Debutantes Presented At The Society of Martha Washington Colonial Pageant & Ball
By Jake Gaines
Photography By WBCA/Memo Sosa
THE SCENE: Laredo’s festive Washington’s birthday celebration and debutante ball is always a momentous occasion in South Texas. Cocktails were poured, champagne was popped and hors d’oeuvres were passed as thousands of Laredo’s most esteemed denizens arrived en masse to celebrate the decades-old tradition in the South Texas region for The Society of Martha Washington Colonial Pageant & Ball.
THE VIBE: The Colonial Ball, where the girls in grand dresses debuted was held in the city’s Civic Center. It is part of a citywide festival of Washington’s Birthday Celebration, which takes place each year near the first US president’s special holiday. The Society of Martha Washington helps Laredo present an image of “racial and national harmony” and also boasts attendees who are notables from all over Texas. Dr. Minita Ramirez serves as the president of The Society of Martha Washington, Patricia Ryan is the president of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration, and Linda Leyendecker Gutierrez is the designer of the colonial dresses.
THE CAUSE: In addition to its philanthropic aspect, the organization chooses two prominent members of Laredo society to don costumes to portray President George and Martha Dandridge Washington. This year President George and Martha Washington were portrayed by Hon. Henry Cuellar as George and Rebecca Mata Laurel as Martha. The debutantes and their escorts who are presented have family in the Society, or are invited guests. Membership into the Society is exclusive, yet there are no racial or ethnic discrimination. This is all supported by Laredo’s elite that consists of bi-cultural residents… and the committees this year worked tirelessly to produce this year’s extravaganza.