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Volume 18/Issue 19

Rip & Marsha

by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain

Visit their site: ripandmarsha.com

Southern Decadence Brings in 91,000 Revelers;
Economic Impact: Over $72 Million

The 29th Southern Decadence end-of-summer celebration brought out a record 91,000 revelers. The economic impact is believed to have surpassed $72 million for the local New Orleans economy.

Ambush contacted some 50 businesses following Decadence weekend to see if attendance and business was up this year over the '99 celebration. The 5 day holiday, Thurs., Aug. 31 - Mon., Sept. 4 saw attendance/business up on an average of 30 percent. Three businesses contacted were down slightly from last year, four businesses did the same as last year and 26 businesses were up over 20 percent, as high as 40 percent and, in one case, a whopping 90 percent up over 1999.

In years past Ambush has calculated a modest $500 per person spending average. However, after questioning some 100 locals and 300 tourists during Decadence weekend, Ambush found the spending rates significantly higher. Accommodations, dining, social activities, gambling and shopping figured into the new conservative average of $800 per person.

The 100 locals questioned spent $350 up to $1,000, with over half spending $550 each during the five day period. Those on the higher end had also eaten out at least three times during the same period, while 26 of the locals questioned had visited Harrah's Casino at least once, with 7 visiting the casino 2 or more times.

The 300 tourists questioned spent $900, up to a whopping $2,500 for the five day period. Some were required to book a minimum of three days for accommodations while most were required to book a five day minimum. Over half spent between $1,200 - $1,500 each. The tourists dined out for all meals and 103 questioned visited Harrah's once while 23 visited the casino 2 or more times.

SDGMs XXVIII Tony Langlinais &
Thom "Smurf" Murphy Lead Expedient Parade

Southern Decadence Grand Marshals XXVIII Tony Langlinais and Thom "Smurf" Murphy kept their promise to revelers keeping the Southern Decadence 2000 Parade moving swiftly, making all stops and appearances on time. The huge parade wound through the streets of the French Quarter led by the grand marshals. Eighth District police officers (and liaisons to the GLBT community) Jim O'Hern and Mary L. Lathouwers were an incredible help providing escort and street closures for this year's parade.

The cost of the parade permit was underwritten by area businesses 735 nightclub/bar, Ambush Mag, AMBUSHonLine, Bourbon Pub/Parade, Oz New Orleans, and Wood Enterprises [Cafe Lafitte in Exile, Clover Grill, Good Friends Bar, Poppy's Grill, Rawhide 2010].

SDGMs Tony and Smurf blew their official whistles kicking off the parade at 2pm leaving the Golden Lantern, heading down Royal St. past Mona Lisa's, Verti Marte and Royal Treasures, then turning onto St. Philip St. The grand marshals stopped at Second Skin Leather and MRB, then went past Rab Dab to Decatur St.

Then it was the long trek down Decatur to St. Louis with first stop at Lucky Cheng's. Next stop was Official Restaurant of Southern Decadence Petunias, then on to Le Roundup, Double Play, landing at the Grand Marshals' Home Bar Corner Pocket where the grand marshals took to the bar top for a dance frenzy.

Rampart St. was next with Orlando's Society Page, Footloose, Grand Marshals' Home Bar Voodoo, TT's and Venture-N. The parade doubled back to St. Ann with Rawhide, Good Friends and Bourbon Pub/Parade. Next stop was 735 on Bourbon, then to Oz and Lafitte's.

The parade ended at Ambush Headquarters for the 8th annual Official Southern Decadence Grand Marshals' Bead Toss arriving at 4:15pm. SDGMs Tony and Smurf and entourage tossed some 7,000 red beads, 5,000 Grand Marshals' doubloons and 500 Grand Marshals' cups from 4:30-5:15pm.

LaSonny Weekend to Benefit
American Cancer Society Sept. 22-25

Miss Gay United States Universe Felina Colby Shane and Ambush are proud to sponsor LaSonny Weekend Fri.-Mon., Sept. 22-25. In memory of the late stage star LaWanda and Ambush managing editor/Webmaster Sonny C. Cleveland, the weekend will benefit the American Cancer Society. Both LaWanda and Cleveland died from cancer.

Shane will guest bartend all four days at five different clubs donating all tips and shift pay to the charity. Additionally, raffles will be held with the assistance of hostesses Vivica Devereaux, Rosa Miranda, Jamie Gender and Daphany Cook.

Each club will host its own theme kicking off Fri., Sept. 22, 9pm at 735 nightclub/bar, 735 Bourbon for "Young Options." Come dressed as little kids.

Voodoo at Congo Square, 718 N. Rampart, is up next on Sat., Sept. 23, 9pm with "50's Night."

Sun., Sept. 24 will bring Shane to Le Roundup at 2:30pm for the "Wild, Wild West" and at midnight to "Resurrection" in the Parish at House of Blues, 229 Decatur St.

The weekend closes out Mon., Sept. 25, 12noon with the "Hawaiian Luau" at the Country Club.

11th NO/AIDS Walk
Sept. 24, 10am at Armstrong Park

The 11th Annual NO/AIDS Walk kicks off at 10am, Sun., Sept. 24, beginning for the first time this year at Armstrong Park, adjacent to the French Quarter on N. Rampart at St. Ann St. Registration begins at 8am.

This is the largest fund-raising effort for the NO/AIDS Task Force which will help increase funding and awareness of AIDS. The money raised goes directly to services for thousands of people infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The dollars raised make home food delivery and health monitoring programs possible, along with free, anonymous HIV testing, the Louisiana statewide HIV/AIDS Hotline and education efforts for the community.

Louisiana has more than 11,000 reported AIDS cases with a mortality rate of more than 58%. More than half of the reported cases are in the metro New Orleans area.

The new route will take thousands of walkers down Basin St. to North Claiborne Ave., to Esplanade, to Decatur, to Canal and to N. Rampart back to the park.

For more information, contact the NO/AIDS Task Force Walk Line at 504.821.2601, ext. 250.

Amon Ra, Ambush & Miller
Celebrate Gay Pride at Pride Masque I

The Krewe of Amon Ra, Ambush and Miller Brands celebrate Gay Pride this year with Pride Masque I. The event benefits Amon Ra and Buzzy's Boys and Girls, and is set for Sat., Sept. 30, 8pm, Body and Soul, 2300 Chartres, New Orleans. Admission is $10 at the door.

The highlight of the evening will be the crowning of the Cheridon Pride Queen in memory of Sonny Cheridon Cleveland, aka Christine Cheridon. The contest will be judged in evening fun wear and talent. Entry fee is $25 and all checks are payable to the Krewe of Amon Ra.

For additional info., contact Tip Varnadore, 504.835.3006, hvarnadore1@home.com, or 1000 Bourbon St. PMB 294, New Orleans, LA 70116.

Miss Gay LA America Tour
Visits Lance's Pub

The Miss Gay Louisiana America 2000 Tour did its exclusive metro New Orleans engagement at Lance's Pub & Dance Pavilion in Harvey on the Westbank. The Sept. 6th gala brought the beautifully talented Miss Gay America Catia Lee Love to the stage. The dance sensation proved to be quite the hit of the evening.

Ms. Love was joined by Miss Gay Louisiana America 2000 Taylor Stevens, Miss Gay Nouvelle Orleans Tiara Dominique, Miss Gay Lakeshore America 2000 Savanah Leigh, Miss Gay Louisiana USofA Asya Alexander and 1st Alternate Miss Gay Nouvelle Orleans Amber Nicole Wellch.

This tour each year proceeds the annual Miss Gay Louisiana America pageant. The pageant was held Sept. 8-10 at Sound Factory in Lafayette. Results of the prestigious pageant will be announced in the next Ambush.

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