By Donna Cornelius
The Beaux Arts Krewe will give its 51st ball a global flavor with a Chinese theme, which coincidentally is an appropriate choice for this year’s king, Harold Goings.
Goings and his wife, Jane Goings, love to travel. Among the places they’ve visited is China.
The ball, set for Feb. 9 at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium, always is one of the most anticipated social events of the year.
Thirty-five young women will be presented at the event, which includes plenty of colorful pageantry. But the ball also has a charitable purpose, raising money for the Birmingham Museum of Art.
“We love the museum,” Harold said.
The couple’s support of the museum gives them yet another connection to the ball’s Chinese theme. Jane was chairman of the museum’s annual ball in 1996, the year the museum hosted
“The First Emperor,” an exhibit of life-sized terra cotta soldiers and horses from ancient China.
According to Dr. Graham Boettcher, the BMA’s R. Hugh Daniel director, the Beaux Arts Krewe has provided funds for several museum purchases. These include three oil paintings by French artists: “The Arab Lamenting the Death of His Steed” by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse, Claude Vignon’s “Adoration of the Magi,” and Claude-Joseph Vernet’s “The Cascade at Tivoli.”
Krewe contributions also were used to purchase “Four Evangelists,” terracotta sculptural models by Italian artist Giuseppe Bernardi, also called Torretto.
As is traditional, a queen will be chosen from among the young women being presented. While the queen’s identity is kept secret before it’s announced at the ball, the king learns ahead of time that he’ll be reigning over the festivities. But, again according to custom, there’s an element of surprise involved.
“I was called to a meeting at the Birmingham Country Club,” Harold said. “Jack Martin asked me to come over to the club to discuss using PayPal to pay for the members’ winter luncheon, which will be held Jan. 22.”
That’s when Goings learned his fellow Krewe members had another job in mind for him: He’d been chosen Krewe king.
Harold, an attorney, recently retired from Birmingham’s Spain & Gillon law firm. He and Jane, married for 45 years, have two children. Their son, Harold Henderson Goings Jr. and his wife, Molly, are the parents of Isabella Jane Goings, age 9, and Harold Henderson Goings III, who’s 7. Bella and Harper, as their grandchildren are known, will be pages for their grandfather this year.
Also serving as pages are the children of Harold and Jane’s daughter, Elizabeth Goings Harrell. She and her husband, Chip, are the parents of 7-year-old Charles Miner Harrell III, known as Miner, and 5-year-old Jane Briggs Harrell. Both families live in Atlanta.
“Both of our children were pages when they were about 7 or 8 years old,” Harold said.
The king’s pages in addition to his grandchildren are Sheard Lovelace Faust, Grace McCray Faust, Lee Summers Faust, Elizabeth Gray Schoenvogel, Robert Clement Schoenvogel and Stewart Campbell Clay Jr.
Dukes are William Keay Allen, Hubert Wesley Goings Jr., John William Kidd, Thomas Melvin McCulley, Robert Exum Minor, Thomas Atkinson Roberts, William Lee Thuston and Meade Whitaker. Box guards are Arthur Phillip Cook, James Ross Forman and Erskine Ramsay.
During Harold’s more than 35 years as a Krewe member, he’s been the costume chairman and started the members’ winter luncheon in 2001. He said several former Krewe kings have been helpful in preparing him for his role – as has his wife.
“The king’s consort does a lot,” Jane said with a smile.
Harold and Jane both said they’re grateful for the help and support of Elon Allen, the Krewe’s corresponding secretary. Allen took over the role in 2016 after Winston Carl, who had held the volunteer position since 1984, retired.
“Elon always has a smile and is never in a bad mood,” Harold said.
A Life Together
Harold is a Birmingham native. He and Jane grew up on the same Mountain Brook street where they now live, in the house that belonged to Jane’s parents. Both attended Shades Valley High School before heading to college – Harold to the University of Alabama and Jane to Randolph-Macon College in Virginia.
At UA, Harold majored in history and minored in journalism.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated,” he said. “I was very close to my granddaddy, Harold Henderson, and asked him for advice. He said, ‘It doesn’t make any difference what you’re going to do – get a law degree.’ So I went to Cumberland School of Law.”
Harold said he enjoys reading and gardening in addition to traveling. He and Jane have been to Europe and most recently to South Africa, where they visited Cape Town and Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game preserves.
“You fall in love with the animals you see,” Jane said. “We’d ride around in a Jeep. We searched for a leopard and finally spotted one.”
She said elephants are harder to see than you’d expect and that nyala, spiral-horned antelopes, are “just exquisite.”
Harold is active in his community. He’s been on the advisory board of the Downtown YMCA and on the board of the Birmingham Historical Society. He also is a member of the Downtown Rotary Club.
The couple are members of Cathedral Church of the Advent, where Harold has served on the vestry and helps with the sound system at worship services.
Thanks to one of his friends, Harold has a fun reminder of his responsibilities as Krewe king. A decorative crown given to him by Carolyn Ray sits on a table in the den of his house.
Also in the room is a needlepoint pillow bearing an endearing face. Harold embroidered the pillow after the couple’s beloved dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Logan, passed away.
“That’s what I’m going to do after the ball – get another dog,” Harold said. ❖