cocktail reception, a replica of the revolving carousel bar from Hotel Monteleone poured premium libations. Bartenders also pointed guests to the nearest Hurricanes, which were being passed on trays.

Gorgeous displays of vibrantly colored roses climbed iron lamp posts to adorn oversized displays of hors d'oeurves. Guests daintily loaded their plates with Big Easy-inspired canapes of mini muffaletta lollipops, Andouille sausage puffs, sliders, and jumbo Gulf shrimp.

After having portraits made by John French Photography and grabbing glasses of wine and bubbly, attendees — including Piper Wyatt, Cara French, Alison Malone, Tiffany Divis, Susan Farris, Tucker Enthoven, Sami Arslanlar, Muffin Lemak, John Clutts, Holly Riefe, James Riefe, Kate Rose Marquez, John Levis, James Tarpeh, Jessica Johnson, Annette Watkins, C.A. Anderson, Susan O’Brien, Brooke Hortenstien, Nardos Iman, and Delayna Minter — began bidding in the silent auction. Up for grabs were magnificent trips, fine jewelry, artwork, runway fashion experiences, one-of-a-kind accessories, and many more exquisite items.

Patrons also perused the The French Market for holiday gifts, including small electronics, beautiful housewares, and furry stuffed animals and mini cars for kids. Those who (literally) wanted to let the good times roll hit the casino early.

A few minutes before 9 pm, the Kinfolk Brass Band led a festive, high-stepping second-line parade into the Chantilly Ballroom for dinner.

They continued to play and dance inside, and soon were joined by the joyous sounds of a choir from Booker T. Washington High School. It's rare for people to take so long to sit down to dinner, but the band and choir were so entertaining, folks couldn't help but clap, dance, and capture video on their phones.

Attendees found their tables, which were adorned with opulent arrangements of roses and hydrangeas, and some had wisteria trees towering over the top. When the entertainers paraded out, the James Davis Orchestra took the music down a notch to allow for pleasant dinner conversation. 

Throughout the evening, guests could be overheard discussing the Cowboys' recent victory over the Saints (apropros of the night's theme); anticipating their holiday plans; and sharing memories of President George H.W. Bush, who had passed away the night before.

A sumptuous three-course meal started with a Crab Louie salad with Galatoire's Remoulade Blanc and lemon tarragon vinaigrette. Next came a pan-seared filet of beef with sherry mushroom compote; potato and parsnip puree; bacon and balsamic crispy Brussels sprouts; and braised carrots. A chocolate hazelnut profiterole with lemon cream was the most gorgeous, sculptural work of art on any dessert plate all social season. Throughout the evening, wines from Duckhorn and Rodney Strong were poured.

Spotted in the crowd, enjoying dinner, were Tiffany Work, James EmanuelsonJulie Castro, Gabe CastroTracy Fulton, Dotti Reeder, Joseph MahoneyKara Goss, Randall GossCiara Cooley, Jake FrazeLeonardo Gonzalez, Andrea DevaldenebroJamie Watley, Rhandi BoboShawn Kaplan, Tish CrucianiEd Hellwig, Kelly HellwigRhonda Marcus, Frasier MarcusRob Bowlby, Sarah BowlbyKathy Crow, Michael CrowLynn McBee, Tracy LangBela Cooley, Chase CooleyKate Ford, Christel Crigler, and Tracy Madans

It didn't take long for the music to gear up again and for the dance floor to fill to the brim. Big Blast and The Party Makers, a party band from Atlanta, kept the room moving and grooving long after the last bites of dinner had been eaten.

Those with tired feet scooped up their party favors — including a box of note cards from Tiffany & Co. — and exited back to the foyer. There, they could check silent auction bids one last time; hit the casino tables again; and try for one last chance in a raffle for a 2019 Lexus, which was parked inside.

On the way to the valet stand, guests got one last taste of the Big Easy — fresh, hot beignet doughnuts made on site (and covered in mounds of powdered sugar, just like at Cafe du Monde).

Tom Addis of Tom Addis Productions, Junior and Maria Villanueva of The Garden Gate Floral Design, Hilton Anatole executive chef Rigoberto Lemus, and a host of others helped bring the "Nouvelle-Orléans" night to life.

The 66th annual black-tie gala is the grand finale of the social season and benefits children's charities around the city. This year's beneficiaries are After-School All-Stars North Texas, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Buckner Children and Family Services, Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Mosaic Family Services, Nexus Recovery Center, and Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.