Decadence Revelers Top 50,000
With A $25 Million Economic Impact
The 25th Anniversary of Southern Decadence [SD] brought in over
50,000 revelers setting an all time record for the annual end of summer
blowout. Hosted Labor Day Weekend, the event had a $25 million impact on the New Orleans community. Bars, delis, restaurants and retail outlets boasted record sales doing 14% all the way up to 50% over last year's holiday weekend. Many businesses did better than even Mardi Gras this year.
Miss Love as Grand Marshal XXV led the festivities, "A Wedding to Remember," climaxing with the SD Parade Sunday, Aug. 31. Due to the enormous procession, the city required a parade permit for the first time complete with police escort.
The Parade saw thousands of costumed participants, many reflecting Love's chosen theme. There were brides, bridesmaids and grooms, in every shape and size, as well as many participants doing their own thing.
Miss Love's parade route included the kick off at the Golden Lantern down Royal to St. Philip with a stop at MRB, heading down to Decatur, then to Dumaine to Cafe Lafitte in Exile down to the Quarter Scene Restaurant taking a left at Dauphine to St. Ann heading over to Rawhide 2010, doubling back to Good Friends Bar, to the Bourbon Pub/Parade, Oz, then down Bourbon to Ambush Headquarters for the Official Grand Marshal's Bead Toss.
Some 5,000 revelers cheered as Miss Love came out on the world famous Ambush balcony tossing some 2,000 silver beads, 1,000 commerative cups and several dozen t-shirts. After cooling down a little, Love and entourage were off.
Next up was the annual Grand Marshal's BBQ over at Andy Boudreaux's MRB. The feast was packed as always.
Then heading back to the Pub's balcony, Love tossed his garter, then dashed down to Lafitte's balcony to toss his bouquet.
The Bienville Center for Conser-
vancy led by Roberts Batson
hosted a panel discussion by many of the early Southern Decadence Grand Marshals, as well as those involved with the beginning of the Southern Decadence celebration
The discussion focused on "how a little going-away party one hot afternoon in 1972 grew into a world-famous spectacle."
It was interesting to learn that straights, gays, blacks, whites and even children were involved in the original celebration. It started out as a going away party with some 40-50 people for Michael Evers at Belle Reve, 2110 Barracks.
Maureen Block, originally from New York, was put in charge of the party to give her something to do. This in essence would make Maureen the "mother of Decadence."
It is interesting to note that in future years Maureen would not be chosen grand marshal, once that process began. This also changes the perception of Southern Decadence's "Susan Lucci." Move over Smurf, Maureen is the original, official Susan Lucci of Southern Decadence, having been passed over 25 times. It makes your 13 years seem minute in the scheme of things.
But, now back to the discussion, the highlight had to be when SD Grand Marshal I Frederick Wright spoke about that first parade in 1974. After a long march, Frederick smelled fried chicken. He looked over in the car next to him. There were 4 black women returning from church each with fried chicken. He reached in taking a leg and wing. The lady exclaimed, "Don't take my breast!" The ladies asked what was the occasion for the march to which Frederick replied, "Southern Decadence." The ladies replied with an "oh," like they knew exactly what he was talking about.
Many more facts and information was exchanged. It will be interesting to see how the Bienville Center will compile all of this info for the public. We will look forward to its completion.
Southern Decadence Grand Marshals feted at the Bridal Reception hosted at Bacco. Standing: #1 Frederick Wright 1974; #22 Alain 1994; #23 Blanche 1995; #15 Olive 1987; #21 Fly 1993; #24 Wayne White 1996; #13 Fish 1985. Seated: #4 Robert Laurent 1997; #25 Miss Love 1997; #12 Mumbo 1984; #5 Robert King 1978.
High Heel Pool Tourney Raises $4,979;
Friendly Bar Takes 1st Place
The 6th Annual Charity High Heel Pool Tournament finals hosted at Body and
Soul brought in $4,979. This year the teams were split into two leagues -
Triangle League and Rainbow League, to cut down on play time.
The Friendly Bar, New Orleans, took 1st place with 20% of the proceeds going to Buzzy's Boys and Girls. Second with 15% of the proceeds going to United Services for AIDS was taken by team 4 Seasons, Metairie. Third place was won by the team Westbank with 15% of the proceeds going to their charity, Lesbian & Gay Community Center of New Orleans.
Fourth through eighth places each brought in 10% of the proceeds for their chosen charities. Fourth went to Footloose, New Orleans, playing for NO/AIDS Hotline; fifth to Another Corner, New Orleans, playing for Belle Reve/Belle Esprit; sixth to Copper Top, New Orleans playing for Project Lazarus; seventh to Big Daddy's, New Orleans, playing for University Hospital Hospice; and eighth to Angles, Metairie, playing for Food For Friends.
Corporate sponsors included for the 6th year Ambush Mag 2000 and Miller Brewing Company. All involved in this project should indeed be proud of their accomplishments.
The only sad note earlier this year came from Pediatric AIDS/Children's Hospital's refusal to accept funds from this affair. Another charity gladly accepted their spot.
NO/AIDS Walk Brings in $307,000
LATE BREAKING NEWS BRIEF-The 1997 NO/AIDS Walk with over 15,000
participants, raised $307,000. That number grows daily as late pledges
come in. Team NO/AIDS took top team honors this year with $8,974. Top individual for the 5th consecutive year was Rip Naquin-Delain raising $6,851 with 142 sponsors. The Chancellors Cup went to UNO for the 2nd year with $5,674; while the Principals Cup with $1,100 went to Ben Franklin High School.
Watch for all the highlights in the next issue of Ambush Mag 2000.