Elizabeth New Seitz created French Affaires to share her love of France, the language, the food, and the culture, with all who wanted to learn a bit more about that romantic beautiful country.
An early love of France.
Elizabeth New Seitz loved France for as long as I can remember. She studied French in high school when most studied Spanish. I believe that was also when she traveled there for the first time. She later went abroad to France for longer periods of time during her years at Vanderbilt. That is when her love and devotion to the country really took off. She stayed at Vanderbilt to earn her masters and doctoral degrees. She then went on to teach French language and culture at the University of North Texas for close to a decade. Desiring a change from academia she created French Affaires. Through that company she was able to pull together her many talents to give interested people either a glimpse or a heavy dose of glorious France.
La bonne vie.
So many are intrigued by France – its food and its chicness. She satisfied these longings for people through various means. Her French Affaires newsletter delivered gorgeous photos of French markets or antique fairs to enthusiasts’ inboxes. She taught classes at SMU about French culture, began a French cooking club, and hosted trips throughout France. I always envied those who lived in Dallas. I would have loved to attend every event. One could listen to Elizabeth endlessly. Her passion was contagious. Additionally, she was very stylish and well-groomed so presented the perfect package. People were always impressed upon meeting her. She was so very accomplished.
I met Jeanne Elizabeth New in seventh grade. Most people went to McCulloch Middle School beginning in sixth grade. I started there in seventh grade. Going to a new school a year late as a twelve year old girl is horrible. Everyone had made their friends already. My first memory of Elizabeth was from her birthday party. She and her mother went around Highland Park in the wee hours of the morning collecting her guests still in their pajamas. Piling into the family suburban we headed to their house for breakfast and fun. We were friends ever since.
La belle blond
Most people know the Elizabeth New Seitz of French Affaires. The beautiful polished blond who spoke so intelligently and eloquently in front of an inspired crowd hanging on her every word. I knew Beeb. She once mentioned that her childhood nickname was “Beebus” because her younger sister couldn’t pronounce Elizabeth. That was the end of her god-given name for me. She has been lovingly called Beeb for four decades. Beeb, however, was not that different from Elizabeth New Seitz, even all those years ago.
She was always smart, elegant, and put together. Even in the dreaded high school years. While most of us were rolling around in the nonsense of that age, she gracefully side stepped it focusing on more important matters. She was always goal oriented. During high school she was a cross country runner. Her mother was an accomplished cook and consequently passed this skill to all four of her daughters. Beeb was a tremendous cook. She was also a healthy eater and took great care of herself. I have a humorous memory of her explaining the benefits to my teenage cousin of eating a raw red pepper over the ice cream that said cousin had chosen. Beeb was heads above me in every way. This should have been highly annoying, but she was so nice that you had to love her anyway.
Love and faith.
Our paths were different. I fell in love at a young age and had a large family. While I was hobbling along trying to develop my interior design career while knee-deep in children, Beeb was out accomplishing one thing after the next. She had a fabulously rich life with two careers. In 2009 however, on her 45th birthday she married a wonderful man. It was a first marriage for Chris also. Clearly, the wait was worth it for both of them. They were well-suited to each other. Her friends were happy for her because Elizabeth had so much love to give. She would have made an outstanding mother, but she was destined for a wider outreach.
This piece is written in the past tense because Elizabeth died this week. She was only 56 years old. What I have not yet mentioned is faith. Elizabeth had a deep faith in God her entire life. She met her husband while attending a bible study. He was the priest at the Episcopal church. Elizabeth was never one to be inauthentic. If she married it was going to be to a person who lived a life of faith rather than one who just spoke of it. Chris was that person. Please honor my friend Elizabeth if you are one who prays by doing so for her husband, her family, and her many friends who are now broken-hearted by her absence.
Casa V has been greatly influenced and inspired by the passion of Elizabeth New Seitz.