in the spotlight
Volume 17/Issue 4

The Krewe of Queenateenas

In 1987, a group of some 400 guests joined Rip and Marsha Naquin-Delain for their first bead toss. The Naquin-Delain's new home at 828 Bourbon St. sported one of the largest balconies in the French Quarter. With such a prime location in the Gay district of Bourbon, the event was a hit.

The following year, the Naquin-Delains limited their guests to 50, thus enabling revelers greater access and movement on the balcony. The group was dubbed the Krewe of Queenateenas by Jay Ann Loomis, a close friend of the Naquin-Delains, making them co-captains of the revelers. The balcony was converted and decorated into what is now known as the Queenateenas Balcony Float #69.

In following years, the balcony has taken on its own themes of Carnival. As a joke in 1994, the Naquin-Delains chose a King Cake Queen [KCQ] to lead the festivities Carnival Day at 1pm. Again, this was a hit, beginning a new tradition for the Queenateenas.

Royalty History

In 1995, the co-captains of the krewe hosted a party two Tuesdays before Mardi Gras celebrating the coronation of King Cake Queen II Jay Loomis who reigned as "Jewel of the Nile" complete with elaborate Egyptian sculptures decorating "Float #69." This year marked the beginning of actual crown and scepter for the "chosen one."

In 1996, King Cake Queen III Smurf Murphy was feted at a coronation bash two Tuesdays before Carnival celebrating "Jokers, Pokers and Strokers." Since the 1pm bead toss had been heavily advertised, both in Ambush Mag 2000 and at www.gaymardigras.com on the Web, a huge crowd showed up on Mardi Gras chanting for beads.

December 1996 marked a change in the KCQ process. The Naquin-Delains decided to announce the selection of the new King Cake Queen at their annual Christmas bash. KCQ II and III, Jay Loomis and Smurf Murphy announced the "chosen one," KCQ IV Reba Douglas.

Early 1997 led to the first annual KCQ Bar Run. Outgoing KCQ III Smurf reigned over the festivities as a bus limo jetted 24 guests to 16 stops from the French Quarter to the Faubourg Marigny to Metairie and back to the Quarter in just four hours, exactly 4 Tuesdays before Carnival.

The KCQ IV coronation of Reba Douglas took place Tues., Jan. 28, 1997, exactly two Tuesdays before Carnival. Reba reigned as "Pearl of the Sea" on Mardi Gras, Feb. 11, and Balcony Float #69 was transformed elaborately celebating the '97 theme, "fruit de mer" [fruit of the sea], complete with two 8 foot mermen. Reba and the Queenateenas tossed over 10,000 strands of beads to the excited revelers below.

Dec. 1997 heralded in the announcement of KCQ V, Elizabeth "Liz" Simms. The 2nd Annual KCQ Bar Run was Tues., Jan. 27 led by outgoing KCQ IV Reba Douglas introducing Liz to Big Easy revelers. Tues., Feb. 10 was the date of KCQ V Liz Simms' Coronation Bash. Liz reigned as "The She Devil" over the 11th Annual Bead Toss, celebrating the '98 theme of "Queenateenas in HELL," Mardi Gras, Feb. 24, tossing over 12,000 pearls.

Dec. 1998 heralded in the announcement of KCQ VI, Christine Cheridon. The 3rd Annual KCQ Bar Run was Tues., Jan. 19 led by outgoing KCQ V Liz Simms. Tues., Feb. 2 was the date of KCQ VI Christine Cheridon's Coronation Bash. Christine will reign as "Czarina" over the 12th Annual Bead Toss, celebrating the '99 theme of "Czars, Czarinzas & Queenateenas," 1pm, Mardi Gras, Feb. 16th, Ambush Headquarters, 828 Bourbon St.

Join the Queenateenas every Mardi Gras at 1pm, and always remember "for the best pearls on Bourbon Steet, you SHOW, we THROW."


A Queen in the Making

An Interview with Sonny C. Cleveland, aka Christine Cheridon, King Cake Queen VI-Elect
by Melba Carondelet

Everyone in the New Orleans LesGay community knows who Sonny Cleveland is, I thought as I rode the St. Claude bus to Esplanade Ave. to meet with him for an interview. We all know he's one of those adorable little guys and that he's 5'5" tall and that he has green eyes and his hair, when natural, is a light brown. I remembered one season when it was platinum blonde. And gawd, I said out loud, what about those piercings? One in his tongue, his nipples and his little pee pee I've been told. He's so cute. If I hadn't experienced a miraculous metamorphosis a few years ago when I slowly turned from a butch topman into a two ton middle aged dyke, I would have wanted to jump on that little bubble butt and pound it into a piece of chopped liver. But alas, my one-time enormous male genitalia had redistributed itself into a pair of hippo hips and two enormous boobs that poked out from my peasant blouse like two giant pink greenhouse grown watermelons. And he's one of those well-built guys who always keep their boyish good looks. No one would ever guess he's nearing his 30th year.

He still looks twentyish, I thought with envy. And where does he get all that energy? Heh. He's Managing Editor/Sales Manager of this publication; he's a computer webpage master; he writes a column called "3 Snaps"; and, he's also got an alter ego in his newly created drag persona as Miss Christine Cheridon. Well, as I always said, if you're an ugly guy you're gonna make an ugly drag queen. But Sonny is an adorable guy and he makes an adorable drag queen. He's been on just about every LesGay community board I can think of and he's also a porn movie star. This is too much, I grumbled as I hefted my steatopygous rump onto the corner of N. Rampart St. and Esplanade Ave. He was formally crowned a true queen on Tues., Feb. 2 at the fabulous Ambush headquarters on Bourbon St. He's now Miss King Cake Queen VI and will lead the 12th Annual Krewe of Queenateenas during their Mardi Gras festivities. How sweet, I thought. This good looking little man has all the good fortune. Huh, I groused to myself. Well, at least I was one of the charter members of this wonderful wild Krewe. And he wasn't. I don't think. Well, it's good that I pondered all this. We native Orleanians might know all about Sonny Cleveland, but our millions of Web site readers don't, and now they do. But here's something I can tell them and let the world know. Sonny Cleveland is also the illegitimate son of Melba Cleveland Carondelet. Yes, he's my only love child. The result of a quick spurt, as it were, of youthful indiscretion, to use a cliche that's popular with politicians this year. With these thoughts I waddled down Esplanade Ave. to my little boy's apartment. And won't he be shocked to read this last revelation...if only I'd married back then. But then, I've always lusted after him. What am I thinking. Isn't there enough incest in the world?

For some reason I kept hearing that damned song in my mind as I passed a lot of marathon runners - that old South Pacific tune, "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair, I'm gonna wash that...."

Inside the Little Queen's Apartment: Splat! was the first thing I heard as a giant gold and blue macaw squirted out of his butt hole a big juicy shot of poo poo while balancing himself on his perch high on a branch poking out of his cage in a corner of the room. I had just settled into the plush pillows of a sofa in the crowned little queen's apartment, fanning myself from the four block walk down the Avenue. A light rain fell and hundreds of handsome men and dikey looking womyn trotted by as participants in the annual Mardi Gras Marathon and I was exhausted from turning my neck this way and that and bugging my eyes out at all the flapping boxes under satin shorts. Eddie, the little queen's "best friend," had kindly brought me up the staircase and into the apartment and chatted with me while the little queen demurely brought in a wet mop and cleaned up the bird poo with quiet elan.

I Meet The Little Queen's Bird: What's the bird's name, I asked, hoping that he couldn't fly over my head to splash me with his copious poo poo or land on my shoulder and bite off my copious gin-flowered nose with his enormous Jimmy Durante schnozolla of a beak. "Akita," said the little queen as he settled himself next to me on the sofa. I was just about ready to shove my tiny tape recorder toward his mouth when Akita suddenly gave a loud squawk as the branch and cage toppled over. The macaw gave me a beady eyed glance as he flopped and fluttered to the floor spewing chrome yellow and iridescent blue feathers into the air. I knew then I might be in trouble. Trying to ignore the jealous creature, I turned to the little queen and asked nervously if he could fly. "No. His wings are clipped and he has no idea that he is a bird, nor what his wings are for," she told me as Akita waddled over and crawled up onto his wrist, giving me a gimlet-eyed look. "Now," I said, smiling sweetly in a half-hearted attempt to hide my increasing nervousness as I looked at that large black coconut cracking beak, thinking of missing fingers, ears, a plucked eye, or a one-eared existence, "let us proceed with our little interview."

Our diminutive 5'5" King Cake Queen VI said, "I'm ready."

"So, how are you, Miss Queen King Cake VI," I asked cheerfully, one eye on the shit squirting Akita.

"Tired!," she answered. Her green eyes brightly.

"You went out last night," I said, swallowing back what would have been a high-pitched girlish giggle.

"Yes, chasing boys is not easy!" the little queen responded.

"Well, what exactly did you have to doooooooo to be elected this year's King Cake Queen?" I asked tactlessly. The macaw glowered at me from his perch on the little queen's shoulder and chattered something under his breath which no doubt meant "Kiss my blue feathered ass, you big fat hippo-hipped dyke," in the Macawese tongue. Little did the jealous bird know, but I was among the few lezzies who could understand. Akita said something too dirty to print in this 'zine and I blushed with total understanding, my several chins quivering and my eyes squinting into two mean little orbs of motherly condescension. I got it all on tape, in case anyone doubts my word.

"In order to become the King Cake Queen," he said, each word getting slower and slower, "you have to show forth the most enthusiasm and get the most response out of the spectators for beads, for the bead toss which I have done for the last five years." I suddenly started to giggle. "I never thought I'd be the King Cake Queen." He slid back into the big pillows.

"So it was big surprise?" Who is the nominating committee?", I asked laughing for no reason. "Heh, heh, heh, ha ha, haaawwww."

"Rip and Marty," he answered languorously. "They founded the Krewe of Queenateenas, didn't they?

"About 12 years ago," I said, knowing full well that they did because I was there.

"Yeeeeessssssssss," he said exhaling slowly.

The macaw snapped at my small tape recorder. I jumped back, almost doing a bird shit squirt on myself. His beak seemed even larger than before. "Are you going to be in drag that day?"

"Yes, I'm going to be wearing a Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock) original. She's making the dress. It's a copy of Czarina Alexandra's coronation gown. She's Becky Allen's roommate," he said.

"Tell our readership what this Queenship entails. What's going to happen. What will you do as KCQVI?"

"I'm supposed to make a grand entrance carried through the street on a litter by four handsome well-muscled slavemen. But I don't know if I can pull it together." He smiled like the Cheshire Cat in the Walt Disney film version of Alice In Wonderland.

"On another subject," I said with pretended innocence, "haven't you made a few movies?"

He smiled as Akita, the macaw squawked angrily and I translated it to mean, "F- you Melba!" Akita was very protective of his master.

"Yes, I have," he said leisurely. "The first one is titled Big Time. The second one, which has gotten sooooo many good reviews, was made by Timo, a well known videographer who also does Varla Jean Merman's videos, it's called At Twilight Come the Flesh Eaters." Squawk, caw, caw, hiss, went Akita turning around in circles on the floor. He was not pleased with Melba. I tucked my toes as far away as I could. He was cursing me like a sailor. His mouth was more filthy than the infamous Dirty Dotty's when she was interviewed by local journalist, Don Lee Keith, years ago.

"How do you keep it up? I asked, with a heavy emphasis on the word "up." He caught it and giggled.

"It's hard," he answered without hesitation. Akita was screaming and squawking, flapping his blue and gold wings, eyeing my plump toes. I couldn't wait to see some of his movies, I thought to myself.

He's so cute. That's why he makes such a pretty Christine Cheridon. "Wanna say something special to the LesGay community?" "Advice to the community?" he asked somewhat incredulous. He leaned back and thought. "Live life to its fullest. Love as much as you possibly can love. And be loved as much as you possibly can be loved," he said with slow determination. "What makes a boy want to be a girl?" I chirped. "You've been dressing in drag lately. Why?"

"I don't know. I guess it's another personality," he said thoughtfully. "Another side of you. Actually it's pretty cool, once you find it in a woman's form. You kind of get to know yourself a little bit more than what you do as just a boy." Akita lunged for my toes. I jumped up and yelped. Our little King Cake Queen VI gave Akita a bop on his feathered head. He squawked and cackled and pouted. I grabbed my umbrella, cat-eyed rhinestone eyeglasses, my gold lame' purse, my plastic framed lorgnette, and the rest of my Becky Allen fashions by Circus Maximus ensemble, and took my leave, with a quick goodbye, thank you sweetie, and good luck being a Crowned Queen. "See you for the Coronation this Tuesday," I yelled bumbling down the stairs. Akita had stopped screaming. Maybe it was all the smoke I inhaled but I could swear I heard the click, click, clicking of sharp black claws following me down the stairs.

I bounded out onto Esplanade Avenue just as a small puff of iridescent blue and chrome yellow feathers floated through the door behind me. I gasped and stared at them for a brief moment. They seemed as big as the 8 foot wings of a Blue Footed Boobie. I don't think Akita liked me at all. But he was very much in love with the new little King Cake Queen VI. For some strange reason I giggled to myself all the way back to Gallier St. And when I got home, I had the most enormous appetite. I ate everything in the fridge. Except the chicken. I just couldn't touch a bird that night. Any kind of bird!


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