one last song Volume 22/Issue 5/2004
by Donnie Jay
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Reflections On A Parade Gone By
Well we have made it through one more Mardi Gras. They came, they partied, they shouted and screamed at the passing parades, vying with one and another for the treasures that rained down upon them, tons of beads, moon pies, doubloons, and favors of every description. They cheered for the reigning royalty and the celebrity grand marshals. They partook of the greatest free party on Earth as they always have.
After the parades had passed they descended like locusts into the French Quarter, swarming in and out of the slock shops and bars. Some of the younger college aged ones toted six packs of beer dangling from their hands. They laughed, they hooted and hollered. Nubile young women raised their shirts displaying their tits for plastic beads, and much as I had predicated, not many were arrested. I had not heard it myself, but a friend had related to me that he heard on the evening news that the police department had issued a statement saying they could not arrest all the women guilty of this offense because our jails would be overcrowded with so many women baring their boobies, but rather they would only arrest people for indecent exposure if they exposed their lower private parts. Isnít it amazing how they can enforce only those parts of the law they wish to? So if it is all right to flash the breast how about the penises at Decadence? Quite frankly, I am personally more offended by swinging mammary glands than the afore mention part of the male anatomy.
They wandered down Bourbon Street, some so dazed, they had no idea what state or town they were in, let alone what they were doing there. Not only were the upper environs of that world famous street packed to the hilt, but also were Decatur, Chartres and Royal.
Walking down Iberville past Royal toward the River, I noticed the dancers from the various strip bars hanging out of the doorways wearing less in some instances than Janet Jackson did when she caused such a flap on television, causing quite a stir with the young men flocking around them who obliviously were to young to enter the clubs. There were no Christianís protesters here at all, though I wasnít all that surprised with so many preachers having taken up with fallen women over the past few years. I am sure if I had checked with Pat Robertson, I would have been told that God had personally told him that prostitution was no longer a sin, but go harass the homosexuals where they gather to celebrate among their own kind.
This is the only reason I can think of for the dozen or so poster waving protesters in front of Good Friends Bar on Mardi Gras day itself. A little further down the street in front of Rawhide the crowds were even slimmer, and what had been for me over the past few years, the most erotic corner for man watching, was all but deserted.
There were very few people out on the streets is the dismal cold mists, and certainly no one was revealing much for lower Bourbon and the surrounding area, the area we refer to with affection, as the fruit loop, was not quite as crazy as it has been in years past. Granted the weather left a lot to be desired and did have something to do with it, but in truth the face of Gay Mardi Gras has been slowly changing over the past few years. The fact remains that Southern Decadence has replaced Mardi Gras as the must attend gay event of the year, and as it has grown over the past decade. It will continue to do so, even more so in the future. The gay traveler now enjoys a lot more freedom and a greater list of events and circuit parties at which to spend their time, energy and money. My point here is come next Decadence I would hope New Orleans finest will turn their heads the same for us as they did for the straight Mardi Gras celebrants.
Yes, the Bourbon Street Awards still remain the must see attraction at this celebration for both straight and gay folk alike, as it has for so many years. Where else can the straight traveler experience the glamour and outrageousness of the true spirit of the Gay Mardi Gras Balls? Now I am in no way suggesting that Gay Mardi Gras is dead or dying, it just doesnít still hold the same allure as it did so many years ago, when it was for most people the only place in the United States where they could really let their hair down. Gay Mardi Gras is still a very major event in our lives with the incredible balls and parties surrounding it. But it is no longer the great street party it was for the gay community, what Decadence is to it now.
Now the parade has definitely gone by, but in its leaving it has left many questions that boggle the mind and really must be answered. I pose the following because they are rather bizarre and I have trouble comprehending such actions by some of our politicians. Then again politics makes strange bedfellows.
The first one concerns Jackie Clarkson and the Night of The Black Mask. Ms. Clarkson, as I am sure you all know is a city council member whose district includes the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny, two areas with a rather large and active gay community. The Night of the Black Mask is a block party that has been held for almost two decades. It is the leather communityís largest gathering during Mardi Gras. It is a combination flea market, street fair and social event. At no time in the past has there been any trouble in the area or any arrests associated with any of the people in attendance. There are, as far as I could find out, not ever even been a complaint lodged from the surrounding neighborhoods in all the time that it has been held.
The necessary permits have always been obtained and security has always been hired and visible, think of it as the block party held in the Irish Channel every Saint Patrickís Day. It concerns me that the only difference seems to be that gay men in leather primarily attend this event. It will be interesting to see if Ms. Clarkson comes out against the Saint Patrickís Day block party this month. If not, and I doubt she will, then why not?
Ms. Clarkson has enjoyed strong support from our community recently and part of her success in getting re-elect in this district, after losing once before, was her support against discrimination. She was very visible during Pride Fest this year as was Mayor Nagin, and both were in attendance during the King Cake Queen Coronation celebration at Ambush Headquarters just a few weeks ago, courting their gay supporters. So you can imagine my shock, when less than a week, later she tried to shut down the Night of the Black Mask. Whatever her reason was, I for one would like to hear it and would be most happy to sit down to hear directly from her what it was, and report it honestly to our community. The Night of the Black Mask went on as was scheduled, despite her efforts, after much consultation and support from leaders within our own community. Ms. Clarkson, I invite your response. You may contact me through Ambush Magazine or at email@example.com. I for one have supported you and more than likely will continue to do so, but I would really like to know what all this was truly about.
My next question is for my sister Blanche Debris. Girlfriend, I have known you for quite awhile and that you are not in your right mind, but donít worry your pretty head about it for geniuses never are.
Queen Armeinius XXXVI Blanche Debris as Cinderella
But honey, what ever possessed you to have Blaine Kern build you a float for a skirt? My God girl, that was the most incredible thing I have ever seen on any stage, barring none. Phineas T. Barnum himself would have been proud and could not have pulled anything more amazing off than your entrance at this year's Armeinius ball. I donít think I could do justice in trying to describe it, but Iíll give it a try anyway for those of you who were not in attendance. When the curtain opened Queen Armeinius was seen sitting as Cinderella in a carriage that was obliviously made from a pumpkin. Mist drifted across the stage and bubbles drifted above the castles turrets towering over her. It was a delight and the audience roared, but there was more to come. When the footmen opened the carriage door for her highness, the carriage parted and drifted apart revealing her skirt, which spanned half the stage, an amazing sight. Then as she walked forward the turrets came too as they were part of her costume. With the help of her footmen, she made her rounds through the Lyle Guidry dancers on the ballroom floor and graced each section of the tables with her presence. Upon returning to the stage, in came her wicked stepsisters determined to get the prince for theirself. But every man they attempted to dance with ran from them. Enter Cinderellaís stepmother portrayed by the one and only super bitch Bianca Del Rio. Determined to have the prince for one of her own daughters she announced that Cinderella would never dance at the ball. Once that was declared she and the stepsisters descended upon Blanche like a pack of vultures and tore the dress completely off her, leaving her standing in nothing but her frilly corset and undies in a single glass slipper. Not being one to give up easily, Ms. Debris took her royal walk anyway, dressed as she was. She paraded all around the auditorium floor limping on the single glass slipper. Bravo, brava, my darling what fun it all was! Thank you for a wonderful entertaining evening, and I might add, you never looked lovelier.
This year their theme was Armeinius Goes Looney, and that, they certainly did. I was so glad that I was able to attend as I had several prior commitments. Though I am sorry I was late and missed a few participants, I was overjoyed and delighted for you. Girl you were the looniest of all the Looney tunes, and that was no easy feat, for costume after costume enthralled me. Like a child at a circus I watched in awe and delight. Once again I cannot single out anyone in particular, as the entire ball was flawless.
I must confess however. that I lost a few years off my life, and believe me, I donít think I have many to spare, when the Purple Horney Eater, missed the ramp and walked off the stage. Thankfully, he recovered his bearings and was able to finish his turn around the floor. What a trooper! I sincerely hope he did not sustain serious injuries, though Iím sure he has to be sore.
While we are on the subject of the Armeinius ball, I do have another question. Phyllis, my darling, you were absolutely superb as the emcee and your repartee was delivered is such a professional manner, that I was just wondering; were you kept without liquid refreshment of the alcoholic sort? Just joking, congratulations on a job well done.
It has been an exhausting Mardi Gras for this guy and I have a few more things I just want to say before I file it away with all the other memories. It was great to see some of my old friends from my years at Travis, especially Cartwheel Harriet. I tried unsuccessfully to get her up on the bar at the 7th Circle, with the male dancers to do a few of her once famous cartwheels, but thankfully she declined. Having put on a few pounds, the bar may not have survived.
Speaking of the dancers on the bar, I would like to say what a charming person Cameron Fox was. What a hot guy, totally real. Keep an eye out for him Texans, heís headed your way. When you see him advertised, go see him, you wonít be disappointed.
Well the parade has gone by and there is only one thing left to do, await the next one. Decadence is headed our way! So lets just take a break, rest a little, sit back and sing ONE LAST SONG, before the madness begins again.
You may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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