the big diva
gay new orleans
Volume 23/Issue 4/2005
by Phyllis Denmark
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Mardi Gras 2005 has come and gone and it is now Lent. I am not a practicing anything so that doesnít have much effect on me. It will be fun to see how long folks keep their promises. I learned a long time ago not to give up food or booze. Those are too hard. I think instead of giving up something folks should make a promise to do something good. Something that they would not ordinarily make time for. Such as visiting the sick or volunteering. This would serve as a kind act and make life better for other folks. Ok enough about Lent.
This was a small but fabulous Mardi Gras. We started our weekend off by having dinner with Delta Louise, Blossom and friends. We went out for a fabu seafood dinner at Jack Dempseyís. After much food was eaten we twirled over to Chetís. Larry Graham of Graham Studio One was having an art opening of some of his new work. We were actually there for a cold cocktail. It was great to kill two birds with one stone! We sat in Chetís and watched the bar fill up. After a reasonable time we decided to hit the Quarter.
After working all day this was Andy and Iís last stop. We hit the Golden Lantern for a nice nightcap. Mardi Gras has become a weeklong affair for us, so I have to pace myself.
Saturday night we went to the Armeinius Bug Ball. I have to say this was not your typical Armeinius Ball. The costumes were big but gone were the feathers and glitz that we have come to expect from Armeinius. Captain Bill did supply us with an array of "Bugs." I think it was a toss up between the roaches and the silverfish. Those are not my favorites around the house but they were great fun in the ball. Joel Haas came out in a stunning costume that later in the weekend won $1,000 at the Bourbon Street Awards.
Andy and I had the pleasure of sitting with Wayne, the partner of Armeinius member and past queen Rosario. Bianca and Blanche were the perfect hosts.
The new king and queen were fabulous as "Bees." This was the first time in Armeinius history that royalty were partners. Jimmy and Randy did a beautiful job as King and Queen. I also got to see them at the Bourbon Street Awards.
One of my favorite characters was Wally Sherwood as "Alice in Leather Land." I wonít lie, I was afraid!!! Wally was in blond hair, blue dress and jock strap. It was a treat for the eyes!
Sunday we slept in. Who am I kidding, I was putting on a fresh face at 10am. Mardi Gras Sunday has become a tradition for Andy and I. We join Rip and Marsha and a select few for a pre-bead toss, bead toss. It is usually the most fun of the weekend. I always enjoy the Mardi Gras day bead toss but this is more intimate. I decided I had to dazzle them with some drag so I work my blue Southern Decadence harem costume. It was comfortable and cool. These days I like anything that lets my rolls hang out. It is funny that when I was skinny as a rail I put on 3 girdles and now that Iím fat, I let it all hang out! We made it home on Sunday in time to relax and watch a little TV.
My boss from Val Pak is from California and doesnít understand all this Mardi Gras stuff. He scheduled a meeting on Monday, Lundi Gras to make sure we worked some of the day.
I put the finishing touches on my costume on Monday and Monday night helped Guadalupe host the Hooker Ball at Body and Soul. This affair was put together by Michael "Fish" Hickerson to benefit Buzzyís Boys and Girls. The show and contest was great fun with Fish providing most of the entertainment. I donít know at press time how much was raised but I know the function was a success.
The winner of the Hooker Ball was none other than Delta Louise Carter. This has been her year. You might remember she was the returning "Miss Upper Schwegman Heights, Amon Raís Miss America and now Hooker Queen. This girl is going to have to buy a curio to put her crowns in. First runner up was Inneda Shave and she did. It was nice to see so many folks turn out to help this very worthy cause. I was glad to be able to help out.
Mardi Gras morning we got up early, had breakfast and I started to paint. We decided to hit the street for 9am. Since we live on the wonderful westbank we wanted to get to the Quarter early. We twirled down Bourbon and enjoyed the flash of many cameras. I am not quite sure what my costume was but I looked like Pebbles on steroids. I wore a red pageboy and lots of leopard print. Andy and I stopped to pick up the Queen Fashions girls. Electra City and I were both set to judge the Bourbon Street Awards.
As always OZ was the perfect host. They made sure we had a great balcony to see from and cool cocktails to drink. Johnny and Cy were there and served as the perfect hosts.
Andy and Tittie Toulouse headed over to Ambush Headquarters while Electra and I judged. The great weather made for a great contest. Blanche and Bianca hosted with many fabu costumes. They gave away $1,000 to the overall winner and the category winners received beautiful silver cups. The contest ran about 2 hours.
When Electra and I finished up we headed for the Krewe of Queenateenas' Gay Mardi Gras Bead Toss. Beauty Savanna DeLorean served as King Cake Queen and reigned as The Amazon Queen. It was great fun. Some of Savannaís guests included Amon Raís Starr Daniels and Tami Tarmac. The Kennedy girls; Raven and Sasha were also on hand along with DL and Tim.
The former king cake queens were also on hand, myself, Lisa Beaumann, Jay Loomis, Teryl-Lynn Fox, Liz Simms. The question for me at this party is always, "who is it going to be next year?" I have to say that Savanna did a great job. She and her entourage tossed cases of beads and the party went on until 9pm.
Andy and I had to head home at 8pm to watch the finale of The Amazing Race and to eat too much pizza. I was in bed at 10pm with a glow from another wonderful Mardi Gras. I came out when I was 22 and have not missed a Mardi Gras in 24 years. I have been in drag for 23 of those years.
It is now back to the real world.
The day after Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday is the perfect day to start working on my Easter Bonnet. Andy and I plan on riding in the Official Gay East Parade. It is always great fun. Last year my hat was bigger than my butt so you know it was "BIG." I canít wait to see the new Easter Grand Marshals, James Swire and Lisa Beaumann. There should be more than one surprise in store for everyone this year. Ambush has always done so much to make sure this event keeps on going. If you canít ride in the parade, make sure you come out to watch it on Easter Sunday.
I am going to close for now. If you gave up anything for Lent, try to keep your penance. I am just going to try to be a better person during this season.
In the mean time lets get ready for Easter.
Much Love til next time. --Phyllis
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