Like mother, like daughter.
It’s a familiar phrase that’s often heard when comparing various aspects or actions of mothers and daughters.
And while the theme for Resurrection Catholic School’s (RCS) 78th Carnival Ball was known as “The Splendor of Versailles,” the unofficial theme could have been “like mother, like daughter.”
That’s because this year’s Queen Victoria LXXVIII is Evelyn Faith Lachaussee, daughter of Matt Lachaussee and Alice Hull Lachaussee, who was queen in 1992.
The first ball was in 1946, when the school was known as Our Lady of Victories (OLV). It has been held every year since then without fail. The early days may have seen students being voted on for court honors.
The ball is known for raising funds for the school, but it hasn’t always been a fundraiser.
By the 1960s, it evolved into a fundraiser much like it is today, and it’s the biggest fundraiser for the school. It generally raises about $100,000 a year. All the money goes into a general fund from which salaries are paid, as well as utilities, and other expenses.
Over the years the process of selecting the court has changed. Couples once competed against each other to raise money and the amount of money raised by each couple determined which position they held in the royal court. Simply put, whichever couple raised the most money were king and queen, followed by the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, and so on.
The process of selection has even changed since Alice was in school. When she was a student, each grade selected two couples to “run” for king, queen, grand duke and grand duchess. They ran as a team and it was a competition between classes. The whole class worked together to raise money. The four selected students and their families would decide amongst themselves who was running for which position. Most of the royalty have been seniors, but that is not a requirement. Juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen have held the highest positions. Royalty is never reserved for any grade, as along as the couple is in high school.
Mardi Gras and all its accompanying balls and parades have long been a part of Alice’s family history, and she knew early on she wanted to be in the royal court.
“I think I figured out that I wanted to be queen when I was in third grade,” said Alice.
Her cousin and godmother, Christine Maier, was Queen Victoria XXXVIII in 1983. When Alice was a sophomore at RCS (the school had since changed names), she ran for queen and lost to her cousin, Ellen Maier, Queen Victoria XLV.
But she didn’t give up. She fully supported her cousin, and decided to give it another try in her senior year. That year, she was chosen as Queen Victoria XLVII.
“Being queen meant so much to me because I felt like I was following in the footsteps of two women whom I loved and looked up to a great deal,” said Alice.
She is equally as proud, if not more so, of the fact that her daughter is following in her footsteps.
“It was just such an amazing feeling,” said Alice, upon finding out that Evelyn would be queen.
Evelyn takes her position as queen seriously, and looks upon it as a sense of duty.
“To me, being queen means so much. I think the two most important aspects of being queen of the RCS ball is that I have to be a good role model for the younger students at our school. In rehearsal and the ball itself, the little ones see the older students and how they behave so we have to be conscious of that and make sure that we’re setting a good example. The other important part of the role of queen is that in becoming queen you help the school out in a tremendous way by raising money. Without that money the school wouldn’t be able to operate like it does,” said Evelyn.
But the desire to be queen wasn’t just to be a role model or to help raise money for the school. It was to pay tribute to her mother.
“I wanted to be queen because my mom was queen when she was in high school. When I would look at pictures of her as queen at my grandparents’ house or in old yearbooks, I would want to be just like her.”
Not only has the mother-daughter duo secured their place in school and familial royal history, but they will have also shared something else – the same crown.
The crown has its own place in history. It survived the mud and muck of Hurricane Katrina devastation. Alice was able to salvage it from her parents’ home and cleaned it up and put it away. When the call came that Evelyn was queen, she told her mother she wanted to wear her crown. It got another cleaning and got its shine back, thanks to the hard work of her step-grandmother, Dot.
And at the 78th Carnival Ball, both Evelyn and her crown sparkled.
The road to royalty was a long one. Last year Evelyn and Eli Coats, son of Michele and Dwayne Coats, were the Grand Duchess and Grand Duke. When they decided to make the run for the top positions, they started planning their fundraising ideas but didn’t put them into motion until the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Some of the things they did to raise money were some of the same things Alice’s parents did for her run in 1992 – sold gumbo and football squares, and had a party. Also, Alice filled a bunch of pottery orders through her pottery business and they sold Boston butts. They also held many raffles – Lululemon, charcuterie boards, a pet portrait by Tommie Larsen, and a cheesecake by the Half-Bake Cheesecake. Alice’s favorite fundraiser was the gumbo party wherein people were able to keep their pottery bowl in which they were served their gumbo.
Evelyn and Eli, along with their parents, were overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of those who contributed to their fundraisers.
“For all the work that we did we were also completely blown away by the number of people who just gave us money and wished us good luck,” said Alice.
Alice graduated as valedictorian in 1992. She has a BA in History with a minor in English from Spring Hill College in 1996, an MA in History from Ole Miss in 1998; and a PhD in History with a specialization in the American South and a minor in Modern Europe from Ole Miss in 2006. After teaching for 13 years at Spring Hill and Tulane, she came to RCS about ten years ago. She teaches 10th grade World History, 11th grade Standard US History, 11th grade Advanced Placement US History (APUSH), and Dual Enrollment World Civilizations I and I.
Besides being co-chair of the annual ball, and this year being the queen’s mother, Alice says participation in the ball is not for the faint of heart, and says she was running on fumes by the day after the ball.
But it’s worth every minute to her.
“We have something so unique that other schools do not. It’s wonderful to watch these students work so hard for themselves with grace and poise. From a young age, they learn not to be afraid in front of a crowd. We also teach them the rules of proper etiquette and how to behave in a proper manner. Unfortunately, in this day and age, this is becoming a lost art. The ball really contributes to the whole education of our children,” said Alice.
Evelyn will graduate in 2024 and wants to be an athletic trainer for a professional sports team, ideally in New Orleans.
“I’ve spent most of my life at athletic events and much of that time on the sidelines because of my parents coaching, so I guess that’s where my interest developed. I’m not sure of where I want to go, but the major programs for that field of study are at Southern Miss, LSU, and Ole Miss.”
“I was running on fumes by Sunday. However, it’s worth every minute to me. We have something so unique that other schools do not. It’s wonderful to watch these students work so hard for themselves with grace and poise. From a young age, they learn not to be afraid in front of a crowd. We also teach them the rules of proper etiquette and how to behave in a proper manner. Unfortunately, in this day and age, this is becoming a lost art. The ball really contributes to the whole education of our children.”