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Volume 22/Issue 15/2004

Rip & Marsha



by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain 
Visit their site: ripandmarsha.com

It's Official: Donnie "Jager" Jay will Lead 33rd SD Celebration as Southern Decadence Grand Marshal XXXII

New Orleans - You can imagine our excitement when last year's Southern Decadence Grand Marshal (SDGM) XXXI Rusty LaRoux announced that Ambush's own, Donald "Donnie 'Jager' Jay" James, would lead the 33rd Official Southern Decadence celebration as SDGM XXXII. The huge crowd at Coronation 2004 went absolutely wild when Madame Grand Marshal (Rusty LaRoux) made her choice known. Following a show with some of Southern Decadence's best known grand marshals and local celebrities at the Friendly Bar & Annex, Donnie "Jager" Jay set the tone for this year's celebration with his theme, colors and song. Another huge cry of excitement went up throughout the crowd when the new grand marshal unveiled his Official Poster, the work of renowned photographer Larry Graham of GrahamStudioOne.COM.

It's official! The 2004 theme is DAYDREAMS & FANTASIES: Welcome To My Harem. The colors are electric blue, silver and black, and the chosen song is Welcome To My Harem by Sara Brightman, the dance mix. Jagermeister was also announced as the 2004 grand marshal sponsor.

In an exclusive interview with SDGM XXXII Donnie "Jager" Jay, Ambush learned in more detail the new grand marshal's plans.

Donnie Jay issued his Official Southern Decadence Proclamation: "As Grand Marshal XXXII, I would like to welcome all visitors to our city to celebrate a truly gay holiday event. Please remember that there are laws here just like every other city, and though our police force can be lenient, they are sworn to uphold those laws. We of the gay community here in New Orleans have a very special relationship with our police force, one of cooperation and working together. Please respect them and keep the sex out of the streets and inside where it belongs. Have a fun filled and safe time. Let's party hardy!"

When asked to interpret the theme for the thousands that will participate in the Official Southern Decadence Parade on Sun., Sept. 5th at 2pm, SDGM XXXII Donnie Jay said, "The theme really is wide open. Take your secret heart's desire, fantasy or daydream, and indulge yourself in it, dress it, wear it, be it. I have always dreamed of being surrounded by beautiful people and riding skyward on a white unicorn, and before I leave this earth, I intend to do so."

The new grand marshal added, "I would like to remind all our guests that we use this international event to help raise monies for charities, and invite them to participate in all the fund-raising events that surround Southern Decadence, from the big grand marshal's show the Saturday night before benefiting Buzzy's Boys and Girls to the last party, D-Dance, helping the NO/AIDS Task Force. I also will be raising funds throughout the next six weeks for United Services For AIDS with parties, shows and such."

2004 will be the 33rd anniversary of Southern Decadence. This will actually be the 31st year with a grand marshal [the grand marshal selection did not begin until the third year], but the new grand marshal will be the 32nd grand marshal [the two in 1978 were counted as grand marshals 5 & 6].

However, this is actually the 32nd parade [there was no parade the first year]. It all began in 1972 with a mixed party of gays, straights, blacks and whites, at Belle Reve, 2110 Barracks St. There was no parade. [The first invitation read: "Ya’ll Come to the Dress Up As Your Favorite Southern Decadent Party at Belle Reve, 2110 Barracks, late afternoon, Sunday, September 3rd." (1972)]

According to Southern Decadence historian and SDGM IV Robert Laurent, "Cheers to Southern Decadence! What began in 1972 as an end-of-summer party among a small group of friends has transformed itself into a Quarter-wide weekend celebration. The first costume party was a farewell to Michael Evers, who was leaving New Orleans. Now, 31 years later, his spirit, wit and sense of frivolity continue, transformed into a celebration of Laissez les bon temps rouler."

In 1973, an informal march began from Matassa’s bar to 2110 Barracks. There was no grand marshal yet.

The grand marshal selection began in 1974. Official Southern Grand Marshals include:

SDGM I Frederick Wright 1974

SDGM II Jerome Williams 1975 [deceased]

SDGM III Preston Hemmings 1976

SDGM IV Robert Laurent 1977

SDGM V Robert King & SDGM VI Kathleen Kavanaugh 1978

SDGM VII Bruce Harris 1979

SDGM VIII Tom Tippin 1980

SDGM IX Tommy Stephan 1981

SDGM X Don Ezell 1982 [deceased]

SDGM XI Danny Wilson 1983 [deceased]

SDGM XII Mumbo 1984

SDGM XIII Michael "Fish" Hickerson 1985

SDGM XIV Kathleen Conlon 1986

SDGM XV Olive 1987

SDGM XVI Jerome Lebo 1988 [deceased]

SDGM XVII George Goode 1989 [deceased]

SDGM XVIII Ruby 1990 [deceased]

SDGM XIX Jamie Temple 1991

SDGM XX Rhee 1992 [deceased]

SDGM XXI Ms. Fly 1993 [deceased]

SDGM XXII Alain 1994

SDGM XXIII Blanche 1995

SDGM XXIV Wayne White 1996

SDGM XXV Miss Love 1997

SDGM XXVI Robin Malta 1998

SDGM XXVII Errol Rizzuto 1999

SDGMs XXVIII Tony Langlinais & Thom "Smurf" Murphy [deceased] 2000

SDGMs XXIX Bianca Del Rio, Pat "Estelle" Ritter & Rick Thomas 2001

SDGM XXX "Irish" Mike Sheehan 2002

SDGM XXXI Rusty LaRoux 2003

SDGM XXXII Donald "Donnie 'Jager' Jay" James 2004

For more info, visit the original and only OFFICIAL Website of Southern Decadence, SouthernDecadence.COM, dedicated to the preservation of the history and traditions of Southern Decadence in New Orleans since 1972. It lists the 2004 Official Events and you can book discount hotel rooms, flights and cars.

17th GAA Gala Raises $3,080 for Buzzy's Boys & Girls; Announces Winners

New Orleans -The 17th Annual Gay Appreciation Awards (GAA) Gala raised $3,080 for the William Fanning Foundation, better known as Buzzy’s Boys & Girls. VIP table sales raised $2,000, door admissions raised $820 and stage performance tips, $260.

Donald "Donnie Jay" James received the highest honor of the evening as the recipient of the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award for his many, many years of dedication to this community, presented by the GAA Board of Directors.

The Gulf South readership of Ambush Mag voted on both print and on-line ballots selecting this year's top 5 finalists in each category, and the winner in each category (the one with the most votes).

The winners included:

Circuit Party/Event of the Year: Halloween,

Hair Salon of the Year: Mickey Nolan's Salon,

Gay Carnival Ball of the Year: Lords of Leather,

Neighborhood Bar of the Year: Cowpokes,

Buzzy Fanning (Fight Against) AIDS Award: Mike Murray,

Bitch of the Year: Bianca Del Rio,

Show Bar of the Year: Oz,

Performing Arts Award: Drama!,

Restaurant/Deli of the Year: Bywater Bar.B.Que/Lorenzo's,

Dance Bar of the Year: Oz,

Bartender of the Year: Allen Jones/Oz,

DJ of the Year: Tim Pflueger/Oz,

Leather Bar of the Year: Phoenix,

GLBT Business of the Year: Alternatives,

Leather Person of the Year: Wally Sherwood,

Transgender of the Year: Crystal Little,

Lesbian of the Year: Mina Hernandez,

Gay Man of the Year: Fr. Nicholas Romans, and

Entertainer of the Year: Bianca Del Rio.

In addition to the various public voting awards, the GAA Board presented the Cheridon Comedy Award in memory of the late Sonny C. Cleveland to Ricky Graham, and the Fly Fashion Awards in memory of Ms. Fly including the Fly Fashion Glamour to Lady T, and the Fly Fashion Victim to Kabrina Watson.

The Marsha Delain Award of Excellence (the Drag Ambassador Award) was presented by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain to Teena Roussell.

Ambush Mag is proud to sponsor the Gay Appreciation Awards each year, covering all expenses, so all funds raised go to charity. For more info, visit archive.ambushmag.com/GAA.

Radical Right Marriage Amendment Falls Short on Support in US Senate

Baton Rouge, LA - In a resounding bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate refused to move forward with a proposal to amend the U. S. Constitution to define marriage and the legal incidents thereof as the union of one man and one woman. During a procedural cloture vote, proponents of the amendment failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to move the measure forward for a full vote. The defeat came on a 48-50 vote. In order to have claimed victory, the Radical Right would have needed 67 votes to actually amend the constitution.

Voting against the measure were Louisiana’s U.S. Senators John Breaux and Mary Landrieu.

Christopher Daigle, Equality Louisiana’s Director of Government and Community Affairs, issued the following statement:

"Today’s vote served as a severe blow to the agenda of the White House, the Radical Right and so-called pro-family groups. We congratulate and applaud the Senate for seeing this issue for what it really is - a divisive election year ploy. The Constitution should never be exploited and tarnished for political gain.

The Constitution has had a long and glorious tradition of expanding upon the rights of individual citizens. Political opportunists and self-righteous moralists were reminded today of our centuries-long constitutional tradition that separates Church and State. Their agenda of bigotry and divisiveness was soundly defeated. President Bush and his allies should be ashamed of trying to gain political advantage on the backs of a minority group of tax-paying U.S. citizens. How can it be that the "Leader of the Free World" would espouse placing discrimination into the most sacred of our documents and the most enduring symbol of freedom throughout the world?

We congratulate Senators Breaux and Landrieu for their leadership, patriotism and common sense approach to this serious issue. Their vote demonstrated their commitment to this country’s promise of equality and freedom for all, and their respect for the sanctity and dignity of the U. S. Constitution.

As Louisiana voters face a similar proposed constitutional amendment on September 18th, we hope they will look to our senators’ example of prudent leadership and their rejection of playing politics with the Constitution. Just as the U.S. Constitution was saved today, so must we preserve our own state’s constitution and its promise of equality for all."

Oz Sets Jeff Poucher Fund-raiser Aug. 1st

The following message is one from Staff of Oz New Orleans: "On Thurs., June 3rd, a terrible accident occurred with a valued Oz employee and dear friend to many. Bartender, Jeff Poucher, fell down three flights of stairs at his home and was critically injured. The fall caused serious damage and he fell into a coma. Fortunately, he has awakened from his coma. Miraculously his memory is good, but has a long road ahead to regain full motor skills. He seems to be very dedicated to his physical therapy, which is a major factor for a speedy recovery. As you can imagine the emotional and financial devastation for his family has been overwhelming. At Oz, we like to think of ourselves as a family and have been deeply saddened by this event. We all want to do something to help him and his loved ones in their time of need.

On Sat., June 26th, Oz held it’s annual Neon Party. In preparation for the event, the staff got together and each employee painted a piece of artwork to decorate the club for the night. We had a lot of fun and even though none of us consider ourselves to be artists, the paintings looked wonderful and showed that we are all pretty creative. While painting we got the idea to auction off the artwork after the party and give the proceeds to a designated charity. We then realized what better place to donate the money than to Jeff and his family. Staff members are also beating the pavement to acquire prizes to include in the auction and for a raffle. We can only imagine the financial devastation Jeff’s family is enduring and thought this would be a great opportunity for the Oz staff, his friends, and our community, to lend a helping hand.

Please join us in this event to benefit Jeff Poucher. The one and only Bianca Del Rio will host the auction and raffle at Oz, 800 Bourbon St., on Sun., Aug. 1st at 7pm. Come and buy a piece of art painted by your favorite Oz staff member or bid on some of the fabulous prizes and help us give some relief to his family in this horrible situation. If you are unable to attend the auction, but still would like to make a donation for Jeff please ask any Oz employee for more information. We look forward to seeing everyone there and his family greatly appreciates the love and concern. Please remember him in your thoughts and prayers. He is greatly missed by all that know and love him.

Conscious Living Cruise Set For Dec. 4th-11th

New Orleans - For the first time ever, leaders in the New Orleans holistic health arena, Clay Thomas and Peggy Gelpi, are co-producing a 6 day-7night Conscious Living Cruise from Dec. 4th-11th, 2004 on Royal Carribean’s "Grandeur of the Seas," departing from New Orleans and traveling to Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico.

Two tracks of conscious living workshops will be presented. More than 15 progressive speakers will hold intensive workshops about healthy living and new age arts for beginners and advanced students. All of the classes are included in the price of the cruise, which starts as low as $699 per person based on double occupancy. Classes run 10am to 4pm. There is time to mix and mingle with others in the seminars at dinner when the group all makes a point to break bread together.

The cruise will feature headliner Maria Shaw, internationally renowned astrologer and a respected author for Llewellyn Publishing. She has spoken at the Astrologer’s National Conference and American Federation of Astrologers. Shaw just finished a tour with the Learning Annex in California and Canada. Her books have been so popular that recently TV Guide’s cable channel named Shaw their celebrity astrologer. Shaw joins Thomas and Gelpi in creating this premier personal growth opportunity within the delightfully fun experience of a cruise through the Gulf of Mexico with a bonus chance to visit Mayan ruins.

Shaw comments, "This experience will be innovative but not necessarily new. I’ve produced bi-annual psychic cruises since 1996, and this expanded program will integrate wellness and healthy living topics into the presentation agenda. This cruise can bring people to another level in consciousness."

Gelpi, who recently was given the National Award for Pioneer in Wellness from the Wholistic Wellness Network, ads, "This is a perfect opportunity for everyone interested in health and wellness to come learn and have fun in the process. What better place to feel great and healthy than in the sun on a cruise with such a broad spectrum of captivating presenters."

To hear more about the Conscious Living Cruise contact Clay Thomas in New Orleans at 504.483.1191. For more details about the cruise, please call Senior Cruise Consultant Tammy Miller at Vacations Sea toll free at 1.800.749.4950. Vacations at Sea has been producing themed cruises for many years and is proud to sponsor this healthful Mind-Body-Spirt cruise. Prices are good through Aug. 5, 2004.

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