Joyce Jones is shown above as she reigned as queen of the Iota Phi Lambda Business Sorority’s royal court on Friday, November 29, 1946 at the Labor Union Hall. Miss Jones is the daughter of Lee and Louisiana Braud Jones and lived in uptown New Orleans along with her three other siblings. At the time of this photo, she was a senior at Xavier Prep and would attend Xavier University the following year. She married Russell Webb, with whom she reared three children. She taught in the Los Angeles public school system. She is also the g-g-granddaughter of Jordan B. Noble, the highly respected free man of color who was a drummer and soldier of several major wars.
Marguerite Christophe, the lovely daughter of Mrs. Georgia Pinks of St. Peter Street, became engaged to George Waters which was announced to New Orleans society with this photo placed in the May 11, 1940 edition of The Louisiana Weekly. The wedding took place the following month at St. Peter Claver Church. They originally resided at 808 N. Robertson Street and reared two sons: George Jr. and Eric Waters.
Ruth Prudeaux attended Valena C. Jones Elementary, Albert Wicker Jr. High and McDonogh No. 35 High Schools. She graduated valedictorian of McD No. 35 in 1944 and went on to become editor-in-chief in 1946 of the Xavier Herald at the university. She was the daughter of George and Louise Cassimere Prudeaux and the 8th of 12 children residing in 1940 on Annette Street in the 7th ward. She would go on to receive her Master’s Degree from St. Louis University and a Doctorate in Theology from Chicago Theological Seminary. She married Albert W. Williams, owner of the Unity Funeral Parlor in Chicago.
Gwendolyn Rachal hailed from Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Anthony and Genevieve Rachal. In 1940, she lived with her parents and siblings, Anthony and Genevieve Rachal, Jr. She became a public school teacher and worked for the New Orleans Recreation Department before Hurricane Katrina. She married Ernest Aubry and reared two children: Diane and Kenneth Aubry. She passed away in 2011 at her beloved country home on Cane River and is buried in St. Augustine Mausoleum in Melrose, Louisiana.
Elizabeth “Betty’ Goudeau is shown in the November 1942 issue of the Xavier Herald after being elected “Miss Xavier” while a junior in the Department of Home Economics. She resided on Adams Street in 1940 with her parents, Charles and Dolly Shields Goudeau. She was one of three children. Her siblings were Juanita and Charles Goudeau II. She was a descendant of the Geddes family of New Orleans. She married Albert Wethers and eventually migrated to California.
Bonita Nelson was the only child of Dr. Joseph Medard and Bonita Brooks Nelson. Her father owned drugstores in both New Orleans and Houma, Louisiana and they resided at 2017 N. Rocheblave Street in the city. She is shown above as she reigned as Track Queen in 1948, having been chosen by the student body of Xavier. Just two years later (1951) she married Archie Levan Jones Jr.
Enola Tregre was born and reared in St. John the Baptist Parish. She was the daughter of Alfred Sylvester and Viola Soraparu Tregre and had 4 brothers: Alfred, Hilton, Raymond and Wilbert Tregre. In 1942, while attending Xavier, she was selected as the “Most Religious and Most Loyal” by her senior class members. She became an educator, married Dr. Milton Becnel, and had two children: Karen and Salvadore Becnel.
Cynthia Rieras, daughter of Albert and Ella Dupre Rieras, is pictured above in her engagement photo from The Louisiana Weekly’s edition for November 28, 1942. Married the following week to Lt. James Howard Hewitt of Tampa, Florida, Miss Rieras was a 1942 graduate of Xavier University and was then attending Atlanta University School of Social Work. The wedding took place at St. Katherine Catholic Church with her brother, Ardmore Rieras and cousin, Marion Rieras, in attendance.
Rosita Tircuit, an 18 year old senior at Joseph S. Clark High School, planned to enter college that fall even though she would have preferred to be a model. She is the daughter of Paul Jr. and Dorothy Fornerette Tircuit. She married Robert Perkins and together they had 4 children: Robert Jr., Toni, LaTanya, and Eric Perkins. Her culinary specialty was Creole gumbo.
Contis Broussard, born and reared in Lafayette, was the daughter of Charles and Nora Broussard. She was photographed above in the November, 1945 edition of the Xavier Herald where she was a senior looking forward to a successful teaching career. She married Denris J. Mouton and they continued to reside in her home town of Lafayette.
Juanita Chambers appeared dressed in a gown with a scepter, crown and bouquet at the 4th Annual Charity Ball held in 1941. Here she was chosen Queen Xavierana III. She was the daughter of Isiah and Ivon Griffin Chambers of 3301Pine Street. She had 5 siblings and her father taught history in the public schools.
Carolyn Gusman is the daughter of Theodore and Marguerite Bordenave Gusman Sr.of Algiers and a sister to Theodore and Barbara Gusman. After graduating from Xavier with a degree in Mathematics, she married her high school sweetheart, Ernest Chachere, a native of Mobile. She joined him in Boston where he studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. While there, she sold insurance before returning back home. Together they reared three children: Daria, Ernest Jr. and Steven Chachere.
For more beauties read: “Creole Beauties of the 1940s &1950s ” posted on CreoleGen on November 30, 2014.
Sources: Xavier Herald, Xavier University Archives; The Louisiana Weekly; The Times-Picayune (obituaries).
Lolita V. Cherrie