A special year

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 27, 2000

Family tradition runs strong in the family of Anna Devereux Baker. Serving as queen for the Pilgrimage Garden Club this year Anna carries on a tradition begun by her aunt Marsha Colson, who served as queen in 1968.

&uot;My Aunt Marsha served as queen and I remember when I was little she would tell me how much fun she had,&uot; said Baker. &uot;Ever since I served as page in the Confederate Pageant in 1985 I thought about how much fun it would be to be the queen.&uot;

&uot;Like all little girls Anna loved watching the queen every year,&uot; said Lisa Baker, Anna’s mother. &uot;When they first called about her serving we didn’t think it would be possible since she was in college in Virginia. But fortunately the second week of her reign coincides with the school’s spring break.&uot;

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&uot;Luckily my university is in Virginia, another state with a strong sense of history,&uot; said Anna. &uot;Once I explained exactly what Pilgrimage was to my counselor and the dean of students, they were very helpful in arranging for me to be home.&uot;

While any college student would be pleased to be asked to serve, this is a very special year for Anna and a rare opportunity for her also. Her grandmother, Devereux Marshall Slatter, is serving the last year of her two-year term as president for the Pilgrimage Garden Club.

&uot;This makes my last year as president very special,&uot; said Slatter. &uot;When Anna was a little girl she would receive during Spring Pilgrimage at our home, Lansdowne. The guests loved having her in her antebellum clothes giving them tours.&uot;

Bakers previous pageant experience includes serving as page in the 1985 Confederate Pageant.

Anna is a 1997 graduate of Episcopal High school in Baton Rouge, La., where she served as homecoming queen her senior year. She is a junior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where she is majoring in English and journalism.

While she has been at Washington and Lee she has served as assistant editor for the university literary magazine &uot;Ariel&uot; and Mississippi State Chairman for the Republican 2000 Mock Convention. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority where she serves as its standards representative, a Dean’s List scholar and has been elected to serve as a senior class executive for the university’s honor board next year. In the summers she serves as a counselor at Strong River Camp.

In her free time, this year’s queen enjoys hiking, backpacking, reading, canoeing and working with the Shepherd Poverty Program.

During her reign Baker will be wearing a gown of champagne satin which features a beaded and sequined bodice with a French re-embroidered Alencon lace bertha and and a scalloped satin overskirt highlighted with the same lace. This is worn over an underskirt of satin and beaded lace. Falling from a jewel encrusted Alencon mantle, the train is fashioned in three panels of silk faced satin joined by beaded lace medallions. The dress was originally made for Courtney Stacy Taylor who served as queen in 1979, it was also worn by Queen Nicole Ratcliffe in 1996 and has been re-worked for Baker. Completing her regalia is a crown and scepter that was originally carried by Queen Rena Jean Whittington Schmieg, who reigned in 1954 with George Marshall IV, Baker’s great-uncle.

Baker is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burk Baker of Baton Rouge. She has two brothers: Andrew, 14, and Ashton, 6. She is the granddaughter of Devereux Marshall Slatter of Natchez and Edwina Starnes of Monroe, La.

Queen Anna Devereux Baker began her reign Saturday night with King Ashton Roy James.