Barnes reigns as NGC queen

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 25, 2001

Growing up with the Historic Natchez Pageant, Lauren Elizabeth Barnes said she always admired the young women who represented Natchez Spring Pilgrimage as queen.

So when she learned she had been chosen as Natchez Garden Club Queen for 2001, Barnes said she was &uot;thrilled.&uot;

&uot;I never expected it,&uot; she said. &uot;It was always the girls I looked up to growing up.&uot;

A junior at Auburn University majoring in industrial design, Barnes said she has enjoyed the time spent with family and friends afforded to her by her role as queen.

&uot;This is the most time I’ve spent at home since I graduated,&uot; she said. &uot;It makes me realize how great Natchez is.&uot;

And Barnes said she looks forward to showing Natchez off to her college friends who will visit for the pageant and all its festivities.

Barnes is a 1998 honor graduate of Trinity Episcopal Day School. At Auburn University, she is a Dudley Academic Scholar and a member of the Auburn University Honors College.

She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority, where she has served as Greek Sing chairman and homecoming campaign spirit coordinator. She is a graduate of the Walt Disney World College Intern Program for the spring of 2000.

Her previous pageant experience includes Little Maypole, Big Maypole, Placard Bearer, Polka and six years in the Fanny Ellsler troupe, including the lead role of Fanny Ellsler.

Dancing since age 5, Barnes said she enjoys performing and has a growing interest in theater.

After researching styles of the period, Barnes, her mother and the dressmaker Cynthia Whittington selected the elements of Victorian design which comprise her gown.

Barnes’ antebellum-style ball gown of ivory silk dupioni is heavily embellished with pearls, irridescents and Austrian crystals.

Pearl-edged silk folds follow the shape of the en couer neckline, which is finished with a jeweled lace edging. Short poufs of silk edged with the same lace form the sleeves.

An overskirt of jewel-encrusted, hand-beaded and reembroidered Alencon lace falls into rounded points banded with dupioni and edged with pearls and teardrop crystals in a pattern selected by Barnes herself.

Beaded Alencon bands define the edges of the silk dupioni train, echoing the deep points of the overskirt. Lace, embellished with pearls and dangling Austrian crystals, repeats this pattern on the body of the train.

Adding to her ensemble, Barnes will wear her mother’s pearl bracelet and the pearl earrings and necklace she received on her 16th birthday. Her jeweled scepter is a gift from her grandmother. To complete her outfit, she will wear an English-style tiara enhanced with marquis and emerald-cut brilliants.

Barnes is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Conrad C. Barnes Jr. of Natchez. Her grandparents are Mrs. Joseph B. David of Natchez and the late Mr. David and the late Mr. and Mrs. Conrad C. Barnes of Decatur.