Loyola Style Show: A Longstanding Tradition

In Community by Lola Magazine

What began as a project of the Jesuit Mother’s Club in 1952 as a way to raise money for the school has become one of the oldest traditions in Loyola’s history.

A true family affair, the Style Show has been an annual mainstay for generations as seniors look forward to this inaugural big event marking their last year at Loyola, and parents and grandparents gather to watch as students take center stage. In its genesis, the Style Show was a luncheon — a quiet afternoon where ladies in town played bridge, had a light lunch, enjoyed a glass of wine, and had a chance to view the latest fashions. Professional models were sometimes accompanied on the runway by the children of the mothers heading up the Style Show each year. Through the early years, a few seniors were selected to model and to perform in skits, but student participation was generally limited to the Senior Walk until the early nineties. Style Show was such a mom-centered occasion that it didn’t make the pages of the yearbook until the 1968-69 school year. In spite of its humble beginnings, Loyola’s Style Show has evolved into much more than a school event. It has become a community celebration.

One of the most endearing and surprising aspects of Style Show has been the unexpected connection to Shreveport’s history forged between students and the family-owned stores and boutiques who have partnered with Loyola throughout the decades. Almost everyone who has walked the runway has a special memory of their outfit and, even more so, the store that provided it. Faculty member, Saint Vincent’s Academy alumnae, and member of Loyola’s Hall of Honor Camille Meehan says of her earliest memories of Style Show, “I was in it when I was about eleven (1961) and wore an outfit from Junior Town, a store owned by a Jesuit family, where we all loved to shop. It was on Azalea, near where Pope’s is now.” John James Marshall, another Hall of Honor member and Media Director at Loyola, recalls with a chuckle his green- and-gold plaid jacket and vest from the iconic Jordan and Booth. As alumni look back on modeling at Style Show, recalling all the stores as much as the clothes themselves stirs up the sweet memories of high school and of life in Shreveport.

While styles have certainly changed over the decades, two staples of the Style Show that remained until the event became a catered affair in the early 2000s were Turkey a la Jesuit for lunch and Pecan Tassies for dessert. Hosted by the Junior Class, the Style Show included a menu that was always prepared by the junior moms. Rosemary Watts, an SVA alumnae and grandmother to Loyola students Griffin and Hunter Neal, tells of her days as a volunteer in the ‘70s: “I signed up to make Turkey a la Jesuit,” she recalls, “not knowing I would be making it for the entire crowd!” Preparing the twenty-pound turkeys was a lengthy process, and recipes for Turkey a la Jesuit came complete with detailed instructions on preparation, freezing, and even on how to store and label leftover broth.

Although Style Show has grown from a humble luncheon to a grand production over time, one simple thread still connects generations of students: family. Rosemary Watts tells the story of four decades of watching her children and grandchildren walk the runway. Elizabeth Thomas (SVA ’75) says of her experience, “It was so special to be part of this with my girls after so many years. With each one of them, our Style Show experience was a lot of fun. I loved being able to join them on the alumni walk—it is a great memory we still enjoy!” Countless alumni recount stories of watching older siblings and cousins participate, eagerly awaiting their turn to be the cool kids on the stage. They tell teary-eyed stories of having their parents with them during the alumni walk, some of those parents who didn’t live to see their grandchildren take those same steps. They tell the story of friends who became family during their years at Jesuit, or St. Vincent’s, or Loyola—and they talk about all the fun they had together on Style Show day.

It would be a safe bet to think those first Mother’s Club ladies who organized a rather modest fundraiser could not have possibly envisioned what they started. An event that began as an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon with friends and help the school has grown into a tradition lasting over six decades. As Loyola’s Style Show celebrates its sixty-fifth anniversary this year, it commemorates a great deal more than a chance to enjoy an afternoon—even more than an opportunity to invest in the lives of students, giving them an unmatched quality education. Style Show is a reminder. A reminder of the foundation that held firm for so many years. A reminder of the deep connection we have to a school and to a community and to each other.

Written by: Lisa Cooper


For many years Jesuit High School had a style show with the seniors having roles in the show and sponsored by the junior class moms. This was originally held in the gym. The mothers of the students sold tickets, produced the show, prepared the meal and after would stay and play various card games for the afternoon. These recipes were among some of the favorites.

PECAN TASSIES
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • One 3-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Directions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Add the flour and beat until fully combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Shape the chilled dough into 24 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Press each ball into a cup of the muffin pan, spreading evenly and up the sides, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the pecans into each muffin cup. Fill each cup with the egg mixture until evenly distributed, about 1 teaspoon in each. Bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from the muffin pan.

TURKEY A LA JESUIT
Ingredients
2 – 20 lb Turkeys
6 – large onions
2 – lbs oleo
1 – large pod garlic
5 – cups flour
3 – bay leaves
1 / 2 cup bacon drippings
3 – 13 1 /2 oz cans mushrooms
2 – bunches chopped green onions
4 – cans cream of mushroom soup
3 – large chopped bell peppers
turkey broth
1 – stalk celery
1 / 2 gal. Stuffed olives

Directions

Boil turkey until tender (2 ½ to 3 hrs) Remove meat from bones and cut into bite size pieces. Pieces must not be too small as they have a tendency to break up when the mixture is being heated for serving. Brown flour in oleo. Do not darker flour but brown just enough so that the sauce will not have the appearance of white sauce. Add cream of mushroom soup and turkey broth as needed. In another pan sauté in bacon drippings the onions, bell peppers, garlic (finely chopped), and celery until soft then add to sauce mixture together with the rest of ingredients except mushrooms. Simmer 5 to 10 min. Add cut-up turkey and mushrooms and let cool enough to put into freezer containers.
If after making the sauce what you feel to be the proper consistency, you have broth left over please freeze it also. Please mark the container “broth” on top so the cooks can quickly identify broth from the turkey mixture on the day of the style show. The broth is used to thin the turkey if some of it happens to be a bit too thick. Your food chairman will provide you with the turkeys, soup, mushrooms, stuffed olives and containers for freezing. We ask that you purchase the rest of the items necessary and let your food chairman know the amount spent so that she may reimburse you.