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While New Orleans Burns+Drowns: GAYS CELEBRATE

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  • While New Orleans Burns+Drowns: GAYS CELEBRATE

    Posted on Mon, Sep. 05, 2005

    Matt Menold, left, John Lambert and others participate in the annual Southern Decadence parade down Bourbon Street, despite the devastion caused by Hurricane Katrina. KHAMPHA BOUAPHANH, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

    Gay parade goes on, despite Katrina

    By Jay Root

    Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram

    NEW ORLEANS - Dozens of die-hard revelers refused Sunday to let Katrina's devastation kill their party spirit or snuff out a famous gay parade that normally draws thousands to New Orleans' French Quarter.

    As military helicopters buzzed overhead, about two dozen holdout remnants of the annual Southern Decadence festival marched through the quarter, stopping at one of the only bars open, just barely - Johnny White's Sports Bar & Grill.

    Dressed in drag, wearing plastic leis or sporting makeup, the participants said they were determined to fight back against overwhelming despair with a familiar celebration that always begins in front of a favorite Gay bar, the Golden Lantern.

    Matt Menold was there, strumming "Smoke on the Water" on his guitar and sporting a black and white sombrero during the brief march. He said the few who did show up _ most from the neighborhood - were sending out an important message to the world.

    "Everyone that survived is here," said Menold. "They're saying New Orleans isn't going to be a town again, but it is."

    Another marcher, Joe Malinauskas, who's been coming to New Orleans for the Labor Day weekend extravaganza for more than 15 years, said the parade had finally gone back to its non-commercial roots.

    "Now it's real again," said Malinauskas, who wore pink and white Mardi Gras beads around his neck.

    Southern Decadence is billed as the largest gay event in New Orleans. Organizers probably didn't have Katrina in mind when they posted a history of the event on their official website, but it was oddly prophetic.

    "Not even the fire from a dragon's breath would keep participants and watchers from assembling in the 1200 block of Royal Street on the first Sunday before Labor Day for a celebration that has gotten bigger and more wonderfully insane each year since its casual creation in 1972," it said.

    The revelers found no ice or air conditioning once they got to the bar, where the cigarette supply had badly dwindled, but a drink of hard liquor was just what some of them needed.

    "Everyone's drinking. We're all happy," said Andy O'Brien, 23, a bare chested carpentar's apprentice who has been getting by on canned goods, borrowed food from shuttered bars and help from friends and neighbors.

    The claim to fame at Johnny White's is that bar has never closed. Volunteer bartender Joseph Bellomy, a regular patron who started on the job three days ago, said he had been in contact with the owner.

    "He said for us to stay open at all costs," Bellomy said. "In 14 years, this bar has never closed."

    It has now become a rare gathering point and outpost for stranded neighbors, artists and even a man seeking medical care.

    Writer and computer network administrator Ride Hamilton, wearing a paramedic uniform he bought at a thrift store, stitched up the badly split ear of Vasilios Tryphonas, who had been mugged with a two-by-four and robbed of his last five dollars.

    One bar patron yelled at a passing police suburban to call for medics to check on Tryphonas. The officers, from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitian police, politely nodded, took snapshots of the revelers and sped off.

    Contact Jay Roott at

  • #2
    Disgusting. And they have the nerve to be the ones parading around, when that's one of the main reasons why this whole thing was allowed -- or ordained, however you look at it (by God) to occur!


    • #3
      Well, look @ it this way... Mexican independence day is coming up soon... Is the parade gonna stop for them too, inspite of Katrina? Something Annual is something Annual... and People hate to see the tradition broken... Like, I would have cried if they decided not to have a Fiesta Boricua this year... lol... I mean, I feel for the Katrina Victims... And My family is sorta going through some family crisis as it is now... Sometimes, the celebration of something is just a coping mechanism.
      ~*~*~ Moreno ~*~*~


      • #4
        Are you mad because you were not invited? I think I recognized you in the throngs, you were dressed as Rush Limbaugh with pink panties. Don't deny it!!!!, it was you. It looked like a lacayo/vendepatria from Bairoa!!! Come on Another Prickan/El Jib tell it like it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Last edited by Yujike; 7th September 2005, 15:52.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Delgado22
          Disgusting. And they have the nerve to be the ones parading around, when that's one of the main reasons why this whole thing was allowed -- or ordained, however you look at it (by God) to occur!

          So God killed off through a hurricance (force of nature) thousands of innocent children and not the Gay people marching in this parade?By the way,the French Quarter is still intact and was the only section of the city that is not under water.Your views are sickening!
          The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. -- Patrick Henry


          • #6
            If you really want me to go in-depth about it (because you've totally missed it) I will. In another thread.