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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Morgan's Adieu to You!"

Photos by Paul L. Schuetze/The Times

Morgan Ballengee, 14, who attended Caddo Middle Magnet last year, is heading soon to Choate, a boarding school in Wallingford, Conn.

To send her off, parents James and Waynette Ballengee gave her a party Saturday at Riverview Hall.

"It was a takeoff on the Dr. Seuss book, ‘The Places You Will Go,’" said Waynette. "Marc Marcussen took that theme and adapted it to what he envisioned."
Think elegant blown-up images of Morgan — four panels of four pics in the Andy Warhol manner.

Think spandex forms of ceiling high tunnels, towers, waves and tornadoes and arches to provide intimacy in the huge hall.
Think bright colors of neon for table treatments and chair covers.

No flowers here, but wiggly threads of metal entwined with neon-colored balls soaring from the center of the tables.

You get the picture.

But, there was more: a black fiber optic curtain was the backdrop for a 36-foot-long white sofa, a seating area, if you will, against a wall in the dance section.

The scene set, the purple and red costumed characters in the lobby, the doors opened.

Ballengee’s pals arrived in clusters as kids her age do.

They danced to music by spin-master D.J. AM, who plays at all the hot parties in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and mingles with the stars as recorded on the pages of such magazines as People.

The kids loved him. Once he started it all at 8 p.m., they never left the dance floor. Even as the lights went on at 11 p.m., they begged for more.

They giggled as they performed for Dance Heads — a process that films the singers, putting their heads on the bodies of cartoon characters that act out the songs. (It is a hoot, believe me!)
They hammed it up for the camera machine that produced a strip of four photos for them to take home, along with a candy bar channeling the six-pagebrightly colored color invitation.

And, they sampled John Cariere’s Cotton Boll’s mini hot dogs, grilled cheese, Jello shots, sandwiches and green eggs.

They sipped Morgan’s Mochalattes from Columbia Cafe and cold drinks from lighted glasses that were among their party favors.

It was, well, spectacular.

I oohed and aahed over every bit of it.

Here is just a very small sampling of those who stopped by: Morgan’s sister, Jordan Sandefur, Ryne Allen, Will Chadwick, Austin Love, Wiley LaVigne, Gina Goorley, Camille Cook, Ellen Booras, Colby Johnson, Marshall Watts, Christopher, Lawrence Harrison, Karen Ezelle, Emma Meek, Zach Savoie, Ahmad Ibrahim, Riley Hicks.

At the end of it all, everyone walk out with a caramel or M&M apple in a hand.
Photos from top to bottom show: Costume characters that greeted you upon arrival; party setting in Riverview Hall; images of Morgan in the entry; and Morgan's sister, Jordan Sandefur and Morgan in the photo booth.

To see a gallery of photos of party photos, go to http://www.shreveporttimes.com/ and click on photo gallery.


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