2014 Tiara Tea

Commercial Appeal, Michael Donahue – October 12, 2014
RSVP Magazine – Dec 2014
At Home in Memphis and the Mid-South – December 2014
4Memphis Magazine – December 2014

2013 Tiara Tea

Our Home Tea National Club News, Tea Explorer – April 2013
Action News 5 with Kontji Anthony – April 13, 2013
Lipscomb and Pitts Breakfast Club – April 21, 2013
4Memphis Magazine – May 2013
At Home in Memphis and the Mid-South - June 2013
4Memphis Magazine with Kallen Esperian – Oct 2013
Commercial Appeal, Michael Donahue - Oct 15, 2013
4Memphis Magazine – October 20, 2013
RSVP Magazine – December 2013
At Home in Memphis and the Mid-South – December 2013

2012 Tiara Tea Coronation

Sikeston Mo. Standard Democrat – March 26, 2012
Lipscomb and Pitts Breakfast Club - August 2012
Memphis Magazine - November 2012
RSVP Magazine – November 2012
Memphis Magazine – November 2012
Xeroderma Pigmentosum Family Support Group News
“George Hamilton Tea” RSVP Magazine, May 2012
“George Hamilton and the Tiara Tea Society” 4 Memphis Magazine, May 2012
“A Tiara for Graycen” Commercial Appeal, September 25, 2012
“Tiara Tea Society Coronation” Memphis Magazine, November 2012
“TTS Coronation” RSVP Magazine, November 2012

2011 Grande Dame Tea

RSVP Magazine, January issue 2012

Stories Submitted and by Leah Fitzpatrick
Photos: Submitted and by Leah Fitzpatrick, Kelly Cox, Jeannie Mandelker, Suzanne Thompson, Roy Haithcock, Christina Trask and  Joe Murphy/NBAE
The spirit of good will was in the air at the Tiara Tea Society Grande Dame Tea, which featured the induction of Carol Prentiss as the 2011 Grande Dame. The event took place at the U of M Holiday Inn, where a host of tea members, friends and associates of Prentiss were greeted by the sounds of harpist Melodie Moore and flutists Tiffany Kelly and Norma Hamon. Valerie Calhoun of Fox 13 Memphis served as mistress of ceremonies, with Mayor A C Wharton as the keynote speaker. Prentiss was awarded gifts by three of the eight girls (Morgan Shaw, Savanna Chappell and Ceniyah Dotson) in dire situations around the world that the society has helped.

2011 Grande Dame Tea, Tiara Tea Society

WHBQ FOX 13 Memphis, TN
Sep. 29, 2011. 12:17 PM EST

2011 Grande Dame Tea

WPTY ABC 24 Memphis
Sep. 28, 2011. 12:24 PM EST

VOL. 126 | NO. 163 | Monday, August 22, 2011
Giving Back

Jeremy Park

Updated 3:21PM

Last week we highlighted Victims to Victory, which is responding to the emotional, spiritual and practical needs of family members who have felt the traumatic impact of violent crime. This week let us discuss an organization that is taking a unique approach to philanthropy by combining the joys of socializing with friends and hosting glitzy afternoon tea parties with the goal of supporting one young girl each year: Tiara Tea Society.

Tiara Tea Society was founded in 2006 by Eva Lynn Bishop and Marie Pizano. While pursuing philanthropic endeavors together, the two jokingly reminisced about being little girls who dressed up in their mothers’ old clothes and had tea parties. The premise then built around hosting glamorous afternoon tea parties where women of all ages could dress up, come together and unlock their inner child. The real mission, however, was to use these events as a platform to help little girls in dire conditions or situations. Each year, the organization coronates at least one young girl, who is supported financially and empowered through personal involvement to improve her life.

In its fifth year, Tiara Tea Society has helped improve the lives of eight girls, including three from the Mid-South. The Society’s 2011 little girl is three-year-old Ceniyah Danae Dotson. Ceniyah was only two months old when she lost more than half her family in a notorious mass killing in 2008. Stabbed, beaten and found impaled on a knife, baby Ceniyah survived – along with two of her brothers – who lived against all odds.

Earlier this year, a glittering Coronation Tea was held for Ceniyah. Apart from helping to provide for pediatric post-traumatic stress therapy to foster emotional healing, the Society is working to help her blossom through the arts. Janet Parke, director of the School of Dance at Ballet Memphis, put together a four-week summer class built around Ceniyah to see if ballet would not only help her physically but also give her mental and emotional “balance.” It turns out that a star has been born! Ceniyah loves ballet and has been thriving in the classes. So, the Tiara Tea Society has committed to funding her future ballet endeavors.

On Oct. 2, Tiara Tea Society will be holding a Grande Dame Tea to induct Mrs. Carol Prentiss as a Grande Dame of the Tiara Society. A Grande Dame is a woman who has completed a life’s work of charity and help for our community. Ceniyah and two of the Society’s earlier princesses will be in attendance and part of the presentation.

Tiara Tea Society offers another perfect example of how we can be creative in our efforts to give back. I encourage you to learn more by visiting or contacting their founder-president-CEO, Eva Lynn Bishop at 210-3516 or

3mo. old Ceniyah in intesive care after the attack

Even reporters shocked by these murders

Memphis Commercial Appeal

Posted March 27, 2011 at 12:03 a.m.

During my career as a print journalist at four metropolitan newspapers, I tried not to come unglued whenever a heinous murder occurred.

I spent several years as a police and Criminal Court reporter and an editor supervising reporters who regularly covered crime beats. That included two years in Detroit, a mecca for murder and mayhem. When I left, my colleagues gave me a T-shirt that read, “Be nice to me. I have friends in Detroit.”

Search our databases. Over time, many reporters and editors grow numb to the homicides that often become routine assignments in a big city. But as much as we try to be dispassionate storytellers, we’re still human. We cannot help but be emotionally affected by violent crime.

Blame it on a sensational news media or our pop culture that often celebrates the macabre, but our society has always been captivated by homicides. Lieutenant Columbo never spent an hour on TV trying to solve a check-kiting scheme. And Perry Mason never defended a client accused of welfare fraud.

Successful television dramas, from “Burke’s Law” to “Law and Order,” are about murder.

But in real life, some homicides are so heinous, so inexplicable and so tragic that they boggle the mind and cause an entire community — even a hard-nosed crime reporter — to shudder and grieve along with the victim’s loved ones.

Three such cases returned to the community’s consciousness last week. Each of them reminded us just how fleeting life is and how cruel and callous some people who walk among us daily can be.

The first was the notorious Lester Street murder case. A week ago, 3-year-old Ceniyah Dotson, the youngest survivor of the 2008 massacre, was the guest of honor at a benefit tea sponsored by the Tiara Tea Society of Memphis. The newspaper photo of a smiling Ceniyah, wearing a silver tiara and seated on her aunt’s knee, captured a heart-warming moment in what is easily the most gruesome violent crime in recent Memphis history.

Ceniyah was just 2 months old when she was brutally stabbed by her uncle, Jessie Dotson, who during the rampage killed her parents, two brothers and two other adults. Ceniyah and two other children survived the attack.

Before last week, most of us had never seen the young victim’s face. We could only imagine the pain she endured and the emotional struggles that await her. But thanks to the generosity of Memphians and caring family members, somehow we believe that Ceniyah’s future is bright.

The second case produced a bit of closure to the 10-year-old murder of Shelby County Code Enforcement officer Mickey Wright. Dale Mardis, described as an avowed racist, pleaded guilty last week to a federal charge of murdering a government employee.

It was the first time that Mardis, 63, had openly admitted to killing Wright, burning his body and spreading the remains in various junked cars that were later crushed and carted away. Four years ago, Mardis was allowed to plead no contest to state murder charges in Wright’s death in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence.

The no-contest plea and sentence outraged Wright’s family and led to communitywide complaints that Mardis got off easy for killing a man because of his race.

But state prosecutors, who did not believe they could win a first-degree murder conviction, pressed for the case to move to federal court where prosecutors could more easily prove that Wright’s murder was a racial hate crime.

Wright’s family members have been waiting a decade for justice. Hopefully they’ll finally get it when Mardis, who faces life in prison, is sentenced in June.

The final case was the cold-blooded murder of two female U.S. Postal Service workers last October in Henning, Tenn. Chastain Montgomery, 47, of LaVergne, Tenn., appeared in federal court last week accused, along with his now-dead son, of fatally shooting the women inside the Henning Post Office.

In a chilling videotaped confession, Montgomery said his intent was robbery, but he “lost it” when the women could only produce a few dollars. He said he repeatedly fired shots, killing one of the women, and his son fatally shot the other worker.

Journalist or not, it’s impossible not to feel utter contempt for these ruthless killers and compassion for the people they victimized. We accept the fact that in this world, evil is always present. But we take comfort in knowing that justice, however slow, will be served.

And best of all, we rejoice when an innocent little victim like Ceniyah Dotson perseveres.

Otis L. Sanford holds the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism at the University of Memphis and is a columnist for The Commercial Appeal. Contact him at 901-678-3669 or at Watch his commentaries weekdays on WREG-TV Channel 3 at 4:30 p.m.

© 2011 Memphis Commercial Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tiara Tea Society Fundraiser for Lester Street Survivor

A 3-year-old Memphis girl, who survived a brutal attack on her family by her uncle when she was just 2 months old, was the center of attention in a pink dress and a sparkly tiara during a fundraiser to help support her therapy. Ceniyah Dotson is the youngest of three children who survived the March 2008 attack that left her parents, two brothers and two other people dead. Her uncle, Jessie Dotson, was sentenced to death for killing the six people. But on Sunday, the little girl was all smiles during a tea party held by the Tiara Tea Society, a local group that raises money for girls in need. Her grandmother, Ida Anderson, told The Commercial Appeal Ceniyah doesn’t remember Eva Lynn Bishop, president of the Tiara Tea Society, and Vicki Arnold, with Victoria’s Traveling Tea Parties join FOX13 with more on the ‘Tea’ for Ceniyah Dotson.

Valerie Calhoun, Fox 13 News MEMPHIS, Tenn.

March 21, 2011 click here to see video.

Tiara Tea Society Helps Haiti Victim

Last January a 7.0 earthquake leveled the island of Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and more than a million were left homeless. If you go to Haiti today, it’s still in shambles. The homeless continue to live in tents and sickness is rampant. Lynn Bishop joined FOX13 to talk about one girl who’s getting help following that catastrophic quake.

Valerie Calhoun

Fox 13 News


November 19, 2010 click here for video.

Memphians Give Haitian Teen New Hope

Her life could have very well ended under a concrete ceiling where she was buried alive during the devastating Haitian earthquake in January. But, Judeline Jean survived death, and now with help of some friends in Memphis she will be ready to begin her new life. Click here for the full story.

Les Smith

Fox1 3 News


November 19, 2010

Ladies to Take Girl from Rags to Royalty

For a study in stark comparisons, consider the local Tiara Tea Society and its most recent mission.

The Tiara Tea Society is made up of professional ladies, as high as high society gets in these parts.

A few times a year, president Eva Lynn Bishop explained, they gather for formal tea while wearing, for a second time, the formal wear debuted at the opera or some special event.

And each year, the society chooses a girl in need to help.

This year, their focus is Judeline Jean, a Haitian teenager who lost her right leg and much of the use of her left arm after she was trapped in rubble following the Jan. 12 earthquake on the island. Click here for full story.

Wendi C. Thomas

Commercial Appeal


September 19, 2010

Two Roads to Recovery

While Mariliene Jean was in Dallas for high-tech surgeries and care, Judeline Jean languished in the same Haitian hospital where the two were roommates after the earthquake. Click here for the full story.

Dallas Morning News

Dallas, Texas

July, 2010

A Regal Gift: Meeting dire need is tea society’s crowning achievement – 2009

Little Savanna Chappell had tea and cake recently in a splendid palace with many queens of Memphis who wore beautiful dresses and gave her one of their crowns.

At least that’s what it must have looked like through the outsized glasses of Savanna, 19 months old, who also received from her hostesses the gift of sight. Click here for the full story.

By Barbara Bradley

Memphis Commercial Appeal

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great Cause Brings Out Inner Princess

High tea, it is for a great cause, and a chance to pull out your inner princess. Lynn Bishop from the Tiara Tea Society joins us with the details.

Valerie Calhoun

Fox1 3 News


March 18, 2009

Mother, Daughter/Family & Friends Tea – 2008

The goal was to save three little girls with heart defects. This tea at Hunt Phelan exceeded expectations to help a Chinese child, little girl number four.

Fox 13 News, September 28 , 2008

Tiara Tea Society Grows to Knoxville, TN – 2008

The Memphis based Society grows to aid in helping raise funds for this years’ children.

“The Style Show” WBIR, February 13, 2008

Tiara Tea Society Goes International at Grand Dame Tea – 2008

New inductees to the Circle of Grande Dames help little girls in Russia and Afghanistan.

Fox 13 News, February 11, 2008 click here

Tiara Tea Society was pleased to send Morgan Shaw, the 2007 honored girl, to see the greatly anticipated Hannah Montana show at the FedEx Forum.

Fox 13 New, November 30, 2007

Young Crime Victim Honored as a Hero – 2007

Local Group Holds Special Tea Celebration for Morgan Shaw

Fox13 News, September 30, 2007

Tiaras & Tea… Dress-Up for Charity – 2007

The Tiara Tea Society is holding a special tea party to benefit 6-year old Morgan Shaw, who was shot in the head following a kidnapping.

Fox 13 News, Thursday, 01 Feb 2007

Other Media and related articles

2011 Media

VIP Magazine, April 2011

RSVP Magazine – March 2011 Issue

March 14, 2011 – WPTY – ABC 24 Memphis, TN

News at Noon with April Norris

March 17, 2011 – WHBQ – Fox Memphis, TN

Good Morning Memphis with Lori Brown

March 20, 2011 – WREG – CBS Memphis, TN

WREG 10 pm Sunday

WPTY – ABC Memphis, TN

Eyewitness News at 5 pm

ABC 24 News at 10 pm

WMC – NBC Memphis, TN

Action News at 10 pm

WLMT – CW Memphis, TN

Eyewitness News at 9pm

WHBQ – Fox Memphis, TN

Fox 13 News at 5pm

Fox 13 News at 9pm

“Little Survivor”

March 21, 2011

Commercial Appeal

by Jody Callahan

WREG – CBS Memphis, Tn.

Daybreak at 5 am

First News at 4 pm

WPTY – ABC Memphis, Tn.

Eyewitness News at 5 am

WMC- NBC Memphis, Tn.

WMC Today

WMC at Noon

WLMT – CW Memphis, Tn.

Eyewitness News Morning

WHBQ – Fox Memphis, Tn.

Good Morning Memphis

WREG TV, April 2011

Tri-State Defender, March 8, 2011

2010 Media

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas July 2010

“Live at 9:00″ WREG, Marybeth Conley, Memphis, August 26, 2010

Commercial Appeal Wendi Thomas, Memphis, September 19, 2010

“Memphis Makers” Library Channel, Allyne Luciano, Memphis, October 2010

“Action News 5″ , WMC-TV, Kontji Anthony, Memphis, October 13, 2010

Hendersonville Times/News, Hendersonville, N.C. October 21, 2010

Blue Ridge News/Times, North Carolina, October 21,2010

Blue Ridge Now, North Carolina. Editorial October 23, 2010

“Eye Witness News” WPTY, April Norris, Memphis, November 1, 2010

“Good Morning Memphis”, WHBQ, Valerie Calhoun, Memphis, Nov 18, 2010

“Fox 13 News” WHBQ, 5:00 and 9:00 pm News, Memphis, November 19, 2010

VIP Magazine, December 2010

2009 Media

“Memphis Makers Show”, Ally Luciano, March 2009

“Action News 5″, Knotj Anthony, March 14, 2009

Fox 13 News, WHBQ, Valerie Calhoun, March 18, 2009 view video

Commercial Appeal, Barbra Bradley, March 26, 2009

Memphis Woman Online Magazine

VIP Magazine, Memphis, May 2009

At Home Tennessee, July 2009

2008 Media

“Memphis Makers Show”, Ally Luciano, January 2008

ICHF Website at baby, “What Others Have done”, January 200

Citadel Memphis Radio Group, Tony Nicholsen, February 2, 2008

“Live @ 9 Show”, Memphis WREG, February 5, 2008

Fox 13 News, WHBQ, February 11, 2008

VIP Magazine, Memphis, March 2008

Memphis Woman Magazine, March 2008

“RSVP Magazine”, April 2008

“Everything West” Magazine Knoxville, Tn. June 2008

“Memphis Makers Show”, Ally Luciano August 2008

VIP Magazine, Memphis, August 2008

Fox 13 News, WHBQ, September 28,2008

Memphis Woman Online Magazine, October 2008

Commercial Appeal, October 2008

VIP Magazine, Memphis, November 2008

2007 Media

Memphis Women Magazine, January 2007

“Memphis Makers Show”, Ally Luciano, January 2007

“Live @ 9″ Show, Memphis WREG, January, 10, 2007,

“Good Morning Memphis” Show, Fox 13, February 1, 2007

Fox 13 Evening News, February 2, 2007,

RSVP Magazine, Memphis, March 2007

VIP Magazine, Memphis, March 2007

VIP Magazine, Memphis, June 2007

“Memphis Makers Show”, Ally Luciano August 2007

Memphis Downtowner Magazine, September 2007

“Live @ 9 Show”, Memphis WREG, September 13, 2007

VIP Magazine, Memphis, December 2007