The Debutante Bal de la Chasse to end ’em all….. (Updated)

There are times when you see something on the society pages that causes a double and then triple take. The party hosted by Cathy and Rivie Cary for their daughter featuring a “definite French flair, with Versailles being a focus” that included models dressed in period regalia and a party tent decorated like it was Versailles is one of those. For vittles they even had a lobster tree and this does not include the multiple big name bands.

Star-studded Bal de la Chasse honors Grace Catherine Cary on eve of winter solstice ~  Sue Strachan

The irony of course is these would have been the same class of people most likely to lose their heads later on during the French Revolution. I personally don’t waste time worrying how the rich and famous spend their wealth but I’m frankly at a loss as to why anyone would want to put it on such public display.  I’m personally having a hoot reading the associated snark on Twitter. does not allow comments to such articles. shut down commenting to the article, no doubt after snark appeared there in response to the account of the party.

Feel free to fire away in comments here.


This morning I contacted Mr. Cary about the worker pay issue and was referred to Bronson van Wyck of Van Wyck & Van Wyck. Mr. van Wyck was aware of the Facebook posting that was copied here in comments and he disputed the veracity of certain of the allegations. Mr. van Wyck indicated his company employed 343 local people for the party. His company pays temporary labor twice monthly and he stated unequivocally all were paid on time. Additionally van Wyck employed certain independent contractors, who are paid after they submit an invoice for services. He does not dispute the person in question was told they would be paid when corporate reopened today. He vigorously disputes that he agreed to pay anyone at the event itself.

Finally Mr. van Wyck disputed the assertion that his company is not fully invested in New Orleans as they have provided services for several events over the past few years.

18 thoughts on “The Debutante Bal de la Chasse to end ’em all….. (Updated)”

  1. shuts down all comments to debutante articles; comments were closed from the beginning. As a fellow journalist, maybe you should e-mail Ms. Strachan and ask her why comments are not allowed on these articles.

  2. Doug don’t waste yo’ time – its evident the rich and famous don’t want jealous , ugly comments on the internet as the local silk stocking society scene is all about impressing other rich and famous.

    What would be the purpose of the paper/s covering these society functions if they created negative local comments ? – if permitted, the rich and famous would absolutely not allow journalistic coverage of their monetary binges and the paper would have no society page for women to read and wish upon a star.

    Besides the greatest things in life are free unless you’re blind to them and seek all the wrong things ,wrong people in all the wrong places then even with all the money in the world your life can becomes a hell on earth.

  3. All this time I was thinking it was a collective polite silence in the comments to certain of these type articles.

    I thought the silence was just like when everyone in the crowd acts like they didn’t hear Puff the Magic Dragon bark.

    I stand corrected.

    1. Funny, but no, certain “society” articles on permit comments. But if you search Ms. Strachan’s articles, you will find that anything having to do with debutantes is locked out for comments. Apparently, Ms. Strachan and nola kowtow to certain pressures. It’s very interesting.

  4. A few days ago I noticed a friend of a friend on Facebook commenting on this party — apparently she worked it and no one was paid on time. The excerpt below is from the original FB poster; my dotted line marks the beginning of new commentary in the FB string. The gist here, among no one getting paid, is that apparently the kid who was feted with Maroon 5 was pissed at mom and dad because they didn’t get Bruno Mars:

    Thumbs down to Van Wyck & Van Wyck for the shabbiest kajillion dollar party I have ever been a part of…and, yes, my part was miniscule. Labor & entertainers have yet to be paid, although told payment would be on site. We have no room for condescension from the producer & employees in this city.

    Although I like to work & earn money, I would have been better off mentally & consciously to stay home…except meeting Jason Moore would have been delayed.

    Shame on our community for paying for bells & whistles from parts not New Orleans when New Orleans touts some of the best producers in the world. We live in a city of fun, of parties…why hire people who have no respect for this city & her people?

    How do you pay what they paid for Maroon 5…and…run out of water (not only for the artists, but the guests). The list goes on, but I will not bore you with details. Water issues are Producing 101 issues…simply inexcusable…rattling off the the list of indiscretions will only reignite the angst on my part.

    In closing…your silly lobster tree stunk…& not in a good way.

    Buy local…
    It’s ridiculous and sad. It is becoming the norm. In the old days it was an honor to play for “uptown ” peeps. They paid and tipped wonderful. These days a court case comes out of it for payment. Trust and honor is GONE! as are most ethics in this world.
    Maroon Five played a party the other day for a sweet 16 for a very wealthy man’s daughter and she walked in saw them and started screaming at her dad she wanted Bruno Mars and left the party. People are so greedy.
    I finally received payment via my PayPal account. I ragged those muthers out until they just wanted to get rid of me.

    The dude who told me we would be paid on site made the mistake of saying he was doing me a favor trying to get me paid. Ohhhh, sooky sooky, now…I straightened him out. No favor…I was making him DO his job. The local chick on Van Wyck payroll said she was paying me out of her personal account. So effin what? Van Wyck peeps were still in town. Grow some balls, witch. Gigs during the holidays…especially at the end of the year…producers from out of town…oh, no sending me a check after the NY office opens January 6. I know how that scam plays out.

    That knucklehead who was doing me a favor had the audacity that worrying about the others who have not been paid was not my job. NOT MY JOB?!?! It is part of who I am to look out for those I care about, those I work with. We are family, dipstick. It is not about me…it is about my family.
    that is this party! The producer had me calling my New Orleans peeps to see about a rumor a neighbor had Justin Timberlake. Not only the kids, but the adults, all want to out do the other.

    That is not a sense of community, but classism & lowbrow white trash. You cannot buy being a good person. Audubon Place is more neauveau riche than I have ever seen it.


    1. Julien :

      Pardon me but am I correct in saying Audubon Place is a private street and wasn’t it discovered a year or so ago that the houses thereon haven’t paid property taxes in decades because the street was designated private by past crony politicians and corrupt property assessors ?

      Hope those poor people are now paying property taxes for the city services they utilize.

  5. Great comment Julien. Maybe you should inform Sue Strachan at the TP and Nell Nolan at The Advocate about these issues. These “journalists” should know such things about the fine folks who make their copy.

    1. Bruno Mars?!

      I’ll be happy to help write up that soiree!

      Probably a good thing it’s not alleged that they are hiring rappers and not paying in a timely fashion…

  6. No doubt the Picayune and Advocate are already watching this thread — after all, don’t they (and Zurik) steal most of their most innovate reporting from sites like Slabbed and American Zombie?

    Nolan apparently has blood ties to the WASP/Uptown uppercrust and so as a double agent is already aware of the dirt behind the glossy photos and won’t be making any disturbing revelations; aspiring scenester Strachan is a scab hired after the Great Purge of staff in 2012 and likewise knows where her bread is buttered.

    1. To the extent the worker bees have not yet been paid per your comments Julien I think this topic is worthy of follow up. I’ll let you know what I find out. Thanks for sharing.

  7. The lobster tree was odd.
    I don’t really understand the debutante process and how it relates to what once was a reasonably functional (if high brow) event. It just looked like a sort of super-prom.

    1. I take the process to mean that if you want to get a date with Daddy’s little girl, bring your family’s personal financial statement along for verification. Only the progeny of deca and hectomillionaires need apply.

  8. Holy Horrors Of Hectomillionaire ‘s Deb-butanes Batman,

    Once apon a time I done bees chased by a unhot, heavily haired Deb-butane, I had no financial statement but I proceeded to run fasted den Forrest Gump cross these United States.

    She did gave chase in her skimpy purple sports bra but got tired cuz she didn’t gotts no choc-o-lots in her pock-o-lots. WARNING: Video may contain frightnin’ and horrific Deb-butane sights.


    I caught a break after a hellish and hectic day to browse Google for various debutante announcements from friends, acquaintances, and not so great friends of friends. This is what happens when you’re bored at 1 am and amped on caffeine. Excuse any copy-pasting inconsistencies. I couldn’t resist commenting when Sue Strachan’s gem came up in my search. Yes it’s August and the last comment was from January, but I don’t care.

    I know these people. Their daughter attends UT.

    To prelude – The very few people of old wealth actually remaining on Audubon Place probably screamed internally as this little shindig went on. How do I know about Audubon Place as a Texan, you may ask? Everyone does. People talk.

    The truth is, that family is far from old blood. Read up enough about them and you’ll definitely see that this Bal de la Chasse is nothing more than their great “chasse” for attention. Since I care more about European art and culture than just buying replicas and being seen around it, I know enough to identify the whole event’s blatant anachronisms. These people have no familial french connections and are desperately trying to evoke that old-world association in a place like New Orleans that prioritizes it. I understand their need. Van Wyck must be very accustomed to serving upstarts. Personally, I find that decor much better suited to an upscale burlesque for drunk Russians than for an event that’s supposed to exude “class.” The invitations look more like apology letters from Kat Von D. The Carys themselves need to apologize to any French calligrapher of decent practice for associating that $1000 chickenscribble with centuries of finesse. Even worse is the fact these people have the audacity to put a “family crest” out there. They’re humble Anglos from Houma or wherever living in a city that wouldn’t quite accept them if it weren’t for their money and social back-breaking, NOT the Astors or the Vanderbilts. Truly, I feel bad for them.

    Texans have one thing right in that we don’t go this over-the-top when it comes to our debutante balls. They’re mere formalities that Grandma still thinks are a good idea. Being a debutante says nothing about who a girl will marry or to use that horrid word, “associate” with for “generations to come”. As being a debutante should not, in the 21st century. People of true, practiced, less conspicuous wealth would rather use all that money spent on the theme to do something meaningful like send their child to a top graduate school or around the world. And…GASP…maybe even give to the poor when living in a city riddled with projects and destitution only blocks away from Audubon…Guess that isn’t exactly a priority when your daughter has a ridiculous major and zero intellectual interests. What can I say? Some people need to be paraded around extravagantly.

    I am used to going to deb balls. Been to dozens, reluctantly had my own. I’ve never seen anything this obscene. At least most Texan families of equal means have the courtesy to pay staff properly for their daughters’ debuts.

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