pansies & dirt
Volume 22/Issue 2/2004

Rip & Marsha



by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain 
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With 12th Night behind us, all eyes are beginning to turn to Carnival. Yes, Gay Mardi Gras is upon us and we’ve heard from most of the krewes, as well as many of the special Carnival event promoters, across the Gulf South. There is no excuse for you to miss out on the madness. If you have not received that coveted invitation to your favorite extravaganza, most of the krewes sell tickets to their bal masque. And remember, ball invitations usually arrive two weeks prior to the event, a standard for social events, so you may still get that invite.

Visit the Official Gay Mardi Gras Website, www.GayMardiGras.COM, for all of the latest.

On Sat., Jan. 24, both at 8pm, is the Krewe of Apollo-Baton Rouge Bal Masque XXIII at The Great Hall/Belmont Hotel in Baton Rouge and the Krewe of Apollo-Shreveport Bal Masque XVIII at the Louisiana Exposition Hall in Shreveport.

Sun., Jan. 25 brings us the Krewe of Mwindo Bal Masque VI, 8pm, at the St. Bernard Cultural Center in Chalmette/New Orleans.

On Thurs., Jan. 29, it’s the Krewe of Apollo de Lafayette Bal Masque XXVIII at the Lafayette Cajun Dome in Lafayette, LA.

And on Sat., Jan. 31, the Krewe of Amon Ra Bal Masque XXIX is set at the St. Bernard Cultural Center in Chalmette/New Orleans.

Three events are set for Sat., Feb. 7, the Krewe du VieuX Parade rolls through the Faubourg Marigny and Vieux Carre, beginning at the Friendly Bar at 5pm in New Orleans. There are two 8pm events including the Krewe of Apollo-Birmingham Bal Masque XXVIII at the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL, and the Krewe of Olympus Bal Masque XXXIV in Houston, TX.

King Cake Queen of
Gay Mardi Gras
Ms. L, The Dragon Queen

On Sun., Feb. 8, it’s the 11th Annual KCQ [King Cake Queen] Coronation: Drums, Drags & Dragons! presenting KCQ XI, Ms. L, The Dragon Queen, presented by our own Krewe of Queenateenas. Although reported erroneously elsewhere, the King Cake Queen is chosen for one reason and one reason only! The individual exhibiting the most enthusiasm and expertise in bead toss techniques the previous year, on the Ambush balcony, is chosen to reign as KCQ the following year, by the Co-Captains of the Krewe of Queenateenas. Nothing else about that individual matters. The Coronation also honors the King Cake Queen Royalty Club - KCQ II: Jewel of the Nile - Jay A. Loomis/1995, KCQ III: The Rainbow Queen - the late Smurf Murphy/1996, KCQ IV: Pearl of the Sea - Reba Douglas/1997, KCQ V: The She Devil - Elizabeth Simms/1998, KCQ VI: Czarina - the late Christine Cheridon/1999, KCQ VII: Goddess 2000 - Stephanie Williams/2000, KCQ VIII: The Peacock Queen - Phyllis Denmark/2001, KCQ IX: The Freedom Queen - Lisa Beaumann/2002 & KCQ X: The Voodoo Queen - Teryl-Lynn Foxx/2003, by invitation only, Ambush Headquarters on Bourbon St. in New Orleans.

On Sun., Feb. 15, 2pm, the 12th Krewe of Barkus Parade hits the streets in the French Quarter beginning at Armstrong Park in New Orleans. The Krewe of Petronius Bal Masque XLIII [43], orignially scheduled for that same evening, has been cancelled this year due to illness and will return bigger and better Sun., Jan. 30, 2005. The Krewe of Satyricon Bal Masque II is 8pm at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans.

Fri., Feb. 20 brings us from 9pm-12midnight, le Vendredi De Nuit Mardi Gras Avant [The Friday Night Before Mardi Gras Extravaganza], benefiting Belle Reve & United Services For AIDS, at The Carrollton in New Orleans; and the Night of the Black Mask: The South’s Oldest Leather Block Party, 10pm-2am, at the Phoenix/Eagle in New Orleans.

Sat., Feb. 21, it’s to Baton Rouge for the 12noon Annual Spanish Town Parade at 5th & Spanish Town Road, then return to New Orleans for the 8pm Krewe of Armeinius Bal Masque XXXVI at the St. Bernard Cultural Center in Chalmette.

On Sun., Feb. 22 the Lords of Leather Bal Masque XXI hits the stage at St. Bernard Cultural Center, 8pm in Chalmette/New Orleans.

And finally, it’s the big day, Mardi Gras, Feb. 24, kicking off with the 12noon 40th Annual Bourbon Street Awards hosted by Oz, at the corner of St. Ann at 800 Bourbon, in New Orleans followed by the 2pm 17th Annual Official Gay Mardi Gras Bead Toss: Drums, Drags & Dragons! Led by KCQ [King Cake Queen] XI of Gay Carnival, Ms. L, The Dragon Queen at World famous Ambush Headquarters Balcony, 828 Bourbon St. in New Orleans.

This edition’s social roundup began Thurs., Jan. 8 with Art’s Big Birthday Blowout hosted at his home bar, The Country Club, 634 Louisa St., in the beautiful Bywater. Quite a crowd gathered while waiting for the birthday boy, who was apparently out walking his dogs. Hot quiche and grilled gourmet sandwiches were being passed around to the celebs here. We saw Coffee, Friends And’s Carl who had just recently celebrated his b-day at Cowpokes, French Quarter Suites’ Blake Miller & entourage, Cowpokes’ Rex Romans, Ninth & 7th Circle’s Irish Mike and the original Greg, Art’s partner John, the Mirliton Queen-Princesse Stephaney & Prince Sam,Voodoo’s Estelle, photographer Rueben and so many others.

Then it was off to Starlight By The Park, 834 N. Rampart St., to see the return of Lisa Lynn, Stu Crawford & Company who play there Thursdays, 9-11pm. The trio was exceptionally good and that Lisa Lynn can really blow you away with her vocal abilities.

A few steps down the street landed us at 7th Circle, 820 N. Rampart, where Lil was slingin’ cocktails. The crowd here was enjoying some of those exotic male dancers on the bar top.

Then it was off to Ninth Circle, 700 N. Rampart, where we ran into Randall behind the bar. The place was looking real festive with all the oversized Mardi Gras figures slung around, even one set replicating a Mardi Gras float complete with flashing lights.

The Financial District would be up next so we started at the Corner Pocket, 940 St. Louis St., where Miss Ashlee herself was slingin’ cocktails and crackin’ the whip on all those dancin’ boys. Yes, Ashlee makes sure those boys are satisfactory to the fine connoiseurs of male flesh here.

Our nightcap would be at the Double Play, 439 Dauphine St.,with cute Trevor behind the bar. One of the patrons here had brought Trevor dinner, which he apparently was really enjoying. Trevor said he was having a "Toby moment".

Fri., Jan. 9 would bring us to the newest bar/complex in the city, the MatriXXX at 940 Elysian Fields Ave. It was opening night, and the guys were busy getting things in order for the evening. Ya’ll will be greatly surprised when ya’ll see what Richard Moore and Gerard Beaudoin have done with the club. The large bar downstairs is adjacent to the dance area which leads into the game room and then the Martini Bar, or upstairs to the Balcony Bar. There are three choices, so pick your mood and then pick your bar.

Chet’s, 706 Franklin Ave., drew quite a crowd for the opening reception of January Artist of the Month Susann Turnquist. Her one-of-a-kind original drawings were exceptional, and suited the taste of both men and women. Many women joined the men who regularly appreciate fine art on display at this club, which changes each month. Guests were treated to hors d’ouervres and the piano styling’s of Janice Medlock.

A short walk would bring us to the corner to Big Daddy’s, 2513 Royal St. Mumbo was slingin’ cocktails following a stint by Pitty Pat. Bar patrons here were being treated to the sounds of Candi Riedl who plays every Friday at 8pm.

It was off to Cowpokes, 2240 St. Claude for cocktails with Rex. The guys were getting ready for their big Friday Latin Dance Party with DJ Luis. We understand this dance party occurs every other Friday at New Orleans only Country & Western dance club.

Sat., Jan. 10, would bring us back to Rampart to see Donnie Jay who was subbing behind the bar at 7th Circle, 820 N. Rampart St. Ken of Slutpuppy Revue fame was there as were a few other colorful characters. After way to many vinos we were off.

It was the reopening bash for Hair Asylum, 513 Dumaine St., following a week of a remodeling makeover. The red velvet draping behind the stylists stations reminded us of those from Napoleon’s Apartments at the Louvre in Paris. The new mirrors above the stations are cleverly lined with what appears to be bicycle chains. The huge swirling centerpiece in the back of the salon created in broken mirrors, was a masterpiece, which took all of the staff and some of their partners to complete. The affair was catered by Bywater Bar.B.Que/Lorenzo’s. Ninth Circle’s Big Rick was the celebrity guest bartender here. It was nice to see so many of the personel from sister salons around the Quarter in attendance. Great job Brenda and Sharon!

Sunday rolled around and it was off to the River ‘127 restaurant in the Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place overlooking the French Quarter and the Mississippi River. It is here that our friend Ashlee Logan decided would be her brunch treat from us celebrating her birthday. The view is incredible, but as always, the huge brunch selections, would be a challenge. There is so much to choose from, you have to make your selections count, because it is impossible to eat it all. It runs the gamut with pate and gourmet cheese, numerous marianated salads, caviar, smoked salmon, boiled shrimp, smoked oysters, ham, roast beef, eggs Benedict, turtle soup, grilled drum, chicken alfredo, stuffed roast pork loin, fresh fruit and fabulous desserts, and of course bottomless glasses of champagne or mimosas or just plain orange juice. To say the least, Miss Ashlee had a field day as did we! Happy birthday girl!

After doing a little work following brunch in the office, The Big Diva and husband Uncle Andy popped in asking us out for just a few since they were trying to behave. Imagine Phyllis behaving, ha! They had had some big overstuffed hot roast beef poboys at Maspero’s on Decatur St.

The first stop was the MatriXXX, 940 Elysian Fields, since neither Phyllis nor Andy had seen the place since it had opened. Tiny was behind the bar while mgr. Charlotte and bar baron Richard were crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. We don’t know what was in those poboys, but Miss Phyllis’ mouth was doin’ 90 to nothin’. Girl, she just could not stop lickin’! Before Richard put us out, we took Phyllis across the street.

Yes, was Jamie in for a surprise when we popped in with a babblin’ Phyllis. He had to leave from behind the bar to get away from that old gal. Bartender Brian was amazed that Uncle Andy had put up with Phyllis for 21 years. You poor thing! Thank God they decided it was time to go home to behave since Uncle Andy was leavin’ on a job for three days. We’re not goin’ there, but we think there was some kind of servicin’ goin’ on later on the Westbank.

But, we did manage to get them to drop us off at the Golden Lantern, 1239 Royal St. before heading back to the Westbank. It started before we could get to our seats when one of the patrons here asked if Rip was Boom Boom? Apparently, Rip’s Sugar Buster diet is not working fast enough. Of course, Miss Veronna (oh, we know it’s only one n-Verona, right Danny/Shane?), was eatin’ that up. It gave her something to gossip about around town. But, she did fail to mention the rumor, which we’re told is 80 per cent a sure thing, that the Lantern is being sold. Now, why don’t you and Lucille tell us the true scoop girl!

It was time to head back to the Financial District bringing us to Le Roundup, 819 St. Louis St. Beautiful Miss Louisiana Leatherette Savanna DeLorean was behind the bar. She was having trouble finding a wine bottle opener, so Marsha produced one out of her purse, so we could get to that vino. By now, we were pretty wound up ourselves.

We would close out Sunday at the land of dance. Yes, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Barry Bareass and the big Dancer of the Week Contest at Dance Club of the Year Oz. You get to see all of those big ole beefy boys that dance their tits off on the bar. And one of them is the winner, but don’t ask us, we vaguely remember even being there. Guess we had to drink lots on the way to get that Phyllis babblin’ out of our minds!

Mon., Jan. 12 finally rolled around and it was back to work on this edition of Ambush. After a grueling day of paying bills and writing checks, we had to get out of that office. It was off to Starlight By The Park, where John was slingin’ cocktails. Both CW and Javier were flittin’ around while their show girls were in a meeting. The lovely Miss Connie Marcelle is the show director and she’s whippin’ those girls into shape.

We decided to stop into Ninth Circle to see Brian for a spell. After a little gossip and a few vinos, we headed on down the street.

As we walked into Orlando’s Society Page, 542 N. Rampart St., we saw the fellas here in somewhat of a state. Well, we followed their eyes and saw the hot young well built stud replacing the glass in the door. Girl, was he gorgeous! Once we got past that situation, we had a chance to speak with Orlando, who had just paid the stud, for the glass, girls, for the glass! Orlando brought us upstairs to his new digs above the club. We had no idea how large the apartments were up there. Very nice Orlando.

Then we stopped at the Corner Pocket, 940 St. Louis St., where David Self was behind the bar. He filled us in on all of the latest at COPS 8 where he’s currently president. Elections will be held on Jan. 20, so we’ll let ya’ll know who’s on the 2004 board of directors.

A short walk brought us to the Double Play (DP), 439 Dauphine St., where the Beave was slingin’ cocktails. It was soup night prepared by DP’s own Doc so they had quite a crowd. Chuck was in and was in a chatty mood, telling us he wasn’t going to the Governor’s Inaugual Ball with Caroline. It had just been one of those days.

Tuesday, the 13th, was deadline day, so ya’ll know it was another one of those days from hell at the office. Leaving at 5:10pm, we raced to the CBD to get to our print shop before they closed to order the King Cake Queen Coronation invitations. Following that, we headed to the Marigny to deliver ad proofs and to unwind.

Chet’s, 706 Franklin, was up first where JR was slingin’ cocktails and Chet himself, had been cocktailin’ for a while. It was fun to catch up on all the latest from Chet, who can be quite a colorful character. He was tellin’ one of his friends, "If you can’t be good, name it after me!" We all had a good laugh. Even Chester Jester I Todd was in for a few cocktails, as were regulars Dudley and Jimmie.

Big Daddy’s, 2513 Royal, was next and Nancy Rose was doin’ the honors here. Big Daddy Lou was all wound up saying he’d just married the lovely Marcy Marcell. Yes, it was a vision, and then in walked Miss Rusty LaRoux. Of course, we introduced Rusty to her new boss, Miss Marcy, and Rusty said she’d train this wife like all of Lou’s others! She (Rusty) is the big boss!

Wed., Jan. 14 brought us back to the Financial District and Le Roundup, 819 St. Louis, celebrating the life of Scott Billings, who passed away last month. Many of his friends turned out to toast his life and tell their favorite story about Scott. George and Roger, Pat, Billy and Maggie Marrero were celebratin' along with the Whiz's Shane and Danny. Shane was cocktailin', which is unusual, and was asking questions and fillin' us in on his business. Now, that could be a good thing! Danny and Marsha stood between Rip and Shane to make sure things did not go too far. With both Shane and Rip cocktailin', that could be a bad thing. But it wasn't! Everyone was enjoying the moment.

Shane and Danny left, and we stayed a while longer before heading down to the Double Play, 439 Dauphine, where Toby was slingin' cocktails. Shane and Danny were here, so we all kind of took up where we left off. It was not pretty, but the crowd here was enjoyin' the festivities.

Thursday came around and it was off to Oz, 800 Bourbon, to see Allen. We usually make Oz our Thursday afternoon stop every week. After all, we can catch our good friend Bianca's Drag Bingo blowout. We ran into Joe and Ross here and we went back almost 30 years ago and reminisced about many of our friends, some who are no longer with us. Yes, the top of our list was one of our closest friends and ally's, Victoria Windsor, from Monroe, who was the last Empress of Louisiana under the Imperial Court system at the time. Then out popped the names Tracy Snow, Racheal O'Shea, Mark Anderson, Charlene Barbaria, John Trahan, then pageants and clubs including Silly Sally's in Alexandria and C'est La Guerre in Lafayette. Racheal and Charlene are still with us but the others have passed on including both nightclubs. It was a delightful trip down memory lane. Of course, in New Orleans all know Rachael as only O'Shea these days. We remember when we first brought her to the stage at Silly Sally's for some pageant or other. She was Victoria's drag daughter. O'Shea was so ahead of her time that the both the judges and audience did not get her performance art piece. But that is history. O'Shea went on to be one of the biggest mega stars the United States has ever seen. If you ever want to return to the stage, let your adoring public know and we'll all be there for that performance O'Shea.

Jim Bridger also popped in and we were rehashing our cocktailin' activities of an earlier evening. We will hopefully find time after this edition hits the streets to make a visit to his 1 million dollar refurbished railcar. Jim has offered the use of his rail car for fund-raisers, and he's going to let us host one. We're working out the details and will let ya'll know when everything is finalized.

Allen had just celebrated his birthday a day or so earlier and he has a new birthday baby, The Rock, his new baby hamster. The Rock joins Mr. Stinky and Rooty Poo, Allen's two other babies.

Bianca, or should we say Queen Bianca, called her first break and worked the room like a Las Vegas hooker, greeting all of her Bingo fans all around Oz. That girl definitely has a mouth on her!

Friday was up next and after working 6am-7:45pm to finish up Ambush, it was off to the Phoenix, 941 Elysian Fields, to hit the ATM machine and have a quick cocktail with Marty and Red.

From there, we crossed the street for the Grand Opening Bash of the MatriXXX, 940 Elysian Fields. Brian and David were serving up cocktails as fast as they could make them for the party crowd in for the festivities. Bar barons Gerard Beaudoin and Richard Moore have done a real number on the former Kims 940 location. The renovations bring an upscale South Beach/warehouse district feel to the complex. We ran into many celebs here including Double Play's Doc, Bill and Le Roundup's Chris (Ms. Louisiana Leatherette Savanna DeLorean), Bywater Mike and Ronnie, Mr. Knights d'Orleans Ricky and Tim, Ozzie and Michael, Ninth Circle's Tony and Chad, Brian and John, and so many more.

Recently, it came to the attention of Ambush Mag that the Mayor’s office was hosting a party at 831 Bourbon Street.

The neighbors in the 800 Block of Bourbon and many throughout the French Quarter have been in an uproar since they first learned the owner of the 831 Bourbon St. property was apparently trying to obtain a liquor license. Neighbors were concerned the property, which has been a private residence as long as they can remember, would be turned into a reception hall, or worse, a bar or nightclub.

With the Mayor’s office hosting a party in that very same location, the neighbors were alarmed even more.

Ambush contacted the Mayor's communications office and asked, "What is Mayor Ray Nagin’s stance on the 831 Bourbon St. property? Is the Mayor in favor of granting this property a liquor license?"

According to Patrick Evans, Communications Director, City of New Orleans, "Kerry Brandon, the owner of the Mansion on Bourbon Street, graciously donated the use of his beautiful home for Mayor Nagin to honor the hard-working men and women of the City of New Orleans. The Nagin administration is paying for outside services to be provided, such as catering, housekeeping/clean up crews, and a security detail.

At no time has Mr. Brandon charged the administration for the use of his home. Moreover, it is not the intention of this administration to turn the Mansion into a bar or nightclub. Specifically, it is the intention of the Nagin administration uphold the law and to maintain the delicate balance of neighborhood and business concerns."

And to that silly queen who has made such a big deal of moving off of Bourbon Street, due to the noise, leaving the Quarter, for a larger apartment, get your stories straight! Girl, does the word eviction come into the picture? New Orleans is a small town, and will catch on to your latest misinformation episode quite quickly. After all, we've lived on Bourbon Street for over 18 years, and the noise in our home does not exist, except for big holidays like Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence.

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