If you’re queer and live in New Orleans, you should know all about Southern Decadence. You’ve probably been to the parties, experienced the debauchery, and enjoyed the long sweat-soaked nights out in the French Quarter.
But an aspect of Decadence you may not have experienced yet is the perspective of the people who help make this incredible event what it is–the community of performers and those working in the gig economy in New Orleans who rely on this festival to make ends meet.
To Decadence With Love is a new documentary by Stuart Sox starring New Orleans drag queens Franky Canga and Laveau Contraire which explores the world of Southern Decadence through the perspective of these two queens as they perform around the city during Labor Day Weekend in 2019. The film premiered at the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival and played film festivals all over the country in 2021 including San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival, the oldest and largest queer film festival in the world. To Decadence is now available to stream on STARZ, so to celebrate the official release, we sat down with Stuart, Franky and Laveau to chat about their work and the film.
Ambush: Stuart, what gave you the idea to make this film?
Stuart: When I first had the idea to make this film I thought it would be more focused on Southern Decadence, the event itself. However, once I pitched the idea of the film to Franky and Laveau and began filming, I became much more interested in their art and the way they prepared for and experienced Decadence. I love that our film celebrates the community of drag queens and burlesque performers who bring so much life to our city during SD and year-round. They really deserve to be celebrated.
Ambush: Franky and Laveau, what are your proudest achievements thus far as performers?
Franky: I have so many proud achievements but getting the opportunity to perform in Paris was a childhood dream come true.
Laveau: I would have to say being featured in a documentary that’s now on STARZ knowing that there was a time when my family couldn’t even afford more than basic cable!
Ambush: Franky and Laveau, where can we find you both on stage during Pride month and this summer?
Franky: This summer you can find me in San Francisco for Frameline Festival, working with Laveau for a project with the CAC, and check out my IG (@frankycanga) for weekly updates on what I’m doing.
Laveau: My goal for Pride is to be EVERYWHERE! I’m doing Drag Queen Storytime twice in June with the New Orleans Public Library, brunch at Tujagues, Haus Party with Haus Contraire at Carnaval, and lots more. You’ll have to follow me on social media (@laveaucontraire) to get all the details!
Ambush: Stuart, what’s next for you as a filmmaker?
Stuart: I’m actually working on a documentary about The AllWays Lounge in the Marigny (@allwaysfilm) which documents its efforts to stay open during the pandemic. Editing is underway and I’m excited to be making another film that celebrates the beautiful community of artists and performers in our city.
Follow @todecadencewithlove and @sox_andthecity for more updates. To Decadence With Love is streaming now on STARZ, Apple TV, Google Play, VUDU, and more!