February 14th 1883
This is the month oh happy times
When love hearts awakening
To sing their love in loving rhyme
Taught May hearts are quaking
Then lady fair may I say love
Weigh this right and adjust
And think of me to darling prove
That I [am] far and trusted
~ James G Van Emburgh
The grand ball was held at the Athenaeum which is known as New Orleans first auditorium. It was located on the corner of St. Charles Ave. and Clio street until it burned in 1937.
Upon the death of his wife, William had a charcoal portrait made of Georgiana so that the children would not forget the face of their mother. The enormous portrait of Georgiana hung in the center hall of the O’Kelly home until the death of her daughter Mary in 1968. As an old woman, Mary sat beneath the portrait in a large upholstered chair, drinking Coca Cola and watching the little black and white tv she had set up on the opposite side of the hall. My mother showed a particular interest in Georgiana and so Mary gave the portrait to her which was henceforth known as Georgiana. I grew-up with Georgiana on the wall and like my mother, I often gazed at her, even talked to her. My sisters were frightened of her. They claimed that her eyes followed their movements, which is what mom and I knew to be the most precious aspect of Georgiana’s portrait. She was very much a living presence in our home. I took this photo a couple of months before the fire in 2005 that burned Mom’s house down and took Georgiana from us.
Close-up of Georgiana’s portrait.
The photograph of Georgiana that was recreated in the portrait. Taken by E.W. Mealy circa 1881.
New Orleans September 9, 1889 to Monroe, Louisiana
William Abram O’kelly to his Mother-In-Law Malinda Dull Van Emburgh
We arrived here safely the next day without any adventure. It was terribly warm that night in the sleeper until the train started. After that we did very well. I had to buy Sonny a pair of new shoes the next day as the ones he had on hurt him so he could not walk. I got him a nice hat on Friday, but he lost it last night.
We have been out to the Lake three times and yesterday we went across the lake to Mandeville where we spent a very pleasant day. We got a fine dinner for 57 cents in the evening. I took the boy on the shore and took his clothes off and let him play about in the water for half an hour. He enjoyed himself ever so much. It is about 35 miles across the lake it took over two hours to make the run. You cannot see from our side to the other and when we were in the middle it looked right green. Some people were sea sick but we was not. It was on the way back son lost his hat. Then was such a [?] to get off and to get to the train. I am doing better but the boy seems to be going right along he does not want to go home yet. We both send love to you all. Kiss the children from us.