by Toni Pizanie
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
All the Fun I can Stand
This was the best Mardi Gras week that I've ever celebrated. I know I said that last year and I really did believe it then. However, it just got better as it always does when there is someone new in your life sharing all the fun.
The Petronius Ball was more exciting and demanding than I anticipated. The headdress I wore was heavier than I was comfortably able to handle so there were a few scary seconds while I was on the floor showing off my expertise as a "Bar Fly." What really got me through that long three minute presentation was hearing my friends chant my name as I moved around the auditorium. Thanks, guys.
My thanks to Captain Mickey Gil for the Mardi Gras pin in recognition of my first time as part of the court. There are some truly nice men in this Krewe. I was especially happy for Jerry Meis being selected King 2002 and thankful to Wally McLaughlin for my costume.
In between parties and masked balls, Linda and I found time for a quiet evening in a romantic restaurant before the big whirlwind weekend. Sat. night was the Armeinius ball where our hosts, Randy and Jimmy, made an outstanding showing. We sipped champagne while the lovely Bianca and less than lovely Blanche entertained between presenting the court.
Linda and I ran into Miss TT after the ball in the ladies room. Linda did such a good job getting TT back into her dress that the sexy Miss invited us to the Golden Age Revue Drag Show. We said thanks and headed to the Golden Lantern in time to watch Marcy bring the house down with a stirring finale. I was told later that TT ended up dancing on the bar at one of the financial district clubs.
I struggled to get up the next morning yet we were alive and kicking for the Sun. afternoon bead throw from the Ambush balcony. Two of my favorite "ladies" and former King Cake Queens, Phyllis Denmark and Stephanie Williams, kept me laughing all evening while we shared gossip and flip comments about the other guests.
I decided that Mon. would be a day of rest. Good intentions where impossible to keep with Gayle and Kelly promising me a good time if I went out with them. So I did. I also promised to meet them at 9am Mardi Gras day to go to the St. Ann Marching Society's breakfast party. I didn't.
At 11am sharp Gayle showed up at the Royal St. doll house and after watching the walking parade, we caught a cab down to Bourbon St. Two of the most beautiful costumes to be seen all day were Lisa Beaumann, the Krewe of Queenateena King Cake Queen, and her maid in waiting, Teryl-Lynn Foxx. Lisa was the Freedom Queen and both were dressed in eye-popping red, white and blue sequins and feathers.
Never to be outdone, Bianca arrived after the Bourbon St. Awards to show off her head to toe red glittered flames - just another little spectacular number that she threw together to show off her beauty and talent.
Leave it to me to start a political discussion in the middle of all this crazy fun. I felt a need to remind everyone that Mar. 2, when we vote for our next mayor, was less than three weeks away. I was shocked by the number of people who don't intend to vote. For many in the Gay community, they feel there is no choice.
It is true that Nagin is a complete unknown when it comes to Gay issues and there are members of our community working to make public his policy. We do know that Pennington has declared that he is Gay friendly and did much for the Gay community in DC. In his seven years in New Orleans, he has done nothing outstanding for the GLBT community but has the support of many Gay political leaders.
LAGPAC is holding an endorsement meeting on Feb. 21 for members only at 7pm, First Unitarian Universalist Church. A full report will be made on the interviews with both Nagin and Pennington. If you have questions concerning the endorsement, call the Executive Director Melinda Shelton at 504.488.8322. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was threatened with being bounced over the balcony, handed a bag of beads and told to go do something nasty with the crowd gathered below and not speak of politics again that day. Two days later over a romantic Valentine's dinner, Linda made it clear that politics were not to be the topic of the evening. Like most little, butch women, she is adorable when she's being firm.
As well as voting, Lent has become a time of goodbye parties for Sister Marcy Romine. She will be missed not only by the clients and workers of Project Lazarus but by all that have had the blessing of knowing her.
I personally hope to take this time of quiet reflection and renewal to gather my strength to work towards community goals. I am excited over getting the AIDS Monument installed, having another successful Easter Parade to broaden awareness of the GLBT community and supporting the businesses that need our help with June Pride. Summer is almost deadly for Gay business in New Orleans and by supporting June Pride, we will be helping the owners who employ Gay individuals and support Gay events later in the year.
I hope your Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day were as pleasant as mine. I wish you a Lent filled with spiritual renewal and peace. When next I write, we will have a new mayor who will need to hear our GLBT voices. I encourage you to take part in local government and make it work towards freedom for all.
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