GAA Gala Raises $2,809
for Belle Reve & Belle Esprit
Excitement was in the air as participants began to arrive at the 11th Annual Gay
Appreciation Awards [GAA] Gala. Body & Soul, 2300 Chartres had been
transformed into an intimate cabaret contributing to the evening's success. The event raised $2,809 for this year's beneficiary, Shelter Resource, better known as Belle Reve and Belle Esprit.
As emcees Lisa Beaumann and Sonny Cleveland stated during the opening ceremonies, all nominees should indeed be considered winners. Selected by the first public nomination process in GAA history, the top 5 nominees in each category hailed from all segments of the GLBT community.
Following the nomination process, public voting was held for the first time at Pride Fest '97, during October, to select a winner in each category.
Elected winners included Newcomer of the Year - Felecia Renee Cole; Neighborhood Bar of the Year - Good Friends; Political Activist of the Year - Randall Beach; Buzzy Fanning Fight Against AIDS Award - Lazz Fest; Performing Arts Award - [there was a tie] Becky Allen and "Boys in the Band"; GLBT Friendly Business of the Year - Verti Mart;
Bitch of the Year - Miss Love; DJ of the Year - Mary Pappas; Bartender of the Year - Mark Santelli; GLBT Business of the Year - Gay Mart; Leather Person of the Year - Jamie Temple; Entertainer of the Year - Reba Douglas; Dance Bar of the Year - Oz; Lesbian of the Year - Pussy Galore [Evelena Wareing]; Man of the Year - Roberts Batson; and, Show Bar of the Year - Oz.
Celebrities from throughout the community made the award presentations--including Councilmen District C Troy Carter, the first elected official to attend a GAA presentation.
In addition, the Fly Fashion Awards, selected by the Queen of the Financial District Ms. Fly, included Best Fashion - Michael Kleinpeter; Most Improved - Clorox Bleachman; Repeated Excellence in Fashion & Making Fashion an Art Form - Aux Shea; and, Fashion Victim - Miss Love for "being photographed in the same outfit twice, and wearing white after Labor Day."
The Cheridon Award presented by GAA President Sonny Cleveland went to Madame X for outstanding marketing in a year's time in the drag world.
The Marsha Delain Award of Excellence, selected by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain, went to Felecia Renee Cole who has excelled in the art of female impersonation making her the community's Drag Ambassador.
The highlight of the gala was the GAA Board of Directors' presentation of Lifetime Achievement to Miss Dixie Fasnacht, "a living testament to the history of gay New Orleans." Miss Dixie was excited to see Councilman Troy Carter in attendance, since it would never happen in the early days of her career.
Outstanding entertainment productions were presented by Oz, Footloose, Mint and Parade - GAA Show Bar of the Year Nominees. The audience was also treated to the talents of GAA Founder Marcy Marcell and last year's Entertainer of the Year Teryl-Lynn Foxx.
Another first for the gala included the incorporation of an LCD computer projector during the festivities. As the gala progressed through the program, each portion of the event was displayed by web technology on a 12x14 projector screen.
Due to the generosity of corporate sponsors Bud Light, AMBUSH Mag 2000 and AMBUSHonLINE, all of the gala's expenses were covered; therefore, all VIP table proceeds , door proceeds, and stage performance tips went to Belle Reve and Belle Esprit.
VIP table proceeds reached $1,800 thanks to Ambush, Randal Beach, Fashion Cafe, Miss Dixie Fasnacht, Footloose, Sylvia Frank & Pat Skelly, Friendly Bar, Oz, Bessiane Parker, Petunias, Pier 11, Rejuve - Donna Dowdy, Doug Smith and United Cab.
Door proceeds brought in another $700, while stage performance tips reached $309 including $88 from Joyce Alberts and Lou Theriot.
The GAA Board of Directors includes President Sonny Cleveland, Vice President Toni Pizanie, Show Director Lisa Beaumann, Co-Presentation Directors Teryl-Lynn Foxx and Mickey Gil, VIP/Reserved Seating Directors Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain.