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I'm still pinching myself that this all really happened!
It's been a thrill of my life to meet the Pontalbas at their family home château de Mont-l'Eveque, near Senlis, France, and to reconnect them to their Louisiana heritage.
Merry Christmas and my best wishes for a Happy New Year!
MY BEST FROM BOURBON,
At left: Isabelle, Baroness de Pontalba's dream fulfilled to hear
Jazz at Preservation Hall. It was magical!
and greets Baron and Baroness de Pontalba and Pierre de Pontalba to New Orleans!
& Launch of the Baroness Pontalba Exhibit at the Cabildo!
I am thrilled to offer you early ticket access to the Louisiana Museum’s Founders Ball & Exhibition Opening at the Cabildo. This is one for the history books!
Taking a wrong turn in the French countryside six years ago was incredibly fortuitous! I met the Pontalbas!. This wonderful occurrence along with help from friends led to this year's Founders Ball and Baroness de Pontalba exhibition....Here's how it happened and what you can anticipate.
Founders Ball & Exhibition Opening
The Baroness de Pontalba & the Family that Built Jackson Square
How a father’s philanthropy & a daughter’s determination created the urban heart and the architectural look of Old New Orleans
My cousin and I were looking for a Joan of Arc site when we got lost. Then I saw a sign for Senlis, which I remembered from Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de Pontalba, Christina Vella’s biography of the Almonester and Pontalba families, as their family seat.
We stopped at the Visitor Center and asked if the Pontalba family still lived in Senlis and discovered that they did! We arranged to tour their gardens and drove through alleys of poplar trees and rolling hills to the château. To our delight we met members of the Pontalba family, who graciously invited us in.
That the direct descendants of the Baroness de Pontalba (1795-1874) would welcome us to Château de Mont-l’Évêque, that we would develop a warm friendship, and that they would embrace their Louisiana heritage was beyond any dream that I could imagine!
Subsequently, I kept dreaming along with my friends, artist Andrew Lamar Hopkins and Louisiana Museum Foundation Director Susan Maclay.
We also realized that Mont l’Évêque is a treasure trove of historical items related to the Pontalbas' time in Louisiana - primarily in the 19th century. So, the idea for the exhibition was born.
Of course, none of this would have happened if I hadn't read Intimate Enemies. We should all be eternally grateful to the late Christina Vella, author of this book that was critically acclaimed by the New York Times.
If you haven't already read Intimate Enemies, I encourage you to do so. It will deepen your appreciation of the exhibit and what Jackson Square means to all of us.
The costume Ball will be reminiscent of the elegant parties Baroness Pontalba held in New Orleans and in her mansion in Paris, which today, still known as the Hôtel de Pontalba, serves as the official residence of the United States Ambassador to France.
Late-18th-century to mid-19th-century attire, recalling the days of Don Almonester and our Baroness, are encouraged for the ball. Contemporary black tie and ball gowns will also be acceptable.
Together, we will welcome Charles-Edouard and Isabelle, Baron and Baroness de Pontalba, their son Pierre, and other family members from France!
Here’s a link to buy your Founders Ball tickets. They are $300 each for Louisiana Museum Foundation Members and $350 for non-members. I suggest you do this today for tickets are limited and this remarkable event will sell out!
The only mission of the Louisiana Museum Foundation is to support the Louisiana State Museum through community donations and programmatic support. I hope that you will join me as a proud member of the LMF to support them for this event and beyond.
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