Thom "Smurf" Murphy's Life's Journey Ends Dec. 11
The New Orleans community lost one of its best treasures, Thomas "Smurf" Murphy, who died at home Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 with family and friends at his side. Born in Phoenix, Murphy resided in New Orleans for the past 22 years. As one of the most popular bartenders in town, Smurf did stints at the Golden Lantern, Corner Pocket and Voodoo.
His wit and clever creations made him one of the top artist in town. Whether it was decorating a club for a particular holiday, designing stage creations and costumes, or creating objects d’art, the man was incredibly talented. He was one of Ambush Mag’s early movie critics writing the Reel to Real column for several years.
In 1993, Murphy was selected as "One of New Orleans Best Bartenders" in a Smirnoff competition with his winning "Southern Russian" recipe, while bartending at the Golden Lantern. The recipe calls for equal parts of Smirnoff, Kahlua and Peaches-N-Cream Schnapps which "put a decidedly New Orleans’ spin on a classic cocktail."
In 1996, Murphy reigned as King Cake Queen III: The Rainbow Queen, leading the 9th Annual Official Gay Mardi Gras Bead Toss. Two weeks prior, Murphy was feted at his coronation bash hosted by Ambush’s Krewe of Queenateenas. The event raised $7,000 for the Lesbian & Gay Community Center Building Fund [The Rainbow Crusade]. The 828 Bourbon St. balcony display was designed by Murphy to reflect the chosen theme of "Jokers, Pokers & Strokers".
For many years Murphy made stage appearances around town as a celebrity emcee and entertainer including the Phoenix, Golden Lantern, Corner Pocket, Double Play, Ninth Circle and Voodoo. He also participated in the Krewe of Petronius’ Carnival Ball many times, and in 2000, created one of his closest friends, Queen Petronius XXXIX, the late Ms. Fly’s dazzling costume as "The Beauty Spot".
One of the major highlights of his life had to be in 2000 when the "Susan Lucci curse" was broken and he was named Southern Decadence Grand Marshal XXVIII along with Tony Langlinais. This was his life’s dream to lead the Southern Decadence celebration which brought in over 91,000 revelers that year with an estimated $72 million economic impact. The Southern Decadence Parade was huge ending with the 8th Official Southern Decadence Bead Toss led by Murphy & Langlinais at Ambush Headquarters.
Murphy was a member of the new Krewe of Satyricon.
According to friends, a celebration of his life is being planned for January followed later by an auction of Murphy’s collections to benefit an AIDS charity.
Murphy is survived by his parents Carney & Darlene Murphy, and his brother Donald Murphy.
Steven M. Luna - 1967-2002
Austinite Steven M. Luna passedaway at the age of 35 on Thanks giving Day this year. Survivors are Tim Hair, longtime partner and best friend and many family members and life-long friends. Funeral Services were at Harrell Funeral Home with burial at Killeen City Cemetery, Killeen, Texas. Memorial Contributions may be made to the Animal Trustees of Austin - 5129 Cameron Road, Austin, TX 78723. God’s Speed Steven, You will truly be missed here on Earth.
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